Tschabalala Self - 20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale London Thursday, June 30, 2022 | Phillips

Create your first list.

Select an existing list or create a new list to share and manage lots you follow.

  •  

    'I hope to correct misconceptions propagated within and projected upon the Black body […] My subjects are fully aware of their conspicuousness and are unmoved by the viewer. Their role is not to show, explain, or perform but rather 'to be.' In being, their presence is acknowledged and their significance felt.' —Tschabalala SelfComposed of fantastically vibrant contrasts of block blues, earthy tones, and a joyfully patterned sunflower fabric rhythmically arranged against a marigold ground, Carma is an immediately arresting and strikingly three dimensional portrait by American artist Tschabalala Self, one of her few works to incorporate padding in the construction of her figure here. Included in Self’s first solo exhibition in the United Kingdom hosted by Parasol Unit in 2017, Carma is a commanding example of the artist’s highly expressive and inventive approach to materials and figuration for which she has become so well known. Combining textiles, acrylic, vinyl paint, and pastel, Self deconstructs and refashions the Black female body here, exposing and amplifying certain historically entrenched ideas or fantasies related to Black femininity and sexuality that continue to persist in contemporary attitudes.

     

    Dominating the large-scale composition, the women here turns dramatically back over her shoulder to face the viewer directly, her dynamism and agency challenging assumed power dynamics operating between viewer and subject. Playing with ideas related to the performance of gender and voyeurism, Self’s multi-dimensional woman exudes confidence and self-possession here, defining herself on her own terms. A woman who meets our gaze, but is not constrained by it, she belongs to Self’s panoply of characters who delight in their exaggerated features, ‘fully aware of their conspicuousness and are unmoved by their viewers […] In being, their presence is acknowledged and their significance felt.’i

     

    Tschabalala Self discusses her artistic process with Dr. Ziba Ardalan for Parasol Unit ahead of her 2017 exhibition

     

    Building an Image

     

    In describing her practice, Self frequently returns to the idea of her images as built constructions, encapsulating both the nature of their execution and more complex notions of identity formation. Readymade elements that introduce diverse textures, forms, and colours, Self’s cutting, shaping, and stitching together of fabrics draws profound parallels to the complex intersections of our own histories and sense of selfhood.

     

    Faith Ringgold, Jo Baker’s Birthday, 1993, Saint Louis Art Museum, Missouri  Image: © Saint Louis Art Museum / Museum Minority Artists Purchase Fund / Bridgeman Images, Artwork: © Faith Ringgold / ARS, NY and DACS, London 2022
    Faith Ringgold, Jo Baker’s Birthday, 1993, Saint Louis Art Museum, Missouri. 
    Image: © Saint Louis Art Museum / Museum Minority Artists Purchase Fund / Bridgeman Images, Artwork: © Faith Ringgold / ARS, NY and DACS, London 2022


    Charged with autobiographic significance, the materials that she uses include hand-printed and sewn scraps of found textiles, pieces of her own canvases cut up and recombined, and – most poignantly – pieces of patterned fabric that had belonged to her mother. A seamstress during her lifetime, Self’s mother amassed an enormous collection of patterned fabrics, a resource that the artist turned to after her death. Deftly interweaving the personal with the political, Self draws on her own life and the entrenched associations of textiles to women and ‘women’s work’ in order to create highly charged objects that eloquently explore attitudes to race and gender in the 21st century. In this respect, her highly textured paintings recall Faith Ringgold’s painted story quilts, and their powerful combination of personal narratives, politics, and history – an artist who Self cites as a particular formative influence growing up in Harlem.

     

    Like her contemporary, Mickalane Thomas, Self approaches the intersections of gender, sexuality, and representation head on, using a wide variety of materials to problematise questions of representation and ‘opening up new paths into thinking about Black life.’ii As the artist explains: ‘The fantasies and attitudes surrounding the Black female body are both accepted and rejected within my practice, and through this disorientation, new possibilities arise. I am attempting to provide alternative, and perhaps fictional explanations for the voyeuristic tendencies towards the gendered and racialized body; a body which is both exalted and abject’.

