Art Basel 19 â€“ 22 June 2014
Booth C10 Messeplatz 10 4005 Basel, Switzerland
Maria Lassnig Es geht himmelwärts (Skyward bound) ￼ 2002 Oil on canvas 125 x 100.2 x 2 cm / 49 1/4 x 39 1/2 x 3/4 in
Maria Lassnig was one of the most important artists of the twentieth century, a great pioneer who influenced successive generations of painters. She emphatically refused to make ‘pictures’, instead she focused on ways of representing her internal world. To define this, she used the term ‘body awareness’, which she felt accurately explained how she tried to paint the way her body felt to her from the inside, rather than attempting to depict it from the exterior. ‘Es geht himmelwärts (Skyward bound)’ (2002), composed in her typical palette of bruised greens, pinks and blues presents a self-portrait, although this is not a self-portrait in the traditional sense. Lassnig’s contorted figure is deliberately ambiguous in pose, depending on how one reads the body she could be seen to be lying on her side with her head propped on her elbow, or perhaps kneeling looking upwards. Despite the uncertainty ‘Es geht himmelwärts (Skyward bound)’ is uncompromisingly honest, with the figure appearing awkward, confrontational, strange and tender at once. Moreover, it is remarkable how much of Lassnig’s personality floods from ‘Es geht himmelwärts (Skyward bound)’, one could accurately deduce from this work the strong, forthright, emotional and perennially alive character that was Lassnig throughout her incredible life and career. This remarkable, physiologically charged canvas represents a vulnerable human encounter. As in all Lassnig’s works one is presented with a strange and bewildering composition. We try and fathom the human relationship within the image, which turns out to be as rivetingly impenetrable as those around us in real life.
Roni Horn Or 3 ďżź 2014 Powdered pigment, graphite, charcoal, coloured pencil and varnish on paper 264.2 x 246.4 cm / 104 x 97 in 276.2 x 258.8 x 8.9 cm / 108 3/4 x 101 7/8 x 3 1/2 in (framed)
Photo: Genevieve Hanson Next page: detail
Yves Klein / Jean Tinguely La Vitesse totale (Bleu affolé) ￼ 1958 Hardboard disc painted in IKB by Yves Klein, iron support, wood, electric motor disc Ø: 80 cm / 31 1/2 in support: 64 x 91 x 38 cm / 25 1/4 x 35 7/8 x 15 in overall: 80 x 91 x 41 cm / 31 1/2 x 35 7/8 x 16 1/8 in Provenance Private Collection, Zurich (acquired directly from Jean Tinguely) Hauser & Wirth
Created in 1958, ‘La Vitesse totale (Bleu affolé)’ is a masterpiece of the 20th century, a work of beauty and significance that was born from the collaboration between two of the most influential artists of their time, Yves Klein and Jean Tinguely. The largest of a group of eight sculptures the pair created for a joint exhibition at Galerie Iris Clert in November 1958, ‘La Vitesse totale (Blue affolé)’ is a joyous marriage of Klein’s theories of immateriality and Tinguely’s drive to imbue sculpture with movement. In composition, the work’s constituents are deceptively simple: a large flat disc, painted with International Klein Blue, is spun by Tinguely’s wall-mounted motorised ‘chassis’ at approximately 4,500 rotations per minute. When the viewer activates the sculpture with the floor pedal, however, the disc’s rapidly rotating form seemingly dissolves into the air, the surface and edges becoming a blue blur as the disc blends into the atmosphere. It hovers between two states of being, solid form and mere ether. ‘La Vitesse totale (Bleu affolé)’ is pure beauty. The two artists first met in 1955 during the selection process for the renowned Salon des Réalités Nouvelles. It wasn’t until Klein’s ‘The Void’ exhibition in April 1958, however, that the two began to seriously talk about collaborating, having found a great deal of common ground in discussing how art could free itself not only from the object, but also from the material itself. They had both been working towards this aim independently, Klein with radical emptiness, Tinguely with works that had an autonomous and active life of their own, once Tinguely set them loose upon the world.
