Sun, 28th Oct 2018 8:30

Historic, Modern and Contemporary Art

 
Lot 130
 
Lot 130 - Pieter Hugo (South Africa 1976-)

130

Pieter Hugo (South Africa 1976-)
Hyena Men of Abuja

archival pigment inks on 100% cotton rag paper

Artwork date: 2005
Signature details: signed, numbered 2/5 and inscribed 'From the Hyena Men of Nigeria Series, 2005' in pencil in the margin
Exhibited: Michael Stevenson, Cape Town, Pieter Hugo ‘Gadawan Kura’ – The Hyena Men, February 2006.
Literature: Abiola, A. and Hugo, P. (2008). The Hyena and Other Men. Munich: Prestel Verlag, another example from the edition illustrated, n.p.; Demos, TJ. and Schuman, A. (2012). Peter Hugo: This Must be the Place. Munich: Prestel Verlag, another example from the edition illustrated on p.139.

Sold for R375,540
Estimated at R80,000 - R120,000


Condition Report

Good.

Please note, we are not qualified conservators and these reports give our opinion as to the general condition of the works. We advise that bidders view the lots in person to satisfy themselves with the condition of prospective purchases.

 

archival pigment inks on 100% cotton rag paper

Artwork date: 2005
Signature details: signed, numbered 2/5 and inscribed 'From the Hyena Men of Nigeria Series, 2005' in pencil in the margin
Exhibited: Michael Stevenson, Cape Town, Pieter Hugo ‘Gadawan Kura’ – The Hyena Men, February 2006.
Literature: Abiola, A. and Hugo, P. (2008). The Hyena and Other Men. Munich: Prestel Verlag, another example from the edition illustrated, n.p.; Demos, TJ. and Schuman, A. (2012). Peter Hugo: This Must be the Place. Munich: Prestel Verlag, another example from the edition illustrated on p.139.

(1)

image size: 98 x 98 cm

Notes:

Since its inception in 1839, photography has remained a powerful medium for conveying the breadth and depth of human experience; documenting social, political, economic and emotional states with immediacy and precision. Within the rich history of South African photography, documentary work that is also conceived of as fine art has dominated triumphantly as a singular force in South African image-making. Two quite different images in this tradition are present on this auction, and provide remarkably different perspectives on the documentary fine art idiom. Jo Ractliffe’s cityscapes embody the beauty and contradiction of inner-city Johannesburg. Captured on analogue film, they document a specific moment and location, and speak to the transitory nature of urban life; the city distilled into a dreamlike state.

Of this work, Ractliffe says: ‘Initially, I think it was the sublime I was searching for. What I found was a city of slippages. Johannesburg is not a place you can apprehend in a fixed way… [it’s] a place that constantly shifts your experience of it each time you think you might have found what you are looking for.’1 A more Africanist perspective is brought to the genre by an instantly recognisable work by South African photographer Pieter Hugo. In a career marked by numerous accolades (Seydou Keita Award at Rencontres de Bamako African Photography Biennial, 2011; shortlisted for the Deutsche Börse Photography Prize, 2012), Hugo’s much-lauded series ‘Gadawan Kura’ – The Hyena Men I and II is among his best-known work.

The series was exhibited at and featured specifically in his win of the prestigious Discovery award at Rencontres d’Arles, 2008. The Hyena Men of Abuja transports us to the Hausa community of Nigeria. A troupe of itinerant performers, the group travels between Nigerian cities large and small. They make their living through live performances with hyenas and baboons, operating at the fringes of legality and society and often at odds with local law enforcement. Open-ended and complex, this portrait both asks and answers questions in equal measure. We are invited into a complicated and visually arresting world, hungry to understand its context, social norms and history. ‘What is it exactly that makes these images so arresting? Perhaps it has to do with their contradictions. On one level, they are studies in extreme masculinity; on another, they show once-wild animals made vulnerable through their subjugation. The presence of monkeys, often posing as if human, surely stirs something in our subconscious … So many issues reverberate here that, as Elisabeth Biondi [Visuals Editor of The New Yorker, 1996– 2011] says, ‘the urge is to not look away however much we want to’’.2

Kathryn Del Boccio

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Auction: Historic, Modern and Contemporary Art, Sun, 28th Oct 2018

Aspire Art Auctions brought a significant double-header of top lot leads to this sale.

Stellar results were achieved for internationally prominent William Kentridge and Alexis Preller, one of South Africa’s most respected and collectable modern artists. Collectors were attracted to Kentridge’s remarkable, Drawing from Stereoscope (Double page, Soho in two rooms) (1999), which sold for R6 600 400, while Preller’s Adam (1972), sold for a world record at R9 104 000. Modern offerings also included works by Peter Clarke, Kenneth Bakker, and Douglas Portway, while the contemporary segment included Moshekwa Langa, Penny Siopis, Simon Stone, Clive van den Berg, and Georgina Gratrix, amongst others.

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