This October 7, Poly Auction Hong Kong is holding its Modern and Contemporary Fall Auction, featuring a unique selection of young Chinese artists who probe dialogues of collective and individual consciousness specifically within Chinese society. Using myriad distinctive and subtle artistic means, this special group of works shows the challenges and advancements presented by changes in technology, culture, and community. Together, the works presented in the sale reflect the present moment and era in China, as well as the state of contemporary painting in the country at large.
Below, explore five unmissable lots that illustrate the breadth and substance of the forthcoming sale.
Estimate: HKD 2,200,000–3,200,000
Using vibrant neon and jewel-tone colors, Huang Yuxing has developed a style recognizable for both its vibrance and subtly. Through the interweaving colors and lines, landscapes, cityscapes, and even the night sky rise to meet the viewer. Through these visually impactful compositions, the viewer can catch a glimpse of the work’s philosophical and perceptual underpinnings, offering insight into the artist’s interpretation of modern life, history, and literature.
Old Butcher 5 (2000)
Estimate: HKD 2,800,000–3,800,000
Drawing inspiration from everyday life and ordinary people, Zhang Enli has a special ability to capture the theme of contemporary China, reflecting both the social and economic landscape of the country. Exemplary of the artist’s “Butcher” series, his depiction of a monotonous task in gestural brushstrokes evokes the turbulence of inner worlds. His figurative works—specifically those created between 1990 and 2005—have recently garnered significant traction, with the top eight auction records for the artist’s work dating from this period.
Untitled (Small Begging) (2007–08)
Estimate: HKD 1,200,000–2,200,000
This graphic canvas was painted just as the artist was planning to relocate from the business hub of Shanghai to the country’s bustling capital city, Beijing. The word “advertisement” blares from the background of the composition in bright yellow, while in the foreground, the outlines of two geometric figures engage in an exchange symbolic of the sometimes-imbalanced relationships that emerge in fast paced urban environments. Against a backdrop of bright advertisement for commercialism, the work sets into bright relief the multifaceted nature of rapid social and city development.
Estimate: HKD 2,200,000–3,200,000
Drawn from the artist’s “Untitled” series, itself an extension of the earlier “Lacquer Coffin” series, Wang Guangle’s 120403 has roots in the Fujian funerary tradition where an elder prepares their own coffin beginning at the age of 60. For each year thereafter, individuals add another layer of protective lacquer. The artist synthesizes traditional Chinese concepts and notions surrounding life and death with repetitious artistic processes mirroring the layering painting tradition. The composition that fades to darkness at its center offers a contemplative moment for the viewer to explore their own beliefs surrounding tradition, time, and mortality.
Triangle Relations Finally Changing No. 42013 (2013)
Estimate: HKD 1,200,000–1,800,000
Working in a style of total abstraction, free from the restraints of figuration or representation, Xie Nanxing’s work relies on internal logic and associations that have roots in formalist modes of art-making. Without narrative or emotional expressiveness, the artist’s paintings dissolve boundaries between reality and illusion, certainty and uncertainty, and other dichotomies skirted by representational art. The result is a visual space wherein the eye can draw from multiple layers of interpretive, self-contained meanings, and each encounter represents a new and unique path.
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