Enoc Pérez - Contemporary Art Evening Sale London Tuesday, October 9, 2012 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Faggionato Fine Arts, London
    Private Collection

  • Catalogue Essay

    “In a way, these architects really believed in the idea of utopia … I love painting, and I believe in painting, and I share that with these architects who believed in utopia.” ENOC PÉREZ

    When Puerto Rican artist Enoc Pérez arrived to live and work in New York in 1986, he was very aware that he had to embrace the artistic heritage of the city, and to his mind that meant Andy Warhol. He paid tribute to this icon of the 20th century by inventing a brushless working process which both mimicked Warhol’s legendary print-making technique and created his very own and unique visual language. Pérez explained his motivation in an interview: “The reason I came up with this unique process is, when I moved to New York in 1986, I thought, if I’m making paintings in this city I would like the work to have a relationship with the masters of this city-somehow it has to make sense within the tradition of the city. For my money, the work of Andy Warhol is hard to ignore, and he used the process of silkscreening in his paintings. I thought that my work should have a relationship to printmaking, and so through trial and error I found a way that suits my needs” (Pérez interviewed by David Coggins, Interview, n.d.).

    Pérez starts his process by copying photographs or found images on sheets of paper, while producing a separate drawing for each colour that he wishes to appear in the final work. After applying oil paint to the back of these multiple identical drawings he presses the paper sheets with the oil paint against the canvas, transferring the various colours one after the other by redoing the drawings on the canvas. The results are rich and vivid works which seem both alive and dazzling through colour and ductus and which are testimony to Pérez’s love for painting. Pérez became most famous for his depiction of modernist architecture although also painting nudes and still lives. He says that he perceives buildings as Duchampian ready-mades, as metaphors, and that the decision to portray one is instant.

    The current lot Darlington Hotel, Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico from 2005 is a significant example of such a modern building built in the city of Rio Piedras. Almost filling the canvas, the simple and symmetrical design of the architecture dominates the tropical landscape, largely obscuring the view of the sky resulting in an overall feeling of constriction. The hotel and its surrounding landscape appear to be deserted which, together with the haziness of Pérez’s brushless technique, infuses the work with
    asense of abandonment and otherness.

    Pérez sees his paintings of buildings as portraits of a different era, evoking Modernism’s heroic, utopian aspirations, and architects such as Le Corbusier, Gerrit Rietveld and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. Pérez’s works are an attempt to commemorate or even preserve these architectural structures as well as their time and place, by which he transforms them into eternal symbols of a time that was infused with a sense of optimism and possibility.


Darlington Hotel, Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico,

oil on canvas
188 × 203.2 cm (74 × 80 in)
Signed, titled and dated ‘Enoc Pérez, Darlington Hotel, Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico, March 2005 on the reverse.

£140,000 - 180,000 

Sold for £145,250

Contemporary Art Evening Sale

10 October 2012