July 29, 2011 5:13 pm

Sale of the week: Hot stuff by the staff

This selling exhibition showcases the usually hidden talents of Phillips de Pury’s employees

Sale: Inside Out

Location: Phillips de Pury and Co, Howick Place, London SW1, tel: +44 (0)20 7318 4010; www.phillipsdepury.com

Date: Until August 5. On view Monday-Friday 10am-6pm

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Need to know: The annual summer hiatus in the world’s leading salerooms could result in acres of top-quality wall space lying fallow, but it has become the norm for auction houses to use their empty galleries to showcase the usually hidden talents of their staff. Open to everyone from the chairman of the board to porters, such shows frequently produce works of excellent quality, as is the case with Phillips de Pury’s Inside Out selling exhibition. Forty-three of the auction house’s employees have contributed 228 pieces, ranging from figurative drawings to light installations.

Highlights: Among the most widely talented exhibitors is part-time art handler and artist Marcelo Borges, who has submitted 13 pieces for the show, including photographs, a video installation and, most interestingly, a 9ft high sculpture created from a selection of charred wooden chairs that he has joined together to form a tower. Entitled “God’s Reading Room”, the piece is priced at £5,000.

Anna Ho's snapshot of a Cuban rickshaw rider

Anna Ho's snapshot of a Cuban rickshaw rider

Just £500 will buy “Santa Fe”, a photographic print by property manager Ian Bell that shows a giant yellow freight train set against an azure sky. Equally striking are Anna Ho’s snapshot of a Cuban rickshaw rider and Mike McClafferty’s untitled silver gelatin print of a group of workmen sitting on the steps of a Prada store. The latter image belongs to a series created by McClafferty for which he took photographs around the world without looking through the camera’s viewfinder.

Brazilian Patricia Pisanelli, meanwhile, has shown ingenuity in her choice of materials by using a slice of processed ham as the ground on which to create a painting of “Eliza Doolittle and Friends”. According to the footnote, Pisanelli has, since childhood, “been attracted by the appearance of industrialised confectionery and artificial-looking products”. Well, there’s no accounting for taste.

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