Seraphine Pick

untitled

1994-1995
oil on canvas, diptych
1680mm x 1215mm; 1680mm x 1215mm

signed Pick, dated 1994 Р1995 in coloured pencil bottom right of left panel; signed Pick and dated 94-95 in brushpoint lower right of right panel; signed Seraphine Pick and dated 1995 in graphite verso on left panel; signed S̩raphine Pick and dated 1995 in graphite verso on right panel

Provenance

Acquired from Claybrook Gallery.

Essay

The remoteness of a thing is in proportion rather to the visual power of the memory that is looking at it than to the real interval of the intervening days…¹

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Estimate $55,000 - $75,000

Séraphine Pick

untitled

1994-1995

oil on canvas, diptych

signed Pick, dated 1994 Р1995 in coloured pencil bottom right of left panel; signed Pick and dated 94-95 in brushpoint lower right of right panel; signed Seraphine Pick and dated 1995 in graphite verso on left panel; signed S̩raphine Pick and dated 1995 in graphite verso on right panel

1680mm x 1215mm; 1680mm x 1215mm

Auction N˚1

Estimate $55,000 - $75,000

Footnotes
  1. M. Proust and C. K. Scott-Moncrieff, Remembrance of Things Past (Random House, 1932), 752.

Remembrance and Forgetfulness

by Rachel Kleinsmen

The remoteness of a thing is in proportion rather to the visual power of the memory that is looking at it than to the real interval of the intervening days…¹

In his seminal work A La Recherche du Temps Perdu (Remembrance of Things Past), Marcel Proust explores the nature of involuntary memory and consciousness through the lens of remembered images. Meditating on the potency of events from his childhood and the sensory associations, emotions and responses they invoke, Proust weaves a memoir of unconscious interconnectedness, free from the constraints of form, space and time.

This ability to articulate the psychological complexities of one’s formative experience in a language of dreamlike lucidity, for which Proust is so celebrated, has also been mastered by Seraphine Pick in her dreamscape paintings. Beginning in the mid-1990s, a watershed moment in Pick’s artistic development, this period of production marks the artist’s transformation of her cultivated understanding of memory and psychology into a solemn personal iconography. Thus was born Pick’s symbolic, almost Jungian method of painterly inter-consciousness, which arguably forms the quintessence of her oeuvre.

The present work, in its oblique, large-scale gorgeous pallor, is an extremely rare and exceptional offering from this period. Possessing a timeless and ethereal luminescence, this sublime diptych compels the viewer to partake of a semi-somnolent dialogue of image-based contradictions. In this, the work goes to the heart of the paradoxical enchantment which is present in all of Pick’s works.

Whilst the presentation of lone domestic images and objects initially conveys an almost trite sense of banality, the stark arrangements which they collectively form, and the tenderly recollective manner in which they are treated, also affords them an implied weight of meaning. The suggested autonomy and isolation of each of these images is negated by their shared existence within a groundless space and collective consciousness.

The image of the colander is an important example of this. Its presence as an almost absurdly-mundane domestic object generates a sense of ironic solemnity, which in turn serves to reveal further layers of meaning and significance through a process of incongruous exchange. Just as the painted surface gradually reveals its own complex layering and delicacy, Pick’s maternal association with the object (a Proustian evocation) unfolds, along with explorations of memory and psychological obfuscations rendered by an interplay of light and shadow, the delicate duality of the diptych, and the necessary dialogue generated by the colander’s almost semantically humorous co-existence with a bath. In this way, the work compels the viewer to deal with the contradictory and subjective nature of memory and consciousness.