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Christie's partners with Radiohead's Thom Yorke to present artworks by Stanley Donwood
Stanley Donwood, Residential Nemesis (1999, estimate: £10,000-15,000). © Christie's Images Ltd 2021.

LONDON.- Christie’s will present work by the artist Stanley Donwood, who has created the cover art for Radiohead’s ground-breaking albums since The Bends in 1996. The six paintings will be on display at Christie’s headquarters in London from 9 to 15 October 2021, alongside drawings, lyrics and digital art curated by Stanley Donwood and Thom Yorke, who initially met at Exeter University. The paintings by Donwood will be offered in First Open: Post-War and Contemporary Art, online for global bidding from 5 to 19 October 2021. The series of dystopian landscapes were made in the period 1999-2001, and closely related to the final cover and sleeve art for Kid A, originally released by the band on 2 October 2000, marking its 21st anniversary. Donwood’s series continued with the release of Amnesiac (2001). While working on each album sleeve, Donwood immersed himself in Radiohead’s music constantly: “It gets under your skin and becomes like oxygen. I listen to it a lot, almost to the extent I need a breather by the time it comes out.” The resulting body of work produced by Donwood provides a bold visual accompaniment to Radiohead’s music, a band who are renowned for their technical innovation and pioneering vision. Donwood has exhibited internationally, including a solo exhibition at Bonnefantenmuseum, Maastricht in 2017, and estimates for the paintings begin at £10,000.

Stanley Donwood: “Very late one night Thom and I were alone in the vast wastes of Oxfordshire, surrounded by darkness and trying to finish the artwork. It was impossible – we had made too much, too many pictures, and it was like being in a storm of ideas and drawings, paintings and texts. We were exhausted and could no longer think clearly. We had lots of versions of the front cover, all with different pictures and different titles in different typefaces. We couldn’t work out which was the right one so we took them all downstairs and used tape to stick them to the cupboards and the fridge in the kitchen, hoping that in the morning the right cover and the right title would be obvious. And it was, and it was called Kid A.”

Victoria Gramm, Specialist, Post-War and Contemporary Art, Christie’s: “London’s Frieze Week highlights the revolutionary spirit of those at the cutting edge of contemporary culture. It is therefore a fitting moment for Christie’s to partner with Thom Yorke and Stanley Donwood to showcase their collaboration, and the inspiring visual, digital and musical material that was produced in this period. Visitors to our galleries will have the opportunity to glimpse the ethereal world that encapsulates the sounds of Kid A.”

James Elwes, Founder T I N M A N A R T, representing Stanley Donwood: “Kid A is among a very small number of seminal musical masterpieces that are about so much more than ground-breaking music. Like Sgt. Pepper with Peter Blake and Sticky Fingers with Andy Warhol, it’s a disc encased in art. It presents a rare audio-visual experience, a broody and forbidding world of mountains and blood; the CD case had to be broken apart to reveal hidden artwork. It’s hugely exciting that now, for the first time, the collaborative story of this multidisciplinary masterpiece is being told. Stanley always viewed the record shop as an art gallery for the masses and he and Thom undertook an Odyssian feat in developing Kid A‘s art, utilising drawing, collage and ground-breaking new media to doctor their source material. At the centre of this process is Stanley’s extraordinary series of paintings - pieces that speak of enlightenment and discord in an uncertain new millennium under a government falling apart. While the paintings’ tone recalls YBA sensibilities, their skill ensures a certain timelessness. These are works whose meaning continues to quietly ripple - pieces of history with an evocative soundtrack.”

First Open: Post-War and Contemporary Art brings together iconic works by contemporary artists, presented within the context of those artists working in the 20th century whose influence has been far reaching. Estimates begin at £600, providing opportunities for collectors at every level to acquire works.

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