Important South African and International Art, Decorative Arts & Jewellery

Cape Town  |  10:30am Mon 5 Mar 2018


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Peter Clarke; Adam
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Lot 506

South African 1929-2014
signed, dated 14 October 2005 and inscribed with the title and text
watercolour and collage on paper
39.5 by 31cm excluding frame

Sold for R 30 000
Including Buyer's Premium and VAT R 34 104

Estimate R 30 000 - 50 000

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Inscription reads:

"Life in the Garden of Eden had been beautiful, idyllic. At first thinking of those lovely times tears would come to our eyes whenever we recalled how God's angel chased us out into the cruel, cruel world with his golden sword. Eve & I were naive, really not knowing a thing. We had to learn to survive.

Having to keep alive, we made all kinds of stupid mistakes, one after the other. It was really a matter of learning the hard way. But as time went on things became easier & we progressed.

Self-taught, we learned to make juice out of apples - yes, the apple that caused Eve & my downfall & expulsion from Paradise - as well as the grapes we grow. Then, eventually, we made wine that was really superb. We've laid some of the wine down & this should mature well.  Because we do not have customers Eve & I have to drink some of the stuff ourselves.  It's such a pity there aren't other people about."

"The combination of text and image had taken a new form in the Fan series. Clarke used the shape of an open fan to provide continuity throughout the series, saying 'I fell in love with the idea of variations for a visual series in the same way that classical composers' music often takes the form of a theme with variations' (Clarke and Stevenson 2004: 6)/ He created evocative images within the format of the fan while inscribing related texts below. Many fans pay homage to a specific personality, the text often supposedly 'speaking' in the first person, sometimes in a soliloquy, sometimes in conversation with Clarke. The inscription signals that the works are personal because the text is transcribed in his own distinctive handwriting and, whether or not he speaks with his own voice, one is constantly aware of Clarke's experiences and ideas  and his puckish humour. It is as though he is enacting a masquerade, perhaps in an alternative modus operandi to the masked figures and actors that have recurred throughout his oeuvre. Here he uses the voice of the 'players' to raise many themes - public or private, poignant or poetic, anguished or angry, witty or wistful. Clarke speaks of the visual richness of the fan which '..represents an object that has a very definite shape, appearance (sometimes plain, sometimes absolutely striking) and even quiet presence. Interestingly too, it can often be fragile' (Clarke and Stevenson 2004: 10). And the form of the fan suggests a hidden image that can be folded away, indicative, perhaps, of how messages can be open or secret, and the way people may be extrovert or withdrawn" (Hobbs and Rankin, 2011: Pages 197-198).

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