Rosemarie Trockel - Contemporary Art Evening Sale London Tuesday, October 13, 2015 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Sprüth Magers, Berlin
    Gladstone Gallery, New York
    McCabe Fine Art

  • Catalogue Essay

    Though Rosemarie Trockel’s constant artistic re-evaluation acts in antithesis to any attempt of stylistic categorisation, certain themes transcend much of her artistic production. Of these, arguably the core notions include: the divide between fine art and craft, the role of women in the art world and the alternating importance of the artist’s hand in the process of creating art. All of these strands are inherently present in the work presented here entitled Study for Old Friend. Created with a uniform stitch, this rich red wool work is a resonant example of the artist’s ‘knitted paintings’.

    Trockel’s following owes a great deal to her knitted works that solidified her status in the 1980s as an influential artist of the twentieth century. Though she explored an eclectic range of techniques and materials by creating collages, objects, installations, ceramics, videos, clothing and furniture, it is this medium that became most emblematic of Trockel’s oeuvre. The context in which Trockel began experimenting with knit paintings influenced her artworks as much as it then influenced the artistic scene she was commenting on. The second half of the twentieth-century marked a period of intense theoretical enquiry and active rebellion with Second Wave Feminism gaining momentum particularly in the 1970s. Until this point, the art scene had been dominated by male protagonists – most notably the action painters of Abstract Expressionism and the giants of Pop Art. It is in this environment that Trockel found her cause. Exposing the rigid structures and boundaries imposed to distinguish the quality between male and female artistic expression, Trockel deliberately employed knitting in a manner that would challenge the status of the object. Study for Old Friend in its monochrome nature alludes to Abstract Art. It is only when one steps closer that the tightly knitted rows are made visible as the woollen material is even stretched onto a frame to mimic the appearance of a painting.

    It is not only by using a medium previously associated with a gentle and typically female craft that Trockel challenges preconceived notions on the hierarchy of objects, reiterating this through her mechanical production. After forming blueprints for her designs, the artist entrusts the production of her knitted works to technicians who use computerised machinery to create the final pieces. The density and regularity of these works emphasises the manufactured effect. Thus, Trockel perhaps aligns herself with Roland Barthes by bringing to light concepts around the ‘death of the author’ that dispel the significance of the maker’s hand in the finished product. This is only heightened by her deliberate attempt to merge the distinction between ‘male’ mechanised processes and ‘female’ craft through her method.

    “I think of work often as the invisible made visible, and it doesn’t matter so much to me whether I made it or not”.

Property from the Estate of Dr. Fredric S. Brandt, Miami

Ο ◆2

Study for Old Friend

wool, wood on canvas
100 x 100 cm (39 3/8 x 39 3/8 in.)
Signed 'R Trockel' on the reverse.

£150,000 - 250,000 ‡ ♠

Sold for £200,500

Contact Specialist
Peter Sumner
Head of Contemporary Art, London
[email protected]
+44 207 318 4063

Contemporary Art Evening Sale

London 14 October 2015 7pm