John & Myriam Wylie Collection

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MELBOURNE Victoria 2021 Australia 1

Myriam and I didn’t set out to become art collectors. The artworks that we have in our collection came together gradually and organically, as we were introduced to pieces from artists around the world. There’s no overarching thematic in our collection, other than the fact it’s almost all contemporary art. It’s simply works that we found instinctively appealing, sourced with an international outlook – works that bring pleasure, colour and elegance into our lives. We love the fact they have brought pleasure to others as well. Art collections are deeply personal. For the most part, there’s no objective standard for measuring the quality of artwork. Market value in our view is a poor benchmark, especially in the highly subjective world of contemporary art. For us, it’s never been about buying works from ‘name‘ or in-vogue artists. Opinions are divided within our own family on some of our works! Part of the personal element for us has involved seeking excellence in a radically different space from the rest of our lives. It’s involved learning to take risks in unfamiliar fields. Some of the works we acquired on our travels and have a unique and special connection with time and place for us, like songs do for many. We love the fact that compelling art is an essentially borderless thing. Our works come from a wide range of cultural and geographic contexts and reflect the artists’ wildly different personal backgrounds. In a world becoming more nationalistic, that feels like a good thing. Some of the pieces have been produced by Indigenous Australians, whose art speaks to their amazing connection with our land. We feel that’s an essential element to an Australian-based collection. A good and trusted advisor always makes a difference in unfamiliar fields. We pay tribute to the skills and judgement of Anaïs Lellouche, who has collaborated with us every step of the way in assembling this collection. Her work and vision have been superb, and we thank her sincerely.

John Wylie and Myriam Boisbouvier-Wylie MELBOURNE AUSTRALIA, MAY 2021

‘Above all, it is difficult enough to depict some­ thing that moves you deep down inside. But that’s ultimately what art’s all about, and that’s also what appeals to people – if an artist can do it.’ — Isa Genzken

The John and Myriam Wylie Collection has acquired shape thanks to the ability of its founders to follow their instincts, the gut feeling that drives them – indeed, all of us – to mysteriously connect with a work of art. The happy combination of instinct backed up with knowledge, that’s where I come in. My joyful contribution has been to present the Wylies with opportunities to fall in love with art that could touch them emotionally and to seek out artists whom we believe are playing or have played a major role in defining contemporary art history through the inventiveness, originality and meaning of their works. Some six years ago, when we started collaborating, the Wylies did not consider themselves as collectors, and indeed still refer to themselves modestly as amateurs d’art (art enthusiasts). They do not aspire to the status that is usually attributed to collectors and are not enticed by any of the social events that come with it either. Nonetheless, their private collection has grown into a significant ensemble of works by major contemporary artists from across the globe. Truly international in scope,

the Collection welcomes perspectives by artists from diametrically different cultural backgrounds and approaches, from Australian Indigenous pioneers to avantgarde Asian, European and American artists. These artists express their ideas across media, including painting, sculpture, photography and digital art. Naturally, conversations have started to emerge between works of art in the Collection that share certain sensibilities. The pleasure of experiencing colour, light, perspective and space in heightened ways connects the works of Olafur Eliasson, Mary Weatherford and Catherine Murphy. Notions of geometric abstraction unfold in unique ways through the works of Gabriel Orozco, Ulrike Müller, Callum Innes and Katharina Grosse. Homages to language and knowledge are written in bright lights by Martin Creed and Joseph Kosuth, while poetry and books as talismans are offered by Jessica Rankin and Chiharu Shiota. Space to contemplate the world through a simple glass is suggested by Peter Dreher, and to discover its hidden treasures by Hiroshi Sugimoto. Pride in the unique talents and cultures of Australian artists,

such as Emily Kam Kngwarray, Paddy Bedford, Ngoia Pollard Napaltjarri and David Larwill, furthers the unique qualities and strength of the Collection. Works of art have the power to unveil themselves over long periods of contemplation and, just when think ‘we’ve got what they’re about’, their meaning magically expands and evades us. I wish the Wylies many years of living with their art, accumulating memories and experiences unique to the present moment. This publication is organised in chronological order of the works’ acquisition to tell the story of how the Collection has blossomed to date. We have chosen a digital format to welcome the prospects of its evolution over time. I look forward to the joy and privilege of accompanying the Wylies on their continued adventures in the world of art.

Anaïs Lellouche, Curatorial Advisor MARCH 2021











David Larwill


Ulrike Müller


Francis Upritchard


Martin Creed


Gabriel Orozco


Peter Dreher


Ross Coulter




Olafur Eliasson


Thomas Bayrle


Emily Kam Kngwarray

100 Cao Fei


Peter Zimmermann


Tom Djawa/Unknown artist

102 Mary Weatherford


Yves Klein


Ngoia Pollard Napaltjarri

104 Isa Genzken


Callum Innes


Joseph Kosuth

108 Alessandro Papetti


Imi Knoebel


Zheng Guogu

110 Lionel Smit


Katharina Grosse


Hiroshi Sugimoto



Paddy Bedford


Roy Colmer

116 Nicola Taylor


Chiharu Shiota


Catherine Murphy

118 Jessica Rankin


Luis Pérez


‘I just wanted to paint, and I wanted people to smile when they looked at my paintings.’ David Larwill (Australian, 1956–2011)

Born in Ballarat, Victoria, David Larwill was a prominent Australian painter and printmaker considered by his contempor­ aries to be one of the leading artists of his generation. His work is represented in the collections of major Australian museums, including the National Gallery of Australia and New Parliament House in Canberra, as well in international institutions, including the British Museum in London and the Esplanade Art Centre in Singapore. Larwill’s painting is very distinctive, recog­­ nis­­ able for the unique combination of childlike freshness, simplicity and sophis­ tic­ ation, and noted in particular for its expressionistic and storytelling qualities. In 1992 Larwill visited New York, where he first encountered subway tags and graffiti and discovered the works of contemporaries such as Jean-Michel Basquiat. Larwill also reacquainted himself with Pablo Picasso’s African-inspired masks and sculptures, which inspired him to produce sculp­­tures using found objects and to employ the technique of assemblage.


Larwill took extended stays in Central Australia, where he worked with local artists and established workshops. This direct contact with isolated Aboriginal communities increased his appreciation of Indigenous art, culture and geography. As a result, he responded directly to the significance and beauty of the Australian bush through his art. The year 1997, when NEVER BE LATE was painted, was an important one for Larwill. Solo exhibitions were held in Sydney and Melbourne, and Craftsman House published a handsome monograph on his art, written by Ken McGregor. NEVER BE LATE exemplifies Larwill’s ability to celebrate the joyous side of life. The painting is animated by human figures, animals and occasional graffiti-related slogans, as well as letter writing to form a visual diary. With its inclusion of family, friends, street life, the beach, parties and his great love – Indigenous art – the painting evokes a strong narrative drawn from his experience of daily life.


NEVER BE LATE, 1997 Oil on canvas 183 × 305 cm



‘I think it’s all to do with wanting to communicate. I mean, I think I want to make things because I want to communicate with people, because I want to be loved, because I want to express myself.’

Martin Creed (British, b. 1968)

Martin Creed was born in 1968 in Wakefield, England, and currently lives and works in London and Alicudi, one of the Aeolian Islands off the coast of Sicily. From the age of three he lived in Glasgow, Scotland, with his family, who were Quakers. Even though Creed states that he is not religious, he confirms that being brought up by a Quaker family influenced his work in a more universal way. Creed is one of the most prominent and recognisable contemporary British artists and the 2001 winner of the prestigious Turner Prize for his provocative Work No. 227: The Lights Going On and Off. He is deeply embedded in British history and culture – indeed, his piece Work No. 1197: All the Bells in a Country Rung as Quickly and Loudly for Three Minutes opened the London 2012 Olympic Games. On Friday 27 July 2012 people all across the UK were encouraged to come out to specific locations and ring bells (including Big Ben) to welcome the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. This public performance signified the Olympic


ideal of ‘togetherness’ and acted as inspiration and encouragement for the nation’s participants. A couple of years before this, Creed had been commissioned to take part in the restoration of the historic Scotsman Steps in Edinburgh. Besides his renown as an artist, he is also well known as a composer/musician and a performer. Work No. 1895: EVERYTHING IS GOING TO BE ALRIGHT, 2014, is one of Creed’s most famous works, a large-scale neon light sculpture which appears to be a comforting slogan, especially in our times. However, the work is more complex than it might seem at first sight, as it has an ambiguous and interesting history behind it. The first work in the series EVERYTHING IS GOING TO BE ALRIGHT, entitled Work No. 203, dates back to 1999. It was originally commissioned to be displayed across the façade of the Clapton Portico in Hackney, east London. The artwork was first conceived in response to the building’s complicated history. The Portico was built in 1825 and was home to several


charities and public health institutions. Today, the majority of the neoclassical building has been demolished, and only the Portico and wings remain standing in an abandoned state. In this context, the phrase ‘everything is going to be alright’ acquires another level of meaning and delivers a sense of ambiguity and even historical irony.

over the steps of Tate Modern, London, and most recently stretching across the Gstaad Palace hotel in Switzerland. Each piece is site-specific and is designed and produced in accordance with the dimensions and surroundings of each location. In this way, these sculptures are never identical, and the same phrase takes on a different meaning in every setting.

As Creed’s art is often emotional and seeking an active response from the viewer, Work No. 1895: EVERYTHING IS GOING TO BE ALRIGHT is an example of the artist starting a direct conversation with his audience, wherever they are. Creed is known for his use of neon lights illuminating different words and phrases, such as ‘DON’T WORRY’ and ‘FEELINGS’. The artist often mentions in his interviews that he is producing something and nothing at the same time, which corresponds with the use of neon as a raw material, because, while present, it still cannot be seen. Work No. 1895: EVERYTHING IS GOING TO BE ALRIGHT was originally commissioned in 2014 for a garden-based public exhibition, White Night Melbourne, and presented at the entrance to Queen Victoria Gardens. Although it is a unique sculpture, Creed has created a number of other related works using the same illuminated phrase. The text has appeared, for example, in red neon in Times Square, New York, and in bright blue neon across the façade of the Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh; the iconic sign was seen



Work No. 1895: EVERYTHING IS GOING TO BE ALRIGHT, 2014 White neon 15 × 350 × 4.5 cm JOHN & MYRIAM WYLIE COLLECTION



‘I create situations, events, environments and atmospheres that I photograph or video.’ Ross Coulter

a bird’s-eye view of the reading-room floor covered in ten thousand fallen paper planes. Underscoring the project was a deep desire to use the physical presence of the collection and the space of the State Library itself and to explore the connection between the architectural structure,

the space that it inhabits and its purpose. The simple action of launching a paper plane inside this space succeeded in turning the library’s Dome Reading Room into an artwork, as well as uncovering the notion that a rebellious act such as this can also be one of beauty and poetry.

(Australian, b. 1972)

Ross Coulter was born in 1972, in Melbourne, where he still lives and works. His practice encompasses photography, filmmaking, sculpture, painting and performance. Coulter is best known for his projects that document communities and that require the participation of those communities. Photographic portraiture, social engagement and collaboration are at the core of his work. Coulter has exhibited widely in public institutions locally and internationally, including at the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, and the Matsudai Nohbutai Arts Centre in Japan. His works are in the collections of Australia’s most prominent institutions, including the National Gallery of Victoria and the Parliament House Art Collection in Canberra. Coulter is a recipient of numerous awards and grants, including the Georges Mora Fellowship at the State Library of Victoria and the Keith and Elisabeth Murdoch Travelling Fellowship. The photograph Aftermath #3 captures the consequences of an elaborate and precisely choreographed event – 10,000


Paper Planes – staged by Coulter in the State Library of Victoria’s iconic Dome Reading Room in 2011. It involved him and 165 volunteers, who released ten thousand paper planes from the upper galleries of the reading room. As the planes floated down towards the floor over the space of ten minutes, their ‘dance’ was captured simultaneously by nine video cameras, one of them rotating to fully convey the effect of the live action. 10,000 Paper Planes aimed to capture the flight of thoughts, ideas and dreams that fill the atmosphere and history of the library. Coulter himself, a former staff member at the State Library, came to see the Dome as a place of contemplation, imagination and planning, comparing it to an actual person’s thought processes. In this way, the paper planes and the paths they take signify the movement of information through space and time in this historic location. Aftermath #3 was taken immediately following the actual performance and offers


Aftermath #3, 2011 Type C photograph, AP 1 of 3 129.3 × 161.8 cm



‘I was interested in icons from an early age. In that type of religious painting, forms are given: the size, the colours, the handling of the paint – they are all decided, strictly regulated by tradition. It’s like a machine, but a machine made by monks. I liked this idea of repetition; I like that monks painted by following rigid rules, but I also liked that even within such a strict structure there was always space for diversity.’

