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Flash News: Daniel Spoerri – Julie Legrand – Claude Lévêque – Contemporary art sale on 3 June

[29 May 2015]



The Eat Art of Daniel Spoerri digested by Julie Legrand
Eating as an artistic process? This is the subject of the first “snare-pictures” of Daniel SPOERRI when he fixes the remainders of meals in place. “I don’t add anything other than a little glue” the mischievous artist shares, who is also an excellent chef, king of puns and wordplay, former dancer, choreographer and director. We learn that the meal can, under his direction, become a veritable theatre, the stage of illusions and destabilization of the senses. At 85 years of age, Daniel Spoerri has just organized a palindromic dinner on 22 May in Chinon (France, the order of dishes is reversed, but not flavours), in an exhibit that pays tribute to Eat Art. Running until September 2015, the exhibit includes works from Spoerri, Dorthée Selz and Antoni Miralda (caterers-colorists), Erik Dietman, François Morellet, Roland Topor, Dieter Roth, and Ben Vautier. Also remarkable is the setting for the exhibit, the Sainte Radegonde chapel in Chinon, the work of young French artist Julie LEGRAND. Titled La chair et l’esprit (Flesh and Spirit), the on-site operation from Julie Legrand treats us to a superb installation in spun glass in the grotto of the Chapelle. Hundreds of glimmering stalactites created by the artist like so many “fabulous bacteria, inhabited entrails” evoke the process of transformation of the body into the “entrails” of the Chapelle. If the pioneering artist of Nouveau Réalisme (New Realism) Daniel Spoerri is a very popular artist in Europe, recently holder of a new auction record (Herdöpfelschälerli, sold for USD 167,000 including fees on 5 May 2015 at Christie’s Zurich), Julie Legrand is an emerging artist who has only faced auction a single time. This first foray met with success, as the sculpture in metal and spun glass presented by Christie’s in 2013, Renaissance, quadrupled its estimate to be sold for EUR 2,000 (Christie’s Paris, 30 January 2013).

The sensory journeys of Claude Lévêque
French artist Claude LEVEQUE is enjoying two spectacular exhibits in France. The first is a perennial work created in 2012: “Mort en été” (“Mort en été”), on view in the huge dormitory of the Abbaye Royale in Fontevraud. The artist conceived this installation as “the appearance of a luminous cosmic phenomenon (that) reveals the sensations that the Loire has always produced in me. A visual and sonorous nocturnal device that invites dreaming.” Concurrently, the Soulages de Rodez museum is holding another Claude Lévêque installation until 27 September 2015. The “Bleu de l’œil” (“The Blue of the Eye”) – exhibit title – proposes a stroll among liquid and aerial undulations in an immense room measuring 200 m2 at Musée Soulages. From one exhibit to the other, the visitor finds themselves immersed in light or sound baths, drawn in by an intuitive approach, to a sensory spiral.
The artist, who represented France in the 53rd Venice Biennale in 2009, went on to exhibit in New York (James Fuentes gallery, titled Les roses blanches, or White Roses), Moscow (National Centre for Contemporary Arts, Ende), at Musée du Louvre in Paris (Sous le plus grand chapiteau du monde, or Under the Biggest Marquee in the World), in South Korea (Busan Museum of Art, Biennale 2010, Hymne) and in Japan (Mori Art Museum, French window, Double Manège, or Double Merry-Go-Round), among others… Signature leader of the French contemporary scene and known worldwide, Claude Lévêque does not run after immediate recognition by the world at auction and his works are rarely found in auction houses. Nevertheless, his record flirts with USD 100,000 for the sale of a work in neon titled, Le Grand soir (The Big Night) (sold for EUR 73,500 including fees or more than USD 99,000, 3 December 2013 at Sotheby’s Paris).

Review of contemporary art sale on 3 June
The next contemporary art sale at Christie’s Paris (3 June 2015) is evidence, in 188 lots, that contemporary sales can strike a balance between highly valued works and unique, remarkable, and accessible works. This session reconciles five works expected to reach the million dollar mark (Joan Mitchell, Yves Klein, Martial Raysse, Jean Dubuffet, Alexander Calder) with several other pieces around EUR 10,000, with the most affordable work being that of an enamel painting by Allan McCollum (One Plaster Surrogate). For this unique, original work, bidding begins at EUR 2,000.
With 188 lots, the selection promises to be especially vast. There is something for every taste, from the minimalist, conceptual and kinetic trend (Gunter Ucker, Jesus Rafael Soto, Pol Bury, Josef Albers, Martin Barré, Francois Morellet…), to a large selection of abstract art with Olivier Debré, Bernard Frize, Sam Francis, George Matthieu, Viera Da Silva, Pierre Soulages, Hans Hartung, Serge Poliakoff, Roberto Matta, Chu Teh-chun, Zao Wou-ki. The huge oil on canvas by Zao Wou-ki (9.3.79) expected to sell for at least EUR 600,000 was valued at less than half that amount in 2008 yet no one dared buy it. It was reduced to its low estimate of EUR 232,000 at Sotheby’s London. The highest valued abstraction is from Joan Mitchell. An untitled work painted in 1972, it belongs to a prestigious European collection and new to the auction world. It is expected to sell for more than EUR 1.3m (more than USD 1.4m). Huge names in sculpture will also be represented, including Germaine Richier (La jeune fille à l’oiseau, or Young girl with bird, 1954, estimated between EUR 400,000 and 600,000), Eduardo Chillida (Lurra G-240, EUR 70,000 – 100,000), Alexander Calder (the stabilo-mobile Double dated could reach one million), Anish Kapoor (Void, 1989, EUR 500,000 – 700,000) and Tony Cragg with a beautiful work in white marble kept in a private collection for the last 13 years (I Me You Me, estimated at EUR 120,000 – 180,000).
Also worth noting is the presence of the world’s most popular names, including Basquiat, represented by a dated drawing whose price starts at EUR 250,000 (Untitled (Per Capita), 1981), Damien Hirst (Value estimated between EUR 200,000 – 300,000, the proceeds from this sale will be donated to Victim, Damien Hirst’s charitable association), Andy Warhol with a unique serigraphy from 1982 – Dollar sign – which Christie’s expects to reach at least EUR 80,000 and Gerhard Richter, whose small oil on aluminium measuring 29 centimetres high and 37 centimetres wide, Fuji, should sell for more than EUR 250,000 (nearly USD 280,000).
Among the more affordable works, we note an abstraction by Gustave Singier on sale for around EUR 10,000 (Le Var asséché), an Indian ink work from Zao Wou-ki starting at EUR15,000 (Untitled, 1978), a kinetic sculpture by Pol Bury starting at EUR 10,000 (16 Verticales Courbées, ed.1/8) or an installation by Christian Boltanski estimated between EUR 10,000 and 15,000 (Réserves: La fête de Pourim, or Purim Holiday, photography, clothes in a tin drawer, lamp and electrical cord, 1989).

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