Tue, Apr 21, 2015

Art & Auctions
Top art on offer at Sotheby’s Doha today

Sotheby’s is to hold an evening auction today in Doha, Qatar, offering a selection of top works by leading Arab, Iranian and international contemporary artists.

The Contemporary Art/Doha sale will feature outstanding examples of painting, installation art, photography, and sculpture and open at 7 pm at the Katara Art Center, Building 5, Doha. 


The highlight of the international Contemporary Art is Anish Kapoor’s Untitled from the artist’s Pixelated Disk series, another one of which sold at Sotheby’s Doha in October 2014 to great acclaim, setting the highest price for the artist in the Middle East and the highest auction price for a work from this series by Kapoor (est. $800,000/1.2 million). 

The perfect concave sphere of Untitled instantly enshrouds the viewer into its welcoming, yet slightly disconcerting, infinite space with the concave form capturing the eternally changing natural world within its fixed, artificial grasp.


Internationally revered artist Rudolf Stingel’s Untitled, 2001, is another featured highlight of the sale (est. $600,000/800,000).  Untitled from Stingel’s desired Celotex series of paintings, is a sumptuous and shimmering canvas in which the artist captures the passage of time.  

This marquis graffiti-covered work references gestural abstraction, as well as graffiti art, culminating into a reflective canvas of eternal abstract beauty.  

In 2001, Stingel transformed the exhibition space of the Paula Cooper Gallery in New York by covering the walls in layers of reflective, aluminium-faced Celotex and he invited viewers to mark, draw, and write on the pristine space at will, their individual traces accumulating into a mass anonymous gesture.  Untitled, 2001, is one of the marquis works from this highly-sought after series by Stingel.


The sale will also feature a bold, graphic Christopher Wool work. Created between 1986 and 1987, Untitled is one of the artist's earliest, most desirable and sought-after pattern paintings (est. $1/1.5 million). Made using paint rollers incised with floral designs that transferred the patterns onto an aluminum canvas, the severe black enamel pattern against the white background collapses any distinction between the physical process of making the work and its visual context.  These everyday tools provided Wool with a repertoire of ready-made imagery, and the small inconsistencies created during the process convey a delicate, yet powerfully emotional resonance.


A further highlight of the sale is El Anatsui’s Introvert, an aluminium and copper wire installation that creates a powerful piece which addresses a range of social, political and historical topics (est. $700,000/1 million).  

With the novel ability of an owner to sculpturally manipulate the piece to whatever visual presentation is desired, Introvert exemplifies Anatsui’s signatory method of artistic production coupled with his principal ideology of reassigning purpose to waste. 

By transforming found objects into fine art Anatsui's cloths cause the observer to examine their preconceptions of waste material, its relationship to beauty and how art cannot be confined to strict definitions.


Internationally acclaimed and highly sought-after artist Ali Banisadr’s work is heavily influenced by his childhood experiences as a refugee of the Iran-Iraq war. His output is dominated by large-scale fantastical abstract landscapes that convey something of the chaotic violence he witnessed as a child.  Having developed through a prism of art historical references from medieval imagery to abstract expressionism and drawing on both Eastern and Western artistic traditions, The Shrines from 2011 ($100/150,000,) appears at auction comes just six months after Sotheby’s set a record for the artist in Doha with The Chase.


Chant Avedissian’s Icons of the Nile (in 21 parts) from 2010 (est. $150/200,000) is  another highly important installation work by the Egyptian artist which has many similarities to the Icons of the Nile piece which set the artist record at Sotheby’s Doha in April 2013. 

Avedissian’s use of stencils is the result of more than 20 years of research during his extensive travels. The artist first started his stencils series during the Gulf War; witnessing the media coverage he became overwhelmed with feelings of hopelessness and began to recollect faces, places and symbols from his past. 

This astounding installation from the Icons of the Niles series creates a mosaic of Egyptian culture that retraces his country’s past, combining nostalgic imagery with a celebration of Egyptian iconographical motifs.


Ayman Baalbaki is another artist whose auction benchmark was set at Sotheby’s Doha last year. This season, the sale includes Al-Mulatham I from 2009 which, like many of the artist’s major works, depicts the shrouded face of a lone, heroic figure gazing up to the skies (est. $80,000/120,000).

Baalbaki was born in Lebanon in 1975 - the year the civil war began that eventually led to the displacement of his family. Many of the artist’s traumatic experiences during the war have provided the inspiration for and subjects of his most powerful work. 

Dominated by the traditional red and white kaffiyeh headdress, a garment worn by men throughout the Arab world as protection against sun exposure and sandstorms, Baalbaki’s monumental portrait evokes a broad spectrum of interpretations and responses ranging from the political to the emotional.


A further highlight is Untitled from 1981, a rare and early 'peau relief' by Farid Belkahia, Morocco's foremost artist (est. $40/60,000). In a career spanning five decades, Belkahia has favoured the medium of leathers, impregnating them with henna, in an attempt to both, physically and emotionally root his oeuvre in the landscape of tradition and crafts. Made up of parchments stretched into organic shapes adorned with magical symbols and rituals, Untitled is the truest embodiment of the visual lexicon of a post-colonial celebration of Morocco's cultural authenticity. Belkahia's oeuvre is stripped of Western lineage, and fiercely engrained in the artist's passion for the taxonomy of symbols, sculptural materiality, and a gentle sensuality that could not better epitomize the Maghreb's telluric mysticism.


I've got Sunshine by Farhad Moshiri is made up of dozens of found knives dug into a thick and creamy canary canvas as a striking example of the artist's interest in the Baroque and Mannerist movement, (est. $120/180,000). Moshiri’s subversive socio-political narrative has positioned him at the forefront of Contemporary Iranian art and the present work lives up to the duality between Iranian and western cultures.


Abdulnasser Gharem is considered the patriarch of the group of young Saudi artists, who are part of Edge of Arabia, an internationally recognised platform promoting artistic exchange between the Middle East and western world. Men At Work (Time Magazine Person Of The Year 2003: The American Soldier) is typical of his work in which recognizable icons such as road signs, political figures and trademarks are juxtaposed within a kaleidoscope of Islamic motifs (est. $20/30,000).

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