This lot is offered by Christie Manson & Woods Ltd
Christie Manson & Woods Ltd
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A swarm of gigantic sculptural ants, Rafael Gómezbarros’ Casa Tomada belongs to the artist’s celebrated project of the same title. These installations, which have been shown across the world since 2007, represent the displacement of people from his native Columbia due to violence and conflict over the last fifty years. Crafted from tree branches, fibreglass and fabric, the ants’ bodies were made by assembling two polyester casts of human skulls. The creatures, normally associated with labour and complex social organisation, thus become ciphers for death, suffering and upheaval. The work’s title references a short story by Argentine writer Julio Cortázar, in which a large mansion is invaded by elusive beings who announce their presence through muted sounds. This metaphor, read in conjunction with the present work, invokes a pronouncement made by Cortázar shortly before he passed away: that unless a country buries its dead, their ghosts will remain. Adorning the exterior of the Saatchi Gallery in its original Pangaea exhibition at Duke of York Square in 2014, variations of Casa Tomada have been installed at locations including Quinta de San Pedro Alejandrino – the hacienda where Simón Bolívar spent his final days – as well as Barranquilla’s customs building and the National Congress in Bogotá.
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The work is structurally sound and all elements appear to be present. There is some wear to the elements in keeping with the artist’s working method and nature of the found object. Subject to the foregoing, it is our view that the work appears to be in generally good condition.