This month sees the auction of Turner Prize-winning Bob Law’s ’Nothing To Be Afraid Of V 22.8.69′ work of art, which is expected to reach £60,000. This minimalist work (pictured left) demonstrates ‘… the seductive idea of nothing to a canvas, and asks the viewer to reflect’, according to the official Bonhams catalogue.
Unsurprisingly, not everyone shares such positive opinions. In fact, when I first viewed the work, in a photograph on a page of a newspaper, I was initially impressed that the artist had managed to subtly show a faint image of a man in the work. Then I realised that I was actually viewing an image from the next page of the newspaper through the paper!
More interestingly, does the fact that it is entitled ‘Nothing To Be Afraid Of V’ mean that it is one of a series of five such works?! I would love to see the journey to show how the artist has progressed from his first work to the fifth one seen here.
So will art that is so minimalist that is appears that the artist forgot to make a start on his painting actually achieve the expected sale price? Strangely I think that it may do so. Surely the definition of a someone who has more money than sense is one who would buy a blank canvas framed with sketched outlines. Especially as I can exclusively reveal that I believe the work to be a fake, since I bought what I think is the original work from a local exhibition recently, pictured below.
The eagle-eyed among you will notice an additional word that is not present on the Bonhams artefact. I believe that this has been removed from the ‘copy’ in order to maximise its sale potential. I bought this piece for the princely some of £5. Admittedly it did also include a frame worth £4.99.
This story is close to my heart as I have actually produced some minimalist art of my own. Remember, it’s what you don’t see that’s important. I call the work below ‘Lonely Cloud’ and it demonstrates the vulnerability of a new-born child as it enters the world.
I expect either work to reach around 60 or so, if sold but, like Bob Law, probably only after I die. But honestly, I don’t do it for the money. It’s enough to know that my work can enable viewers to spend some time to reflect on what they don’t see and contemplate how it juxtaposes with what they do see. That’s time well spent.