Vincent Van Gogh’s 1887 oil painting Poppy Flowers, known also as Vase with Flowers and Vase with Viscaria, was stolen from the Mohammed Mahmoud Khail Museum in Cairo, Egypt in 2010. The painting measures 65cm x 54cm and depicts yellow and red poppy flowers contrasted against a dark background. Eleven cultural workers were arrested, including gallery staff, officials, and the lone security guard on duty. All were thought to be involved in the theft, though were subsequently released due to lack of incriminating evidence. The whereabouts of Poppy Flowers is still unknown.
The painting had previously gone missing from the same Cairo museum in June of 1977, and was recovered ten years later in Kuwait. It has been speculated that copies of this work may have been produced over the years between its theft and recovery, leading to rumors that the painting returned to the museum, and subsequently lost, was not the original.
Collin Zipp’s work explores notions of viewer expectation and contemporary mythmaking. Zipp uses both trickery and deception, and aims to challenge the viewer’s perceptions of the art object. Zipp uses elements of storytelling and narrative structures to explore the role of the art object and it’s positioning within the gallery space.
To read more about this exhibition, view the article on Galleries West