Tauba Auerbach - 20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale London Tuesday, March 7, 2017 | Phillips
  • Provenance

    Paula Cooper Gallery, New York
    Acquired from the above by the present owner

  • Exhibited

    New York, Paula Cooper Gallery, Tauba Auerbach Float, 5 May - 9 June 2012

  • Catalogue Essay

    ‘At the root of my interest is the question of what consciousness is: what it's made of and what its limitations might be.’ (Tauba Auerbach interviewed by Caris Reid, Dossier Journal, September 11, 2001).

    Auerbach’s monochromatic painting simultaneously captivates the eye whilst challenging binary preconceptions of materiality and dimensionality. By tightly interweaving canvas strips across a wooden stretcher, the artist creates a striking kinetic impact which conjures rippling impressions across the surface.

    On closer examination, the woven surface of Ray II seems to deconstruct and reassemble the very concepts of flatness and relief, exploring the possibilities beyond such distinctions. The undulating patterns have a pixelating effect which serves to destabilise the viewer’s vision, with the diagonal disruptions further emphasising the work’s distorting qualities. This in turn calls into question the paradoxical boundary between the second and third dimensions and even posits the existence of a fourth. ‘My thought was that if the work could soften the distinction between 2D and 3D states of being, it could efface, or at least imply the possibility of effacing, a similar distinction between 3D and beyond’ (Tauba Auerbach interviewed by Courtney Fiske, Art in America, June 21, 2012). Ray II certainly exposes the problematic nature of ‘reality’, and in doing so merges supposedly incompatible principles of order and disorder, continuity and disruption, precision and fluidity.

    Ray II forms part of the artist’s admired and thought-provoking ‘WEAVE’ series. This significant set of paintings explores the complex relationship between ancient textile traditions and the manner in which they evoke modern digital technologies, proposing a fluid narrative rooted in timeless symbols. Her revolutionary use of conventional materials stimulates a new way of configuring our relation to fabric, repurposing traditional patterns and the space they inhabit in a playful and provocative way.

    Auerbach has long been interested in the connections between the historical and the mathematical, finding delight in recurrent natural rhythms. ‘I get an almost religiously ecstatic feeling from thinking about things like quantum mechanical mysteries, or infinity, or the beautiful, intricate order in chaotic systems.’ (Tauba Auerbach interviewed by Caris Reid, Dossier Journal, September 11, 2001). She continually draws upon diverse influences, from James Turrell’s innovative light installations to the designs of celebrated American architect Claude Bragdon and the pottery patterns of Ancient Greece. Her ‘WEAVE’ series accordingly inhabits a space between painting and sculpture, reflecting the artist’s genre-defying abilities to the extent that she is able to challenge their very definitions.

    Ray II is an eminent illustration of Tauba Auerbach’s process and progress, demonstrating both the multifaceted physicality of her work and her artistic aims. The mesmerising impact of the ingeniously manipulated canvas is a testament to her radical probing of conceptual boundaries and cements its position at the forefront of her creative output.


Ray II

signed and dated 'TAUBA AUERBACH 2012' on the stretcher
woven canvas
162.5 x 122 cm (63 7/8 x 48 in.)
Executed in 2012.

£250,000 - 350,000 

Contact Specialist
Henry Highley
Specialist, Head of Evening Sale
+ 44 20 7318 4061

20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale

London Auction 8 March 2017 5pm GMT