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  • Provenance

    Acquired directly from the artist.

  • Catalogue Essay

    Over nearly forty-five years, the American Minimalist sculptor John McCracken has dedicated himself to creating simple, bold monochromatic works which have redefined the history of 20th century sculpture. The present lot, Actuate, a bright red wall relief from 1994, is a prime example from the artist's Fluorescent work series. With its vibrant, colourful sensory aesthetic, the sculpture is still and yet at the same time generates movement. Its three dimensionality activates its surroundings and triggers experiences within the viewer. Despite its seemingly industrial finish, Actuate is meticulously crafted and taken to a high polish by hand. The resulting form is strikingly brilliant, offering the viewer's reflection as a reminder of the heightened physicality of pure abstract form. Illusorily transparent, Actuate seems to emanate light, recalling the magnificent Southern Californian sun of John McCracken's childhood.
    'What I try to do is to make forms that are singular and indivisible, yet which at the same time may be seen as composed of varying elements. They consist of particular forms, colors, surfaces, but then added to these are surrounding conditions—light, color, reflected images—which also become the ‘materials’ of the works. What they are actually made of is a wide variable spectrum of materials and phenomena. My work is obviously related to monuments of the past such as Stonehenge, and Egyptian architecture and sculpture, but it has nothing directly to do with them. It’s more a matter of finding and inventing the forms that seem expressive of a high level of consciousness and concern. My sculptures are, for one thing, images of man. It is relevant that all of man’s constructions—tools, buildings, clothes, etc.—are as much images of himself as the physical body is, or as portraits are.' (John McCracken as quoted in L. Bovier and M. Perret, eds., Timewave Zero/A Psychedelic Reader, Graz, 2001, p. 31). 

22

Actuate

1994
Polyester resin and fibreglass on wood.
15.8 x 137.7 x 23.2 cm. (6 1/4 x 54 1/4 x 9 1/4 in).
Signed, titled and dated 'ACTUATE 1994 John McCracken' on the reverse.

Estimate
£60,000 - 80,000 

Contemporary Art Evening Sale

17 Oct 2009
London