Kiki Smith - Evening & Day Editions London Tuesday, June 14, 2022 | Phillips

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  • 'Kiki Smith’s work oscillates between light and darkness, slipping from the peacefulness of domesticated nature to an untameable animality in order to enter the world of the night, that specific moment where pleasure and fear combine.' —Catherine de Brackelaere, 2020Kiki Smith frequently appropriates and reimagines characters from fairy tales and mythology, extrapolating them from moral fable into a contemporary narrative of virtue and vice. Little Red Riding Hood has appeared in Smith’s work since 1999 and is a figure that has been re-formed by the artist in sculptures, paintings, drawings and prints. Her variations through different media mimics the telling and re-telling of the same tales through the vast folklore tradition of oral storytelling, with each generation tweaking the outcome to serve contemporary ethics and principles.


    The cautionary tale rooted in European folklore is ultimately a tale of good versus evil. We are invited to sympathise with a naïve, young girl in danger of being tricked by a predator: the moral of the story in contemporary parlance being ‘stranger danger’!


    Smith’s lithographic diptych, however, suggests that the girl and wolf are not predator and prey, but ‘companions’ on a parallel journey. The wolf stands in the centre of his space, while the girl confidently meets his gaze. The figures are similarly scaled and joined by the repetition of the warm, brown texture of the girl’s hair, her basket, and the wolf’s fur. Separate, but equal, their stand-off appears conversational rather than malicious.


    Instead of repeating and thereby upholding patriarchal ideas of female virginity and innocence when faced with the dangerous temptation and trickery of the wolf, Smith instead invites us to see these symbolic characters on a new narrative journey.


    Installation view of the exhibition Genevieve and the Wolves, 2000, Shoshana Wayne Gallery, Los Angeles. Image: © Shoshana Wayne Gallery, Los Angeles  
    Installation view of the exhibition Genevieve and the Wolves, 2000, Shoshana Wayne Gallery, Los Angeles. Image: © Shoshana Wayne Gallery, Los Angeles  


Companions (diptych)

The pair of lithographs in colours, on T.H. Saunders Waterford HP paper, with full margins.
overall S. 138 x 251.5 cm (54 3/8 x 99 in.)
One sheet (wolf) signed and dated in pencil, the other (girl) numbered 12/26 in pencil, published by Universal Limited Art Editions, New York (with their blindstamp), each framed.

Full Cataloguing

£6,000 - 8,000 

Sold for £10,080

Contact Specialist

Rebecca Tooby-Desmond
Specialist, Head of Sale, Editions
T +44 207 318 4079
M +44 7502 417366

Robert Kennan
Head of Editions, Europe
T +44 207 318 4075
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Anne Schneider-Wilson
Senior International Specialist, Editions
T +44 207 318 4042
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Evening & Day Editions

London Auction 14-15 June 2022