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Important Australian Art / Imants Tillers (born 1950) The Overflow II, 2001

Lot 5
Imants Tillers
(born 1950)
The Overflow II, 2001
23 August 2022, 19:00 AEST

AU$40,000 - AU$60,000

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Imants Tillers (born 1950)

The Overflow II, 2001
synthetic polymer paint, gouache on 54 canvasboards, nos. 67467–67520
227.5 x 213.0cm (89 9/16 x 83 7/8in).


Greenaway Art Gallery, Adelaide
Private collection, Victoria

ARCO, Madrid with Greenaway Art Gallery, 2001

Monaro, 1998, gouache, synthetic polymer paint on 288 canvas boards, nos. 52594-52881, 305.0 x 853.0cm, in the collection of the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney

'The presence and absence of self is a conundrum at the heart of Tiller's work. It is bound up with concerns about origins and originality, the interactions of self and other. It is a question implicit in his long-term strategy of appropriating images from reproductions of artworks and other sources, and re-working them.

While issues of authorship may be challenging, Tiller's work is easily recognisable. The personal aspects of his approach reside in his remarkable canvasboard system, which involves both philosophical and practical approach, and in the specificity of his choices – be they visual, intellectual or intuitive. The personal aspects appear in the correspondences he discovers between the sources and his own experience, the unexpected juxtapositions and transformations that form new realities, the physical process of making the works and their sensuous, layered surfaces, in the content and presence of the art. Tillers has never denied his sources, he has always acknowledged the visual excitement and potency of the work that inspires him.' 1

The present work, The Overflow II, 2001, is an impressive work of grand scale that blends two influential pieces of imagery. Shusaki Arakawa's radiant column. The Japanese conceptual artist whom tillers rates as a major influence, and is seen in numerous works such as Quest: I the Speaker, 1988, in the collection of the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne. 'Arakawa's radiant column is diagrammatic rendering of the idea of a centre, that which organises the many as the one. Commonly it floats spinning freely (in both directions) in the space of 'naturalistic' pictures proposing a hypothetical alternative to the vanishing point around which the depicted space is organised... When presented in diagrammatic 'blank' space.. it relates to a comparable sculptural form in literal space: a stack of unused canvasboards. It is as if it spoke to those boards of their future, offering them a model of how they would be disposed and linked on a two dimensional surface.2

The second appropriated image is the ladder from Robert Fludd's (1574-1637) illustration of Jacob's Ladder, ascending between the earth and the heavens, each rung representing a stage closer, inscribed: sensus (sense), imaginatio (imagination), ratio (reason), intellectus (understanding), intelligentia (intelligence) and verbum (the word). The same ladder imagery is central to Imants' major work Monaro, 1998, in the collection of the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, and is also the inspiration for Tillers' large-scale sculpture The Attractor, 2002, a twenty-five metre tall steel ladder erected at Sydney's Olympic Park at Homebush Bay.

Alex Clark

1. Deborah Hart, Imants Tillers: One World Many Visions, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, 2007, p. 1
2. Wystan Curnow, Imants Tillers and the 'Book of Power', Craftsman House, Sydney, 1998, pg. 118

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