Sterling Ruby - Contemporary Art Evening Sale New York Thursday, May 10, 2012 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Acquired directly from the artist by the present owner

  • Exhibited

    London, Saatchi Gallery, Abstract America: New Painting and New Sculpture, May 29, 2009 – January 12, 2010

  • Literature

    P. Kaiser, MOCA Focus, Sterling Ruby, Supermax 2008, Los Angeles, The Museum of Contemporary Art (MoCA), 2008, n.p. (illustrated)
    A. Rabottini, Sterling Ruby: Grid Ripper, Italy, Galleria d'Arte Moderna e Contemporanea di Bergamo, 2009, p. 62 (illustrated)
    M. Daily, Shape of Things to Come: New Sculpture, London, Saatchi Gallery, 2009, pp. 320-325 (illustrated)
    M. Daily, Shape of Things to Come: New Sculpture, London, Saatchi Gallery Edition, 2011, pp. 86-87 (illustrated)
    E. Booth-Clibborn, The History of The Saatchi Gallery, London, 2011, p. 762 (illustrated)

  • Catalogue Essay

    Sterling Ruby’s Kiss Trap Kismet, 2008, embodies the most visceral aspects of his larger artistic project: his production of raw sculptural works, executed in an unrestrained and unapologetic manner, have struck a major chord with an international audience. As exemplified in the viscous and glutinous qualities of the present lot, his works appear torn, bleeding, or imprisoned, among a wealth of other potent evocations. Forgoing a reliance on a single traditional medium, Ruby’s materials have ranged from spray paint, to nail polish and multimedia, including video and collage. In each piece, Ruby assaults societal structures great and small with ingenious subtlety. In Kiss Trap Kismet, 2008, a PVC pipe is arched over a plank of found wood. A gate, draped in red urethane and spray paint, stands atop the base. Urethane, primarily used as a sealing and adhesive substance, drips over the arch and cloaks the entire piece in a gooey and immovable mantle. The urethane oozes with freshness and vibrancy, imbuing the piece with an anthropomorphic essence; it appears as if something or someone is trapped beneath the layers of thick slime.

    Though many of his sculptures and paintings may present the viewer with a confounding exterior, their hidden ideals and myriad metaphorical implications may be truly biting indeed. In Kiss Trap Kismet, 2008, Ruby draws his title from a pun on a German romantic comedy, “Kiss Me Kismet”. The film deals with a couple torn apart by a clash of family cultures, and Ruby’s pun cuts right to the difficulty inherent in societal collisions. Additionally, “kismet” is a word derived from Turkish and Hindi-Urdu, meaning fate or destiny, a predetermined course of events. The present lot captures and seals fate in its viscous arms. The enormity of this piece emphasizes its raw power, bright red spray paint dripping from a conglomeration of PVC pipe and other industrial materials. The scratched graffiti along the base of the present lot, along with the terror of its arched body, lends the work a sense of survival: the victim of a massacre. By lending Kiss Trap Kismet, 2008, a series of unsettling powers, Ruby succeeds in creating a portrait of a sinister system, one that aims to provoke an immeasurable number of mysterious institutions into a shadowed battle of ideals.


Kiss Trap Kismet

PVC pipe, urethane, wood, expanding foam, aluminum, and spray paint
118 1/8 x 151 1/8 x 48 in. (300 x 383.9 x 121.9 cm)
Titled “Kiss Trap Kismet” along the wood base.

$150,000 - 200,000 

Sold for $206,500

Contemporary Art Evening Sale

10 May 2012
New York