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  • Provenance

    Peres Projects, Berlin; Private collection, Europe

  • Exhibited

    Berlin, Peres Projects, Group show: Terence Koh, Paul Lee, 2008

  • Catalogue Essay

    “Koh creates works that can be experienced with great physical and psychological intensity, works that create their own cosmos, in which decadence and deliberate transgression reign. In the process,Terence Koh repeatedly places his own personality at the center, in mythologized, perfect self-glorifications-and thus in no time at all, he has made himself the ultimate Gesamtkunstwerk.” (M. Hollein, Terence Koh: Captain Buddha, Cologne, 2008, p.89).
    Raised in Canada, Beijing-born Terence Koh exhibits little distinction between his life and his art. His oeuvre functions as a fictional autobiography of the globe-trotting artist. Since Koh’s first solo exhibition at Peres Projects, Los Angeles in May 2003, working at the time under the name Asianpunkboy, he has become an internationally renowned artist via his signature works in various media including performance, sculpture, painting, artist books, video and photography. In 2007 Koh undertook the “GOD” series, of which our present lot, The Road to the Winterland of My Discontent, I Know Not Where Lead, is a central piece.The series is characterized by the color black, which is imbued with countless associations such as the infinite, nighttime, the absence of light or god’s presence, alternate realities, and freedom. Common in the work of Koh is the exploration of a monochromatic use of color. According to the artist, it was his interest in Asian funerals – which he attended as a child - that prompted such color use. Fourteen days of wearing black followed by white attire the day of cremation aroused the curiosity of the artist, later executing works in all white or all black.The present lot, The Road to the Winterland of My Discontent, I Know Not Where Lead, exemplifies an employment of the latter hue. A former employee of architect Zaha Hadid, Koh executes a demanding control over spatial organization. The Road to the Winterland of My Discontent, I Know Not Where Lead elegantly activates multiple realms of space – both real and imaginary. Bronze cast human forearms and hands provoke an emotional response allotting for a glimpse into the intellectual process of contemporary artistTerence Koh – the self-proclaimed Naomi Campbell of the art world. “The role thatTerence Koh plays in his mise-enscènes alternates between the brilliant puppeteer who subjects hisaudience to situational environments and the absolute mythologizing of a perfectly staged self, which, very much in theWarholian tradition, is employed even outside of the narrowly staked-out frame of a work of art.” (Ibid, p.91)
    The present lot is composed of casts of the artist’s arms, each in the position of the twelve disciples in Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper, 1498. Taking on this weighty art historical reference, the artist places himself in the lineage of the master painter, much like AndyWarhol did in his Last Supper series executed from 1985-1986. This choice of subject matter is an important part of the darker andreligious themes of the God series.The hand gestures in da Vinci’s paintingwere used to give clues to the apostle’s reaction to Jesus’ announcementthat one of them would betray him.The hands seem to function as the signifier of the darker sides of the human soul.  “So what questions was the artist asking of himself and this manufactured hell hole of beautiful debauchery? Da Vinci's Last Supper has obsessed artists and writers ever since it was painted in Milan in 1495-8. Rubens was one of its many re-interpreters, as was more recently AndyWarhol, of course. Leo Steinberg, in his book on the Leonardo's Last Supper (NewYork 2001) took great delight in seeing it on a New Jersey billboard. Koh is presenting us with literally a "Black Sabbath" last supper? As Steinberg tells us, the two moments in the Gospels that are crucial to the understanding of the Last Supper are the two sentences of Christ, “Take, eat: this is my body” and later “one of you shall betray me” to which each of the Disciples answers, “Lord, is it I”? Guilt was potentially everywhere. This Last Supper is perhaps a manifestation of that terrible sense of guilt that, for all its endless delights, sights, tastes, smells and sounds, pervades the world.” (N. Rosenthal "Terence Koh, God", God, Zurich, 2008).


The Road to the Winterland of My Discontent, I Know Not Where I Lead


Bronze with black patina, wax and oil in 12 parts.

4 x 6 x 16 in. (10 x 15 x 40 cm) approximately each.

This work is from an edition of one plus one artist’s proof and is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity.

$80,000 - 120,000 

Sold for $122,500

Contemporary Art Part I

13 Nov 2008, 7pm
New York