Works to Buy this Week at Phillips: Head of Sale Tamila Kerimova Highlights Contemporary Trends

In tandem with our partnership with Phillips, we spoke with Head of Sale Tamila Kerimova about engaging mediums and representing the most sought after artists of the season.

  • Tamila Kerimova, Head of Sale

    Tamila Kerimova, Head of Sale

Artsy: Can you start by describing your curatorial vision for the sale? What was critical to your vision as you began selecting works?

Tamila Kerimova: Firstly, I try to bring to the market works by artists who are currently in demand, who have interesting exhibitions happening at the moment, whether commercial or institutional. For example, I am pleased to feature the set of drawings by Jorinde Voigt, whose show at Lisson Gallery in London this month has been a great success.

TK (cont.): With Venice Biennale taking place this year, I was able to create a tight section of works by the artists that have created Pavilions for the respective countries – Mark Bradford for the USA, Xavier Veillhan for France, Carol Bove for Switzerland, and Gal Weinstein for Israel. The auction also features late work by Sam Gilliam, whose new drape piece hangs above the entrance to the central pavilion in the Giardini. It is exciting to have works by these relevant artists hanging in our galleries.

A: We notice sculpture and three-dimensional installation works make up a significant portion of the sale, with unique and rare editioned pieces by Tony Cragg, Marcel Broodthaers, Damien Hirst, Maurizio Cattelan, Sarah Lucas, Sterling Ruby, Julian Opie, and Wade Guyton, just to name a few! Can you talk about the appeal of this grouping?

TK: Sculpture is not only a very engaging medium, especially today when artists employ all sorts of unconventional materials, but also a beautiful way to make a space more engaging. Often, artists are able to really get outside of their comfort zone and experiment by producing sculptural works. For example, Sterling Ruby with the Skull Drum I has taken the context from his spray paintings and transferred it into a sculptural work. Many artists, such as Cattelan, Cragg, Hirst, and Lucas have made sculpture the centre of their practice. Cragg is currently having a major show at Yorkshire Sculpture Park — his biggest U.K. exhibition to date — that has received great reviews.

A: What are other mediums or genres — for instance, abstract painting — that you consider important for collectors to pay attention to in this sale?

TK: Figurative abstraction is currently getting a lot of attention from collectors and curators. Artists like Shara Hughes, Harold Ancart, Ella Kruglyanskaya, John Wesley, Torey Thornton, Jonas Wood, etc. are very much in demand, and I am pleased to be offering great examples in a range of media by these artists.

In terms of other mediums, I am particularly excited to offer video works by Paul Pfeiffer, Markus Schinwald, and Sam Taylor-Johnson that are quite rare to find on the secondary market.

A: The growing momentum for Wolfgang Tillmans has been palpable in 2017 with major shows at the Tate Modern and Fondation Beyeler. What is your take on the artist, and his 1996 photograph in your sale alongside his later, more experimental 'Freischwimmer' series?

TK: Tillmans’ Freischwimmer series is his most commercially successful body of work to date. It is highly experimental, visually stunning, and in itself evokes the very popular style of Abstract Expressionism. We are pleased to be offering a beautiful example from this series in our Evening Sale. However, his oeuvre includes wide range of camera-based works that are incredibly poignant. As seen in the Tate Modern and Beyeler Foundation’s shows this year, there is no question about the fact that Tillmans’ eye is exceptional, whether he depicts a still life or a corner of man’s ear — his images are beautiful snapshots of today’s life, real and raw, and Rylan & Paula Shooting is a great example of this.

A: Super-flat representational paintings, like Jonas Wood's basketball and Shara Hughes' basement, highlight the contemporary works executed in the last decade. Is this style a trend you anticipate continuing as we look ahead to the fall auction season?

TK: Hughes, with her recent successful feature in the Whitney Biennial, and Wood, with Gagosian taking him on in 2015 and having just broken a $1 million USD mark at auction in New York this past May, have both seen great interest from established and young collectors. I do expect this trend to continue for them, and we should see great results this week and in the upcoming fall season.

A: Can you walk us through some works of notable provenance or history?

TK: A good example of interesting provenance is Martin Kippenerger’s Das Ende des Alphabets that belonged to the artist’s assistant, Ulrich Strothjohann. Strothjohann was considered an indispensable personality within Kippenberger’s creative circle, sharing a group exhibition with the artist and fellow studio assistant Merlin Carpenter, Fallen and fallen lassen, at Galerie Bleich-Rossi in 1991. Stothjohann was often paid for his studio work in art by Kippenberger.

Often instructed to make works and then conversely destroy them, the artistic partnership between Kippenberger and his studio assistants provided the creative hotbed in which Kippenberger grounded his diverse and explorative body of work. United by Kippenberger’s characteristic critique of communication and his concern with paper, lettering and mixed media, this significant group of works demonstrates the broad range of materials and concepts employed in the artist’s output.

Explore Phillips: 20th Century and Contemporary Art Day Sale, and place max bids on more than 200 artworks. Live bidding opens in London on Friday, June 30th, at 2:00pm GMT (9:00am EST).