James Welling's Untitled from Aluminum Foil, 1980-1981

James Welling
Untitled from Aluminum Foil, 1980-1981

Photograph

Eight gelatin silver contact prints, printed 1980s, mounted

Xavier Hufkens

Each 4 5/8 x 3 3/4 in or the reverse.

Each initialled, titled, dated by the artist and four prints annotated in another hand, all in ink on the mount.

Phillips London £8,000 - 12,000 for ___ 2018-05-18

www.phillips.com/detail/JAMES-WELLING/UK040118/114

After moving to New York in late 1978, James Welling worked shifts in a restaurant kitchen to support himself as he experimented with his art. During one shift in late December 1979, he noticed a piece of butter wrapped in aluminium foil and photographed it against a white background. Just over a year later on 1 January 1980, he started working on his seminal Aluminum Foil series. Over an intensive 16-month period, he conducted a material investigation of foil, making over 200 negatives, around 50 of which he printed, and 38 of which he exhibited at New York’s Metro Pictures in March 1981. To create these disorienting, seemingly abstract contact prints, Welling photographed the interplay of light on the dark background of aluminium foil that he had densely crumpled and then unfolded. He describes the foil as having a ‘glittering sensuality’ – the direct result of his decision to carefully underexpose the prints during the printing process. In the 1980s he printed these images in two sizes, choosing the smaller 4 x 5 inch format offered here in order to maintain the ambiguity of the images and encourage the viewer to unmask their hidden meanings.

Each 4 5/8 x 3 3/4 in or the reverse.

Each initialled, titled, dated by the artist and four prints annotated in another hand, all in ink on the mount.

Phillips London £8,000 - 12,000 for ___… more

© Respective owners, assignees etc.