Works from The UBS Art Collection
Works from The UBS Art Collection
An incomplete world presents the work of leading international artists including Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, Lucian Freud, Damien Hirst, Andreas Gursky, Gerhard Richter and Cindy Sherman. Drawn from one of the finest corporate art collections in the world this is an opportunity to view great contemporary works of art.
The works selected for An incomplete world consider how we have shaped the world and how the world we have created shapes us. Including 50 paintings and photographs by 31 artists, the exhibition explores themes of portraits and people, the natural and built environments and transforming spaces.
Exhibitions curated from the UBS art collection have previously been displayed at the Museum of Modern Art, New York and Tate Modern, London.
Artists - highlights
American pop artist Andy Warhol changed the course of art history. Blurring the boundaries between high and low, art and commerce, pop art was about "liking things". Money, fame, power, and above all death, were Warhol's themes. His portrait of Joseph Beuys is from 1984. Colour and paint-handling adds mood to the negative image of the iconic face of the great German artist with mood.
British artist Lucian Freud is represented in the exhibition by two very fine paintings. Head of a naked girl 1999 is a searingly intimate close-up portrait, while Double portrait 1988-90 depicts a woman lying with a hound. As Freud has said, "I paint people not because of what they are like, not exactly in spite of what they are like, but how they happen to be."
Roy Lichtenstein, prominent among pop artists, erased the boundaries between high and low, art and commerce in sophisticated and daring ways. His trademark use of the bold visual language of comic books, especially with a scaled-up, reproduced-in-a magazine look, can be seen in this big oil on canvas painting (244 by 203 cm), of a suburban interior titled Post Visual 1993.
Damien Hirst, one of the highest profile contemporary British artists, is represented with a large painting of coloured dots on a white ground. Titled Albumin, Human, Glycated 1992, it is from his series of randomly arranged spot paintings with titles that refer to pharmaceuticals. Hirst has described this series as happy paintings, and yet that joy has a chemical reference; accordingly they appear decorative but could be disorientating, and so complement his neatly arranged boxes of medications on pristine surgical shelves, which can be either life-saving cure or deadly poison.
Cindy Sherman is famous for her photographs in which she captures herself as a generic female "types" from screen roles. This fine colour photograph is from the early 1980s. With clever framing, lighting, colour and composition, the movie fiction of a character is shown in vulnerable solitude. Since Sherman's characters are not specified - they seem blank, vacant or absent-minded - we are free to construct our own narratives for this young, dreamy woman holding a piece of paper.
Gerhard Richter is one of the great painters of his generation. Born in 1932 (within four years of Andy Warhol), Richter is also a virtuoso and a chameleon who trades in multiple styles. He can move from deadpan photo-based hyperrealism to hazy landscapes to abstraction as an image. Helen was painted in 1963, transcribed by the artist from a photograph to oil and graphite on canvas and conveys the bittersweet quality of an old photo - as if we were just a smudge of duration.
Based in Dusseldorf Andreas Gursky's 99 cent 1999 has become an iconic image in contemporary photography. This large scale image of the interior of a discount store in America is one of largesse and the excess of consumerism. While Gursky's images seem purely documentary he digitally manipulates them, adding to the sense of the unreal. According to Village Voice critic Jerry Saltz, "he's one of the few photographers that could make a moviemaker jealous."
Yasumasa Morimura's photographs explore the dialogue between photography, drawing and painting in relation to famous historical paintings. Daughter of art history (Princess B) 1989 is based on one of Velasquez's last paintings and in Angels descending a staircase 1991, Morimura has depicted himself as the angels in Edward Burne-Jones' enigmatic painting The golden stairs 1880. "I don't do my painting on a canvas," explains Morimura, "I do my painting on my face."
Art Gallery of new South Wales
Art Gallery Road, The Domain - Sydney