John Chamberlain - Contemporary Art Part I New York Wednesday, May 11, 2011 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    PaceWildenstein, New York (acquired directly from the artist); Private Collection

  • Exhibited

    New York, PaceWildenstein, John Chamberlain: Recent Work, February 14 – March 15, 2008

  • Literature

    D. Kunitz, “John Chamberlain’s Heavy Metal,” The New York Sun, February 21, 2008, p. 20 (illustrated); P. Tuchman, “Reviews–John Chamberlain,” Art in America, November 2008, p. 191 (illustrated)

  • Catalogue Essay

    John Chamberlain’s incorporation of large scale painterly shapes and forceful manipulations of raw materials gave birth to visually dazzling three dimensional artworks that had clearly evolved from the visual language embraced by Abstract Expressionist artists. Chamberlain’s talent lies in his ability to create formally demanding sculptures from the often long discarded debris of American consumerism — automobiles — into amorphous artworks that viscerally integrate the act of destruction as a requirement for the act of creation.

    Chamberlain develops and assembles some of his worked pieces into configurations that maximize his volumes and colors into a unique presence and attitude, seeking what he regularly refers to as “fit” or “sexual fit”, he joins piece to piece, forming a puzzle whose ultimate configuration won’t be known until it is finished. Almost all of his sculptures are self-supporting, initially the pieces embrace each other without any welding, but are spot-welded after completion, so that they can be easily transported and maintained outside of the studio. Chamberlain’s sculptures, splintered, with intricate proportions, are perfectly three dimensional. They have no front or back, no favored view predisposing a viewer toward the static or planar. The spectator’s eye is taken on a beguiling trip over an undulating and cascading landscape that has become an extravagant rarity in recent times.

    Chamberlain’s intuitive sense for sheet steel and its ability to provide about the same amount of surrender as the human body under a skilled hand has used this to his benefit and forged his desired forms upon the metal accordingly. This process allows him to join chance and intuition in conjunction with the prefabricated and the ready-made; it also allows him to unite the industrial and the organic. Being one of the few sculptors whose talent allows him to really take advantage of the full color spectrum;
    Chamberlain’s color is as particular, multifarious and structural as any good painter’s, and it often involves the striking, saccharine, pastel enamels, recurrently roses and ceruleans, a truly intoxicating combination.

    The present lot is comprised of an amalgamation of delicately sculpted chromed metal which has been saturated in hard, shiny Pop-like coloring and fused together to create a capacious amount of tension that is seamless in energy but not in its topography. The composition is formed by possibility, an erratically compatible fit of individually created components. These casual junctions allow for multiple viewpoints that give way to a range of interpretations of the work’s prescribed definition. The colors Chamberlain has selected for this work are automatically integrated into the work to give clear visual evidence of each component’s interaction with the other.

41

Popsicletoes

2008
Painted chromed stainless steel.
106 x 34 x 30 in. (269.2 x 86.4 x 76.2 cm.)

Estimate
$600,000 - 800,000 

Sold for $602,500

Contemporary Art Part I

12 May 2011
New York