Bonhams : Max Bill (Swiss, 1908-1994) fläche im raum von einer linie begrenzt1952-1994
Max Bill (Swiss, 1908-1994) fläche im raum von einer linie begrenzt1952-1994

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Lot 16AR TP
Max Bill
(Swiss, 1908-1994)
fläche im raum von einer linie begrenzt
1952-1994

Sold for £ 250,062 (US$ 318,500) inc. premium
Max Bill (Swiss, 1908-1994)
fläche im raum von einer linie begrenzt
1952-1994

numbered 2/2
chrome-nickel steel

138.5 by 280 by 70 cm.
54 1/2 by 110 1/4 by 27 9/16 in.

This work was conceived in 1952 and executed in 1994.

Footnotes

  • This work is registered in the max, binia + jakob bill stiftung, Adligenswil, and is accompanied by a photo-certificate of authenticity.

    This work will be offered with the original base.

    Provenance
    Acquired directly from the artist by the present owner



    A resolute autodidact and true polymath, Max Bill's sculpture fläche im raum von einer linie begrenzt (1952-1994), loosely translated as 'surface in space, confined by a line,' is a monumental work that is one of the most outstanding sculptures by Bill to come to market in recent years, demonstrating the Swiss artist's fastidiously technical and enduring vision of art that made him such a broadly influential artist of the Modern age.

    With works held in major museum collections that include the Museum of Modern Art, New York, the Art Institute of Chicago and the Centre Pompidou in Paris – as well as his public artworks, such as the Pavillon-Skulptur in Zurich, that have become landmarks in their own right – Bill has recently seen a significant reassessment, coinciding with the 100th anniversary of the opening of the Bauhaus school in Weimar in 1919. Audaciously pure and deceptively simple, the present work is a sterling example of Bill's mathematical approach to art-making; a supremely elegant sculpture that formalises the concept of infinity in an eloquent and harmonious single piece of chrome-nickel steel – a hardened metal that can be presented both indoors and outdoors.

    A testament to the artist's perfectionism and attention to detail, he first conceived of fläche im raum von einer linie begrenzt in 1952, when he built a small gilded brass maquette. However, it was not until 1993, when Bill met Karl-Franz Binder of the Binder Metal company, that the artist decided work with industry experts in order to fabricate the sculpture in the material and at the scale that we see in this work. Not an unusual method for Bill, he would often revisit his designs and ideas, only beginning the process of executing his vision once the technicalities of the form had been perfectly resolved to their purest form. "A work of art," Bill wrote, "must be entirely conceived and shaped by the mind before its execution. It shall not receive anything of nature's or sensuality's or sentimentality's formal data" (the artist in: Edwin Heathcote, 'Max Bill — the cult figure who shaped 20th-century design and architecture', Financial Times, June 7, 2019, online).

    Seamlessly knotted through a smooth plane of cool, polished steel, the mind-bending feat of manufacturing a multi-dimensional form that has only one surface area and one edge is achieved in a sculpture of immense and poetic proportions in the present work. Captivated by the Möbius strip – a surface of one continuous side formed by joining the ends of a rectangle twisted through 180° - and the mathematical notion of infinity, Bill's sculptures consistently play host to the abstract wonders of mathematics and geometry, which, when realised in the material, emerge as objects of beautiful, transcendent simplicity.

    As an architect, sculptor, designer, painter and teacher, Bill embodied the aspirations of the Bauhaus movement, who collectively sought to synthesise the arts, including graphic design, interiors and typography, into one total work of art. Born in Zürich in 1908, Bill trained as a silversmith before a decisive encounter at the age of 16 with Sophie Taeuber-Arp launched his interest in contemporary art practice. Whilst Bill would go on to be invited to exhibit alongside Hans and Sophie Taeuber-Arp, Piet Mondrian and Georges Vantongerloo as part of the Abstraction-Creation group throughout his mid-twenties, it was his studies at the Bauhaus school in Dessau in 1927, under the pupillage of Josef Albers, Wassily Kandinsky, Paul Klee, Oskar Schlemmer and László Moholy-Nagy – in the midst of an unparalleled generation of influential Modernist creatives that Bill would befriend and work alongside throughout his career – that he truly began to emerge as the multifaceted and superbly gifted artist and designer Bill is recognised as today.

    As an artist whose influence has been felt across genres, Max Bill's fläche im raum von einer linie begrenzt is an immaculate demonstration of the artist at his most purely creative and uncompromising. Featuring the smooth metallic curves that call to mind the aerodynamics of an aircraft's fuselage, the wonderful synthesis of science, mathematics and art in the present work is tangible and thrilling. A timeless, large-scale piece that has never been offered for sale or placed on public view, it is a sculptural work that encapsulates and defines the legacy of one of the most important students of the Bauhaus.
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Max Bill (Swiss, 1908-1994) fläche im raum von einer linie begrenzt1952-1994
Max Bill (Swiss, 1908-1994) fläche im raum von einer linie begrenzt1952-1994
Max Bill (Swiss, 1908-1994) fläche im raum von einer linie begrenzt1952-1994
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