Gilbert & George - Contemporary Art Evening Sale London Wednesday, February 11, 2009 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Galerie Ileana Sonnabend, Paris; Private collection, Italy; Anthony d'Offay Gallery, London; Marc Jancou Fine Art, New York

  • Exhibited

    Paris, Galerie Ileana Sonnabend, Any Port in a Storm, 1973; Bordeaux, CAPC Musee d'Art Contemporain, May – September, 1986; Kunsthalle Basel, September – November, 1986; Brussels, Palais des Beaux-Arts, November 1986 – January, 1987; Madrid, Palacio de Velazquez, Parque del Retiro, February – March,1987; Munich, Stadtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus, April – June, 1987; London, Hayward Gallery, July – September, 1987; Gilbert & George, The Complete Pictures 1971-1985

  • Literature

    Schirmer & Mosel, Gilbert & George: The Complete Pictures 1971-1985, Stuttgart, 1986, p. 42 (illustrated); W. Jahn, The Art of Gilbert & George, Stuttgart, 1989, p. 120 (illustrated); R. Fuchs, Gilbert & George: The Complete Pictures 1971-2005, vol. 1, London, 2007, p. 119 (illustrated)      

  • Catalogue Essay

    Toy Wine was executed as part of a larger body of work, Drinking Sculptures, which documented the artists prolonged bouts of heavy drinking around this time. After the spectacular success of The Singing Sculpture (1969), the self-proclaimed ‘living sculptures',Gilbert & George, initiated this self-reflective body of work as a way to free themselves from the restrictions and inhibitions that were presented to them by the live stage. More and more their performances became private, the limitations were removed and their studio based sculptures were presented in the form of film and photography, providing a direct insight into the indulgent and destructive nature of these important artists. It is this shift to a more formalized realization that would later come to characterize the mature composition and style that the duo is most renowned for.
    Gilbert & George's portray, with remarkable control over medium and subject, the reality of their self-destructive behaviour in a melancholic celebration.This series is one of the first examples to show their preference for photography and its ability to appear removed from the individualism of handmade objects yet still remain as unique works rather than editions.
    Toy Wine is a darker ultimately more haunting example of this series that repeats the same composition in varied states of fragmentation and inebriation.This work embodies the isolation of the artists minds as they sit alone, statuesque, staring out of the image, centering themselves as subject matter.The scene is reminiscent of Velazquez's gaze in his triumphant Las Meninas, 1656, not only for its inclusion of the artist but in its grave and murky atmosphere.The isolation and self-reflective imagery that we are confronted with forces us to question the manipulation of personal life and self destructionin the name of art. Toy Wine exemplifies Gilbert &George's ability to cause controversy and display the uncomfortable in a manner that is poised, polished and removed.


Toy Wine

Ten gelatin silver prints in the artists' frames.
Overall: 88.3 x 36.8 cm. (34 3/4 x 14 1/2 in).
Each consecutively numbered '1' to '10' on the reverse; titled "Toy Wine" on the reverse of the first panel.

£100,000 - 150,000 ‡ ♠

Contemporary Art Evening Sale

12 Feb 2009, 7pm