Mon, 27th Mar 2017 15:00

Historic, Modern & Contemporary Art

Lot 177
Lot 177 - Steven Cohen (South Africa 1962-)


Steven Cohen (South Africa 1962-)
chromogenic print, , 2001

chromogenic print from an edition of 5 + 2 Artist’s Proofs Photographed by John Hogg.

Artwork date: 2001
Literature: Perryer, S. ed. (2010). Steven Cohen: Life is Shot, Art is Long. Cape Town: Stevenson, another example from this edition illustrated in colour on p.79.

Sold for R176,204
Estimated at R40,000 - R60,000

Condition Report

Appears good, not viewed out of frame.

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.


chromogenic print from an edition of 5 + 2 Artist’s Proofs Photographed by John Hogg.

Artwork date: 2001
Literature: Perryer, S. ed. (2010). Steven Cohen: Life is Shot, Art is Long. Cape Town: Stevenson, another example from this edition illustrated in colour on p.79.


sheet size: 99 x 80 cm


What gives Steven Cohen’s important work Chandelier its enduring meaning is that, years after it was performed, it has continued to harbour its aura of ritualistic disturbance. If the nature of ritual is a transformative act in the everyday then Cohen’s onetime work of queer defiance reminds us that when outsiders meet outsiders – even from different strata of society -- a strange dance of identification ensues.In 2001 Cohen donned a costume replete with a lit chandelier, to stroll through Newtown’s massive informal settlement while it was being demolished by a force known as the Red Ants.In Shaun de Waal and Robyn Sassen’s monograph (2003:71), Steven Cohen, the artist describes his work thus: “A white man in high heels, wearing an illuminated chandelier tutu, and improvising movement amidst a community of black squatters whose shacks are being destroyed by the city council workers, in their own ballet of violence, is very South African. … I felt displaced (hectic in heels and a strange place to be near naked)”.The dystopian performance of Chandelier was, for Cohen, a painful act of anti-ballet in which he paraded as an object of opulence in a location of squalor. And in the squatter camp without electricity an aged woman danced with Cohen as his chandelier glowed, as though she was dancing with a queen.And the irony of the moment is not lost to history as we recall that the shack land was in fact demolished to make way for the building of the Nelson Mandela Bridge.

Matthew Krouse


De Waal, S. & Sassen, R. (2003). Steven Cohen. Johannesburg: David Krut Publishing.

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Auction: Historic, Modern & Contemporary Art, Mon, 27th Mar 2017

The Inaugural Cape Auction offed a diverse range of top-quality historic, modern and contemporary works. With a focus on critically engaged art and a curated approach, seasoned and new collectors competed to acquire significant works.

Aspire’s commitment to the growth of the art market saw international records broken in recognition of exiled South African artists. Louis Maqhubela’s Exiled King, a definitive, politically motivated work, sold for R341,040 - three times his previous record, and Albert Adams’ Untitled (Four Figures with Pitchforks), his first appearance at auction, sold for R136,416. Top prices were also achieved for established artists including J.H Pierneef, William Kentridge, and Edoardo Villa, and contemporary artwork fared exceptionally with record prices for David Brown, Steven Cohen, Mohau Modisakeng, Moshekwa Langa, and Mikhael Subotzky.


Friday 24 March 2017 | 10 am – 7 pm
Saturday 25 March 2017 | 10 am – 5 pm
Sunday 26 March 2017 | 10 am – 4 pm

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