© Yves Klein / ADAGP, Paris, 2014 Photo: Stefan Altenburger Photography Zürich
Jean Tinguely and Yves Klein Impasse Ronsin, November 1958 Photo © Martha Rocher © Yves Klein / ADAGP, Paris, 2014
In September, as a culmination of their discussions, Klein and Tinguely decided to merge their respective interests in a joint series of works, thereby creating the rotating flat discs which explored the phenomenon of ‘static speed’. When a disc was set spinning at high velocity, it would become a captivating colour phenomenon and would cause vibrations in the surrounding space, calling attention to the energy forces of ‘the void’. For both Klein and Tinguely, this project signified the irrepressible desire of humans to materialise the spiritual. It was also a beautiful merger of the monochrome aesthetics of Klein and the mechanical, dynamic, and often interactive nature of Tinguely’s art, a true marriage of artistic sensibilities. The resultant exhibition in November 1958, ‘Vitesse pure et stabilté monochrome’ (Pure Speed and Monochrome Stability), put eight of these wonderful works into the tiny Clert gallery on the rue des Beaux-Arts. The space was completely activated and energised with the buzzing and whirring discs and with the rumblings of the two floor sculptures, one of which also intermittently showered bystanders with electrical sparks whenever a pedal was pushed to set its disc in motion. The impact of this collaboration upon both artists cannot be understated. The desire to demateralise art, the essence of Klein’s programme, had been latent in Tinguely’s work since 1955, but had so far been expressed only in the ‘action’ sculptures, the fast rotating objects. The idea of dematerialising a work of art was a way of treating it both more subtly and more emphatically. These were perhaps the most important ideas in post-war art, but nobody had been able to pinpoint them before. Not only did the group of works exhibited place the immaterial nature of Klein’s IKB (International Klein Blue) and the earthy weight of Tinguely’s rusty iron structures in a tense dialogue, but contact with Klein also initiated a further phase of development in Tinguely’s work. ‘La Vitesse totale (Bleu affolé)’ is not only a work of power and beauty in its own right – it embodies an important moment in art history that would lead directly to the birth of conceptual art. In addition, ‘La Vitesse totale (Bleu affolé)’ heralded new directions for both artists, and would be an important underpinning of much of their later work.
Paul McCarthy WS, Dior ďżź 2014 Acrylic paint and collage on panel with gessoed canvas 213.4 x 304.8 x 6.35 cm / 84 x 120 x 2 1/2 in
Photo: Fredrik Nilsen Illustrated on next page, opposite: detail
Paul McCarthy WS, Family Affairs ďżź 2014 Pencil, acrylic paint and collage on paper 190.5 x 133.4 cm / 75 x 52 1/2 in 212.7 x 158.1 cm / 83 3/4 x 62 1/4 in (framed)
Photo: Fredrik Nilsen
Louise Bourgeois Untitled ￼ 2002 Fabric and aluminium 36.8 x 35.6 x 35.6 cm / 14 1/2 x 14 x 14 in Stainless steel, glass and wood vitrine: 177.8 x 60.9 x 60.9 cm / 70 x 24 x 24 in
© The Easton Foundation / DACS 2014. Photo: Christopher Burke
Mark Bradford Dive Into Criticism 2014 Mixed media on canvas 259.08 x 365.76 cm / 102 x 144 in
Photo: Joshua White Illustrated on next page, opposite: detail
Alberto Giacometti Buste ￼ 1948 Oil on canvas 59 x 37 cm / 23 1/4 x 14 5/8 in 68.3 x 46.3 x 4.5 cm / 26 7/8 x 18 1/4 x 1 3/4 in (framed)
Provenance Pierre Matisse Gallery Richard Feigen Gallery Private Collection Private Collectaion Sale Shinwa Auction Jan Krugier Gallery Private Collection, Switzerland Private Collection, Switzerland Private Collection, Germany Hauser & Wirth
‘Buste’ embodies the dilemma at the heart of Alberto Giacometti’s art. Submerged among layers of paint, a face emerges from the incessant and obsessive movement of the brush, which traces the individual’s image while simultaneously erasing it. Painted in 1948, ‘Buste’ typifies the ambitious quest to which Giacometti doggedly devoted the best part of his life: to paint and sculpt the existence of the individual in space. With ‘Buste’, an important post-war portrait at the beginning of his mature period, Giacometti has succeeded adroitly, creating an individual that stares out at the world with an existential presence that far outshines conventional portraiture. Although the lines define the face in ‘Buste’, they do not draw its outline. The subject appears in the centre of the painting, face on, in what could appear to be a portrait composition. The man remains unidentifiable, however. Giacometti represents the individual as he could represent any man – in his generic singularity. Yet the artist liked to choose his models from among his inner circle: his brother Diego, his wife Annette and, towards the end of his life, his lover Caroline. Giacometti does not try to represent Diego in ‘Buste’, however, but rather to present a head, a living being as it exists in reality. ‘Buste’ does not aim to be either descriptive or objective. On the contrary, sketched out in this tangle of greys and browns lies Giacometti’s subjective and fragmented perception.
