Phillips announces additional highlights for Hong Kong July sales of 20th Century & Contemporary Art & Design
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Phillips announces additional highlights for Hong Kong July sales of 20th Century & Contemporary Art & Design
Liu Ye, Choir of Angels (Red), 1999, oil on canvas, 169.1 x 199.2 cm. Estimate: HKD 20,000,000 – 40,000,000 (To be offered in the Evening Sale). Image courtesy of Phillips.

HONG KONG.- Phillips announced additional highlights ahead of the Hong Kong July auctions of 20th Century & Contemporary Art & Design, following the earlier announcement about two rare masterpieces by Zao Wou-Ki from the artist’s Hurricane Period. The sales feature works by a rich diversity of contemporary artists including pioneering figures such as Yoshitomo Nara, Liu Ye, Zhang Xiaogang, as well as the likes of Nicolas Party, Eddie Martinez, Jonas Wood, and MADSAKI, who are some of the most sought-after names in the art market today. As demand for works by female artists has risen sharply in recent years, Phillips is presenting a spotlight selection of works by female artists including Nicole Eisenman, Christine Ay Tjoe, Genieve Figgis, Claire Tabouret and Firenze Lai. In addition, Phillips has commissioned Chinese female designer Li Naihan to curate this season’s Pantone project for the Hong Kong pre-sale exhibition. For the first time, the Design section of the Day Sale comprises a single-owner offering, Eternal Form – A century of Modern and Contemporary Design, from the collection of Hong Kong collector Kai-Yin Lo showcasing a wide range of Scandinavian and Asian design.

Jonathan Crockett, Chairman, Asia and Isaure de Viel Castel, Head of 20th Century & Contemporary Art, Hong Kong, said, “Following on from November 2019, which marked our highest ever result for an auction season in Asia, Phillips continues our strong growth with another exceptional series of sales. We are delighted to present an outstanding selection of fresh-to-market material, with over 80% of the works in Evening Sale being offered for the very first time at auction, including two masterworks by Zao Wou-Ki and Liu Ye’s Choir of Angels (Red). We are particularly pleased to mark the auction debut in Asia for 10 artists this season, including Nicole Eisenman, Claire Tabouret, Koichi Sato, Austin Lee and Firenze Lai. As we continue to introduce new curatorial concepts each season, we are excited to showcase a section titled PlayTime, which features works that explore the interconnections between art and sex, play, love and eroticism, to be led by Liu Ye, Barbara Kruger, and Tomoo Gokita, among others. Last but not least, it is our privilege to be able to help a number of notable charities with their fundraising efforts during these extraordinary times when the whole world suffers from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Contemporary Chinese Art from an Important Private Collection
This season’s sales present seminal, historically important contemporary Chinese works by celebrated artists Liu Ye, Zhang Xiaogang, Zeng Fanzhi, Yue Minjun, all hailing from an Important Private Collection. The strong selection is led by the never before offered Choir of Angels (Red), one of Liu Ye’s masterpieces from his iconic ‘red curtain’ series, which was executed shortly after his return from Berlin to Beijing. The ‘red curtain’ paintings nod to the carefully balanced, methodical compositions of René Magritte and Georgio de Chirico, which saw objects and scenes depicted in a realistic yet unsettling manner. Their preference for classically-inspired forms and volumes echo the modelling and theatricality of Liu’s red curtain motif. The scene depicted in the present work finds its roots in Liu’s childhood days: as the artist recalls, “I grew up in a world that was covered up in red.” while the singing cherubs in the painting subtly references the rosy-cheeked children featured in popular imagery. The collection also includes two important paintings by Zhang Xiaogang, one of the greatest living Chinese artists, led by Bloodline Series: Big Family No.3, from the artist’s era-defining Bloodline series. Executed in 2005, twelve years after completing the first Bloodline canvases, the present painting perfectly showcases Zhang’s now instantly identifiable aesthetic and matured technical mastery.

Works by Yoshitomo Nara
In addition to a strong selection of Chinese modern and contemporary works, Phillips’ July Sales will include a breadth of works by the renowned Japanese artist Yoshitomo Nara. Wisdom Tooth Fever, is one of the most accomplished examples of the artist's distinctive lyrical and abbreviated figurative language forged in those crucial years in Germany. Other works include Miss Tannen, part of the artist’s series of bronze sculptures exhibited at his 2012 seminal exhibition, “A bit like you and me”, at the Yokohama Museum of Art. Unlike his instantly-recognizable portraits of menacing child-like figures, the work standing at almost seven foot has a shy demeanor, one of quiet contemplation that echoes the spirituality seen in Buddhist sculpture and presents a striking example of Nara’s mature and refined style. Another exquisite example of Nara’s child-figure subject to feature in the sales is Wheels Go Round, an early 1994 painting by the artist rendered in pastel hues of pistachio green, blush pink-toned cream and deep chocolate brown.