Thomas Bayrle (German, b. 1937)

Thomas Bayrle was born in 1937 in Berlin and lives and works in Frankfurt, Germany. Having grown up in the small town of Oberndorf during the Second World War, Bayrle moved to Frankfurt in 1953. In 1958 he enrolled at the Werkkunstschule in Offenbach to study commercial art and design, and from 1971 onwards he dedicated himself full time to art. Bayrle is a key representative of the German pop art movement, with his work, focused around pattern and repetition, often offering a critique of Germany’s post-war consumerism. Recent exhibitions include If It’s Too Long – Make it Longer at MAK, Vienna (2017), and Thomas Bayrle: Playtime at the New Museum, New York (2018). Borkenkäfer [Bark Beetle] and Madonna Croche exemplify Thomas Bayrle’s key role within the German pop art movement, which sprang up during the 1960s. Bayrle’s works are equally a reflection of his wider surroundings, with post-war West Germany experiencing an economic


miracle that allowed the country to move on from its troubled National Socialist past without properly addressing it. Bayrle is both repulsed and fascinated by the unstoppable waves of mass production and consumerism that came to define his home country during this period. Madonna Croche (1988) is an example of Bayrle’s use of the ‘superform’ method, ‘a discrete unit repeated countless times … to create … a figurative image itself made up of hundreds of tiny figurative images’, which the artist started to employ as early as 1964. To create such works, Bayrle would apply paint to multiple latex rubber pieces containing a single image unit, subsequently stretching them out by hand and photocopying the resulting distortions. The photocopied images were then collated to create a ‘superform’, afterwards transferred onto a silkscreen. Madonna Croche, made of countless small crucifixes resulting in an image of the Madonna and Child, borrows from classic religious iconography and points to consumerism as the new religion.


Madonna Croche, 1988 Silkscreen print on grey fabric 175.3 × 129.5 cm



‘I like the ugliness of cities. I’m even attracted by the boredom of certain cities. I am more interested in the structure, the superstructure that brings together billions of people and housing and businesses and traffic, mixing into each other like a huge, dense network of civilization.’

According to Bayrle, the work also references Russian Orthodox icons – ‘machines to inspire faith’, as he has called them – which he singled out as unique in their strict conformity to pictorial rules, with their minimal freedom mirroring his own orderly, machine-inspired works. Borkenkäfer (1983–85) belongs to a series of works dedicated to the subject of cities. The work, divided into two distinct parts – one empty and one filled with countless cars – shows an autobahn system, a key

Borkenkäfer, 1983–85 Oil on chipboard 76.2 × 80 cm 20


sign of Germany’s post-war recovery, depicted here in an exaggerated, antiutopian form. With its references to the Frankfurter Kreuz, the first autobahn interchange based on an American model, completed in 1957, and the VW Beetle, the trademark German car produced during this period, the work is a sharp critique of America’s post-war influence over Germany. The movement of cars and the people in them appears pointless, with no goal beyond an increase in mass production and consumption.



‘If I lived a hundred years before [sic] I would have painted the landscape … but now, in our times, everything you know about the world you know from a TV screen or a computer screen.'

Peter Zimmermann (German, b. 1937)

Painter and sculptor Peter Zimmermann was born in 1956 in Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany, and currently lives and works in Cologne. He is best known for his conceptual paintings of the 1980s featuring book covers, as well as an extensive body of work using epoxy resin: a glossy, transparent material which he employs to create luminescent abstract canvases based on digitally manipulated images. Zimmermann’s works are in multiple private and public collections, including the Centre Pompidou, Fondation Cartier pour l’Art Contemporain, Fondazione Prada and MoMA. A retrospective of Zimmermann’s work entitled All You Need was held at the Museum Moderner Kunst Kärtnen (Carinthian Museum of Modern Art) in Klagenfurt, Austria, in 2009. In 2019 his newest works were shown at the Leopold-Hoesch-Museum in Germany. At the core of Peter Zimmermann’s painting Untitled (2014) is an image from his own archive. Zimmermann frequently takes pre-existing images, which he then manipulates using Photoshop. Shapes


representing parts of the processed image are subsequently transferred onto a canvas, either in pencil or as plastic stencils glued to the canvas surface. Over these, epoxy resin, a transparent material similar in consistency to liquid honey, combined with colour pigments, is applied in layers and left to harden. The result is a visually arresting abstract artwork with a glossy, luminescent painterly surface. Untitled, distinct from other examples of Zimmermann’s abstract epoxy resin pieces for the vertical orientation of its composition, plays with the idea of a colour gradient. As we ‘read’ the artwork from left to right, we observe the shift from intensely dark, rich colours towards ever gentler, lighter shades. The shift between the colours softens too, from a relatively sharp contrast between the blues and the deep pinks on the left to a more mellow and harmonious interaction between the oranges, yellows and pale pinks on the right. On the surface, these paintings are beautiful and seductive; it is easy to get lost in


the immediacy of their gloss and the intensity of their colour interplay. Yet, mirroring their many physical layers, they address multiple complex issues. By manipulating found imagery, Zimmermann interrogates notions of reality and visual truth, as well as the uniqueness and originality of an art object and its associated aura. The artist also brings to the fore the technical process of an artwork’s creation, which consists of both deliberate, conceptually driven aspects and a degree of unpre-

dictability, as dictated by the material’s properties. Equally, Zimmermann pushes the boundaries of what a painting can be and how the viewer might interact with it. Several large-scale epoxy resin pieces, including commissions for the Columbus Museum of Art in Ohio (2008) and the Museum für Neue Kunst Freiburg (2016), covered the floor, inviting the public to engage with them and alter their physical nature. By positioning his artworks on the floor, Zimmermann also subverts the idea of a painting as a sacred museum object.

'That’s how the world comes into your brain. … You don’t really trust these images. … You always think they are manipulated. … Although they have a certain beauty, I try to accelerate that fact by modifying them or changing them so extremely that you see this modification…’



Untitled, 2014 Epoxy resin on canvas 150 × 300 cm 24




Yves Klein (French, 1928–1962)

Yves Klein was born in 1928 in Nice, France. He attended the École Nationale de la Marine Marchande and the École Nationale des Langues Orientales Vivantes in 1942–46, subsequently becoming a judo expert and taking up painting. Settling in Paris in 1955, Klein engaged in performance art and monochrome abstract painting, focusing on the colour blue from 1957 onwards. In 1960 he patented a particular shade of ultramarine known as International Klein Blue (IKB). The same year he co-founded the Nouveaux Réalistes group with art critic Pierre Restany. Klein died from a heart attack in Paris in 1962. His works are in multiple collections, including the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, MoMA and Tate. Recent exhibitions of Klein’s work have been held at the Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt (2004–5), Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC and Walker Art Center, Minneapolis (2010–11), Tate Liverpool (2016–17) and Blenheim Palace (2018).

Yves Klein’s La Victoire de Samothrace (1962) is based on an iconic Hellenistic sculpture in the collection of the Louvre, The Winged Victory of Samothrace, dating from c. 200–190 BC and depicting Nike, the ancient Greek goddess of victory. The sculpture was recreated by Klein from a reproduction he purchased at the Louvre’s gift shop. The plaster cast, attached to a stone base with a metal rod, is covered in the artist’s trademark IKB colour. Klein developed a related body of works based on the Venus de Milo by Alexandros of Antioch, Dying Slave by Michelangelo and The Beheaded Boy… (and the Priest) by an unknown Renaissance artist, whose missing head Klein replaced with two figurines of the Cypriot clergyman and politician Archbishop Makarios III. Despite Klein’s life being cut short abruptly at the age of thirty-four, his creative output was remarkably varied and complex in its theoretical underpinnings, pre-empting pop art and performance art developments of the 1960s–70s and beyond. La Victoire de Samothrace, 1962 Dry pigment and synthetic resin on plaster cast with metal and stone base 49.5 × 26 × 29.8 cm





‘Blue has no dimensions. It is beyond dimension while other colours possess it. … All the colours bring with them associations of concrete, material, tangible ideas, while blue is suggestive of the sea and the sky.’



Perhaps best known are his monochrome abstract paintings, unprecedented in their colour depth and intensity owing to a unique combination of dry blue pigment and synthetic resin. Equally famed are Klein’s pioneering performances, in which he used female nude models as ‘living brushes’ to create artworks in front of live audiences. Towards the late 1950s–early 1960s, Klein took his exploration of monochrome painting further, adding pebbles and sponges to the surfaces of his blue canvases. Klein subsequently used sponges to create freestanding sculptures, describing these as ‘portraits of the readers of my monochromes’. The employment of sponges in Klein’s creations exemplifies his use of found objects, a crucial aspect characterising the work of the Nouveaux Réalistes group Klein co-founded in 1960 with the art critic Pierre Restany, often seen as a European counterpart to the American-born pop art movement.

subverted in his oeuvre. Here Klein commodifies both the museum object and his own artistic invention, IKB, which he viewed as an expression of art’s spirituality and meditative potential and patented to protect from potential appropriation. In La Victoire de Samothrace Klein fuses his ultimate artistic achievement with an artwork occupying an integral part of world art history, with Klein thus also claiming – and pre-empting – his own iconic status within the art historical narrative.

La Victoire de Samothrace, created by the artist in an edition of 175, is among Klein’s final creations, revealing the direction in which his artistic thought was evolving before his untimely death. It continues the theme of the appropriation of found objects, with Klein employing, in this case, an iconic piece from one of the world’s most esteemed museum collections, reproduced by the museum for sale in the gift shop. Klein’s multiplied Nike sculptures address the commodification of art which the artist regularly examined and



Callum Innes (British, b. 1962)

Callum Innes was born in 1962 in Edinburgh, where he still lives and works. Innes applies successive layers of oil paint onto his canvases, which are then partially removed with turpentine, resulting in meditative abstract paintings filled with ‘internal space’. In 1995 Innes was shortlisted for the Turner Prize. He won the NatWest Prize for Painting in 1998 and the Jerwood Painting Prize in 2002. In 2016 a major retro­spective exhibition of his work, I’ll Close My Eyes, was held at the De Pont Museum in Tilburg, Netherlands. Works by Innes are in multiple private and public collections, including the British Government Art Collection, Irish Museum of Modern Art, Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Centre Pompidou, SFMOMA, Tate and others. Callum Innes’s Exposed Painting Blue Lake from 2015 belongs to the series of ‘exposed paintings’ the artist has worked on since the early 1990s. Here, the artist started by applying black oil paint onto the entirety of the canvas. Over parts of it, to the bottom left-hand side and along the top, he then


applied white paint once the initial black layer had almost dried out. To the central segment on the right-hand side he applied blue paint, subsequently removing it with turpentine while it was still wet. He repeated the latter part of the process several times with both blue and black paint, with the end result possessing unique fluidity and ‘internal space’ due to the interplay between the multiple layers, the black base and the contrasting white segments. Innes has noted that even though his artworks appear orderly in their geometry, their creation process is often chaotic. To him, if the works were simply an outcome of applying colours to parts of the canvas sealed off with tape to avoid mixing, they would be dead, whereas the actual result is always, as per a Scottish saying, ‘slightly off kilter’ and, as such, much more alive and captivating in its effect. In Exposed Painting Blue Lake this is visible in the drippings of partially removed pigments left intentionally visible and in the blue segments overstepping their prescribed borders and seeping into the white parts of the canvas.


