On October 6 in London, Christie's sells Nickelodeon, oil and acrylic on canvas painted in 2008, lot 5 estimated £ 1M. This very large diptych 238 x 414 cm overall was the centerpiece of a 2009 exhibition significantly entitled Darkness for an hour.
A group of men are standing. Most of them look towards a screen. In a basic room, they watch a movie of the old days. We guess their intentions and commitments. With their long coats, they personify the dark hours of the nomenklatura.
These chilling stiff characters have no identity. The faces are blurred as in these photos where the Stalinist bureaucrats altered the past by erasing the traitors to their cause. One of these men has a more precise gesture as if he lacerated his own face with his hands.
Adrian Ghenie then attempted to ward off his ghosts by providing them with the identities of dictators and of Nazi criminals. Their blurred faces are inspired by real portraits in an expressionist style that made his art compared with that of Francis Bacon. In the same style he made mocking self-portraits.
His success is growing and he is now taking care to have his references in art history. A self-portrait as Vincent van Gogh 48 x 30 cm painted in 2012 was sold for $ 2.6 million including premium by Sotheby's on May 11, 2016 over a lower estimate of $ 200K. The Sunflowers 280 x 280 cm painted in 2014 in a composition inspired by the same artist was sold for £ 3.1 million including premium by Sotheby's on February 10, 2016 over a lower estimate of £ 400K.
SOLD for £ 7.1M including premium