Tauba Auerbach - Contemporary Evening Sale London Tuesday, July 1, 2014 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Acquired directly from the artist by the present owner

  • Catalogue Essay

    Untitled (Fold) represents one of a series of signature works by the internationally acclaimed artist, Tauba Auerbach. This introspective body of work, begun in 2009, conveys the artist’s intention of "merging opposites or conflicting states – and through that, questioning the idea of a logical violation or the idea of logic in general." (Caris Reid, Built Upon an Anagram – Interview with artist Tauba Auerbach, 11 September, 2009 www.dossierjournal.com)The New-York based painter graduated in 2003 with a BA in visual art from Stanford University. Her works have since featured extensively in major exhibitions worldwide.

    The artist’s remarkable oeuvre continuously engages with the limitations of the sometimes hidden structures and systems that underpin perceptible reality. Specifically, Auerbach is deeply concerned with the points at which theses fail and in turn produce new visual and poetic possibilities. Through her insightful exploration of such limits, the artist delicately merges both the literal and illusory. Consequently her work astutely reassesses not only the boundaries between written language and meaning, but also the binary oppositions between flatness and three-dimensionality, order and disorder. Auerbach describes her work as an attempt to expose "new spectral and dimensional richness…both within and beyond the limits of perception." (Paula Cooper Gallery, Tauba Auerbach Float, New York, 5 May - 9 June, 2012 www.paulacoopergallery.com)

    Untitled (Fold) is an exquisite illustration of these investigations; its form oscillates between the supposedly incompatible second and third dimension, thus challenging the viewer to confront the distinctions between image, dimensionality and content. The artist articulates her intentions with this eloquent series, "for the last two years I have tried to conjure four-dimensional space. The Fold paintings are my effort to construct a portal through which to summon - or at least imagine - this inaccessible hyper-spatial reality." The present lot masterfully utilises the ‘trompe l’oeil’ technique that leads the viewer to believe they are observing the three dimensional surface of creased paper. Upon approaching, one realises the canvas is actually stretched taut over the supporting wooden frame.

    The intriguing process used to produce this composition involves manipulating a large piece of canvas into various configurations by rolling, ironing and pressing it, so that folds are embedded in the material. The resulting creases span horizontally, vertically and diagonally in a grid-like pattern. It is then spread out onto a flat surface and paint is applied with an industrial spray gun, while still retaining three-dimensional contours. This mechanical means of production elevates the creative practice to one beyond the artist’s hand – indeed, beyond the formulaic patterns underpinning this compelling abstraction. By spraying a range of tones of a single, monochrome colour onto the folded object, the artist further accentuates the ultimately convincing illusory effect. Untitled (Fold) typifies the uniquely profound meeting of artistic intention and chance so important to the series as a cohesive, unified whole.

    Speaking of the gradually refined process, Auerbach notes: "Because I spray the creased canvas directionally, the pigment acts like a raking light and freezes a likeness of the contoured materials onto itself. It develops like a photo as I paint. The record of that topological moment is carried forward after the material is stretched flat. Each point on the surface contains a record of itself in that previous state." (Christopher Bedford, Dear Painter …, Frieze Magazine, Issue 145, March 2012). Therefore, rather than being representative, these canvases express actual folds that occurred in time. By recording a past state onto the finished work, this process produces paintings that exist in what the artist herself refers to as "the 2.5th dimension". These optical thought experiments are able to destabilise our basic assumptions about the reliability of vision, and open our eyes to the delight of temporary disconnections with an observable reality. By drawing attention to the process of their own making, Auerbach’s Fold paintings reflect upon the cultural paradox between illusion and abstraction and open up a space of possibility for a new kind of realism.

    Although Auerbach draws much of her inspiration from mathematics and physics, her visual output intersects equally with the perennial themes of art history. Conceptually, Untitled (Fold) alludes to the ancient pictorial tradition of representing drapery and folded cloth associated with historically prominent European artists. By ostensibly avoiding narrative and making the surface itself the subject of the work, the artist emphasises, in a manner reminiscent of the Abstract Expressionists of the 1950s, the illusory nature of painting itself.


Untitled (Fold)

acrylic on canvas
101.6 x 76.5 cm (40 x 30 1/8 in.)
Signed and dated 'Tauba Auerbach 2012' on the overlap.

£250,000 - 350,000 

Sold for £386,500

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

Contemporary Evening Sale

London Auction 2 July 2014 7pm