Mike Kelley - New Now: Modern & Contemporary Art London Friday, April 19, 2024 | Phillips
  • “I chose to sculpt the island soil into the forms of the lingam and yoni to emphasise the sexual fantasy of my original desire to explore the islands of the Detroit River.”
    —Mike Kelley

    Completed in 2002, Lingam and Yoni (Grosse Île) belongs to Mike Kelley’s celebrated Lingam and Yoni series. In this work, Kelley creates variants of Lingam and Yoni, the Hindu symbol for male and female genitalia. The Lingam-Yoni is a sacred tantric vessel which consists of a large basin (Yoni) with a pilar set at its centre (Lingam). Taking its name from islands around the Detroit River, each sculpture from the eight-part series is constructed from soil, dirt, and found artefacts from their namesakes. All differing in size, Kelley determines the length of the central pilar (Lingam) by the amount of clean soil he collected on the various islands. Similarly, the radius of the circular basin that sits atop of the pilar (Yoni) is determined by the amount of stone and detritus that Kelley had managed to forage whilst exploring the islands. The present work takes its name from the largest island on the Detroit River – Grosse Île – and is a naturalistic recreation of the island’s undergrowth. Through this work Kelly attempts to break down these ancient symbols of sexual unity and replace them with a whimsical emblem representing sexual desire and fantasy.

    • Provenance

      Patrick Painter Inc., Los Angeles
      Simon Lee Gallery, London
      Acquired from the above by the present owner

    • Exhibited

      Los Angeles, Patrick Painter Inc., Mike Kelley: Black Out, 20 April - 25 May 2002
      London, Simon Lee Gallery, Elective Affinities, 11 July - 27 August 2014

    • Literature

      Bruce Hainley, 'Mike Kelley - Patrick Painter, Los Angeles', Artforum, vol. 41, no. 2, October 2002, p. 150 (series listed and illustrated)
      Mike Kelley, John C. Welchman, Minor Histories: Statements, Conversations, Proposals, Cambridge, MA, 2004, p. 161 (series listed)


Lingam and Yoni (Grosse Île)

wood, metal, soil, wooden sticks, plastic, paper and dirt
138 x 46.2 x 46.5 cm (54 3/8 x 18 1/4 x 18 1/4 in.)
Executed in 2002.

Full Cataloguing

£10,000 - 15,000 

Contact Specialist

Charlotte Gibbs
Head of New Now: Modern & Contemporary Art
+44 20 7901 7993

New Now: Modern & Contemporary Art

London Auction 19 April 2024