On 25 and 26 June, Christies
summer auctions of Post-War & Contemporary Art will present a particularly strong section dedicated to some of the most interesting international painters working today, including exceptional works by Adriana Varejão, Ali Banisadr, John Currin and Tauba Auerbach among others.
Executed in 1991, O Milagre dos Peixes (Miracle of the Fishes) is the first of Brazilian-born artist Adriana Varejãos Sea and Tiles series of paintings (estimate: £200,000-300,000). A very early example of the artist allowing deep cracks to carve through her work, O Milagre dos Peixes surface creates textural interest, forming different pictorial surfaces depending on the way in which the plaster cracks. Redolent of shards of broken azulejos, the work suggests the dissonance and eclecticism that suffuses Brazilian culture in the wake of imperialism.
New York-based artist Ali Banisadr is a key member of a new generation of contemporary painters and headed Flash Arts list of Top 100 Artists of 2011. His work is held in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, and the British Museum, London. The inclusion of Banisadrs In the Name Of in the Post-War & Contemporary Art Evening auction marks a rare opportunity to obtain an important work by this celebrated young artist whose work has only come to auction once before. Painted in 2008 on an epic scale, Banisadrs In the Name Of is a chaotic, dream-like vision, meticulously rendered in a rich palette of reds and oranges (estimate: £40,000-60,000). From a Gods-eye view, as implied by the title, Banisadr presents an irregular, geometric expanse reminiscent of a circus tent or stained glass window, descending into an energetic melee of humanity throbbing in and out of focus. This oscillation between narrative and abstraction forms the core of the artists practice. Banisadr moved to the US from his native Iran at the age of 12 and his work expresses his experience of belonging to two distinct cultures. In the Name Of was exhibited in 2009 at Unveiled: New Art from the Middle East, Saatchi Gallery, London.
Painted in 1997, John Currins Daughter and Mother is a key work by the artist that showcases his celebrated talent for de-stabilising the conventions of American imagery and the art historical canon (estimate: £1,400,000-1,800,000). From 1992 through 1998, Currin employed the traditional genre of portraiture to explore the often clichéd representation of women in western culture. Examples from this period include middle-aged women, pulp-novel pin-ups, and pneumatic blondes. The year 1996 marked a transitional moment in Currins practice as he began to use a variety of painterly techniques within a single work, conflating the glossy perfection found in contemporary visual culture with faces rendered in heavily applied impasto. Currin has maintained that these two painting techniques symbolise different kinds of intimacy, encouraging the viewer to engage with the work on a several levels. Daughter and Mother is perhaps more chaste than the artists usual subject matter, but continues in the Currin's tradition of working with voluptuous curves and seductive women. Mixing iconic compositions from art history with the artificially rendered stock imagery of contemporary illustration, Currin creates images which are both everyday and uncanny.
Exploring the traditional distinctions between content, dimension and image, Tauba Auerbachs cerebral compositions challenge our conventional ways of seeing. Elegant and intriguing, Untitled (Fold) radiates with a subtle luminosity, capturing the gentle rays of light across what appears at first to be pure white folds of cloth, lined with creases (estimate: £200,000-300,000). Upon closer inspection, however, Untitled (Fold) reveals itself to be a masterful, modern example of trompe loeil. One of Auerbachs celebrated Folds series, the work is illusory this is a perfectly flat surface canvas. Painted in 2010, Untitled (Fold) dates from the same year Auerbach exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art PS1, New York, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the New Museum, New York, Castello di Rivoli Museum of Contemporary Art, Turin, and the Whitney Biennial, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.