Imants Tillers

Counting (0 through 9), 1987
Oilstick, synthetic polymer paint on nine canvasboards (no.11622-11639)
114 x 75.5 cm

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Private collection, Melbourne
Classics of Australian Art, Deutscher-Menzies, Melbourne 21 August 2000, lot. 113
Private collection, Melbourne

W Curnow, 'Imants Tillers and the Book of Power', Sydney, 1998, fig.31, p.131

At a certain stage in Tillers' career, surrounding the 1986 Venice Biennale where he was sent as the first artist to represent Australia in a solo capacity - the door to Europe was veritably thrown wide off its hinges - he was regularly cited as Australia's quintessential postmodern artist, in categorical deference to his use of appropriation. Exhibitions in New York followed, with favourable reviews, and many international artists whom Tillers' appropriated, curiously viewed the exhibitions.

Wynstan Curnow writes on Tillers' Modus Operandi, 'Since Australia had been signally protected from experiencing the original, its natural tendency to slavish imitation or mimicry should be its great advantage.' (W. Curnow, Imants Tillers and the Book of Power'', Ibid.)

In 'Counting 0 to 9', Tillers takes from American iconoclast and legend of the New York School, Jasper Johns, in his numeric series; the series appeared prolifically in painting and in lithograph by way of Kenneth Tyler at Gemini G.E.L. Johns' work with numbers was drawn from part of a wider stock of imagery, a quotidian of visual cues already familiar to the mind. Johns repeatedly revoked this imagery, rendering it ad infinitum in his new manner of consciously controlled Abstract Expressionism. His expression in paint still screamed through the meticulous typography of the Western numeral, or the directive geometry of the U.S. flag, as if to say 'll that matters is that the painting exists' - a distinction that could well be collapsed to include the work of Tillers along side it.

artwork Counting (0 through 9) by Imants Tillers

Image courtesy of the artist and Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery

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