Artwork: Seita
Size: Dimensions when installed: 211 x 169.5 x 100 cm
Medium: Painted wood
Creation year: 1967
Marks: Signed titled dated Venezia 1966-67 and inscribed collectionne Galleria il Canale on the inside
Category: Sculptures And Ceramics
Artwork details : Created 1966-1967
Provenance: Galleria il Canale Venice; Acquired directly from the previous by the last owner; Thence by descent to the present owner;; Exhibited; Verona Palazzo Forti Dadaismo Dadaismi Da Duchamp a Warhol 1997 p. 306 no. 289 illustrated in colour;; ;; Seita belongs to one of Raymond Hains' most significant series of artworks begun in 1964 and represents the artist's attempt to avoid being type cast as working in a singular style. In his early career Hains had experimented with Dadaist inspired photography before becoming renowned for Affichisme; decollage works formed from layers of ripped and weathered posters carefully cut from the street and recomposed in an abstracted pictorial format. These collages were closely associated with the Nouveau Realisme movement a term penned by art critic Pierre Restany during an exhibition at Galleria Apollinaire Milan in 1960 which displayed Hains' work alongside those of Arman Yves Klein Jean Tinguely and Jacques de la Villegle. This avant-garde group later expanded to include Christo Cesar Mimmo Rotella and Niki de Saint-Phalle drew heavily on the notion of 'reality' sourcing material from everyday objects and re-contextualising them in a Duchampian fashion. In Hains' case this meant finding truth and beauty in the archaeology of deteriorating street advertisement hoardings.; ; Whilst the Seita and Saffa series produced in conjunction with each other differed dramatically from these iconic decollages they undoubtedly shared the same creative imperatives. Their titles were lifted from the acronyms for S.E.I.T.A. the former French state-owned tobacco and match company and S.A.F.F.A. its' Italian equivalent whilst the works themselves were a playful recreation of their products with the names transposed thus the Saffa series depicted S.E.I.T.A. merchandise and vice versa.; ; Reproductions rather than ready-mades these works almost exclusively focused on the depiction of the match in sculptural form occasionally as a single entity more often than not encased together in a box or book such as with the present sculpture. An everyday object the match is both cheap and disposable and yet also a significant solution to that most primal of human needs the ability to create heat and light. This dichotomy is reinforced by the monumental proportions employed by the artist on this work and the others from the series. Measuring at just under 220 cm. high and therefore being one of the very largest examples Seita's inflated sense of scale elevates this very humble mass-produced object into the realms of fine or more specifically Pop Art recalling the oversized replicas of Claes Oldenburg's sculptures. Whether depicting the ubiquitous three way plug or the humdrum match the simplicity and serialisation of motifs define these works within this movement however Seita is more than just a gigantic Pop tour-de-force as the artist has one further pun at his disposal. Matches are by their very nature self-destructive in a single stroke they can be all-consuming and this symbolism is powerfully evocative of Hains' attempts to extradite himself from every art movement that he had become aligned with.
Exhibition history: Verona Palazzo Forti Dadaismo Dadaismi Da Duchamp a Warhol 1997 p. 306 no. 289 illustrated in colour

Bonhams London

Date: 2016-06-29
Lot Number: 29
Low Estimate: $42960 [+266%]
High Estimate: $71600 [+120%]
Hammer Price: $157520
Sold For: $192600