Exposed Painting Blue Lake, 2015 Oil on linen 235 × 230 cm



‘What you see is a painting that has its own intrinsic history, but it also has this physicality which has evolved over the years. … In a way, I still see them as being slightly figurative, but that’s because I have a personal relationship with them in the studio and I physically react with the paintings.’ 32


The titles of Innes’s paintings are notable, revealing their evocative power. In parts of Exposed Painting Blue Lake, the wide horizontal brushstrokes towards the top right part of the composition evoke the calm movement of water one may observe on the surface of a lake. By contrast, the darker, more opaque shades visible towards the bottom, to the right, allude to the mysteries the depths of a lake might be concealing. The liveliness achieved by Innes reflects the lake’s evasive nature, with its colour and movement constantly changing along with the weather.

The importance of capturing fleeting moments is something that Innes has previously highlighted, stating that ‘ photography freezes moments in time, so I work with time more than anything else. … There is a moment in time and space when a painting stops in much the same way that a camera’s shutter closes on a moment in time. This is not a static thing.’ Innes highlights the presence of traces of all the stages of his creative process as something which gives history to both the work and the viewer.



‘I thought: everything has been done already. … Yves Klein has painted his canvas blue, Lucio Fontana has cut slashes into his. What’s left? If you want to do something, to stay alive, you have to think of something at least as radical.’

Imi Knoebel

(German, b. 1940)

Imi Knoebel was born Klaus Wolf Knoebel in Dessau, Germany, in 1940 and lives and works in Düsseldorf. After meeting Rainer Giese (1942–1974) at the Werkkunstschule Darmstadt in 1962, the pair went on to study under Joseph Beuys (1921–1986) at the Staatliche Kunstakademie in Düsseldorf (1964–71), working at the institution’s Room 19 as the artistic duo Imi&Imi. The room gave its name to Knoebel’s most iconic installation, consisting of over 180 wood and Masonite pieces of different shapes and forms that can be assembled in a variety of ways. Knoebel’s minimalist art is inspired, among other things, by the Suprematist oeuvre of the Russian avant-garde artist Kazimir Malevich (1879–1935), in particular his Black Square (1915), which stripped painting down to its absolute core, ‘an end in itself’. Knoebel has exhibited in major museums and galleries around the world, including, most recently, Parkhaus Düsseldorf (2013), Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg (2014) and Museum Haus Esters, Krefeld (2015).

Paul: Kenn ich! from 2013 is a prime example of the recent explorations into form and colour by Imi Knoebel, one of the most important living abstract artists and a key representative of the post-war German art scene. The artwork is executed on aluminium, an industrial support the artist has frequently employed since 1991. The piece consists of seven overlapping aluminium blocks of different shapes and colours. Some of the blocks are geometric, while others are less regular in their shape. Within each of the blocks, the trace of the brushstroke – and hence of the artist’s hand – is intentionally highlighted, contrasting with the aluminium’s prefabricated nature. The darker, warmer colours of the blocks in the forefront visually protrude these further forwards, while the lighter, cooler colours of the shapes in the background force these to retreat further backwards, creating a strong sense of three-dimensionality and movement within the piece. As a result, the artwork appears to float in an in-between state between a painting and a sculpture.

Paul: Kenn ich!, 2013 Acrylic on aluminium 223 × 221 × 6 cm 34




‘When I am asked about what I think when I look at a painting, I can only answer that I don’t think at all. I look at it and can only take in the beauty, and I don’t want to see it in relation to anything else. Only what I see, simply because it has its own validity.’



With its focus on form, colour and material in and of themselves, and without a direct representational reference (except its title), Paul: Kenn ich! highlights Knoebel’s long-standing interest in the work of a key early twentieth-century Russian avant-garde artist Kazimir Malevich (1879–1935). Malevich’s seminal twopart treatise, The Non-Objective World: The Manifesto of Suprematism, was first published in Germany in 1927 and republished in 1962, becoming a powerful source of inspiration for Knoebel. Malevich, a pioneer of Suprematism, advocated art’s liberation through its embrace of non-objectivity: ‘Art … wants

to have nothing further to do with the object, as such, and believes that it can exist, in and for itself, without “things”. … And so there the new non-objective art stands – the expression of pure feeling, seeking no practical values, no ideas, no “promised land”.’ In a similar vein to the avant-garde Russian artist’s urge to renew art for a new Soviet man living in a new post-revolutionary context, Knoebel’s work is an important example of the German post-war impulse to renew painting by stripping it down to its essence for a new type of Germany coming into being in the aftermath of the Second World War.



Katharina Grosse (German, b. 1961)

Katharina Grosse, born 1961 in Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany, is currently based in Berlin. She studied in Münster and Düsseldorf and later on decided to return to academic life. During her nearly two decades as an art and painting professor – first at the Kunsthochschule Berlin-Weissensee, 2000–2010, and then at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf, 2010–2018 – Grosse has had a major influence on future generations of young artists. She has been a member of the Akademie der Künste in Berlin since 2010 and has won numerous awards, including the prestigious Otto Ritschl Prize, Wiesbaden, 2015. Since the early 1990s, her work has been regularly featured in international solo and group exhibitions, as well as major arts projects and biennales. Her pieces are part of prominent museum collections, including those of the Museum of Modern Art, New York, QAGOMA, Brisbane, and the Centre Pompidou in Paris. Best known for her large-scale in situ instal­ lations and immersive visual experiences, as well as wall works, Grosse achieves


striking effects by employing electrifying sprayed acrylic colours, creating a unique and recognisable style both in large-scale architectural and sculptural environments as well as in smaller paintings. In her method and technique, Grosse draws on a combination of diverse art historical traditions, ranging from Abstract Expressionism to street graffiti, fresco and plein-air painting. To create an artwork, she uses a compressor to keep the paint moving, and must act quickly and deliberately to complete the work. Unlike the Action Painters or Expressionists, who are known for their convulsive brushwork and haphazard gestures, Grosse never comes into direct contact with the surfaces of her works yet retains complete and deliberate control over them. Grosse is known to be a bold and perceptive colourist who expands from the canvas into the surrounding environments. For Grosse, there are no distinctions between painting, sculpture, architecture and textile – she treats every surface the


‘I like this anarchic potential of colour. I see it very clearly that colour is actually taking away the boundary of the object. So, there is no subject/object relationship anymore. And I think that maybe colour has the potential to make us think.’ K AT H A R I N A G R O S S E


same way and with the same intentions. Grosse believes that incorporating painting into its immediate environment forms a total system of light and colour that twodimensional painting neglects. Untitled, 2015, is a large-scale acrylic on canvas work that exemplifies Grosse’s relationship with art. Using bold lines of

colour on a canvas in a grid-like pattern, this work helps to open up the viewer’s mind and bring the public into another dimension, suggesting the infinite expandability of a painting. Leaving the white patches on the canvas creates the illusion of plunging into the artwork, exploring this boundless illusory space.

Untitled, 2015 Acrylic on canvas 145 × 94 cm 40




'Bedford’s paintings evoke the vast skies, rocky hills and deep gorges of this ancient landscape, but they also register horrific events that took place there in the late 19th century, referred to by the Gija people as the "killing times".' Russell Storer

Brumby Springs, 2003, exemplifies well Bedford’s recognisable style. The work consists of large fields of flat colour – black and white with a centred red circle – edged with small white dots. The abstract composition is suggestive of a landscape

with its roads, rivers, animals and traditions. Bedford worked in a distinctive way, simultaneously concealing and revealing the land, oscillating between abstraction and representation.

Paddy Bedford

(Australian [Gija], 1922–2007)

Paddy Bedford, or, as he was known by his Gija nickname, Goowoomji, was an Australian artist, born at Bedford Down Station in the East Kimberley in 1922. He is considered to be one of the most important Indigenous Australian artists and the leader of the East Kimberley School of Artists. Bedford’s art simultaneously encom­passes modernist pictorial traditions, contemporary experience and ancient belief systems. His work is represented in major public and private collections both in Australia and internationally, including the Art Gallery of New South Wales in Sydney. He was also one of the eight artists who were commissioned to create permanent installations for the Musée du Quai Branly in Paris in 2001. From his early years, Bedford was actively involved in ceremonial painting that centred around the adornment of the human body. The artist only began painting on canvases towards the very end of his life, in 1997, as he had previously been painting on traditional boards. A year later,


Bedford, together with several other local artists, opened the Jirrawun Arts company, which showcased works by Indigenous artists from the Kimberley. At first sight, Bedford’s art appears minimalist and abstract; however, his painting constitutes a richly layered portrait of the artist’s Country – Ngarranggarni. Bedford painted the history and culture of his ancestral land as well as including subtle elements that speak to its history of colonisation and dispossession. Bedford worked with each element of his painting as if these were abbreviated signs and codes which together would create a powerful and enigmatic message woven into a distinguished style of painting. Bedford’s unique style is characterised by large surfaces of different colours: arrangements of circular or rounded square shapes and blocks which are surrounded by small white dots. Bedford preferred to use subtle colours and semi-monochrome blocks of ochre, but he also experimented with colour, form and pictorial space.


Brumby Springs, 2003 Natural earth pigments and synthetic binder on linen 150 × 180 cm PA D DY B E D F O R D


State of Being (Books), 2016 Red thread, miniature books 20 × 20 × 20 cm

Chiharu Shiota (Japanese, b. 1972)

The line, in the form of a thread, has become Chiharu Shiota’s signature tool of expression since the inception of her practice in the early 1990s. Known for sculpting space with a simple string, her unique output ranges from room-size installations to jewel-like sculptures such as State of Being (Books). The ‘thread’ runs through her work, manifesting the connections between people. Shiota draws from her personal journey as an artist, as a mother and as a migrant – having relocated from her native Japan to Berlin. Her works evoke and trigger memories, desires and anxieties common to us all. Taking life itself as her subject matter, she explores variations on the themes of motherhood, the fleetingness of time, and displacement and communication. Shiota often uses symbolic objects to activate memories associated with them. She chooses evocative objects such as books, chairs, letters and suitcases, which she weaves into her sculptures.


Looking inside the sculpture State of Being (Books) – composed entirely of thin red thread woven around three small books – is an experience similar to being transported into a microcosm. The object is saturated in a vivid red colour, expressing the hue of life itself and symbolising the relationship between people. As the artist notes: ‘In Japanese there is an expression Akai-ito de musu bareru, which means “two people who are tied together with a red string”, which describes the human connection, especially for a couple. Therefore, red string has a special meaning, as it connects people.’ Several years after making State of Being (Books), Shiota created a room-size installation entitled Beyond Memory at the Gropius Bau museum in Berlin in 2019. There, she suspended thousands of books in a cloudlike mesh of white threads hanging from the ceiling. Books are a recurrent motif for the artist. Floating in time and space, they are the guardians of memory and knowledge.




‘String remains a very important material for me – it is like a mirror of my feelings. In making the work, some­times the string gets tangled, or loses tension, or is cut, much like human relation­ ships. Relationships can become tangled, lost or severed. I also use string as a way of connecting memories.’ 46



Ulrike Müller (Austrian, b. 1971)

Ulrike Müller was born in Brixlegg, Austria, in 1971 and lives and works in New York. She moved to New York in 2002 to attend the Whitney Museum’s Independent Study Program and the MoMA PS1 Studio Program (2003–4). In the pursuit of her abstract practice, Müller employs a wide range of materials and techniques, investigating form as a mode of critical engagement. She has recently exhibited at mumok, Vienna (2015) and the Kunstverein für die Rheinlande und Westfalen, Düsseldorf (2018), and her works were on display at the 58th Venice Biennale (2019). Müller’s mural for an exhibition entitled The Conference of the Animals was recently on view at the Queens Museum, New York. Müller also teaches painting at Bard College, New York.

which, once applied onto a metal surface, is then fused to the metal and baked in a kiln at a high temperature. While the earlier works Weather and Inverse Weather are subdued in their character and colour choices, the later Dokebi and Container manifest the artist’s increasing interest in colour combinations and organic shapes.

