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Two melted Gordon’s Gin bottles sold at auction for over $13,000

Two melted bottles of Gordon’s Gin, part of the ‘Reclining Drunk’ series by the British artists Gilbert & George, sold for AU$6,600 each as part of a sale of a collection of works owned by the late art dealer Ray Hughes.

Image: Shapiro

The bottles went on sale in the first half of the Hughes’ collection sale last night (14 May) at auctioneers Shapiro and sold for AU$6,600 each, including buyer’s premium. They had an estimated value of between $2,000 and $3,000 each.

They are two bottles out of a series of 200 produced by art duo Gilbert & George entitled ‘Reclining Drunk’. The gin bottle collection were first exhibited in their entirety in London in 1973 at the Nigel Greenwood Gallery. Each bottle is inscribed with the pair’s initials, a number out of 200 and dated Spring 1973. Hughes owned bottle number 47 and bottle number 70.

Known for their love of gin, in particular Gordon’s, the duo also produced an 11 minute piece of performance art in which they sit together drinking gin and tonics, repeating the phrase “Gordon’s Gin makes us very, very drunk” accompanied by music by Elgar and Grieg.

Image: Shapiro

The disfigured bottles were also intended to be ash trays, something that Hughes, known for his fondness for cigarettes and smoking, would have valued, though it’s unlikely he used them as such.

Hughes died in December last year at the age of 72. More than 200 artworks in his collection went on sale last night with a further 350 are going under the hammer today.

Since 1968, Gilbert & George, otherwise known as Gilbert Prousch (74) and George Passmore (76), have lived and worked on Fournier Street in London’s Spitalfields. They met while studying at Saint Martin’s School of Art and, adopting the slogan ‘Art for All,’ they refer to all of their works as ‘sculptures’ despite utilising a variety of different mediums.

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