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Tiancheng International presents a special theme sale on modern and contemporary Asian art
Wu Guanzhong, Spring.
HONG KONG.- Tiancheng International presents ‘Contemporary Literati’, a special theme sale on modern and contemporary Asian art, on 28th November at Tiancheng International’s inaugural auction. Auction will be held at Tiancheng International’s office at 30/F of Bank of China Tower, Central, Hong Kong. Prior to the auction, highlights of the sale will be exhibited in Shanghai, Beijing, Xiamen and Taipei and Hong Kong.

‘Literati’ refers to ancient Oriental scholars and intellectuals who saw various forms of creative expressions as a way of life. The current theme sale of ‘Contemporary Literati’ comprises of works by contemporary artists who express the spirit and value of the ancient literati by modern mediums such as photography, sculpture, video, oil or mixed media, as well as artists who express contemporary subject matters by traditional tools such as ink and brush. This special theme ‘Contemporary Literati’ presents a provoking fusion of the traditional and the contemporary, which poises to inspire viewers to reflect on the relationship between art and life in the modern days.

Modern masters namely Zhang Daqian, Wu Guanzhong, Zhu Dequn and Zhao Wuji are role models of contemporary literati. Not only because they excel in mastering techniques of western and oriental art and combine features of the two into their works, they also extend the Oriental aesthetics to their daily lives. A selection of masterpieces by these modern masters is included in the theme sale, such as Raincloud over Wushan, a splashed ink painting by Zhang Daqian (Sichuan, China, 1899 - 1983). Zhang Daqian is highly regarded for his innovative spirits in his breakthroughs in applying the abstract concept and use of colour in western paintings into his ink and brush works. This piece, executed between the 60s to the 70s, is a signature work by Zhang with green and blue splashed ink in his mature style, showing the powerful force of nature amongst the moving clouds and air. (Estimate: HK$9,000,000-12,000,000).

Spring, a double-sided oil painting work by Wu Guanzhong (Jiangsu, China, 1919 - 2010) is another major highlight of the auction. Wu Guanzhong is regarded as one of the most representative modern Chinese artists in the 20th century. He applies traditional Chinese painterly techniques of brush drawing in his oil paintings. This work is a rare double-sided oil painting on board. One side captures the scene of willows by the lake in spring and the other side depicts a donkey. Wu demonstrates how he masters his brushes by the succinct lines. This work was acquired directly from the artist and has never been offered in the market. (Estimate: HK$ 5,200,000 - 7,000,000).

Other than works by the renowned modern masters, the auction includes also exciting works which are presented innovatively in traditional mediums by contemporary artists. Feng Mingqiu’s (Guangzhou, China, B. 1951) is a contemporary calligrapher who believes calligraphy is an expression of brush movement in the third dimension. It is about the art of space and time. Based on this concept, Feng has created over 100 calligraphy styles in the past decade. He believes that poetry is also an art form in time; he then synthesises his creations of poetry, calligraphy and drawings. His works demonstrate the traditional Chinese concept of ‘paintings and calligraphy are from the same origin’. Departure, Music Script is an example of Feng's musical calligraphy in its matured style. He turned Chinese characters into musical notes on paper and made use of seals, an essential element in classical Chinese paintings to punctuate the composition.

The poem, invigorated by the characters, seal marks and space, becomes an expressive song. Feng shared not only visual but melodic pleasure through his calligraphic works. (Estimate: HK$80,000 - 120,000).

Under the influences of his family, Ye Fang (Jiangsu, China, B. 1962) leads the lifestyle of a literati by building his own traditional Chinese garden at his backyard. The locale becomes the subject matter of his art. He transcribes the garden onto paper including the rocks from the Taiwu Lake at Suzhou, known for their eccentric shapes formed by the waves and weather. Mysterious Wind, Frosting, Roam, Immersing in the Snow is a set of four paintings depicting patterns of the rocks in details. He applies various drawing techniques of ink and brush painting to create different visual effects of caves on the rocks. The dexterous use of the dynamic gradient of ink immediately puts the work into perspective with clouds, earth, rock which also delivers an ambience of Zen. (Estimate: HK$ 1,200,000 - 1,400,000).

Fu-Shun Restaurant by He Jian (Sichuan, China, B. 1978) depicts a traditional local Sichuan banquet with ink and colour. His choice of a familiar subject matter presents an interesting yet conflicting tension of the classical and the contemporary in this fresco - like work. Using traditional ink and colour as his palette to present contemporary social motifs has become the artist's signature, making him an outstanding artist among the pioneering artists. (Estimate: HK$60,000-80,000).

Literati art is not only about ink and brush works, it may also comprise of works in alternative medium that express Oriental aesthetics. Works conduct in modern mediums from photography, videography, sculptures, oil and mixed media are included in this auction. Photography works by Yang Yongliang’s (Shanghai, China, B. 1980) is one of the examples. Yang is trained in traditional painting and calligraphy and often uses classical Chinese paintings as the basis of his works. He replaces elements from the paintings with photographic images, creating an interesting dialogue between the old and the new, and presents a different outlet for modern photography. In Peach Blossom Colony – Horse Training, real-life images of a horse and a man were captured by camera and assembled into a setting inspired by Zhao Mengfu’s (1254–1322) famous classical painting from the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368). The expression of a traditional ambience through a contemporary medium creates an intercrossing of time and space. (Estimate: HK$80,000-100,000).

Dong Xiaoming (Hong Kong, B. 1948) depicts lotus, one of the most popular subject matters in traditional Chinese ink and brush paintings, by modern etching technique on sheet metal in his work Ink Lotus. The power of traditional brush strokes is amplified through acid erosion on the metal surface. Dong is an artist who is articulate with his medium as shown by his series of works on lotuses as he maneuvers the characteristics of the medium to present his ink and brush effect of lotuses. (Estimate: HK$600,000-700,000).

This theme sale also introduces works by emerging artists, such as Hao Liang, (Sichuan, China, B. 1983) whose works are not available at auction previously. Hao’s painting Shadowy Figure explores the fragility and dark side of life, which is the major subject matter in his works. The portrait resembles a medieval knight or preacher from western classical context, while the background of painting was drawn with delicate Chinese classical technique of meticulous brushworks. The artist created an atmospheric work with his adept use of colours and medium and careful composition of fine details. (Estimate: HK$100,000-150,000).

More outstanding works by young artists are included in the sale, such as works by Xiao Xu, Liu Qi, Liu Yue and Katsuyuki Shirako. Their works are widely recognized for their techniques, creativity and innovation.

Tiancheng International | Asian art | modern and contemporary |

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