The five small-scale abstract paintings by Ulrike Müller are examples of her work in enamel on steel, which she has recently focused on following earlier experiments in performance, activism, publishing and curation. The artist uses powdered glass

Yet Müller’s work goes beyond a purely formalist investigation. Her feminist identity surfaces in her works. While not containing direct figurative references, her paintings, at times, allude to bodies and objects surrounding her. Her enamel batches are


Müller’s geometric abstraction is in dialogue with the history of modern art with its focus on formalist aspects, such as colour, shape and material. Müller challenges the medium of painting by working with enamel on steel, making use of its limited colour palette and the fact that she cannot draw directly onto metal and, instead, must employ stencils. As she has noted, ‘Each batch is like setting up an experiment and pushing it along.’


Weather, 2013 — Inverse Weather, 2015 Enamel on steel 39.4 × 30.5 cm

Dokebi, 2016 Enamel on steel 39.4 × 30.5 cm each ULRIKE MÜLLER


‘baked’ in a kiln, creating an association with cooking in a kitchen. The process alludes to a place where a woman has historically belonged, yet Müller turns this on its head by using it to achieve self-expression and assert her identity. Enamel has traditionally been used in the creation of jewellery and decorative art, but by

bringing this medium into the realm of fine art Müller subverts the outdated hierarchical division between fine art (painting, sculpture) and craft (textiles, ceramics, etc.) – the former tending to have been male-dominated – and asserts the place of women’s work and traditions in contemporary art.

‘I am especially interested in this idea of the container in relation to my artworks … in terms of how they make meaning … how I build them around a sense of openness and almost unfinishedness that then requires a relationship with the viewer to be filled up with a particular sense of meaning, wheth­ er that is an image, or an emotion, or any kind of association … and then in my idea the artwork emp­ ties out again like a container to be refilled in the next encounter with a different person.’ Container, 2019 Enamel on steel 39.4 × 30.5 cm 50




‘In a way my dream is to one day make a work that is as fantastic and perfect as a tree. Trees are perfect things, the perfect machine, the perfect body, the perfect exotic things; trees are so strange and always surprising, very mysterious. Then of course the relation with gravity and growing.’

Gabriel Orozco

(Mexican, b. 1962)

With these words, Gabriel Orozco provides clues for decoding and reading Samurai Tree (Invariant 6). The piece’s title further reveals its inspiration as rooted in nature and how these observations and ideas can be represented. Orozco organises the natural world into geometric constellations. He is thus part of a long lineage of artists, beginning with Dutch modernist Piet Mondrian (1872– 1944), who have taken inspiration from nature and brought it to abstraction by translating the shapes and colours of trees into lines and blocks of colour. The artist’s fascination with trees, and his ability to transform them into art, surpasses the quest for beauty and formalism. He is also interested in ‘the perfect machine … gravity and growing’. The forms in Samurai Tree (Invariant 6) are not fixed: they suggest movement and invite our imagination to visualise their next move. As a child, before he became the worldrenowned artist he is today, Orozco was a champion chess player; he has since


transferred his keen sense of logic into visual art. He treats the surface of the canvas as a board which he populates with his signature patterns of circles and squares. Their shifts in colours and permutations derive from the general logic of chess. For example, an inner circle provides the point from which three colours move out like the knight, straight up two squares and over one. Samurai Tree (Invariant 6) is therefore both rooted in nature and in Orozco’s interest in the rules, mechanics and engineering of games. As the artist himself notes: ‘Circling and shattering: these are ways to disappear into space without ever reaching the limits of the sphere.’ Try replacing the word ‘sphere’ with ‘game’. One can also view the painting’s geometric composition as a chain of intersecting molecules. A further clue here is in the second part of the title, Invariant, an adjective used in scientific terminology to indicate an unchanging pattern of cell divisions. Could the Samurai Tree (Invariant 6), with its unique sequence and structure, carry a piece of genetic information?


Samurai Tree (Invariant 6), 2005 Acrylic on canvas 120 × 120 cm



‘Spatial recognition in Japan saw the world as a series of lay­ ers, with no lateral focal point. The space allows left-to-right movement. In other words, in Western design the world faces a person as he moves through space; in Japan it moves paral­ lel within him. At teamLab we had decided to call this logical construction of space “ultra-subjective space”.’


(founded Japan, 2001)

teamLab is a collective of over several hundred interdisciplinary artists. It was founded in 2001 in Tokyo, Japan, by Toshiyuki Inoko (b. 1977), who studied mathematical engineering and information physics at Tokyo University. The group consists of artists, computer programmers, engineers, CG animators, mathematicians, designers and architects. Works by teamLab are in the permanent collections of the world’s major institutions, including the Art Gallery of New South Wales in Sydney; National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne; Asian Art Museum, San Francisco; Asia Society Museum, New York; Borusan Contemporary Art Collection, Istanbul; and Amos Rex in Helsinki. teamLab aims to explore the relationship between the self and the world and new perceptions through art. Over the past couple of decades, the group has successfully assembled a body of work of stunning scope, spanning art, design, performance, architecture, animation, programming and engineering. Ever Blossoming Life – Dark is a digital artwork that is being created and drawn in 54

real time by a carefully designed computer program. It showcases teamLab’s use of digital technology, employing computer graphics, sensing, sound and light. Importantly, this work is not a pre-recorded video, but an algorithm created to produce endless variations and sequences of images unfolding in real time. Deeply rooted in the traditions of ancient East Asian ink painting, one of the key ideas in this work is to explore the notion of spatial perspective. Furthermore, this digital work addresses the always pressing question of fleeting existence using blossoming flowers: another quintessential motif in traditional East Asian art. Ever Blossoming Life – Dark considers the inevitable change that happens when flowers blossom in profusion before the petals begin to wither, resulting in flowers fading away, only for new blossoms to appear. Behind the seductive and magnetic qualities of teamLab’s art are careful reworkings of traditions and meanings. teamLab draws inspiration from the collective cultural memory and is always sensitive to contemporary experience and progress.


Ever Blossoming Life – Dark, 2014 Digital work, endless






‘Whole lot, that’s all, whole lot, awelye [my Dreaming], arlatyeye [pencil yam], ankerrthe [mountain devil lizard], ntange [grass seed], dingo, ankerre [emu], intekwe [small plant, emu food], atnwerle [green bean] and kame [yam seed]. That’s what I paint, whole lot.’

Emily Kam Kngwarray (Australian [Anmatyerr], 1910–1996)

Born in Alhalkere, Utopia Station, Northern Territory, Emily Kam Kngwarray was one of Australia’s most significant and internationally renowned artists. Even though she began to paint professionally later in her life, she was an artist long before then. Kngwarray’s artistic training was a traditional one, involving the preparation and use of designs for women’s ceremonies and events, as well as body painting. Her training in Western techniques began, along with that of the rest of the Utopia community, with batik in 1980, after which she moved to painting on canvas; in the late 1980s – when she was in her seventies – she started using acrylics. In the short eight years that constitute her ‘mature’ style, she produced an extraordinary number of works: approximately 3,400 paintings or more, meaning on average one painting per day.

of the art world beyond the Utopia region. She found inspiration and creativity purely within her people’s ancestral history and their rituals. Although her technique and style underwent several shifts, all her work was connected with women’s ritual activities. Kngwarray always had a keen sense of colour and dynamism, from her early dot paintings that drew upon her experience with batik fabric right up to the linear striped compositions and colour-block abstractions of her later years. As can be seen in Untitled, 1996, created in the last year of her life, Kngwarray was a master colourist who employed rhythmic lines and gestures to literally dance on the canvas with her brush. In this work, the landscape and its energy paths dissolve into an ode to colour and life.

Kngwarray is so widely known that she is often referred to in Australia simply as ‘Emily’. Her painting style aligned with the principles of Abstract Expressionism and modernism, despite her knowing very little


Untitled, 1996 Synthetic polymer paint on linen 153 × 122 cm




‘I have a lot of power, no one gets the better of me, white or black. I have the law for everyone. I am the elbow. I have the dalkarra, the power.’

Tom Djawa

(Australian [Gupapuyngu], 1905–1980)

Untitled (ceremonial Mokuy figure), c. 1960 Natural earth pigments on carved softwood 100 cm (high)

Tom Djawa was a prominent Aboriginal Australian painter and sculptor, born in 1905 in Milingimbi, Central Arnhem Land, in the Northern Territory. Djawa led an extra­ordinary life as the leader of the local Yolngu people. He dedicated his life to two causes: art and ensuring the stability of his community.

Unknown artist

(Milingimbi, Central Arnhem Land, Australia)

too close. These representational figures of Mokuy spirits are derived from bound bark figures or from square-sectioned and painted grave-post figures – wuramu. In ceremonial Mokuy figures, certain linear facial markings can evoke lunggurrma – the north-east wind that typically brings monsoons to Arnhem Land in the spring and summer. The vertical lines that extend along the length of the sculpture can signify the human anatomy and the connection between the deceased and the land from which the spirit emanates. In some cases, particular elements might symbolise the connection between the deceased and the land from which the spirit of the dead returns at death. In others, there could be a diamond or honeycomb-like pattern, which is meant to evoke the power of the honey spirit who created the sacred songs, dances and designs for this honey type in the ancestral period Wangarr.

Djawa is celebrated for his bark paintings and wooden sculptures. His works are intricate compositions, often dominated by complex geometric patterning. Djawa’s patterning reflects his ceremonial seniority in the community and details specific family responsibilities and connections. The pieces also highlight the dynamic stories and traditions closely connected to the land and sea country of northern Australia. These two ceremonial Mokuy figures, one by Djawa and the other by an artist whose name was not recorded, bear elaborate geometric patterns and designs of specific cultural meaning. In Indigenous cultures, Mokuy spirits are the ghost or shadow spirit of a deceased person; they dwell near to burial grounds and are believed to protect the deceased from those who approach 60

Untitled (ceremonial Mokuy figure), 1963 Natural earth pigments on carved hardwood 98.5 cm (high)

The works in the Collection exemplify the artists’ authentic connections to the land and the world of spirits. Their works are the proud guardians of the sculptural language and traditions of the Yolngu people. JOHN & MYRIAM WYLIE COLLECTION



‘Prior to the mid-1980s we rarely saw work of indigenous women in Australia. They were not encouraged to make art. At Lajamanu in 1986, the senior women took part in a traditional painting course. Such was the artists' enthusiasm that in one afternoon they painted fifty-five works. What they were doing was rendering permanent their body designs and women’s ceremonies. This was a way of teaching their children and grandchildren about the truth of their culture, their sacred designs, their dreamings and ensuring that their culture was maintained and lived onto the future.’ Judith Ryan

Swamps Near of Nyrripi (My Father’s Country), 2007 Synthetic polymer paint on linen 182 × 182 cm

Ngoia Pollard Napaltjarri (Australian [Walpiri], b. c. 1948)

Ngoia Pollard Napaltjarri was born in 1948 in Haasts Bluff, a Walpiri-speaking region of Australia’s Western Desert territory. She was educated in Papunya, where she met her husband, painter Jack Tjampitjinpa, who went on to work as an artist with the Papunya Tula company. Initially, Napaltjarri assisted her husband with his artistic practice, but in 1997 she started to paint independently. Napaltjarri’s career quickly developed and she established herself as an artist of great importance. She is a recipient of major awards, including the prestigious National Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Art Awards (2006). Her works are held in major private and public collections, including the National Gallery of Australia and the Thomas Vroom Collection, Netherlands. Napaltjarri’s art is characterised by distinctive non-figurative oval shapes surrounded by precise infill dotting; the colour scheme is often monochrome or black and white, with red occasionally used to highlight core oval forms. The artist draws inspiration from her father’s Country – the


sacred Walpiri territory – painting the land that is so familiar to her. The artist’s home Country – Nyrippi (Talarada), also known as unoccupied ‘dangerous territory’ – is situated north-west of Mt. Liebig and, according to the Tingari stories, is believed to be associated with the narrative of the water-snake that lives beneath the surface. Napaltjarri is telling the story of this land: the oval shapes in her works represent the local swamps and lakes, and the dots around it signify the evaporating water and the cracks that are formed in the ground. The patterned oval shapes of Swamps Near of Nyrripi (My Father’s Country), 2007, testify to her interest in the wetlands of this region. The painting conveys the vibrations and expansiveness of the land through a flow of undulating cells.




