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As the famous saying goes, 'the truth is in our eyes'. Sometimes, however, this universal truth about ourselves allows us to observe the phenomena that, for us as humans, are most natural. Figuration is the art of our time for a simple reason – artists use sculptures or paintings to tell us about what they love.

The figure of the modern man

The 'New Images of Man' exhibition held in 1959 at New York's Museum of Modern Art is considered the conventional beginning of this trend, which has been evolving continuously since the 1960s. This is not surprising. Treating the 'new figuration' as a kind of dialogue between artists and the subject of the human condition, the changes taking place are the natural order of things. Each decade offers a new perspective on the world around us.  For years, the political, economic, or social situation has influenced the shaping of the values of a generation. Figurative painting is often referred to as 'contemporary realism'. However, this nomenclature is sometimes problematic due to the fact that what the artists choose to depict is often far from realism.  Ewa Gola's 'Puddle' or 'Casual Walk' paintings available in our auction, which show skeletal figures performing human activities, are not realism, but figuration. So what is figuration? It is a search for answers and oscillates around the theme of the human condition in the contemporary world.


Art of the present

As the twentieth century has shown us, we like to define a given decade by a single, distinctive style. In the 1950s, we treated post-war traumas with Abstract Expressionism. The 1960s, revolutionary in art and even more so in the way we think, were dominated by minimalism. Later decades were already becoming dependent, on the artists who represented them. Artists have become heroes who have a salutary-therapeutic effect on us. A perfect example of this phenomenon, is the figure of the pop-art god, Jean-Michel Basquiat. Basquiat captivated the entire New York bohemia of the 1980s.  When, at a Sotheby's auction in 2017, Basquiat's painting of a black skull with red and yellow streams sold for $110.6 million, it thus became the most expensive painting ever bought. With this, it has been proven that we are still sensitive to art today.

The present can therefore be called the decade of figuration. In recent years, artists have resuscitated this form with eyes sensitive to the tendency in art to overlook marginalized communities and recapitulate the colonial gaze.


Talents - Figuration

In our latest auction, we take a subjective look at phenomena in recent figurative art.  We have created a space for more than twenty exceptional works that treat ourselves. About who we are, what we feel, and where we are going. At a time when everyone's identity is a leading theme and mental health is compromised by external stimuli and influences, depicting these experiences through art brings us solace and broadens our perceptions. Our auction will run until 14 May 2023.

Added 2023-05-06 in by Judyta Majkowska

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