Untitled (Shark 15). 2008. Charcoal drawing. Signed and dated lower right. On wove paper, laid on an aluminum plate. 133 x 198 cm (52.3 x 77.9 in) , the full sheet.
PROVENANCE: Metro Pictures Gallery, New York (with gallery label on verso ) Private collection Singapore.
"Nobody ever recognized the romantic nature of my works. They are, indeed, romantic in a tragic manner.“ Robert Longo
Longo gained great fame through his series "Perfect Gods" (made asof 2007) of which our monumental sheet is a wonderful example. The impressive chalk drawings, today partly in possession of museums (MAMAC, Nice) and shown at widely acknowledged exhibitions (traveling exhibition in Nice and Lisbon in 2009), render homage to an American legend: the great white shark. In our sheet the animal dashes forward from the black background, menacing, the jaw with the rows of sharp teeth wide open. Life-size, photo-realistic and seen from the perspective of a doomed, Longo's shark demonstrates the inevitabilityof the own death - shattering and of compelling beauty. The philosophical category of the sublime takes immediate form in this picture's eerie fascination: The much-quoted "delightful horror" (Edmund Burke) seizes the observer with full force. Robert Longo found inspiration for the shark drawings in popular culture. The great white shark became a national legend in the USA after a series of shark attacks in 1916, long before Steven Spielberg's film "Jaws". Among surfers the "great white" is regarded a "Perfect God" – a mysterious force from the sea, that unites fascination and horror.