Their Creative Force: Pioneering Female Artists
Works by 13 contemporary female artists will be offered across this season’s Evening and Day Sales. Debuting at auction for the first time in Asia are two works by Nicole Eisenman, an American visual artist whose work has become a unique voice for counter-culture and marginalised identities. Eisenman’s works can be found in a number of public institutions, including New York’s Museum of Modern Art and the Whitney Museum of American Art. Christine Ay Tjoe is internationally recognised as Indonesia’s most prominent female contemporary artist, and the present lot Layer as a Hiding Place, is an exquisite piece from her celebrated oeuvre, which embodies the candid depths of raw emotion and vulnerability that are hallmarks of her practice. Another artist of note is Genieve Figgis, whose top three auction records were set at Phillips sales last year. Phillips will include three works by the artist in the upcoming auctions – Arty Party, Ladies Picnic (Déjeuner sur l'herbe), and Les Demoiselles d'Avignon (After Picasso), demonstrating her witty and subversive take on art canon masterpieces.

Artists on the spotlight
Phillips has set multiple world auction records for many of the most in-demand artists of today, including Nicolas Party, Eddie Martinez and Daniel Arsham. Two works by rising star Nicolas Party will be offered this July. Still Life is emblematic of Nicolas Party’s inventive engagement with long-established classical painterly themes: a fresh, subversive vision that has catapulted him to critical and institutional acclaim. The artist ironically rendered the hollow, futuristic shapes of Still Life in pastel, a medium praised in the 18th Century which he has brought back to the forefront and made look contemporary. Painted in 2007, Intergalactic Go Fish is an early work from Eddie Martinez’s acclaimed ‘table paintings’ series, completed after his New York solo show in 2006, showcasing vivid brushwork and bold, tactile contours that are hallmarks of the artist’s work. Another highlight is Reggie Lewis, a compelling example from Jonas Wood’s celebrated sports card series, depicting Boston Celtics all-star player Reggie Lewis, whose number 35 jersey was retired by the club after the big-time scorer tragically passed away in 1993, aged 27, at the midst of his stellar career. French urban artist Invader is internationally celebrated for his pixelated ceramic mosaics which can be found on the walls of cities across the globe. Alias HK_43, was originally installed in 2014 on a concrete pillar located at Upper Albany Road in Central Hong Kong, one of the unique preserved works that remained.

• Eddie Martinez, Intergalactic Go Fish, 2007, mixed media on canvas, 152.4 x 182.9 cm. Estimate: HKD 1,800,000- 2,800,000 (To be offered in the Evening Sale)

• Jonas Wood, Reggie Lewis, 2014, oil and acrylic on canvas, 198.2 x 147.2 cm. Estimate: HKD 1,500,000-2,500,000 (To be offered in the Day Sale)

• Invader Alias HK_43, 2015, ceramic tiles on perspex panel and laminated ID card, 52.4 x 61.9 cm. Estimate: HKD 450,000- 650,000 (To be offered in the Day Sale)

The PlayTime section presents a wide range of artists whose works deal with the topic of sexuality, ranging from an in-depth and overt exploration of the theme, to a subtler approach. This section also takes into consideration the portrayal of erotism in the digital world, and will present sex through the lens of emojis, internet lexicon and feminism. Leading highlights of the section include Liu Ye’s 2014 painting Girl!, one of only six nude portraits produced by the artist between 2000 and 2005, and Barbara Kruger’s Untitled, which marks the artist’s auction debut at Phillips Asia.

• Liu Ye, Girl!, 2004, acrylic on canvas, 60 x 44.7 cm Estimate: HKD 3,800,000 – 4,800,000 (To be offered in the Day Sale)

• Barbara Kruger, Untitled (Shove it, starve it, blind it, choke it, drown it, shame it, buy it, fuck it) (diptych), 1986, Diptych, 8 lenticular photographs in artist’s frame, each 55.8 x 198.1 cm. Estimate: HKD 2,000,000 – 3,000,000 (To be offered in the Evening Sale)

Eternal Form – A Century of Modern and Contemporary Design
Phillips will present Eternal Form – A Century of Modern and Contemporary Design from the collection of Hong Kong collector Kai-Yin Lo in the Day Sale. The collection of modern and contemporary design is global in its scope and vast in its chronological sweep, featuring seating furniture from renowned Scandinavian architects such as Ole Wanscher and Hans Wegner as well as Asian and contemporary design by the Campana Brothers, nendo and Zhoujie Zhang. Not only do the pieces in this collection have impressive provenance, but they also reflect Lo’s interest in the cross-cultural nature of design. The ability to make connections between different cultures and times has never been more important, and this collection reveals the power in melding these processes and cross currents.

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