The Paradox of Content #6, 2009 Violet neon mounted directly on the wall 168 × 167 cm

Joseph Kosuth

(American, b. 1945)

Joseph Kosuth was born in Toledo, Ohio, in 1945 and lives and works in London and New York. He studied anthropology and philosophy at the New School for Social Research, New York. Kosuth is one of the most prominent conceptual artists of his generation, with his work focused around language and meaning in art. He first taught at New York’s School of Visual Arts in 1967 and has since been a visiting professor at the Staatliche Akademie der Bildenden Künste in Stuttgart, Yale University, the Pratt Institute in New York and the University of Oxford. Kosuth is a recipient of multiple prestigious accolades, including, most recently, the European Cultural Centre Art Award for his lifelong dedication to the creation of meaning through contemporary art (2017). His work can be found in numerous collections, including MoMA, Tate, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Stedelijk Museum, Louvre and Centre Pompidou. In The Paradox of Content #6 (2009), Kosuth recreates, in bright violet neon attached to a wall, one of the multiple sketches depicting a tree of life by the pioneering biologist and


proponent of the theory of evolution, Charles Darwin (1809–1882). These sketches feature consistently in Darwin’s notebooks and relate to the time both preceding and following the publication of his infamous On the Origin of Species (1859). The branches demonstrate the evolutionary relationships between the species, with the tips of the branches showing the still-extant species; the trees also pointed out species that were by now extinct. Kosuth’s neon installations featuring Darwin’s sketches were first shown at a 2010 exhibition at the Anna Schwartz Gallery, Melbourne, titled ‘An Interpretation of This Title’: Nietzsche, Darwin and the Paradox of Content. Conceived initially in white and installed on the gallery’s all-black walls, they were exhibited alongside quotes by Friedrich Nietzsche (1844–1900). The use of Darwin’s sketches and Nietzsche’s quotes, as well as Kosuth’s choice of neon, may seem puzzling at first, yet these concepts are at the heart of his artistic practice. Another aspect that is key to The Paradox of Content #6 – and to Kosuth’s wider prac-



‘My researcher at Cambridge University found Darwin’s diagrams but, interestingly and usefully for me, nobody knows what they mean; they remain an enigma. So they were perfect for this work where I wanted to deal with the “belief” of science, science re­ duced to a religion of its own process. Who per­ sonifies that more than Darwin?’ 66


tice – is his interest in humankind’s intellectual history, in ‘…all those kinds of ideas that have shaped our view of the world and our understanding of our existence…’. Directly relating to this is Kosuth’s use of appropriation strategies, through his conscious borrowing of other individuals’ ideas to achieve what he calls ‘surplus meaning’. When discussing the Paradox of Content series, Kosuth has highlighted his interest in exploring the profound influence of Darwin’s ideas on Nietzsche, in particular that of natural selection, which was key to Nietzsche’s thinking around self-knowledge and self-actualisation being central to our evolution as humans. Kosuth’s signature medium is neon. His preference for it has largely been explained by its neutrality and distance from fine art associations. By using this seemingly mundane, yet accessible, material Kosuth manages to promote past ideas of progress and enlightenment that have shaped us in ways that are fresh and engaging to new generations.



Zheng Guogu

Mantra Wheel (for Career, No. 2), 2012 Oil on canvas 200 × 200 cm

(Chinese, b. 1970)

Zheng Guogu was born in 1970 in Yangjiang, in the southwest part of Guangdong pro­ vince. He is a central figure among the generation of Chinese artists who came of age after the Cultural Revolution (1966–76), many of whom have grappled with tensions between tradition and modernity in a rapidly globalizing China. Guogu has participated in numerous solo and group exhibitions throughout China, North America and Europe and has been the subject of solo exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Art, MoMA PS1 (2019); Queensland Art Gallery of Modern Art (2018); Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, 2017; Minsheng Art Museum, Shanghai (in cooperation with Yangjiang Group) (2013); and BizArt Art Center, Shanghai (2006). Guogu is committed to the local culture of his hometown of Yangjiang and uses his voice and resources to direct attention to it. Since 2005, he has gradually built and repurposed a large complex of buildings and gardens on the outskirts of the city, now called Liao Garden. This constantly evolving utopian domain provides Guogu


with a setting for experimentation rooted in tradition, but anarchistically constructed outside of legal parameters. The revisions and expansions that Guogu continually undertakes at Liao Garden evoke the Buddhist belief in the impermanence of the physical realm. Guogu’s painting practice reflects his intimate knowledge of traditional Chinese, Buddhist and Daoist art and spirituality. His meditative paintings are turned outwards, his aim being to establish a connection with the viewer. Guogu’s interest lies in the relationship between the picture and our individual consciousness, aspiring to what he calls moments of ‘pure energy’ in which ‘you yourself become a part of the artwork’. Mantra Wheel (for Career, No. 2), 2012, seems relatively simple at first, depicting a clear motif of a mantra wheel. Close inspection, however, reveals that every portion of every line contains a variety of colours forming microscopic camouflage patterns. The colours converge in




concentric circles towards the centre of the picture where a rose is represented. This meticulous painting process is akin to creating a Buddhist mandala, where transcendence may be attained through the enduring act of creation. The process is the quest, beyond the resulting object. In his desire to immerse the viewer in the painting, Guogu has created 360 painted environments. For his exhibition in Guangzhou, where Mantra Wheel (for Career, No. 2) was first exhibited, the artist filled the gallery walls with vivid colours referencing spiritual motifs found in Buddhist thangkas. In recent years, Guogu

has been developing a body of work entitled Visionary Transformations, in which he digitally superimposes multiple thangkas so as to produce a single hallucinatory image. With their layered colours and evanescent complexity, the paintings evade a single reading or meaning. This openness to ‘the flow’ invokes the Buddhist belief in the impermanence of the physical realm. Guogu’s painting Mantra Wheel (for Career, No. 2) is a prime example of the artist using art as a medium for the study of energy, and as a meditative tool to guide us on our professional and personal journeys.

‘Take a deep breath as you stand in front of the painting. Then move the air up. You have to breathe from your centre. It prepares your energy for viewing the rest of the show. My whole practice is beyond abstraction or concept. It’s a direct interaction with your body. You don’t have to read or to know anything, but to feel it. You yourself become a part of the artwork. You shouldn’t think. It’s not Pop or symbolism, it’s about the sub­ conscious.’ 70




‘Photography is like a found object. A photo­grapher never makes an actual subject; they just steal the image from the world.’

Hiroshi Sugimoto (Japanese, b. 1948)

Hiroshi Sugimoto (b. 1948, Tokyo) is a Japanese photographer and architect living in New York and Tokyo. Over the course of his artistic career, he has defined what it means to be a multi-disciplinary contemporary artist, blurring the lines between photography, painting, installation and architecture. He was the recipient of the Hasselblad Award in 2001. His works are held in numerous major public and private collections, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo; National Gallery, London; National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, DC; and Tate, London, among many others. Preserving and picturing memory and time is a central theme of Sugimoto’s art and photography. His work also focuses on the transience of life, and on the conflict between life and death. He is renowned for his black-and-white Seascapes series, which he began in the 1980s. To create these works, Sugimuto uses a very long exposure camera, capturing the variations of the light on the water.


The work Five Elements: Tasman Sea, Nagarupupu was inspired by a medieval Buddhist ‘five elements’ pagoda. These pagodas represent the fundamental constituents of the cosmos, which are typically identified as the natural phenomena earth (square), water (sphere), fire (pyramid), wind (half-moon) and air (jewel shape). The water sphere contains a small photograph of the ocean, printed from a negative that the artist used in the creation of a series of large-scale seascapes. The Five Elements sculpture is made in optical glass, the same material that a camera lens is made of. It is the purest, most transparent material available, providing a clear view of the inside of the sculpture itself. Looking through the sculpture, we see the complete concept of the universe. Sugimoto has referred to his work as an expression of ‘time exposed’, insisting that the photographs serve as a time capsule of particular moments and that they are intended to encourage the viewer’s philosophical exploration of memory, time and the universe as a whole. Five Elements: Tasman Sea, Nagarupupu, 1990, 2012 Optical-quality glass, black-and-white transparency 15.2 × 7.6 × 7.6 cm JOHN & MYRIAM WYLIE COLLECTION



Untitled, 1970 Acrylic on canvas 182.9 × 127 cm

Roy Colmer

(British, 1935–2014)

Roy Colmer was born in London in 1935. He first worked as a painter before turning to conceptual film and photography in the 1970s. Colmer often collaborated with other artists, notably Hanne Darboven (1941–2009), whom he had met in Hamburg. His seminal photographic work Doors, NYC (1976) was incorporated into Darboven’s work Kulturgeschichte 1880–1983 (Cultural History 1880–1983), 1980–83. Colmer’s spray-gun paintings from the early 1970s were included in High Times, Hard Times: New York Painting 1967– 75, a travelling exhibition organised by the Independent Curators International, New York. Colmer’s work can be found in numerous collections, including MoMA, the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, New York Public Library, the Centre Pompidou and Brooklyn Museum. Untitled from 1970 is a classic example of a spray-gun painting by Colmer – a process that the artist himself has described in the following terms: ‘In my painting, the use of an industrial model spray gun allowed me to cover large areas of the canvas with little effort. The stripes were taped horizontally. I could then approach


a breaking down of the colour vertically.’ In this particular example, the dusty pink background darkens towards the centre of the composition, occupied by a rhombus mass of a warm yellow shade, outlined by a violet hue. The light blue stripes, cutting through the composition horizontally, fill the painting with volume and movement, the central mass pulsating out of the canvas towards the viewer. Colmer’s artwork reminds one of the colourful test cards which used to be seen on TV screens before and after transmissions, as well as the visual effects that are witnessed when a TV picture is distorted. As such, Colmer’s practice from this period – with its interest in television’s increasing presence in people’s lives, its experimentation with visual perception and the use of industrial tools for creative purposes – can be viewed within a wider framework of contemporary pop art and op art developments. It is worth noting that, a year before Colmer’s arrival in New York, Almir Mavignier took part in the seminal 1965 MoMA exhibition The Responsive Eye – an




‘The late 1960s and early 1970s were exciting times of inno­ vation for art – Minimalism, Conceptual art, experimental film and video, sound works, earthworks, and various kinds of performance art. The ex­ perimental painting that I saw in the New York galleries and museums fit right in. Brave and alive, it was painting that learned from other forms of art, as well as other media, and produced its own innovations. At its core was freedom – the right to be equal and different. Insights and perceptions could be turned into new ways of see­ ing and living in the world.’ 76


exhibition dedicated, among other topics, to op art. Considering the show’s remarkable acclaim, Colmer would undoubtedly have heard of it and perhaps also seen the accompanying catalogue. Equally, Colmer’s artistic upbringing took place against a wider backdrop of German artists’ interest in pre-war modernist experiments, including those relating to colour theory, developed at the pre-eminent Bauhaus school of art and design. These sought to analyse the ‘emotional and spiritual associations between specific colours and forms’. Looking at how skilfully Colmer combines and juxtaposes colours in his spray-gun paintings leaves no doubt that these ground-breaking debates around colour greatly influenced his thinking process.



