Contemporary Art

Live Auction, 16 February 2019

Contemporary Auction

Sold for

ZAR 85 350
Lot 38
  • Vivienne Koorland; Battle at Arras

Lot Estimate
ZAR 30 000 - 50 000
Selling Price
Incl. Buyer's Premium & VAT
ZAR 85 350

About this Item

South African 1957-
Battle at Arras
printed with the artist's name, title and medium on a label adhered to the reverse
oil, paper, tape and glue on linen
51,5 by 41,5cm excluding frame


Vivienne Koorland’s works can be described as celebrations of memory – evoking the need for recollection. Fundamental to her work is not only the fraying of memory, but also the constancy of memory as well. Built up as collaged canvases of oil, burlap, paper fragments and inscriptions, Koorland produces a material language that aims to make remembrance palpable. Upon close examination, the weighty layers of her pasted canvases reveal the heavy stories and momentous histories of our century that should not be forgotten. As seen in the work Battle at Arras, Koorland traces history through its representation.

The work was originally painted as part of the artist’s World War series (1994), consisting of approximately 100 works, representing World War I battle terrains, in Africa and Europe. In 1996 the artist reworked the painting and amalgamated it with another work from her Contents series.

‘Koorland leaves the processes of making a painting visible on its finished surface. Its past is an essential element of its identity as an object. Seams and edges, joins and overlays mark the boundaries between present and past, new and old, exterior and interior, reworked, recycled and reclaimed, providing glimpses of previous  paintings which inhabit the present work as if it had its own memory, its own unconsciousness.’1

  1. Tamar Garb, in Neville Dubouw. (1998) Vivienne Koorland: Exhibition of Small Paintings from the Nineties, [Online] Available: [9 December 2018].


Unfinished Gallery, New York, REALLY, 2 November to 7 December 1997.

UCT Irma Stern Museum, Cape Town, The Unquiet Image: Paintings by Vivienne Koorland, New York 1990–1998, 10 November to 16 December 1998.


Vivienne Koorland. (1998) Exhibition of Small Paintings from the Nineties, Cape Town: UCT Irma Stern Museum. Illustrated in colour on page 36.

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