Phillips announces highlights included in its New Now Sale
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Phillips announces highlights included in its New Now Sale
William Kentridge, Nandi, signed and dated 'KENTRIDGE '93' lower left, charcoal and pastel on paper, 108 x 136 cm (42 1/2 x 53 1/2 in.). Executed in 1993. Estimate £150,000 - 200,000. Image courtesy of Phillips.

LONDON.- Phillips announced highlights ahead of the New Now auction in London on 12 December. Featuring 224 lots, New Now will offer works of art by established artists including leading highlights by William Kentridge, Damien Hirst and Jonas Wood. In the spirit of New Now this sale will also feature a strong selection of works by young and emerging artists such as Eddie Martinez and Katharina Grosse, following the success and world records established for these artists at Phillips this year.

Simon Tovey, Head of New Now, said: “Building on the success of our September sale in New York, which achieved our highest total for our New Now sale platform, we are excited to continue with our new catalogue initiative in our forthcoming New Now London sale. Designed to reduce environmental impact and to encourage the exploration of our digital resources, the new catalogue is streamlined, easier to review and immediately engaging with a concentrated editorial component, while remaining focused on the 224 works presented. Amongst this number are works by Katharina Grosse, whose Untitled sold in our New York November 20th Century and Contemporary Day Sale for three times the high estimate, alongside a very important work by William Kentridge, as presented on our catalogue cover in addition to a beautiful still life by Jonas Wood. We look forward to presenting this catalogue and sale to both our new and seasoned collectors.”

Leading the auction is William Kentridge’s Nandi, produced in 1993. This work starred in Kentridge’s 1994 animation film Felix in Exile, today residing in such leading institutions as the Tate Collection, London, the Museum of Modern Art, New York, and the Guggenheim, New York. The subject of the present work, Nandi, features as a protagonist in the film as she draws and observes the landscape, recording the violence and destruction of South Africa's recent history. Kentridge himself commented that “Felix in Exile was made at the time just before the first general election in South Africa, and questioned the way in which the people who had died on the journey to this new dispensation would be remembered”. Nandi demonstrates Kentridge’s complex drawing method of smudges and altered forms. Evident in this work and central to his films is the artist’s allusion through smudges and form to both static and moving media.

An additional highlight is Damien Hirst’s 2008 painting, Beautiful If At First You Don't Succeed Then Try, Try Again, One More Time, It's Done Spinning, Painting, which will be sold to benefit the Serpentine Gallery. Forming part of Hirst’s series of spin paintings, which he began experimenting with in 1992, the present work bears a characteristically elongated title, which, like all other works from the series, begins with ‘Beautiful’ and ends with ‘Painting’. In 1988 Hirst orchestrated an exhibition entitled Freeze in an abandoned warehouse in London. Freeze was the inaugural event of the artistic phenomenon which swiftly became known as Young British Art. This colour-splashed is an enthralling example of both Hirst’s dynamic use of colour and motion in the spin series, and his subsequent reputation as a YBA pioneer.

Among the strong selection of works by young and emerging artists to feature in the sale is Untitled, a 2013 painting by Katharina Grosse. The energetic swathes of blue, yellow, green and red are characteristic of Grosse’s honest and instinctive style of painting. A symphony of layered colour supported by patches of white, Untitled reveals the artist’s painterly process of simultaneous presence and absence. Grosse has received acclaim for the new aesthetic she has forged, oscillating between vandalism and philosophical musings. The artist’s work is housed by institutions such as the Centre Pompidou, Paris, the Kunsthaus, Zürich, and The Museum of Modern Art, New York, among others.

Jonas Wood’s Studio Plant, 2007 is the result of a body of work that is vividly figurative and texturally abstract, holding stylistic references to both the cut-outs of Henri Matisse and the thickly layered paint of Vincent van Gogh’s still lifes. Wood follows a complicated process of photography, collage, drawing and painting to depict everyday subjects. Wood developed a vibrant visual universe whilst growing up surrounded by the art collection of his grandfather, which included artists such as Francis Bacon, Alexander Calder, Robert Motherwell, and Andy Warhol, whose work now sits alongside Wood in the upcoming New Now auction. Joining Warhol and Wood in the sale is Wood’s wife, Shio Kusaka, whose organic porcelain vases engage in an intimate exchange with Wood’s pot plant paintings. Both feeding off each other’s work, the pair featured in a two-person exhibition at Gagosian in Hong Kong, 2015, followed by their first collaborative museum exhibition at Museum Voorlinden, Wassenaar, Netherlands, in 2017.

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