Various Artists - Contemporary Art Evening Sale New York Thursday, November 13, 2014 | Phillips

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  • Catalogue Essay

    The concept is quite simple: a buried treasure on the remote Isla del Coco, the literary inspiration for Robert Lewis Stevenson’s Treasure Island, and an encoded map. The highest bidder wins the latter and the right to hunt down the former. Of course, the actuality is far more complex and, accordingly, the treasure all that more valuable and desirable.

    Treasure of Lima: A Buried Exhibition is a radical new model of philanthropy: a unique and enticing conceptual project that will give its future owner sole access to a treasure trove of contemporary art. Commissioned by Francesca von Habsburg’s Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary Academy (TBA21-ACADEMY), Treasure of Lima is a once in a lifetime opportunity to own a real live treasure map that leads to a secreted chest containing a veritable pirate’s booty of 40 artworks by some of the most desired and respected names in contemporary visual culture.

    Proceeds from this sale will support new and important research and protection for the pelagic species found in the rich waters proximate to Isla del Coco in the Pacific Ocean, roughly 500 kilometers west of Costa Rica – especially the overly stressed population of scalloped hammerhead sharks that encircle, and some would argue, protect it. Isla del Coco is a UNESCO world heritage site and a Costa Rican national park, home to numerous endemic species of animals above and below water. It is on this beautiful and remote island where the treasure itself has been hidden and can be found – though it may require the selfsame intellectual fortitude and physical determination of Stevenson’s original adventurers. Isla del Coco is remote, uninhabited, legally protected and treacherous, and that is to say nothing of the map itself - which is no simple “x-marks the spot” affair.

    For the present lot, famed design duo Aranda\Lasch have created a beautiful functional sculpture, Chest, 2014, which has been cast in two editions each of which is vacuum sealed to contain its particular precious cargo, submergible up to 6.7 kilometers and virtually unbreakable. The first Chest embodies the present lot, and contains the map vital to discovering the second edition, which is itself filled to the brim with unique works of art—made especially for this endeavor by some of the most notable contemporary artists of our time—and hidden deep within Isla del Coco. In keeping with a project of such sophistication and dynamism, the map encapsulated within the first Chest is no mere Cartesian representation, but is itself an artwork. Chest contains Dutch artist Constant Dullaart’s Map, a 2014 collaboration with a leading German security analyst, applying state of the art encryption that hides information as best as technically possible in these times of obsolete cryptographic standards. Utilizing 3D-laser sintering technology a stainless steel cylinder was printed, rendering the algorithmically derived code endless. Only readable when mechanically reproduced, the character string elucidates the exact position of the treasure’s location on Isla del Coco.Conceiving a radical, yet elegant, contemporary interpretation of the ancient cylinder seal. The map itself is a beautifully designed and executed object in its own right and within the Chest comprises the first half of the incredible experiment that is the Treasure of Lima: A Buried Exhibition. A conflation of mathematics, design, and, above all, mystery, Map, the two editions of Chest and the artworks contained therein represent an ambitious new type of interactive exhibition and artwork. A unique conversation piece, a real life treasure, as well as a symbol for oceanic conservation.


Treasure of Lima: Chest & Map

stainless steel, Vitrovex Glass Deep Ocean Sphere, 3D printed stainless steel, encrypted GPS coordinates
closed 26 3/8 x 29 1/8 x 30 3/4 in. (67 x 74 x 78 cm)
open 25 x 47 5/8 x 30 3/4 in. (63.5 x 121 x 78 cm)

Chest designed by Aranda/Lasch, Map by Constant Dullaart.
Commissioned by Francesca von Habsburg / TBA21-ACADEMY.

Including works by Marina Abramović, Doug Aitken, Darren Almond, Aranda\Lasch, Julius von Bismarck, Angela Bulloch, Los Carpinteros, Julian Charrière, Phil Collins, Constant Dullaart, Olafur Eliasson, Michael Esposito, Oscar Figueroa, John Gerrard, Kai Grehn, Noemie Goudal, Carl Michael von Hausswolff, Alex Hoda, Pierre Huyghe, Antti Laitinen, Sharon Lockhart, Lucia Madriz, Carsten Nicolai, Olaf Nicolai, Raymond Pettibon, Finnbogi Petursson, Lari Pittman, Jon Rafman, Andrew Ranville, Matthew Ritchie, Ed Ruscha, Hans Schabus, Chicks on Speed, Daniel Steegmann, Ryan Trecartin, Suzanne Treister, Janaina Tschäpe, Chris Watson, Lawrence Weiner, Jana Winderen. Curated by Nadim Samman.

Sold to benefit Pelagic Research and Conservation Project for Isla del Coco, initiated by TBA21-ACADEMY in collaboration with Costa Rican partners FAICO and Misión Tiburón.

$150,000 - 200,000 

Sold for $185,000

Contact Specialist
Amanda Stoffel
Head of Evening Sale
New York
+ 1 212 940 1261

Contemporary Art Evening Sale

New York Auction 13 November 2014 7pm