Tauba Auerbach - 20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale London Monday, February 8, 2016 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Private Collection, Milan

  • Catalogue Essay

    This exceptional dyptich by Tauba Auerbach synthetises the nature of the artist’s pictorical explorations. The viewer is confronted with two canvases with the exact same pattern, as if they were two photographs of the same folded material under different lights.

    In her work, Auerbach teases the viewer’s perception of reality, she challenges the concept of vision and perception with technical mastery. With an unstretched canvas she begins a process of physically folding and crumpling, then applies spray paint from different angles. Once this process is completed Auerbach unfolds the canvas and stretches it on the stretcher again. The impressions of the folding and the paint create an illusion of three dimensionality, and an aesthetic of fluid lines and iridescent colours that could well be an old hazy anagram photograph, or a computer generated colour scheme.

    It is this double interpretation, the suggestion of opposites, which makes Auerbach’s work theoretically so mysterious. What are these works exactly? Are they abstraction or representation? Creation or copy? 'I’ve had mixed feelings about the term trompe-l’oeil being used to describe the Folds, and I’ve really come to embrace that. Although they fit the description in some ways, it’s a bit too simple to stop there, because the term doesn’t account for the fact that each painting is a representation of one or more states of a particular surface on that same surface. There is a direct 1:1 indexing that has taken place, like a tally of the depth of each spot recorded on the same spot.' (T. Auerbach interviewed by E. Wysocan, 'Tools for a Better View', Metropolis M Magazine, March 2013, accessed online)

    When approaching this piece from afar, the viewer is fooled into thinking that they are seeing is a three dimensional work. It is only upon close inspection that Auerbach’s technique reveals itself and we realise that we are facing a completely flat surface. This is part of what Auerbach calls the search for the 2.5 dimension. A physical space that exists between the second and third dimensions. 'I think that things as basic as pattern and colour and waveforms hit on a very visceral deep level. And this is especially true if something harmonious or unexpected happens within that, because you have to re-evaluate intuitions and assumptions about the most basic things. Any time I am forced to change my thinking, that is a personal experience. I look for that in everything. I want to have my mind changed.’ (T. Auerbach in A. Rose, ‘Tauba Auerbach,’ ANP Quarterly, August 2008, p. 23).

    This present lot is unique in that two works are created form one same gesture. This rare diptych has been made folded and sprayed together, as the title suggests one inside and one outside. The topology of the folding appears repeated in both of them and compels the viewer to imagine the previous state of both surfaces, and the physical memory and traces that remains of the folding and spraying action.


Enfold/Fold (inner)/Enfold/Fold (outer)

acrylic on canvas
overall: 165.5 x 259 cm (65 1/8 x 101 7/8 in.)
each: 165.5 x 129.5 cm (65 1/8 x 50 7/8 in.)

£800,000 - 1,200,000 

Sold for £902,500

Contact Specialist
Peter Sumner
Head of Contemporary Art, London

+44 207 318 4063

20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale

London Auction 9 February 2016 7pm