Snowflakes (for Joyce Robins), 2011 Oil on canvas 132.1 × 132.1 cm

Catherine Murphy (American, b. 1946)

Catherine Murphy’s paintings are often set in a domestic environment rendered in the style of a hyperrealist painting. Remarkably, however, Murphy works without a camera or digital means, purely favouring her meticulous observation and memory. Her gaze falls upon day-today objects, ranging from wallpaper and plates, to a computer and its screensaver, to a paper snowflake on a window. These objects are deliberately chosen for their seemingly banal qualities, which makes them perfect subjects of study. Murphy’s work represents a contemporary development in a long art historical tradition of still-life painting – where apples, glasses, tables are instruments for artistic experimentation and mastery. This lineage extends from Caravaggio to Paul Cézanne, Giorgio Morandi to Peter Dreher, a likeminded artist whose work is also featured in the Collection (see below). Murphy’s still-life paintings are filled with movement and expressiveness. In Snowflakes (for Joyce Robins) Murphy plays


with the collision between a still and animated image. She uses the associations we make with falling snow, as swirling and evanescent, to suggest movement while inserting an immobile object, the paper snowflake. Likewise, she creates layers of representation by juxtaposing the central artificial paper snowflake with natural ones in the background. Snowflakes functions as an elaborate viewing frame: a window through which to observe the starry night outside. This trompe l’oeil arises from superimposing two picture planes: a transparent window in the foreground, onto which the snowflake has been ‘taped’, and the deep background in which heavy snow is falling. We do not see any part of the window frame and only know the window is there because of the painted sticky tape holding the cut-out onto the glass. The paper snowflake is rotated into a diamond shape, ornamented with little windows onto the landscape. The apertures compose micro-environments, connected like cells under a microscope.




‘My true desire is for the painting to have enough power to be able to read it from a distance, and not to have that power dissipate as the person gets closer to the paint­ ing. I want the viewer to have a body experience and a brain experience.’



These perspective and reality shifts invite viewers to reconsider the very nature of observation and consciousness, aiming towards a heightened state of awareness to the world. Through its stellar subject, Snowflakes (for Joyce Robins) also speaks of exploration, beginning within the self and reaching out into space.



Happy Sad, 2018 Steel and foil armature, paint, hair, polymer clay, fabric 118 × 30 × 30 cm

Francis Upritchard

(New Zealander, b. 1976)

Francis Upritchard has been living in London since 1998, but her artistic development was greatly influenced by her childhood spent in a free-spirited community in the small agricultural town of New Plymouth on New Zealand’s North Island. Her works have been exhibited in prestigious venues, including the Venice Biennale in 2009, where Upritchard represented New Zealand; the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, 2014; the Barbican Centre, London, in 2018; and the Museum Dhondt-Dhaenens, Belgium, 2020. Upritchard is known for reinventing archetypal figures, from medieval knights to meditating hippies and rock stars, each attired in bespoke garments and decorated with objects and body ornaments. Her inspiration ranges from Indian miniatures to Romanesque frescoes, and from ancient sculptures to science fiction. Moreover, Upritchard has a special relationship with colour, which often dictates the viewer’s journey through her exhibitions and is found in abundance in the eclectic works she creates.


Happy Sad was named after the album by Tim Buckley, released in 1969. The piece’s unique personality is inspired by folklore, pop culture and history. The face and hands are adorned with lines evocative of traditional Māori tattooing, common in the artist’s birthplace; they represent pride, integrity and the figure’s cul­ tural roots. Upritchard’s works are deeply rooted in history, culture and mythology, creating a distinctive and mysterious appearance. The sculpture’s cross-cultural outfit suggests an international journey. A Japanese kimono purchased in Spitalfields Market in London, handmade Moroccan leather shoes, earrings from Peru and colourful sunnies complete this fashion-forward look. By bringing this international diversity together in one work, Upritchard promotes an equal melting pot, erasing the notions of ‘otherness’. Upritchard is fascinated by the physical aspects of making, ignoring the traditional hierarchy of arts. This is reflected in



‘I absolutely believe in the therapeutic power of creativ­ ity. I know that I process a lot of my experiences, joys and anxieties through my work. Not just by sorting through ideas in a method not far off dreaming, but also when I’m keeping my hands busy my mind is in a meditative state.’



the diverse range of materials she uses, including polymer clay, fabric, ceramic, bronze, glass, thermoplastic, and even a rare Brazilian rubber called balata. By merging figurative sculpture, art, craft and design, she pushes these practices in new directions, creating her own narrative.



Tag um Tag guter Tag (Day by Day Good Day), 1982–2006 Oil on canvas Each panel, 25 × 20 cm

Peter Dreher (German, 1932–2020)

So began Peter Dreher’s life project and a rare occurrence in the history of art: one man painting the same empty glass for almost fifty years. The idea came to him in a split second, one evening in 1974. Dreher wanted to paint the invisible, and for that the subject and execution had to be the simplest possible. This would enable him to transcend the subject and focus foremost on the act of painting. Dreher picked up a glass in his studio at random; it turned out to be the right one and remained the artist’s muse for all those years. Dreher established a clear protocol: each painting was to be completed in a single day or night. He always placed the glass in the centre of the canvas, with an equal distance to all sides, and he always used the same format (25 × 20 cm) and the same medium (oil on canvas). He painted straight on, with his eye level just below the rim; the glass is shown life size. The colour palette was reduced to the bare minimum so as not to detract attention from what might emerge. Yet what transpires in the paintings are the unforeseeable parameters: the light and its reflections in the window, the artist’s 86

mental state. He noted: ‘To this day I see this process as being equivalent to the way a scientist proceeds, creating certain conditions without knowing which course his experiments will take. … I would try to see myself as an instrument, refraining from any subjective manipulation.’ Dreher invited chance to be an element that captured the uniqueness of his vision at that moment in time. When Dreher began the glass paintings, he was gifted a book on Zen Buddhism by one of his students. He felt close to its principles and titled the project after a quote by Yunmen Wenyan, one of the great Chinese masters: ‘Said Ummon to his disciples, “I do not ask you to say anything about before the fifteenth day of the month, but say something about after the fifteenth day of the month.” Because no monk could reply, Ummon answered himself and said, “Every day is a good day!”’ These glass paintings could be read as a diary of one’s lifetime. Perhaps they could just be testimonials of a life dedicated to observation and to carrying on, one good day at a time. JOHN & MYRIAM WYLIE COLLECTION








‘I thought I would paint five, six paint­ ings of this kind without changing the motif so that people could un­ derstand what I meant. At first there were six, then I felt like doing an­ other and another – and now there are 5,000. I didn’t plan to do it this way. I always knew I would stop when the motivation stopped. It wasn’t a self-imposed compulsion rather the joy surrounding the object. It has stayed with me ever since: I look at the painting I’ve just made and con­ sider it the most beautiful that I have ever painted.’





Quantum Entangled Ideas (Generous Orange), 2020 Colored glass (pink, orange fade, blue), driftwood 105.5 × 80 × 12 cm

Olafur Eliasson

(Danish/Icelandic, b. 1967)

Olafur Eliasson was born in 1967 in Copenhagen and is based in Berlin. He draws constant inspiration from the unique landscape of Iceland, where he grew up. His sensitivity to space, perception and light was shaped wandering the Icelandic landscape and taking in its features and atmosphere. Eliasson’s driftwood pieces, such as Blue Polar Eclipse (2019) and Quantum Entangled Ideas (Generous Orange) (2020), are composed by overlaying different sheets of coloured glass, playing with how the colours merge and transform. The glass planes incorporate windows that make it possible to see through the spectrum of colours. They are securely positioned on a driftwood ledge that is sourced from the Icelandic shoreline. The use of driftwood speaks to Eliasson’s concern with climate change; he considers the trees to be witnesses of migration, having made their way to Iceland after drifting through great expanses of water.


Chasing the ultimate light source, the sun, has been Eliasson’s leitmotif. The work that catapulted the artist to the top of the inter­ national art world was his 2003 installation at Tate Modern, The Weather Project, nicknamed ‘The Sun’. Through a relatively simple device consisting of a semi-circle, a light and a mirror, Eliasson transformed the great industrial volume of the Turbine Hall into a social space: a place where people could lie down and bathe in the art-filled sunlight. This became one of the most visited and iconic artworks of this century. Eliasson still uses light as his primary tool to create works of art that are phenomenological by appealing to our senses and triggering emotions. Eliasson is keen to ignite ecological consciousness through his works, in which he observes and translates natural phenomena such as wind, waterfalls, rain, rainbows, sandstorms, sunsets and eclipses. The beauty is that all of these ideas are conveyed using the most simple, ‘low-tech’ means.







Blue Polar Eclipse, 2019 Coloured glass (light blue fade, orange fade, transparent), coloured glacial-rock-flour glass (medium green), silver, dichroic coating, driftwood 105 × 80 × 12 cm

‘One reason I’m interested in making people conscious of light is because our relationship with the climate is essentially about light. I’m thinking about how our relationship with light could introduce a more direct rela­ tionship with challenges like climate change.’ For Olafur Eliasson, ‘an artist can be many things – an entrepreneur, policymaker, activist, researcher, a gardener of sorts’. By way of proof, Eliasson himself launched a social enterprise in 2012 called Little Sun. A solar-powered handheld lamp that he designed is distributed globally, with a focus on sub-Saharan Africa. Today, over half a million units


have been shipped to off-grid areas. As Blue Polar Eclipse and Quantum Entangled Ideas (Generous Orange) exemplify, Eliasson’s quest for illumination creates high-impact projects with simple means. The artist invites us to be attuned to the natural beauty of the world and the way we orient ourselves within it.




‘In ancient China, literati who were exiled turned to nature, meticulously representing the details of their landscape. Wasn’t that also a counterpoint to reality? MY WORLD IS AUTONOMOUS. It functions as a counterpoint to reality and can be entered and exited freely. It’s a place for a walk, a trance, a look around or a weep. Perhaps I am a pessimistic romantic or simply good at fantasizing.’

Cao Fei

(Chinese, b. 1978)

Born in Guangzhou in 1978 and based in Beijing, Cao Fei is a Chinese multimedia artist. Over the past decade Fei has established herself as a ground-breaking voice in contemporary Chinese art, well known in her own country and beyond. Fei’s practice encompasses film, photography, di­ gital media and performance. She creates work about the human response to the rapid technological developments and the changes that have marked her generation with the advent of China’s policies of reform, the rise of capitalism and urbanism. Fei builds her own worlds using stop-motion animation, film and virtual reality. Her films are often set in imaginary cities, megapolises in which her characters are free to live out fantasies, far beyond everyday reality. Fei’s protagonists are often seen looking for opportunities to bond and love in cities where the real and the imagined become blurred. Nova 01 (2019) is a still image from Fei’s first feature film. Nova tells the story of a

computer scientist working on a secret international project that attempts to turn humans into digital mediums. Central to the film is a father–son relationship where the scientist’s failed attempt to use his son as a test case results in the young man wandering in cyberspace until they are reunited again. Nova plays on the aesthetics of the sci-fi movie but with a retro feel, oscillating between future and past, reality and desire. The surrealism of Fei’s work taps into the theme of human existence in the age of virtuality, technology and urbanism. She remarks: ‘Before doubts are even formed, our thoughts are interrupted by videos and texts of friends, by our ecstasy for the hundreds of “likes” that a selfie earns. Everything is a datum and everyone performs for data.’ Anyone living in this digitally dependent age can identify with how our representation in the digital world informs our perception of the self and our understanding of reality.

Nova 01, 2019 Inkjet print on paper 105 × 150 cm 100




‘I wanted to make paintings about people’s lives and paintings that were also urban. When I stum­ bled upon using the light, it was a way of express­ ing the complex symphony of human experience.’

