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  • Provenance

    Blum & Poe, Los Angeles

  • Catalogue Essay

    Grotjahn’s work appears simple, but its implications are radical. He paints and draws a sort of metaphysical-visual rift in the fabric of perspectival space. This slippage simultaneously activates and destabilizes how we usually comprehend topographic space. The way three-dimensional space is rendered on a two-dimensional surface is miraculous and efficient. It is also learned and artificial. In fact, one-point perspective had been around for millennia before it was supposedly "invented" in around 1400 by Brunelleschi, Alberti, et al.; it just wasn’t of particular interest to audiences, who must have been bored by how rigid it was. Regardless, there is foreshortening on Greek vases; Egyptians experimented with atmospheric perspective, as did cave painters; Roman murals often employ strict vanishing points. In actuality, perspectival space accounts for only a tiny sliver of the whole history of art; it was practiced in a relatively limited geographical area (Europe and America), and it began waning around the mid 19th century. To this day people associate it with "realism." Yet perspective is no more objective or real than the idea that the earth is the center of the solar system or that the sun is the center of the universe. Because the vanishing points in Grotjahn’s pinwheel–train tracks are located in two or more asymmetrical spots -- one higher or lower than the others -- the vertical strip where the two planes touch is no longer an endpoint but a mesmerizing optical and psychic opening. It is a threshold to a new dimension rather than a terminus. (J. Saltz, “The Paralax View”, The Village Voice, 2006).


Untitled (Cream Butterfly Thin Black Lines No. 673)

Colored pencil on paper.
72 x 47 7/8 in. (182.9 x 121.6 cm).
Signed, titled and dated "#673 Untitled (Cream Butterfly Thin Black Lines) 2007 Mark Grotjahn" on the reverse.

£70,000 - 90,000 

Sold for £90,500

Property from The Vanmoerkerke Collection, Belgium

3 Apr 2008, 4pm