Lucas Samaras (Greek, born 1936) Reconstruction # 86 183 x 206 cm (199 x 223 x 7 cm with frame and plexiglass).

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Lot 53AR
Lucas Samaras
(Greek, born 1936)
Reconstruction # 86 183 x 206 cm (199 x 223 x 7 cm with frame and plexiglass).

Sold for £ 50,062 (US$ 62,427) inc. premium
Lucas Samaras (Greek, born 1936)
Reconstruction # 86
sewn fabrics on canvas framed in plexiglass
183 x 206 cm (199 x 223 x 7 cm with frame and plexiglass).

Footnotes

  • Executed in 1979.

    Provenance
    The Pace Gallery, New York.
    Jeffrey Hoffeld & Co. Inc., New York.
    Graham Gund collection, Cambridge Massachusetts.
    D. Logothetis collection, Athens.
    Private collection, Athens.

    Stitched together with the craftsmanship of Kastoria's traditional furriers and the sensitivity with which American pioneer women sewed their patchwork quilts, Reconstruction # 86 reflects in a way the dual roots of Greek-American Lucas Samaras, this leading cult figure of postwar avant-garde. The son of a furrier from Kastoria who had immigrated to the United States in the late 1930s, Samaras spent many of his teenage summers in his father's New York City shop stitching small pieces of fur together. "The autobiographical aspect of the genre is deepened by this incorporation, like much of his work, of elements traditionally associated with craft, which Samaras has brought into the domain of fine art."1

    Interweaving bands of vibrantly patterned swatches of fabric, shimmering pieces of cloth and radiating pinstripes, polkadots and plaids zip across the surface, demonstrating a daring combination of traditional form and revolutionary thrust. Colliding planes, jarring colours and fractured space generate a wild energy, "reconstructing" an ultimately fascinating totality.
    With its slashing diagonals and sense of intense speed of execution, Reconstruction # 86 recalls the dynamism of action painting, while the quilt-like effect brings it closer to the pattern and decoration movement.

    As noted by art critic Kim Levin, "Samaras' big opulent fabric works are almost impersonal, sleek and abstract, conforming to the large scale, rectangular format and flat picture plane of conventional modern painting. All the motifs of his previous work reappear in the patterned cloth he stiches together into dazzling patchworks, as if he were piercing the whole fabric of his past art into a grandiose and comedic quilt. His identity is embedded in them. He has always worked by accumulation, by repetition, by insistence, and has always transformed tacky banal materials into glittering magical surfaces. And the tactile excitations of his past work are magnified in these sensual patchwork skins of cloth that flirt with Islamic latticing, oriental calligraphy or giant brushworks in an irrational amalgam of the romantic past. Subjected to repeated destructions and reconstructions—which is how they got their name—their making involves not only the usual violations of Samaras's work but a process which resembles the ruthless alterations of action painting. Samaras's Reconstructions must be seen as paintings, highly sophisticated and completely perverse. Big dazzling abstractions. They are also variegated, witty, improvisational hybrid surfaces that fuse random and disparate materials into a seamless expressive whole. They reconstruct not folk handicraft but modernist art."2

    1 T. McEvilley, "Intimate but Lethal Things: the Art of Lucas Samaras" in Lucas Samaras Objects and Subjects 1969-1986, exh. cat., Abbeville Press, New York 1988, p. 28.
    2 K. Levin, preface to the Samaras, Reconstructions at the Pace Gallery exhibition catalogue, New York, 1979.
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