Photo: Barbora Gerny
Leon Golub Mercenaries II (section I) ￼ 1975 Acrylic on linen 259.1 x 152.4 cm / 102 x 60 in
In the 1980s, Golub turned his attention to terrorism in a variety of forms, from the subversive operations of governments to urban street violence. Killing fields, torture chambers, bars and brothels became inspiration and subject for work that dealt with such themes as violent aggression, racial inequality, gender ambiguity, oppression and exclusion. Among the work produced in this period were the series Mercenaries, Interrogation, White Squad and Riot. These paintings must be considered the heart of Golub’s work. Gangs of male figures, clad in an array of different uniforms or just generic combat fatigues, tie up, drag, shoot, beat, piss on, haul off or stuff in car trunks their usually solitary, bound, gagged victims. These images are no longer about conflict since the struggle is so disproportionate and the victory a foregone conclusion. At the time he worked on these paintings, America’s sponsorship of underground, extra-legal warfare, particularly in Latin America, was being brought to light by bourgeois journalists and a part of the political establishment. Golub’s painting technique itself took on the nature of exposure, as he painted over the figures in layers, and then stripped with solvents and scraped to reveal them again, creating a mottled look of skin and clothing.
Eva Hesse No title ďżź 1960 Oil on Masonite 22.9 x 28.9 cm / 9 x 11 3/8 in 27.9 x 34.3 cm / 11 x 13 1/2 in (framed)
Provenance The Estate of Eva Hesse Robert Miller Gallery, New York Private Collection, Ireland
Photo: Genevieve Hanson
Dieter Roth 1. Matte vom Telefontisch, St. Johanns-Vorstadt 1995 â€“ 1997 Pencil, marker, ink, acylic paint and collage (colour photographs, garbage, drawing and writing utensils, printed matter) on chipboard on plywood 70 x 220 x 4 cm / 27 1/2 x 86 5/8 x 1 5/8 in
Photo: Alex Delfanne Illustrated on next page, opposite: detail
Dieter Roth Doppel-Selbstbildnis (Double self-portrait) ďżź 1973 Oil on canvas 110.5 x 90 cm / 43 1/2 x 35 3/8 in 111.7 x 91.5 x 3 cm / 44 x 36 x 1 1/8 in (framed)
Photo: Stefan Altenburger Photography ZĂźrich
Jason Rhoades Mecca Vulva (Sculpture to Illuminate Corner of Wall) with Tuna Stone 2003 Cast and polished aluminium, cans of tuna 96.5 x 71.1 x 50.8 cm / 38 x 28 x 20 in
Mira Schendel Untitled (from the series Gold/Ouro) ￼ ca. 1985 Acrylic, tempera, gesso and gold leaf on wood 90.2 x 160 cm / 35 1/2 x 63 in 90.5 x 160.6 x 3.2 cm / 35 5/8 x 63 1/4 x 1 1/4 in (framed)
A late masterpiece of Mira Schendel, ‘Untitled’ from the Gold/Ouro series, represents the artist’s return to painting, a medium she had worked with only very early in her career. During the 1980s, Schendel created a series of works in tempera and gold leaf on wood, to which ‘Untitled’ (1985) belongs. To contrast the matte opacity of her monochromatic fields of colour, the artist applied gold to small areas of the surface, creating luminous and reflective geometric forms. The corporeality of these works becomes manifest in Schendel’s selection of materials. Fond of the qualities of tempera paint, it is known she appreciated its opaque porosity that ‘breathed’ on the surface of her canvas. 1 ‘Untitled’ (1985) is a luxurious saturated panel of midnight blue. To subtly activate the flat surface of the painting, Schendel applied paint unevenly, so that a parabolic shape would seamlessly emerge from the monochromatic field in a slightly darker hue. While her richly chosen shades of paint absorb the effects of light, the application of gold leaf – in the shape of a pointed ellipse in the upper right corner of this work – brightly radiates as a fully chromatic distinct impression.
1. Sonia Salzstein (ed.), ‘No vazio do mundo. Mira Schendel’, Sao Paulo, Brazil: Editora Marca D’Agua, 1996, p. 37
Photo: Genevieve Hanson Illustrated on next page, opposite: detail
Kazuo Shiraga Untitled (T42) ￼ 1962 Oil on canvas 90.5 x 116 cm / 35 5/8 x 45 5/8 in
Provenance Rodolphe Stadler Collection, Paris Hauser & Wirth
‘Shiraga’s attitude to painting is a splendid example of the tradition of Zen masters, who, with their interest in contradictions [...] sought to shock their disciples to provoke a sudden awakening in them. Is there any greater provocation in the field of art, any greater proof that you are going against all tradition, than painting with your feet? Isn’t it common to say, when a painting appears badly painted, that it has been done with the feet? So Shiraga therefore proposes as art what our mental habits consider to be negative. [...] I will never forget the autumn day I met Shiraga in the garden of the Kyoto temple, and he gave me two objects that I prize as if they were very valuable treasure: one to hold the water used by the artist, the other to help concentrate his spirit. With his feet and his footmarks – all these symbols appear to me to be of essential relevance and value in the current art world.’ – Antoni Tàpies, introduction to the Shiraga exhibition catalogue, Paris, Galerie Stadler, 1992 (originally translated into French from Catalan by Edmond Raillard)
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