Supplied, 26 April 2023

Centum was first held at Leonard Joel in 2020, with a desire to provide an auction devoted exclusively to Australian contemporary art. There was, in their view, a gap in the secondary market for a refined contemporary art auction which was sought after by buyers and sellers, but also needed for a sustainable secondary market for the work of contemporary artists. Leonard Joel wanted a name and a goal and so set about curating 100 lots annually, honoured through the name Centum. The name remains, the commitment to nurturing a secondary market for contemporary Australian and International art continues but the number of works moves with and reflects the market.

This year's Centum auction at Leonard Joel in Melbourne will feature  Abs (Lot 22 ) by Michael Zavros, a specially commissioned work, playfully depicting a skeleton reclining, adorned with white flowers. The Centum sales, first held by Leonard Joel in 2020, are devoted exclusively to Australian contemporary art.


Leonard Joel's 2023 Centum exhibition brings together some of the most covetable pieces of contemporary art from Australia and abroad.
Abs (Lot 22 ) by Michael Zavros was a specially commissioned work, playfully depicting a skeleton reclining, adorned with white flowers in the formation of abs. In this work, the artist highlights our obsession with self-image and the pursuit of the ideal body. Here, the ideal form is stripped back to bare bones – literally. Whilst Zavros has delved into a variety of mediums including photography and video work, it is the canvas that he continuously returns to, exploring ideas of luxury, commercialisation, and above all, beauty.

Whilst small in scale, Biopod #2 (Lot 3 ) by Natasha Bieniek is in no way a minor work, displaying the artist’s enviable ability to capture refined detail in miniature. Painted onto mirror dibond, the work highlights our obsession with viewing images on a tablet or screen.

Another top lot is by John Olsen, who the art world sadly bid adieu to this month. John Olsen remained one of the key figures of the Australian art world up until his passing at age 95. Painted in 1997, Rabbit Warren – Rydal (Lot 13 ) captures the artist’s home landscape of Rydal, painted en plein air. During his time living there, Olsen also painted his masterpiece Summer at Rydal 1997, which was a finalist in the Art Gallery of New South Wales’ Wynne Prize.
The auction will tour first to Sydney, before returning to Melbourne where it will go under the hammer on the 15th of May 2023.


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