Latin America sale is one of the seasons most anticipated auctions. Phillips announced highlights from the sale featuring 114 lots with a low estimate of $5,490,000 and a high estimate of $8,051,000.
I am delighted that Phillips is again able to offer works from many of the most influential and groundbreaking artists working in Latin America the last 60 years. We have selected works from the most interesting collections across the Europe and the Americas. Our goal is to present these different artistic movements and periods in their proper context thereby acknowledging their importance to art history. Henry Allsopp, Senior Director and Worldwide Head of Latin American Art.
Highlights for the sale include important works from Brazils most significant conceptual movements. Lygia Clark was among the leaders of the Neo-Concrete movement and is one of Brazils most iconic artists. Her belief that art should be an interactive and subjective experience propelled her to create ground-breaking 3-dimensional works that established a direct dialogue between the work and the spectator. Clarks highlighted works represent the theoretical evolution of her interest in line, light and space, as well as her later departure from it. These works include the seminal Bicho invertebrado, 1960, estimated at $1,200,000-1,800,000, a sublime example of a fulfilled Neo-Concrete intention where smooth metal spinal cord-like hinges lend themselves to manipulation, transforming the viewer into artist. Bicho invertebrado is promised to the Lygia Clark retrospective exhibition being organized by The Museum of Modern Art in 2014; Superfície Modulada No. 2, 1957/1982, a paneled work conceived during a crucial formative period in Clarks career, estimated at $400,000-600,000. Clark explores the Concretist process of aesthetic reduction, limiting the colors employed until they are exclusively black, white and grey, in order to explore issues of time and space from the picture plane; and Estrutura de Caixas de Fósforos, 1964 estimated at $500,000-700,000, a vibrant sculpture made of glued matchboxes, emblematic of a well- documented period in which Clark departed from her signature aesthetic to engage and elevate ordinary materials.
Hélio Oiticica, whose monumental legacy spans a wide range of styles, philosophies, and conceptual approaches, gave birth to the Metaesquemas. These works, comprised of dynamic compositions of partially dislocated geometric shapes, provide a complex and energetic relationship between art and viewer. Metaesquema 153, 1958 estimated at $220,000-280,000, a choreographed collection of active white gouche squares on a red background, is a strong representation his most revered series. Constructivist sculptor Sergio Camargos expression of the movement is represented by Untitled (Relief No. 347), 1971 with his diagonally-cut all-white wooden cylinders set atop a flat wooden board, as well as by the sculptural Carrara marble piece, Untitled, 1985 (marble), estimated at $140,000-180,000. These works pay homage to his Brazilian predecessors and the minimalist monochromes of Lucio Fontana, Yves Klein and Constantin Brancusi. Mira Schendels abstract works Untitled, circa 1960 and Untitled, circa 1970 both estimated at $120,000-180,000, are also reflective of this crucial period in Latin American contemporary art.
The beauty and richness of tropical light is captured and distilled in Jesús Rafael Sotos Oro y Plata, 1969 estimated at $500,000-700,000. A pioneer of Kinetic Art and Op Art, Venezuelan artist Jesús Rafael Soto has produced a body of work that is outstanding in its ability to consistently examine complex philosophical and scientific questions pertaining to the nature of the universe. Sotos sleek, modern reliefs and sculptures require the viewer to circulate around the work to witness his perfected manipulation of matter and energy.
In the spirit of critical though and expression Nelson Leirner, questioned the relation between art, commerce and its institutions and changed standard thought to become one of the most influential artists of his time. Homenagem a Fontana I, 1967 estimated at $200,000-300,000 was part of a series of works that questioned notions of authorship and craft within art production. Although Leirner intended to propose an alternative route for art that would make it more accessible, his challenging studies were welcomed in the establishment and included in groundbreaking exhibition such as New Brazilian Objectivity exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Art in Rio de Janeiro and the IV Brasilia Modern Art Salon.
Two Socks, 1995 estimated at $150,000-250,000 by Gabriel Orozco; Untitled, 1986 estimated at $150,000-250,000 by Guillermo Kuitca; and Zócalo, May 22, 1999, 1999 estimated at $100,000-150,000 by Francis Alÿs represent a few of the important contemporary works presented in the sale.
Phillips will present a special curated section dedicated to Cuban contemporary art in the sale. The 27 lots offered represent a broad range of artists and media spanning the late 1960s to present day. Work by Los Carpinteros, Carlos Garaicoa, Belkis Ayón, Tania Bruguera, Manuel Mendive and René Peña are some of the notable artists included in the auction. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of these lots will benefit El Museo del Barrios Acquisitions Fund.