David Ostrowski - Contemporary Evening Sale London Tuesday, July 1, 2014 | Phillips

Create your first list.

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

  • Provenance

    Ltd Los Angeles, Los Angeles

  • Exhibited

    Los Angeles, Ltd Los Angeles, David Ostrowski: From bad to worse, 18 October - 24 November 2012

  • Catalogue Essay

    Understated, minimal and ambiguous, David Ostrowski’s work thrives off the concept of artistic success and failure. Having graduated from Kunstkademie in Düsseldorf under the tutelage of Albert Oehlen in 2009 Ostrowski has since attempted to distance himself from his academic training and instead strive towards the naivety of an untrained artist.

    This work from Ostrowski’s recent F (Fehlermalerei) series, translated as ‘mistake painting’, exemplifies the artist’s conscious removal from conventional aesthetics and notions of artistic skill. Ostrowski described the process: “I’m trying to neglect all of my painterly knowledge and ability in order to paint as a right-hander with my right hand as if it were the left one. I place the fast-paced agility of the hand before that of the mind thus compounding pictorial faux-pas to create a beautiful picture." (Brent Randall, David Ostrowski – Interview, HUSK, Berlin, 28 February, 2013 www.huskmagazine.com)

    The result of the abandonment of cognitive choice in favour of physical chance and coincidence is a gestural, accidental mark-making. In this work, the grey sweeping line seems spontaneous and the blue and yellow marks are apparently random. This lends the piece a sense of immediacy and energy that is reminiscent of street art. The artist’s use of lacquer encourages the rapid application of paint, therefore heightening the sense of spontaneous creation. The dirty, sullied appearance of the background is similarly an effect of chance; a result of the fabric’s contact with the floor of the artist’s studio.

    Ostrowski describes his F series as exploring nothingness: “Currently I’m doing paintings about nothing. I have no ideas, no motivation and no inspiration." (Francesca Gavin, The Return of Abstract Art, dazedigital www.dazeddigital.com) The subject of this work appears to be emptiness; exploring absence rather than presence. However, this emptiness is merely an illusion as Ostrowski’s subject is in fact the process of painting: at once parodying and challenging the medium itself. The influence of the artist’s tutor, Albert Oehlen, can be recognised in this underlying interrogation of the medium. Oehlen similarly focused on the process of painting and its limitations, using smears and gestural lines of paint, demonstrating a shared interest in challenging the medium which Ostrowski has since commented upon.


F (Gee Vaucher)

acrylic, lacquer and paper on canvas, in artist’s wooden frame
268.1 x 214.8 cm (105 1/2 x 84 5/8 in.)
Signed and dated 'David Ostrowski 12' on the reverse.

£30,000 - 50,000 ♠ †

Sold for £170,500

Contact Specialist
Peter Sumner
Head of Contemporary Art, London
[email protected]
+44 207 318 4063

Contemporary Evening Sale

London Auction 2 July 2014 7pm