Mary Weatherford

(American, b. 1963)

Mary Weatherford was born in Ojai, California, in 1963, and is based in Los Angeles. She is recognised as one of the leading painters of her generation. Taking on the legacies of American abstraction, Weatherford honours its history by seizing opportunities to break with tradition. Weatherford graduated in art and art history from Princeton University in 1984 and received an MFA from Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, New York, in 2006. This solid academic background provided her with a well-rounded foundation from which to further disrupt the generally accepted artistic traditions and combine them with a contemporary vision, in this way reconditioning abstraction. The year 2012 marked a breakthrough in Weatherford’s practice, when she began incorporating readymade neons into her paintings; these, in combination with a mastery of colour-field abstraction, propelled her to the vanguard of contem­ porary painting. Weatherford’s diverse artistic background is clear when one looks at her influences. She shares with Mark Rothko (1903–1970) 102

an aptitude for conveying emotions through paint and colour. And her works are also in dialogue with the Argentine-Italian modernist Lucio Fontana (1899–1968), who used neon as a distinctive ray of light that runs through the space of the canvas. Weatherford’s paintings are memories of the cities she’s lived in and of her artistic community. She has captured the Californian sky and the waterways, using readymade neon to evoke the signs of cities from Los Angeles to Coney Island. Colour in her works corresponds to the emotions that one experiences in natural landscapes, while the inclusion of neons introduces a more urban tone. Ruby, 2019, embodies Weatherford’s signature style: a bright and fleeting ray of light is placed against a bold and expansive background of colour. This notable combination of sculptural elements with her painterly gesture has allowed her to employ abstraction as a universal language to engage with the world outside the studio and to contribute to the history of contemporary art. Ruby, 2019 Flashe and neon on linen 223.5 × 147 cm JOHN & MYRIAM WYLIE COLLECTION



‘I always wanted to have the courage to do totally crazy, impossible, and also wrong things.’ Isa Genzken (German, b. 1948)

Isa Genzken was born in 1948 in Bad Oldesloe, Germany. She studied fine arts, art history and philosophy in Hamburg, Berlin and Cologne, before completing her studies at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf in 1977. She had her first institutional solo exhibition as early as 1978, at the Kabinett für Aktuelle Kunst in Bremerhaven, Germany. Genzken currently lives and works in Berlin and is considered to be one of the most influential female artists of the twenty-first century. Her work has been a major part of the artistic discourse from the earliest stages of her career, and over the last decade a new generation of artists has been inspired by her radical inventiveness. Works by Genzken are part of the permanent collections of many of the world’s most prestigious museums, including the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Gemeentemuseum in The Hague; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, DC; and Museum Ludwig in Cologne. Her work has been prominently


featured in multiple international biennials, including the Venice Biennale (1982, 1993, 2003, 2007 – the year that she represented Germany – and 2015). Genzken’s artworks have been the subject of many major museum exhibitions, including at the Palais des Beaux-Arts in Brussels and London’s Whitechapel Gallery. In 2013, the Museum of Modern Art, New York, organised Genzken’s Retrospective, the most comprehensive survey of her diverse body of work in an American museum, and the largest to that date, encompassing Genzken’s work in all media over the past forty years. She is the proud recipient of numerous awards and grants, including the most recent Nasher Prize from the Nasher Sculpture Center, Dallas, which she received in 2019. Isa Genzken’s work often draws upon everyday material culture, including design, consumer goods, the media, architecture and urban environments. Her work is inspired by the aesthetics of Minimalism, punk culture, assemblage and readymade art.



Genzken is often placed within the tradition of the Dadaists, who promoted the absurd in art as a means to contest social conventions. Like Duchamp, Genzken uses readymade objects to test these definitions of fine art through the decontextualisation and appropriation of everyday objects. Nofretete, 2018, is a totem sculpture by Genzken that consists of several readymade elements and embodies the artist’s recognisable style, while exploring the border between fine art and history and the commercialism of contemporary culture. The bust of Nefertiti, an ancient icon of feminine beauty, is one of the most wellknown and historically significant sculptures and is often used by Genzken in her art. In this body of work, Genzken appropriates plaster reproductions of the iconic Nefertiti bust, giving them fashionable sunglasses and placing them on tall, white pedestals where the most famous profile in ancient Egyptian art presides in a distinctly contemporary fashion. In related


works, Genzken has paired her Nefertitis with a reproduction of the Renaissance icon of feminine beauty, the Mona Lisa, placing a reproduction of the iconic portrait by Leonardo da Vinci against the foot of each pedestal. At times Genzken has included her self-portrait, playfully inserting her own artistic practice into this witty exploration of the lineage of feminine beauty and the place of women in art history. Genzken’s works are always ‘topical’ and tend to stand against the notion of traditional artistic elites, providing valuable social critique. Nofretete, 2018, includes what appears to be a page titled ‘Richard Wagner: Parsifal’. Wagner’s Parsifal is a beautiful opera based on an epic poem, but Wagner himself was a very controversial figure, known to be Hitler’s favourite composer and associated with the promotion of the virtues of the German Reich and misogyny. By including him in her work, the artist is subtly questioning beauty, art and historical legacy.

Nofretete, 2018 MDF plinth, plaster bust on wooden base, glasses, photograph, glue, mirror tape, printed paper (LP inlay) 190 × 30 × 40 cm JOHN & MYRIAM WYLIE COLLECTION



‘They [industrial sites] are somehow sacred or even mystical, almost like cathedrals. When I enter a large industrial site, I feel myself change on an emotional level. I feel connected to these huge spaces, and at the same time, different from when I first came in.’

Ansaldo, 2013 Oil on canvas 170 x 200 cm

Alessandro Papetti (Italian, b. 1958)

Alessandro Papetti is a self-taught painter from Milan, where he still resides. Papetti started exhibiting in 1980, but since being featured in the 2003 Venice Biennale he has emerged as one of the most important Italian painters today. Growing up in Milan created an ideal backdrop for the works Papetti would create as an artist, as he himself has noted: ‘I tend to use monochromatic colours. The light in my cities is fairly northern because I was born in Milan and that definitely had an influence. These are the colours from my city, from the air that I’ve breathed.’ Papetti has exhibited his works in major international exhibitions including Île Seguin at the Musée des Années 30 in Paris, 2007; the Italian and Cuban Pavilions at the Venice Biennale, 2011; Factories of Utopia at the Moscow Museum of Architecture, Moscow, 2012; solo exhibitions at the Everard Read Gallery in Johannesburg and at the Halle am Wasser at Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin, both in 2013; and I Live Here at CIRCA Gallery, London, 2016.

of industrial sites, factories and shipyards in which he vividly renders the machinery and design. Ansaldo is a prime example of Papetti’s industrial archaeology paintings, depicting an out-of-use manufacturing site in greyscale. Monochromatic colours and expressive brushstrokes reinforce the contrast of light and shadows that fill the empty space. Papetti paints intuitively and fast; indeed, he is known to never retouch the parts of the canvas that are already completed.

Papetti’s most noticeable influences include Francis Bacon and Alberto Giacometti, whom the artist echoes in creating spaces of high intensity, filled with lines and movement. Papetti is best known for his paintings

Papetti sees fragility and hope in abandoned factories or old shipyards: these great carriers and machines frozen in time, reminding him of archaeological remains, fossils of a bygone era.


Ansaldo does not include any human figures, another key trait of Papetti’s archaeological painting style. Papetti refers to pieces of old machinery as totemic items – strong and powerful but, at the same time, ethereal, capable of creating their own storyline. He tends to view his subjects as pure shapes detached from their purpose and meaning. Especially when it comes to industrial archaeology, the artist focuses on the style of curves, shapes and gears in the machinery design that reflects the times they were built in.




Lionel Smit (South African, b. 1982)

Born in Pretoria, Lionel Smit is a South African artist who lives and works in Cape Town. He studied sculpture from a young age with his father, Anton Smit, who is himself a celebrated South African sculptor. Lionel Smit is renowned for his monumental portraiture works in different media: paintings on canvas, sculpture, silkscreen, video and public installations. His works can be found in leading private collections in Europe, Asia, South Africa and the United States. Since his first solo exhibition in Franschhoek in 2009, Smit’s work has been exhibited on the world stage, with highlights including the National Portrait Gallery in London, 2013; Didrichsen Art Museum, Helsinki, 2016; a public sculpture display in Union Square, New York, and a solo show at .M Contemporary in Sydney, 2017. He was honoured with the Ministerial Award for Visual Art from the Department of Arts and Culture in South Africa, 2013. Smit is best known for portrait paintings and sculptures of Cape Malay – mixedrace South African – women. Integrating


Abstract Expressionist gestures into his paintings, he creates bright and nuanced interpretations of identity within a charged South African context. Smit cites as his artistic references pioneers such as Francis Bacon and Lucian Freud, whom he admires for their abilities to use ‘the human portrait to create something extraordinary’. Often working at monumental scale, Smit combines gestural brushstrokes with chance-based drippings and splattered paints, expressive colour with naturalistic features. The diversity of his palette speaks to Smit’s aim to reveal the multifaceted nature of his subjects. A demonstration of Smit’s interest in duality, Echo depicts two Cape Malay women mirroring each other in profile against an abstract bright blue background. Inspired by Rorschach psychological test images, the work incorporates two faces, identical but with different attitudes, capturing the inner psyche, illuminating the other self. Smit noted on the works from the




Echo series: ‘The combination of the representation of human form, and the mercurial quality of emotions, translated by colour, line and form, is what inspires the imaginative and abstract essence of the work.’

Echo, 2015 Oil on Belgian linen 120 x 120 cm

Smit’s beautiful portrait of Cape Malayan women also highlights questions of identity and of colonial legacies in South Africa. Additionally, Smit tells us, the image of the double head has a relationship to Janus, the Roman god of beginnings and transitions, peering into the future while simultaneously looking back to the past.





Douglas DC-6B Red Bull, 2008 Acrylic on canvas 89 x 130 cm

Luis Pérez

(South African, b. 1982)

Luis Pérez is a self-taught Spanish artist known for his photorealist paintings. Drawn to painting from early childhood, Pérez never however pursued a formal artistic training, rather studying history of art at the University of Valladolid. His work is recognised internationally and is part of public and private collections globally, from Spain to Latin America, Australia to Japan, the United States and Canada. Currently residing in Spain, he is a recipient of several awards and scholarships and featured in the ‘Showdown Winners Exhibition’ at the Saatchi Gallery, London, in 2009. In his photorealist works, Pérez focuses on capturing the fleetingness of light and time. The artist works from photographs, which he projects onto canvas and renders with great observational skills to create the illusion of real space. Pérez’s inspiration ranges from his travels – he is enraptured by the landscape and memories of times spent with loved ones – to pop culture, music, literature and design. Pérez captures our way of life, the objects we surround ourselves with and the


ideals they represent. This is reflected in his choice of subjects, which include planes, cars, motorbikes, architecture and cityscapes. Pérez’s practice is situated within a lineage of hyperrealist painters such as Edward Hopper, Robert Bechtle and Richard Estes, whose works he admires.

‘If you look at reflections, you see areas of pure abstraction, and I find this really interesting. There is a thin line between realism and abstraction.'

Douglas DC-6B Red Bull is part of a body of work dedicated to retro mechanics. It depicts two distinct engines and propellers of a Douglas DC-6B plane, which has a rich history including service for the United States Army during the Second World War and being repurposed to become the first plane used by the American airline Pan Am to complete transatlantic tourist flights in 1952. Pérez merges photorealist techniques with considerations of geometric abstraction. The two glowing engines in the foreground contrast with views of patriotic red and blue stripes in the background. Each motif is treated as pure line and colour, which come together to dazzling effect in his dynamic compositions.




‘On your own in nature, you can lose yourself, feel your body disappear, because you are looking out and are immersed in the world around you. You are in the present moment, filled with possibility, and unbound.’

