Paul McCarthy - Contemporary Art Evening Sale London Saturday, June 28, 2008 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    RS&A, London

  • Catalogue Essay

    Compiled from a variety of seemingly random objects collected from his kitchen and house, Paul McCarthy has joined the numerous group of artists who have utilised the chess board as a medium for their artistic expression. From Alexander Calder to newer generations of artists like Damien Hirst and Maurizio Cattelan, the game of chess has been reflected widely in art and literature across the globe. Chess lover Marcel Duchamp was once quoted as saying "From my close contact with artists and chess players I have come to the personal conclusion that while all artists are not chess players, all chess players are artists." (Cazenovia, 1952)
    Commissioned by the Gilbert Collection in London to produce a set for the Art of Chess exhibition in 2003, Paul McCarthy accumulated objects from his personal life including bottles of Heinz ketchup and cranberry juice, limes and onions, and a miniature rubber duck amongst others which together play individual roles on the board as pawns, kings and towers.
    A keen player, McCarthy's tongue in cheek humor that so normally plays subject in his productions, is undeniably demonstrated again with Chess Set. For example, in a tribute to Duchamp's fascination with the found object, McCarthy uses a strip from his kitchen floor as a playing board which perfectly compliments his choice of randomly selected game pieces. Each set is packaged in a variety of different kitchen furniture and boxed inside an actual fridge and freezer. This banal imitation deconstructs the rules and facility of approach to the game; creating new replacements for figures which we are used to playing with and challenging the participant to develop his/her own take on the pieces he's provided. Fellow artist and chess set creator Dinos Chapman commented "I think the Paul McCarthy is absolutely brilliant, I'm hugely jealous. I think it's utterly unplayable which I also think is very, very good. You'd have to really get to know the pieces, which I guess people can do, but I think the total anarchic relationship of objects and chess pieces is very funny and clever." (Art in Pieces, The Daily Telegraph, January 7, 2003)


Kitchen Set

Mixed media installation with General Electric fridge, metal crate, wooden chess board and 32 piece found object chess set.
Fridge (door open): 180 x 140 x 90 cm. (70 7/8 x 55 1/8 x 35 3/8 in). Chess board and crate: 87 x 112 x 112 cm. (34 1/2 x 44 1/8 x 44 1/8 in). King: 40 cm. (15 3/4 in). Pawn: 11 cm. (4 1/4 in).

This work is unique from a series of seven similar works.

£100,000 - 150,000 

Contemporary Art Evening Sale

29 June 2008, 5pm