For some the typewriter is simply a relic of the past, perhaps conjuring a nostalgic image in the imagination, but holding little significance. For others it is an intermediary object, allowing thoughts and words to become a tangible presence. For William Kentridge, it is a device to be used in more ways than one, and in Large Typewriters, which leads Bonhams
Post-War & Contemporary Art sale on 24 March in London, he creates a dual image combining both the banal and the absurd, the real and the imagined. The imposing work has an estimate of £350,000 - 550,000.
Ralph Taylor, Bonhams Global Head of Post-War and Contemporary Art, commented: William Kentridge is one of the worlds most celebrated contemporary artists, who lyrically combines the political and the allegorical in his work. Working from a variety of references, Kentridge often returns to the same images whether it is the typewriter, the megaphone, the telephone or the tree with each image retaining its familiarity, and at the same time referencing something outside of itself. His work speaks to a universal audience, while addressing complex themes specific to South Africa's history of racial discrimination and apartheid.
Large Typewriters is a perfect example of his practice, completed in his signature monochrome palette. The double quasi-identical image differentiated only by the level of detail is discreet in its symbolism; on one hand speaking to wider themes in the artist's work, while on the other referencing its own physicality. The typewriter is an object that turns words into something tangible on paper, and so it is perhaps no small wonder that its an object that has such a special significance to a multi-disciplinary artist like Kentridge, whose work is imbued with a real sense of history.
William Kentridge was born in Johannesburg in 1955 to a Jewish family of Lithuanian descent. His parents dedicated involvement to the fight against apartheid in South Africa would have a deep and lasting impact on the artist, setting him apart from many of his white peers from a young age, and heavily informing his work. Kentridge completed a degree in Politics and African History in Johannesburg, before turning to art and theatre. This unconventional path would go on to influence his practice both aesthetically and intellectually, with his work crossing and combining mediums though with South African culture and identity remaining at the heart of his practice.
Kentridge's bold artistic vision has seen him become one of the world's most sought-after artists by museums and collectors alike. His work can be found in the collections of some of the most prestigious museums in the world, including the MoMA, New York, Tate Modern, London, and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago among many others.
Other highlights of the sale include:
Barry Flanagan (1941-2009), Harebell on Portland stone piers, 1983. Estimate: £300,000 - 500,000. When the daring conceptual artist Barry Flanagan decided to turn his attention to creating bronze sculptures of hares in 1979, some thought it was an eccentric move. But Flanagan would go on to create his playful sculptures with dark, folkloric overtones and for the next three decades, his famous leporids leapt into museums across the world. Harebell on Portland Stone Piers, which was created in 1983 and is from the same edition on public display the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, comes from the Estate of Gerard L. Cafesjian.
Banksy (B. 1975), Girl With Ice Cream on Palette, 2004. Estimate: £300,000 - 500,000. Banksy has solidified his position as one of the most well-recognised and sought-after street artists of all time. Painted on wood, Girl with Ice Cream on Palette from 2004 is a sterling example of Banksy's stencilling style on found material, depicting one of the most playful and memorable images from his oeuvre, that first appeared at his first major breakthrough exhibition Turf War, in 2003.
Fernando Botero, (B. 1932) Gatta, 2008. Estimate: £200,000 - 300,000.
Kenneth Noland (1924-2010), Return, 1970. Estimate: £150,000 - 200,000.
Sturtevant (1924-2014), Study for Warhol's Marilyn, 1965. Estimate: £120,000 - 180,000.