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Adrian Ghenie's masterpiece 'Pie Fight Interior 12' poised to break artist's world auction record
Adrian Ghenie, Pie Fight Interior 12. Oil on canvas, 284 x 350 cm. (111 ¾ x 137 ¾ in.) Painted in 2014. Estimate: HK$68,000,000 – 98,000,000 / US$8,800,000 – 13,000,000. © Christie's Images Ltd 2022.

HONG KONG.- Christie’s announced contemporary Romanian artist Adrian Ghenie’s masterpiece Pie Fight Interior 12 (estimate: HK$68,000,000 – 98,000,000 / US$8,800,000 – 13,000,000), the largest single panel ‘Pie Fight Interior’ ever painted and poised to break the artist’s world auction record at the 20th/21st Century Art Evening Sale on 26 May at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre.

Cristian Albu, International Director and Co-Head of the 20th and 21st Century Art Department, Christie’s Asia Pacific, commented, “Adrian Ghenie is one of the most celebrated contemporary artists of his generation and is widely embraced by museums, curators, and collectors across the globe. His expressive, painterly technique is paired with compelling historical imagery and cinematic motifs that explore the universal complexities of humanity. The offering of this seminal work in our Evening sale in Hong Kong, alongside our groundbreaking exhibition of “Flesh and Soul: Bacon/Ghenie” at our Spring auctions, demonstrates Christie’s dedication to bringing the most important paintings to an international audience. We are beyond excited to offer this monumental painting in Hong Kong and continue to cement this city as one of the leading sale sites for contemporary masterpieces.”

Adrian Ghenie – Pie Fight Interior 12:

A monumental vision of tumult and splendor, present and past, illusion and reality: Derived from the 1941 Three Stooges comedy In the Sweet Pie and Pie, the slapstick images in Pie Fight Interior 12 depict a woman in a brightly patterned yellow dress and elegant blonde coiffure, clawing paint—or pie—from her face. She stands amid a panoramic interior of variegated colours which flutter like torn scraps of fabrics; behind the woman, a huge window, painting or screen opens onto a devastated landscape; tongues of flame flicker amid an ashen ground beneath a vivid ultramarine sky. Through the layers of these theatrical images and skillful play of colours, Pie Fight Interior 12 examines the various artificial lenses through which we see our present and our past. The work also conveys both the seductive power of illusion and the difficulty of seeing reality—which is obscured behind shrouds of mediation, fantasy, and misapprehension—as a complete picture, one that we cannot look away from.

The largest single panel ‘Pie Fight Interior’ painting by Ghenie: Whereas the earliest Pie Fights are poignant, often portrait-sized images of men with thick impasto obscuring their faces, the Pie Fight Interiors, created from 2012 to 2014, see the theme taken to extraordinary heights of cinematic scale and formal sophistication. Spanning three-and-half metres wide and almost three metres high, Pie Fight Interior 12 is amongst the largest canvases in Ghenie’s entire oeuvre. In 2016, Christie’s London had the honour of breaking the artist’s world auction record with Nickelodeon (2008) at GBP7,109,000 (US 8,993,0000). The artist created his first Pie Fight works between 2008 and 2009, and returned to them in 2012. The series starred in his debut U.S. museum show, “Pie-Fights and Pathos”, at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Denver that year. The painting preceding the present work, Pie Fight Interior 11 (2014), is held in the permanent collection of the Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris.

Representation of Ghenie’s artistic linage to other iconic painters: Pie Fight Interior 12 embodies Ghenie’s unique artistic language, which is inspired and influenced by a range of art masters – from Rembrandt’s prolific history paintings, Tintoretto’s dramatic Renaissance canvases, to Francis Bacon’s turbulent, ghostly visages. Ghenie’s Abstract passages also conjure Gerhard Richter’s scraping technique, and the gestural vigour of Willem de Kooning alike.

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