RICHARD PRINCE | Eden Rock, 2006 | acrylic on canvas
Sold for $122,500 at the Contemporary Art Evening Sale, 8 March 2012, New York.
Debuting at the Eden Rock Hotel Gallery in the Caribbean island of St. Barths, Eden Rock, 2006, is part of a larger body of work inspired by the Darwinian theory of survival of the fittest. The series is essentially a story board for an original screen play by Richard Prince entitled Eden Rock, a combination of Nevil Shute’s post-apocalyptic novel On the Beach and William Golding’s Lord of the Flies. Inspired by the artist’s trips to St. Barths, the story is described as a survivalist tale based on events gone wrong due to unlucky and ill-fated circumstances. Prince is quoted as being intrigued by “the idea of privilege turned on its head” and “when it comes to the fight for survival, clean water becomes more important than money.” (F. Martin, “Picture the End of the World”, The Guardian, March 25, 2008).
Eden Rock, 2006, depicts a pair of polished combat boots, robust legs, and finally a hand wrapped around a military grade fire arm. The lone figure stands amongst a desolate world, adorned by two abandoned vehicles left at the mercy of the elements. The sweet flower to the right of the subject alludes to the lush paradise that once was. A hovering eagle glides in the distance, accentuating the expansiveness of the space and the loneliness of the figure therein. The present lot offers a kind of retrospective of the artist’s most famed series: the hyper masculine subject matter alludes to his Cowboys series, while the rundown and dilapidated cars seem to be plucked from his popular Hoods series. What separates this series from his earlier work is the use of closecropping, a key feature of advertising work of the late 1970s and 1980s. The twenty-one paintings belonging to the Eden Rock series only display the legs or bodies of the subject. Unlike the Nurses, Cowboys, and Girlfriends, whose full figures and faces fill their respective compositions, the works of Eden Rock are void of the figure’s identity, making the work solely about the survival of the subject and not his personal character or journey. Eden Rock, 2006, captures the severity of the evolutionary theory that only the strong survive, a battle which forces every man to fight for himself against a now unrecognizable world of impending danger.