Wednesday 29 November 2023

Lot 232

Michael Ayrton, British 1921-1975 - Reflection of Flight, 1975; bronze and Perspex on rotating base,...

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Lot 232

Michael Ayrton,
British 1921-1975 - 
Reflection of Flight, 1975; 
bronze and Perspex on rotating base,...

Price Realised: £4,198

Estimate: £2,500 - £3,000

Price realised is hammer price plus fees (31.2% Buyers Premium inclusive of VAT).

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Lot 232


Michael Ayrton,
British 1921-1975 - 

Reflection of Flight, 1975; 

bronze and Perspex on rotating base, cast at the Art Bronze Foundry  numbered '4/12' , H28.2 x W20 x D22 cm (including base) (ARR) 

Christie's, London, Modern British and Irish Art, 14th July 2016, lot 27; 
a Collector of Modern British Art, purchased from the above and thence by descent 

this present work was the final piece cast from the edition of 12. It was cast by Mike Gaskin during Ayrton's lifetime. 

The series of Reflector sculptures which Ayrton produced towards the end of his life grew out of his long-standing fascination with mazes. He was introduced to neutral density Perspex by his son-in-law, Richard Gregory, then Director of the Brain and Perception Laboratory at Bristol University, who had been using it in his experiments, and the idea of combining bronze, one of the oldest man-made materials, with Perspex, one of the newest, took hold of his imagination as a way to express his sense of the universality of myth in general and maze-myths in particular. Neutral density Perspex is both translucent and reflective: a bronze figure placed beside a sheet of Perspex can be seen through the sheet and reflected in it; seen from different angles on a turning base, a figure or figures will literally dance with each other, in a mazed-space which is both real and illusory. 

'Reflection of Flight, 1975' is the last in this series, looks back to the very beginnings of his obsession with the myth of Daedalus, Icarus, Maze and Minotaur, and the flight of Icarus out of the Cretan maze. As the bronze turns on its base, the kneeling figure on one side of the Perspex watches, studies and is penetrated by the poised bronze bird bones; at one angle he wears them as wings. Ancient bronze, modern Perspex, and bone which is older than both, are brought together in a sculpture which is as timeless as human curiosity itself; the ultimate visual expression of the artist's vision of Icarus as both doomed and transcendent, and of the 'death in flight' which makes heroes - as he had witnessed it during the War, and written of in 'Testament of Daedalus' and 'The Maze Maker'. It is a powerful work, which stands at the heart of his oeuvre: looking back to the beginnings of his entanglement with myth, and forwards to the new engagement with mazes and mirrors which sadly he did not live to explore fully. 

With thanks to Justine Hopkins of the Michael Ayrton Estate for her assistance in the cataloguing of this work. 

Buyer's Premium

The buyer shall pay the hammer price together with a premium thereon of 26% up to £20,000 (31.2% inclusive of VAT), 25% from £20,001 - £500,000 (30% inclusive of VAT), 20% from £500,001 thereafter (24% inclusive of VAT). The premium price is subject to VAT at the standard rate.

VAT is not charged on the hammer price unless it is stated that there is 'VAT applicable on the hammer price at the end of the description. Buyer's premium is subject to VAT.

Qualifying living artists and the descendants of artists deceased within the last 70 years are entitled to receive a re-sale royalty each time their work is bought through an auction house or art market professional.

It applies to lots with hammer value over £1,000 as follows:
0 to £50,000 - 4%
£50,000.01 to £200,000 - 3%
£200,000.01 to £350,000 - 1%
£350,000.01 to £500,000 - 0.5%
Exceeding £500,000 - 0.25%
ARR is capped at £12,500

Please note ARR is calculated in euros. Auctioneers will apply current exchange rates.

Export of goods

Buyers intending to export goods should ascertain whether an export licence is required before bidding. Export licences are issued by Arts Council England and application forms can be obtained from its Export Licensing Unit. Details can be found on the ACE website or by phoning ACE on 020 7973 5188. The need for import licences varies from country to country and you should acquaint yourself with all relevant local requirements and provisions before bidding. The refusal of any such licences shall not permit the cancelling of any sale nor allow any delay in making full payment for the lot.

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