“ANSELM REYLE’S WORKS are about their surroundings. When you look at a foil painting, you’re looking at everything reflected in it,” said Sotheby’s senior director of contemporary art, Francis Outred, about lot 1 of his evening sale in London this past February. Untitled, 2006, a purple-PVC-foil-on-canvas in an acrylic box, had been placed in a prime marketing position—on a wall between the bidder-registration counter and the stairs leading to the salesroom. Ten minutes before the work was to sell for £311,700 ($625,150), one could see a parade of collectors and dealers streaming across its specular surfaces. Toby Webster, owner of the Modern Institute in Glasgow, who sold the painting for less than a tenth of this auction price in 2006, told me that he doesn’t see Reyle’s work as abstract. “They’re sculptural performance pieces,” he explained, “which involve the viewer in a hundred

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