Ron Arad - 20th Century & Contemporary Art Day Sale London Friday, April 16, 2021 | Phillips
  • A note from the artist:

    How do I start. Well, I’m happy to say I have finished.


    The woven cover of the ‘Tondo’ is done; the mock relief under it is ‘sculpted'; the LP-sized Carrera marble ‘reproduction’ is with me. All of these are cheering me up and I’m very attached to them. Ah, one thing I didn’t mention is that Michelangelo never finished the piece.


    I also chiselled a carving 'ABSOLUTELY NOT FOR SALE' on the marble. Wishful thinking, I’d love to keep it, but that is not possible. Which, in a way, brings us back to the events that triggered the conception of the project – the controversy surrounding whether we should or should not sell the Royal Academy ‘Tondo.’


    It doesn’t really matter what triggers a work once it’s out there. Full disclosure: I owe all my passion for art to reproductions. I was addicted to Giacometti before I ever encountered a real figure of his. And of course, I knew Michelangelo from books. When I first went to Florence, was I just confirming what I thought I knew (Having the little marble reproduction of the ‘Tondo’ physically here with me in lockdown does make me reconsider this thought. I do feel a different relationship has formed. The beauty of the figures, the weight, the coldness of the stone, the smoothness… but let’s leave it).


    Another disclosure: I have recently become fascinated by sketching ‘objects under cover,’ as triggered by imagining what cars might look like under their Christo-esque wrappings. What if I sketch the car, produce a Jacquard weave of the developed, flattened sketch, and then drape it over the car (Eventually, I replaced the actual car with ad hoc volumes and mock-up assemblages). The rolls of woven fabric that were miraculously delivered to me during lockdown clearly merited one of my favourite sentiments: 'Much better than I deserve!'


    Draping cars was followed by draping some iconic pieces of art that may or may not really be there under their gloriously woven covers.


    The beauty of Michelangelo’s ‘Tondo’ (there or not), magically permeates its opaque fabric through the rendered impression of coloured, silky translucency.


    One more thing. Somewhere on the drape, sort of backstage, I scribbled a quote I remembered but could not verify (hence the question mark): 'EVERYTHING IS FOR SALE, THE ONLY QUESTION IS THE PRICE. Andy Warhol'?



    • Provenance

      Over the Influence Gallery, Los Angeles
      Acquired from the above by the present owner

    • Artist Biography

      Ron Arad

      Israeli • 1951

      Ron Arad's work and career is characterized by his movement between modes and constant experimentation. Arad was born in Tel Aviv, Israel in 1951 and studied at the Jerusalem Academy of Art before moving to London in 1973. He began his practice in London in the early 1980s and set up One Off Ltd, focused on limited edition objects, with his partner Caroline Thorman. A decade later he had moved to industrial production techniques and collaborations with large design firms such as Vitra and Kartell.

      A persistent theme throughout his work is innovation and the idea of the "new." Still producing work today, Arad uses the latest technology to produce his designs and also integrates it within his pieces, such as his Lolita Chandelier (2004) that can receive and display text messages. Arad also continually experiments with materials and has an exceptional skill to coax volume and undulation out of them, with a particular affinity for metal. His works such as The Big Easy chair (1988) walk the line between design and sculpture. Once an outsider, Arad's relentless energy to design, build and collaborate has placed him firmly within the highest ranks of the design world.

      View More Works


Tondo 2020

woven with the artist's signature and dated 'Ron Arad 2020' lower left of the tapestry; inscribed 'ABSOLUTELY NOT FOR SALE' to the centre of the tapestry
cotton, wool and acrylic and Neoprene foam, in 2 parts
160 x 125 x 44 cm (62 7/8 x 49 1/4 x 17 3/8 in.)
Executed in 2020, this work is unique.

Full Cataloguing

£60,000 - 80,000 

Sold for £138,600

Contact Specialist


Tamila Kerimova
Specialist, Director, Head of Day Sale, 20th Century & Contemporary Art

+ 44 20 7318 4065



20th Century & Contemporary Art Day Sale

London Auction 16 April 2021