Thomas Schütte - 20th Century & Contemporary Art Day Sale London Thursday, March 8, 2018 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Wako Works of Art, Tokyo
    Private Collection (acquired from the above)
    Acquired from the above by the present owner

  • Exhibited

    Stuttgart, Württembergischer Kunstverein; Hamburger Kunsthalle, THOMAS SCHÜTTE: Figur, 6 May - 16 October 1994, p. 71 (another example exhibited and illustrated, p. 73)
    Tokyo, Wako Works of Art, Thomas Schütte, 1995, pp. 3-15 (another example exhibited and illustrated)
    Leeds, Bowes Museum, Private View: Contemporary Art, 4 May- 28 July 1996, pp. 41, 92 (another example exhibited and illustrated)
    Seattle, Henry Art Gallery, Surrogate: The Figure in Contemporary Sculpture and Photography, 1998-1999 (another example exhibited)
    Krefeld, Kaiser Wilhem Museum; Kunsthalle Nurnberg, Artist’s Proof Graphical/Photographical Works from the 60s to the 90s, 6 September 1998 – 7 March 1999, p. 46, 155-159 (another example exhibited and illustrated)
    Kunstmuseum Winterthur; Musée de Grenoble; Dusseldorf, Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Thomas Schütte, Kreuzzug, 2 June 2003 – 7 August 2004, p. 61 (illustrated)
    London, Faggionato Fine Arts, Thomas Schütte: United Enemies, 2009 (another example exhibited)
    Los Angeles, Maloney Fine Art, Thomas Schütte. United Enemies: A Play in Ten Scenes, 2010 (another example exhibited)
    Madrid, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Thomas Schütte: Hindsight, 2010, pp. 154-155, 198 (another example illustrated and exhibited, p. 151)
    New York, Skarstedt Gallery, Thomas Schütte. Selected Works, 30 September - 30 October 2010 (another example exhibited)

  • Literature

    Kunstforum Bd., no. 128, October - December 1994, p. 260 (another example illustrated)
    Das Kunst-Bulletin, no. 10, October 1994, p. 16 (another example illustrated)
    Art in America, no. 5, May 1995, p. 107 (another example illustrated)
    Julian Heynen, James Lingwood and Angela Vettese, Thomas Schütte, London, 1998, pp. 26-27 (another example illustrated)
    Thomas Schütte, exh. cat., Whitechapel Art Gallery, London, 1998, pp. 26-28 and 95 (another example illustrated on the cover)
    Parkett, no. 47, Zurich, 1996, p. 98 (another example illustrated)
    Wolfsburg, Collected Works 1: Contemporary Art since 1968, exh. cat., Kunstmuseum, Wolfsburg, 1999, pp. 390-391 (another example illustrated)
    Thomas Schütte, exh. cat., Sammlung Goetz, Munich, 2001, pp. 53-55 (another example illustrated)
    Ulrich Loock, Thomas Schütte; Herausgegeben von der Friedrich Christian Flick Collection, Cologne, 2004, no. 23, pp. 123- 125 (another example illustrated)

  • Catalogue Essay

    Unnerving and intriguing, Thomas Schütte’s United Enemies (A play in Ten Scenes) is exemplary of the artist’s experiments with the expressive potential of the human form. From his series of sculptures and photographs concerned with mortality and the curiosity of humanity, the ghoul-like figures dramatically present the distorted extremes of humanity. With exaggerated features and extravagant facial gestures, the figures comment on the paradoxical nature of the human condition, channelling the 17th and 18th century fascination with the excesses of emotion and facial expression. The prints, based upon the sculptures, are exemplary of the interwoven nature of the artist’s multi-disciplinary and varied oeuvre. Formed in malleable Fimo polymer modelling clay, the artist dressed the modest figures in cloth before binding them together with cord. Placing each pair against a lit background, Schütte photographed the spirits before enlarging the image and creating his series of prints. The artist subsequently added a fleck of white pigment to the iris of each eye, emphasising the intriguing hollowness of each haunting figure. In United Enemies: A Play in Ten Scenes, the artist builds cinematographic settings, choreographing a production of sorts with his puppet theatre arranged with lights and a stage.

    Describing the forms as a ‘definitive model for a permanent situation’ (Thomas Schütte, quoted in Hans Ulrich Obrist, ‘Reality Production: Thomas Schütte’, Mousse Magazine, no. 28, April–May 2011, online), the artist considered his United Enemies (A Play in Ten Scenes) an investigation into the novelty of relation and the interaction between friends and enemies. From another realm, yet formed to question the marvel of human existence, the inhuman figures from Schütte’s whimsical oeuvre exude unnerving yet exuberant agony.

    Having studied under Gerhard Richter and Fritz Schwegler at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf, Schütte became entwined in fundamental debates surrounding sculpture in the 1970s. Following this, concerned with the legacies of conceptualism and minimalism, the artist studied classical sculpture in Rome, ascribing some of his inspiration to busts of Roman portraits in the Capitoline Museum. The ashen, hairless figures presented in Schütte’s prints juxtapose the familiar and individual with the immense. Exuding mortality and packed with human expression, the present work explores symbolic artistic customs whilst interrogating the emotion of human relation.


United Enemies (A Play in Ten Scenes)

each signed, numbered and dated 'Thomas Schütte 1994 35/35' lower right margin
portfolio of 10 offset lithographs
each 66.5 x 96 cm (26 1/8 x 37 3/4 in.)
Executed in 1994, this work is number 35 from an edition of 35.

£100,000 - 150,000 ‡♠

Sold for £102,500

Contact Specialist
Tamila Kerimova
Specialist, Head of Day Sale
+ 44 20 7318 4065

20th Century & Contemporary Art Day Sale

London Auction 9 March 2018