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  • Provenance

    Metro Pictures, New York
    Acquired from the above by the present owner

  • Catalogue Essay

    'On the wall above my desk hung a picture of a huge, cresting wave that I had torn out of a surfing magazine that belonged to my son, Viktor. Earlier that year [1999] I had taught him to surf – passing my time in the water, pushing him onto waves. I stared for a long time at that picture. It had power and abstraction. I went to work, using the wave as a basis for a large drawing. It just happened and I followed' - Robert Longo.

    Imbued with a singularly dark and mysterious energy, Untitled (Backdoor-Pipeline, Hawaii-spring ’99) comes from Monsters, Robert Longo’s striking Wave series executed with mastery in graphite and charcoal. These dramatic renderings of cresting waves embody the unbounded power of nature, and are at once both pictorial and abstracted in their representation. Recalling renowned surfing terms or beaches in their titles, the Monsters works capture the unleashed, explosive force of the ocean. ‘Longo is interested in a surf version of the sublime, of the massive wave as a figure of all that overwhelms us… but also as an energy that we might yet master, perhaps not as surfers, but as viewers who can contemplate these suspended forms. That is why the sublime is such a vaunted experience: there is first the thrill of fear at the awesome thing, and then the added thrill that we can not only survive this fright but take its power within us. That is the challenge of these Monsters’ (Hal Foster, ‘The American Friend’, in Robert Longo - Charcoal, 2012, p. 25).

    Renowned for his use of strikingly realistic, often violent depictions of immense natural forces, Longo’s work carries an underlying social commentary on the human condition, he ‘is interested in a surf version of the sublime, of the massive wave as a figure of all that overwhelms us… but also as an energy that we might yet master’ (Hal Foster, ‘The American Friend’, in Robert Longo - Charcoal, 2012, p. 25). In Untitled (Backdoor-Pipeline, Hawaii-spring ’99), Longo alludes to the enormity and physicality of nature as opposed to the individual, and the potential for us to either succumb, or to thrive.

181

Untitled (Backdoor-Pipeline, Hawaii-spring '99)

signed, titled and dated '"(Backdoor-Pipeline)" R Longo '00' on the backing board
charcoal on mounted paper
120.8 x 120.8 cm (47 1/2 x 47 1/2 in.)
Executed in 2000.

Estimate
£150,000 - 250,000 

Sold for £369,000

Contact Specialist
Tamila Kerimova
Specialist, Head of Day Sale
+ 44 20 7318 4065
[email protected]

20th Century & Contemporary Art Day Sale

London Auction 26 June 2018