Daniel Arsham - 20th Century & Contemporary Art & Design Day Sale Hong Kong Thursday, July 9, 2020 | Phillips

Create your first list.

Select an existing list or create a new list to share and manage lots you follow.

  • Provenance

    Moco Museum, Amsterdam
    Acquired from the above by the present owner

  • Exhibited

    Amsterdam, Moco Museum, Connecting Time, 18 January - 30 September 2019

  • Catalogue Essay

    The present work exhibited during Amsterdam, Moco Museum, Daniel Arsham: Connecting Time, 18 January - 30 September 2019
    Photo by Isabel Janssen
    New York-based multidisciplinary artist Daniel Arsham considers himself an archaeologist of the future, reflecting on the fragility of human civilisation and the ephemeral nature of time. His central aesthetic revolves around the concept of fictional archaeology, which considers an alternate reality where the past, present and future co-exist at the artist’s will. Known for his iconic ‘Future Relics’ series, Arsham has created an array of lifelike forms and staged architectural interventions that are at once arresting and deceiving to the eyes. Arsham’s focused but expansive practice has turned him into one of today’s most important artists, influencing disciplines as diverse as design, fashion and architecture.

    Cast of a sitting victim of the eruption of Mount Vesuvius, 79 CE, Pompeii, ItalyA cast of a woman killed in Pompeii, exhibited during London, British Museum, Life and Death in Pompeii and Herculaneum, 28 March - 29 September 2013
    Arsham’s sculptural works are a poetic juxtaposition of form and material. Created with materials such as volcanic ash, rose quartz, obsidian, and glacial rock, everyday objects of contemporary life and pop culture are imagined as if they have been ‘uncovered on some future archaeological site’. His work is almost universally devoid of colour but relies solely on the physical manipulation of basic materials to confer new meaning.

    The present lot is included as part of Arsham’s first retrospective Connecting Time at the Moco Museum in Amsterdam. It is an exemplary testimony to the artist’s mastery of this technique, depicting a realistic, seated female figure in contemporary dressing encrusted in black, glittering glass shards. Exploring the dichotomy between destruction and creation, in Arsham’s own words: “The glass is really about taking this broken useless material and reforming it back into something that has intention and purpose.” (Daniel Arsham, quoted in Steven Matijcio, Daniel Arsham: Remember the Future, Ohio, 2015, online)

    While Arsham’s works often carry a sense of playfulness and coolness, it is also underpinned by a search for answers to profound existential questions. There is a stoic quality to the figure sitting in a contemplative posture, who appears strong in contrast to the fragility associated with the artwork’s material.

    The glass fragments covering the skin are reminiscent of destroyed windows of the home, speaking to the fragility of human life and the destructive force of nature. This work hints at a flashpoint in Arsham’s memory: the devastation he experienced during Hurricane Andrew has fundamentally altered the perceived solidity of the body and the house. It is also suggestive of the haunting body casts excavated in Pompeii. Layers of calcified ashes from the eruption of Mount Vesuvius destroyed the city and its residents but perfectly preserved them for over a thousand years. The sculpture presented here also manifests itself as a moment frozen in time, thickening the present with concurrent evocations of past trauma and future uncertainty.

    Daniel Arsham
    Corner Knot, 2008

    Daniel Arsham
    Falling Clock, 2012
    "The present is like a knife’s edge. It doesn’t really exist, it’s so fleeting. In that way, I guess time doesn’t have a shape, and sometimes, my memories don’t feel like memories – they feel like predictions.” Daniel Arsham
    Quoted in Steven Matijcio, Daniel Arsham: Remember the Future, Ohio, 2015, online.

    Arsham also applies his perception of the distortion of time and the destructive energy of nature to make architecture perform the unexpected. His structure-bending interventions interact with the actual space it inhabits, such as the Corner Knot (2008) and Falling Clock (2012). The artist’s ongoing play with the physical space comes from a deeply personal belief that everything is vulnerable.

    Arsham has been honoured with solo exhibitions around the world, most recently at Galerie Perrotin, Paris (2020) and HOW Art Museum, Shanghai (2019) and Galerie Ron Mandos, Amsterdam (2019). Arsham has collaborated broadly with brands such as Dior Homme and Rimowa, as well as musician Pharrell Williams and choreographer Jonah Bokaer, gaining recognition across numerous fields.

Property from a Private Collector


Seated Female Figure

black glass
81.5 x 71 x 73 cm. (32 1/8 x 27 7/8 x 28 3/4 in.)
Executed in 2016.

HK$600,000 - 800,000 

Sold for HK$750,000

Contact Specialist
Danielle So
Associate Specialist, Head of Day Sale

20th Century & Contemporary Art & Design Day Sale

Hong Kong Auction 9 July 2020