Nicola Taylor (South African, b. 1984)

Nicola Taylor is an emerging South African artist who was born in 1984 in Johannesburg and now lives in Cape Town. She studied painting in Florence, Italy, in 2003 and graduated from Art Academy London in 2009. She had her first international solo show at Dundas Street Gallery in Edinburgh in 2012. Some of Taylor’s most notable exhibitions include Come Together – Fall Apart, a solo show at Everard Read Gallery, Johannesburg, 2015; Nirox – Winter Sculpture Show 2014, a group show in Johannesburg in 2014; and the Art Academy Alumni group show in London in 2012. Taylor’s work is featured in a number of prominent South African and international collections, including the Hollard Group Collection, RMB Collection and Ellerman House Collection. Taylor is known for her oil paintings on canvas, but also explores printmaking, animation, installation and sculpture. The work in the Wylie Collection is a cyanotype. The cyanotype process uses a mixture of iron compounds, which when exposed to UV light and washed in water oxidise to create Prussian blue images. The technique was invented in 1841 by Sir John Herschel and was popularised by photographer and botanist 116

Anna Atkins, who in 1843 published the first photographically illustrated book. Taylor’s practice reflects her deep connection with the natural world. She is interested in exploring what lies on the edge of visibility, depicting the space between what can and can’t be seen. Keen for her work to carry meaning beyond representation, Taylor believes that an artwork should not just mean, it should be. Tree I reflects the artist’s approach to art that ‘reaffirms our common experience of life’ on a visual, artistic and scientific level. Taylor’s use of cyanotype for her work was a strategic choice and highlights a closer connection between science, art and the world. It demonstrates the way particles that make up the universe mirror each other in every dimension. The piece depicts three pure white dotted trees against a deep blue background framed with a squared border evoking a window. By taking the invisible components that surround us and make up the world we know, and reimagining them in simple forms, Taylor is mimicking reality and capturing the fine line between the visual world and the invisible elements beyond. JOHN & MYRIAM WYLIE COLLECTION

Tree I, 2015 Cyanotype on Fabriano paper 35 x 32 cm N I C O L A TAY LO R


Strange Currents, EA, 2020 Ink, acrylic and embroidery on linen 182.9 × 243.8 cm

Jessica Rankin (Australian, b. 1971)

Jessica Rankin was born in 1971 in Sydney, Australia, and now lives and works in New York. The artist is known for her ‘embroidered paintings’ on organdy and canvas, as well as collages and artist’s books. Rankin’s work has been presented in major museums across the world, including Touchstones Rochdale, UK, 2017; Museum Dhondt-Dhaenens, Deurle, Belgium, 2016; and MoMA PS1, New York, 2006. Rankin weaves into her paintings a field of colours, words and shapes evoking topo­g­­ raphies and constellations. The artist refers to her paintings as the ‘embodiment of thought’ – as such, they remain as open to interpretation as poetry, as personal and mysterious as the inner workings of the mind. Her lyrical compositions combine layers of signs and symbols to explore ideas of memory, intuition and interpretation. They are inspired by poetry as well as personal experiences and connect to a broader cosmological and universal relationship with time and space. Heavier Than Air, 2016, explores the ways


in which universal meanings may be projected onto landscape, through the artist’s personal connections to the environment. Heavier Than Air was inspired by Rankin’s trip to Australia in 2014, where she rediscovered her mother’s burial place, in a site called ‘Field of Mars’, on the outskirts of Sydney. The work captures the composition of the sky on a date of particular significance to Rankin. The artist often describes her works as ‘mindscapes’: evocative maps onto which she transfers her thoughts using needle and thread. Strange Currents, EA, 2020, represents an evolution in the artist’s practice, combining gestural paint marks invoking a celestial expanse with areas of densely sewn threads. There is an unfolding sense of movement and space as if being travelled through at speed. The composition and language used in this work are inspired by the poet Etel Adnan’s book Sea and Fog (2012). Fragments of Adnan’s text are embroidered on the painting’s edges, turning the flat surface of the painting into more of a sculptural form.




‘To look at the sea is to become what one is.’ Etel Adnan 120




Heavier Than Air (after Lyn Hejinian), 2016 Embroidery on organdy 146.5 × 144 cm 122




Credits The John & Myriam Wylie Collection wish to thank the photographers, galleries and institutions for their assistance with the reproduction of the artists’ works in this publication. Thomas Bayrle – Madonna Croche, 1998. © Thomas Bayrle. 2021 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York, VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn. – Borkenkäfer, 1983 –1985. © Thomas Bayrle. 2021 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York, VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn. Paddy Bedford Brumby Springs, 2003. © Paddy Bedford. Courtesy of Deutscher and Hackett, Sydney and Melbourne. Roy Colmer Untitled, 1970. Photo © Jack Hems. © Roy Colmer. The Roy Colmer Estate, Courtesy of Lisson Gallery, London. Ross Coulter Aftermath #3, 2011. © Ross Coulter. Courtesy of the artist. Martin Creed Work No. 1895: EVERYTHING IS GOING TO BE ALRIGHT, 2014. Photo © Alex North. © Martin Creed. Courtesy of the artist and Michael Lett, Auckland. Tom Djawa Untitled (ceremonial Mokuy figure), c. 1960. © Tom Djawa. Courtesy of Deutscher and Hackett, Sydney and Melbourne. Peter Dreher – Tag um Tag guter Tag (Day by Day Good Day), Nr. 586 (Day), 1991. Photo © White Cube (Ollie Hammick). © Peter Dreher. All Rights Reserved, DACS 2019, London. –Tag um Tag guter Tag (Day by Day Good Day), Nr. 1320 (Day), 1998. Photo © White Cube (Ollie Hammick). © Peter Dreher. All Rights Reserved, DACS 2019, London. –Tag um Tag guter Tag (Day by Day Good Day), Nr. 785 (Night), 1987. Photo © White Cube (Ollie Hammick). © Peter Dreher. All Rights Reserved, DACS 2019, London. –Tag um Tag guter Tag (Day by Day Good Day), Nr. 2245 (Night), 2006. Photo © White Cube (Ollie Hammick). © Peter Dreher. All Rights Reserved, DACS 2019, London. –Tag um Tag guter Tag (Day by Day Good Day), Nr. 1445 (Night), 1996. Photo © White Cube (Ollie Hammick). © Peter Dreher. All Rights Reserved, DACS 2019, London. Courtesy Leo Koenig, Inc. NY and White Cube, London. –Tag um Tag guter Tag (Day by Day Good Day), Nr. 1837 (Day), 2004. Photo © White Cube (Ollie Hammick). © Peter Dreher. All Rights Reserved, DACS 2019, London. Courtesy Leo Koenig, Inc. NY and White Cube, London.

– Tag um Tag guter Tag (Day by Day Good Day), Nr. 495 (Night), 1982. Photo © White Cube (Ollie Hammick). © Peter Dreher. All Rights Reserved, DACS 2019, London. – Tag um Tag guter Tag (Day by Day Good Day), Nr. 613 (Night), 1984. Photo © White Cube (Ollie Hammick). © Peter Dreher. All Rights Reserved, DACS 2019, London. – Tag um Tag guter Tag (Day by Day Good Day), Nr. 1269 (Night), 1994. Photo © White Cube (Ollie Hammick). © Peter Dreher. All Rights Reserved, DACS 2019, London. Olafur Eliasson – Blue Polar Eclipse, 2019. Photo © Jens Ziehe, Berlin. © Olafur Eliasson. Courtesy of the artist and neugerriemschneider, Berlin. – Quantum Entangled Ideas (Generous Orange), 2020. © Olafur Eliasson. Courtesy of the artist and Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York and Los Angeles. Cao Fei NOVA 01, 2019. © Cao Fei. Courtesy of the artist and Vitamin Creative Space, Guangzhou. Isa Genzken – Nofretete, 2018. © Isa Genzken. Courtesy of the artist, Hauser & Wirth and Galerie Buchholz, Cologne, Berlin, New York. © Isa Genzken, VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2020. – Installation view, Isa Genzken, Hauser & Wirth, London, UK. November 15, 2012 – January 12, 2013. Photo © Alex Delfanne. Courtesy the artist, Hauser & Wirth and Galerie Buchholz Cologne / Berlin / New York. © Isa Genzken / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2020. Katharina Grosse – Untitled, 2015. © Katharina Grosse. Courtesy of the artist and Gow Langsford Gallery, Auckland. Zheng Guogu – Mantra Wheel (for Career, No. 2), 2012. © Zheng Guogu. Courtesy of the artist and Vitamin Creative Space. Callum Innes – Exposed Painting Blue Lake, 2015. © Callum Innes. Courtesy of the artist and Frith Street Gallery, London. Emily Kam Kngwarray – Untitled, 1996. © Emily Kam Kngwarray. Courtesy of Deutscher and Hackett, Sydney and Melbourne.


Yves Klein – La Victoire de Samothrace, 1962. Photo © Zan Wimberley. © Yves Klein. Yves Klein Estate, ADAGP, Paris / DACS, London, 2021. Imi Knoebel – Paul: Kenn ich!, 2013. © Imi Knoebel. Courtesy of the artist and Galerie Bärbel Grässlin, Frankfurt. Joseph Kosuth – The Paradox of Content #6, 2009. © Joseph Kosuth. Courtesy of the artist and Anna Schwartz Gallery, Melbourne. David Larwill – NEVER BE LATE, 1997. © David Larwill. Courtesy of Deutscher and Hackett, Sydney and Melbourne. Ulrike Müller – Weather, 2013. © Ulrike Müller. Courtesy of the artist and Callicoon Fine Arts, New York. – Inverse Weather, 2015. © Ulrike Müller. Courtesy of the artist and Callicoon Fine Arts, New York. – Dokebi, 2016. © Ulrike Müller. Courtesy of the artist and Callicoon Fine Arts, New York. – Dokebi, 2016. © Ulrike Müller. Courtesy of the artist and Callicoon Fine Arts, New York. – Container, 2019. © Ulrike Müller. Courtesy of the artist and Callicoon Fine Arts, New York. Catherine Murphy – Snowflakes (for Joyce Robins), 2011. © Catherine Murphy. Courtesy of the artist and Peter Freeman Inc., New York. Ngoia Pollard Napaltjarri – Swamps Near of Nyrripi (My Father’s Country), 2007. © Ngoia Pollard Napaltjarri. Courtesy of Deutscher and Hackett, Sydney and Melbourne. Gabriel Orozco – Samurai Tree (Invariant 6), 2005. © Gabriel Orozco. Courtesy of the artist and Marian Goodman Gallery, New York. Alessandro Papetti – Ansaldo, 2013. Photo © Myriam Wylie. © Alessandro Papetti. Courtesy of the artist and Everard Read, Johannesburg and London.

– Strange Currents, EA, 2020. Photo © White Cube (Theo Christelis). © Jessica Rankin. Courtesy of the artist and White Cube, London. Chiharu Shiota – State of Being (Books), 2016. © Chiharu Shiota. Courtesy of the artist and Anna Schwartz Gallery, Melbourne. Lionel Smit – Echo, 2015. © Lionel Smit. Courtesy of the artist and Everard Read, Johannesburg and London. Hiroshi Sugimuto – Five Elements: Tasman Sea, Nagarupupu, 1990, 2012. © Hiroshi Sugimuto. Courtesy of the artist and Marian Goodman Gallery, New York. Nicola Taylor – Tree I, 2015. Photo © Myriam Wylie. © Nicola Taylor. Courtesy of the artist and Everard Read, Johannesburg and London. teamLab – Ever Blossoming Life – Dark, 2014. © teamLab. Courtesy of Pace Gallery, London. Unknown artist – Untitled (ceremonial Mokuy figure), 1963. © Courtesy of Deutscher and Hackett, Sydney and Melbourne. Francis Upritchard – Happy Sad, 2018. Photo © Angus Mill. © Francis Upritchard. Courtesy of the artist and Kate MacGarry, London. – Installation view, Wetwang Slack, Barbican, 2019. Copyright The Artist. Courtesy Barbican, Kate MacGarry and The Artist. Photo Angus Mill. Mary Weatherford – Ruby, 2019. Photo © Fredrik Nilsen Studio. © Mary Weatherford. Courtesy of David Kordansky Gallery, Los Angeles. Peter Zimmermann – Untitled, 2014. Photo © Claire Dorn. © Peter Zimmermann. Courtesy of the artist and Perrotin, Paris.

Luis Pérez – Douglas DC-6B Red Bull, 2008. Photo © Myriam Wylie. © Luis Pérez. Courtesy of the artist and Everard Read, Johannesburg and London.

Published in Australia by John and Myriam Wylie Collection. First edition, Summer 2021 ISBN: 978-1-3999-0219-9

Jessica Rankin – Heavier Than Air (after Lyn Hejinian), 2016. © Jessica Rankin. Courtesy of the artist and Anna Schwartz Gallery, Melbourne.


No part of this book may be reproduced in any media, or transmitted by any means whatsoever, electronic or mechanical (including photocopy, film or video recording, internet posting, or any other information storage and retrieval system), without the prior written permission of the publisher.

Edited by Anaïs Lellouche Book design by Antoine Audiau, Antoine+Manuel – Paris


John & Myriam Wylie Collection

MELBOURNE Victoria 2021 Australia

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