     

    Mickalene Thomas, Qusuquzah, une très belle négresse 1, 2011, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, California. Image: San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Purchase, by exchange, through a gift of Peggy Guggenheim, Artwork: © ARS, NY and DACS, London 2022 CAPTION: Detail of the present work
    [Left] Mickalene Thomas, Qusuquzah, une très belle négresse 1, 2011, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, California. Image: San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Purchase, by exchange, through a gift of Peggy Guggenheim / Bridgeman Images, Artwork: © ARS, NY and DACS, London 2022
    [Right] Detail of the present work

     

    Collector’s Digest

     

    • Having exhibited works in major international art centres including London, New York, Berlin, and Los Angeles, Tschabalala Self was the subject of a major solo exhibition in 2020 – her largest to date – at the Institute of Contemporary Arts, Boston. Her work is currently included ion the group exhibition Women and Change at the Arken Museum in Denmark.


    • Examples of her work can be found in the collections of the Ruebell Museum, Miami, the Astrup Fearnley Museum, Oslo, and the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles. A sister work, Milk Chocolate is currently on loan to MoMA PS1 in New York.


    • Phillip’s introduced Tschabalala Self to auction in our 20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale in March 2019.

     
    i Tschabalala Self, quoted in ‘Tschabalala Self’, artist website, online
    ii Ruth Erickson, quoted in Robin Pogrebin, ‘With New Show, Tschabalala Self Explores Black American Identity’, New York Times, 2 November 2020, online.

    • Condition Report

      Request Condition Report
    • Description

      View our Conditions of Sale.

    • Provenance

      T293, Rome
      Acquired from the above by the present owner in 2016

    • Exhibited

      Brooklyn, BRIC, Look up here, I’m in heaven, 30 June – 14 August 2016
      London, Parasol Unit Foundation for Contemporary Art, Tschabalala Self, 17 January – 12 March 2017, pp. 70–71 (illustrated)
      Glasgow, Tramway, Tschabalala Self, 3 June – 20 August 2017
      Dublin, Irish Museum of Modern Art, Desire: A Revision from the 20th Century to the Digital Age, 21 September 2019 – 22 March 2020, p. 54 (illustrated)
      Prato, Centro Per L’Arte Contemporanea Luigi Pecci, Protext! When Fabric Becomes Manifesto, 24 October 2020 – 14 March 2021 (installation view illustrated, p. 122)

    • Artist Biography

      Tschabalala Self

      American • 1990

      Harlem-born artist Tschabalala Self combines sewing, printing and painting in a singular style that speaks to her experience of contemporary black womanhood. Despite her extensive use of craft methods, Self considers herself to be a painter above all else. Her work is known for exaggerated colors and forms, allowing the personages within to “escape” from society’s narrow perceptions.

      Explaining her practice, the artist stated: “I hope to correct misconceptions propagated within and projected upon the Black body. Multiplicity and possibility are essential to my practice and general philosophy. My subjects are fully aware of their conspicuousness and are unmoved by the viewer. Their role is not to show, explain, or perform but rather ‘to be.’ In being, their presence is acknowledged and their significance felt. My project is committed to this exchange, for my own edification and for the edification of those who resemble me.”

      View More Works

5

Carma

fabric, linen, Flashe acrylic and pastel on canvas
182.9 x 121.9 x 7.5 cm (72 x 47 7/8 x 2 7/8 in.)
Executed in 2016.

Full Cataloguing

Estimate
£120,000 - 180,000 

Place Advance Bid
Contact Specialist

Kate Bryan
Head of Evening Sale
+44 7391 402741
[email protected]

 

Olivia Thornton
Head of 20th Century & Contemporary Art, Europe
+44 20 7318 4099
[email protected]

20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale

London Auction 30 June 2022