This work is from an important series in Gray's career and a significant undertaking; 'Film sequence with Liz Lochhead', in which Gray created artworks to illustrate Lochhead's poetry, which were then filmed by Malcolm Hossick, a BBC producer.
The poems were written and the images finished, but the film that was to unite them fell through. The film was to tell the story of a doomed love affair, with the images acting as flashbacks or memories. The poem which pertains to this work reads: "We played this childish game. You need sheer freakish luck to win. Snakes and ladders is the name. Home and dry is everybody's aim. Throw a double six, there's luck, begin. We played this childish game. Dice and pure chance, I cannot blame how they fell for the box I'm in. Snakes and ladders is its name. Eve was foolish, thought she'd tame the serpent, keep Adam at her side with sin. We played this childish game. Unravel ups and downs, see how we came to end back at square one again. Snakes and ladders is its name. Fall foul? The serpent has a tongue of flame. Land lucky? Ladder-rungs are thin... We played this childish game. Snakes and ladders is its name."
'Snakes and Ladders' was one of the largest and most significant works in the series and has been loaned for exhibitions of Gray's work throughout the years, notably in the exhibition 'Now and Then' mounted by the Sorcha Dallas Gallery in Glasgow in 2008, which saw the nine works in the Lochhead series re-united for the first time.
It is the largest and most important work by Gray to appear on the open market to date. We are delighted to present this work to auction in our 27th January sale of Contemporary & Post-War Art.
Characterised by competitive bidding, strong results and a high selling rate, our Contemporary & Post-War Art sales are among our most popular auctions. Held three times a year in our Scottish saleroom, highlights are also regularly exhibited in our London gallery. Our strong private client base and excellent international marketing reach has seen these sales grow into flagships of our company.