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Phillips announces highlights included in the Hong Kong 20th Century & Contemporary Art & Design Sales
KAWS, HOT SEAT JUNCTION, 2010. Acrylic on canvas, triptych, overall 213.4 x 274.4 cm. Estimate: HK$7,000,000 - 10,000,000/US$897,000-1,280,000. Image courtesy of Phillips.

HONG KONG.- Phillips announced that the full catalogues for the Hong Kong Evening Sale and Day Sale of 20th Century & Contemporary Art & Design are now available online. The Evening Sale will be led by Gerhard Richter’s prominent Abstraktes Bild (774-1) which comes to auction for the first time and was executed at the peak of Richter’s celebrated abstract series, alongside seminal works by Yoshitomo Nara, Banksy, KAWS and Yayoi Kusama. Other highlights include two important paintings by Zao Wou-Ki from the collection of the artist’s daughter Sin-May Roy Zao, and several extraordinary works by rising female artists from different cultures and backgrounds, such as María Berrío, Lucy Bull, Christina Quarles, Ewa Juskiewicz, and more. As Asian collectors have driven demand for emerging names from outside the region, Phillips is delighted to introduce several artists to the Hong Kong auction market for the first time, including Julien Nguyen, Brett Crawford, Michaela Yearwood-Dan, Caroline Walker, Anastasia Bay and Kristy Chan. The Day Sale is taking place on 30 November at 11am HKT, followed by the Evening Sale on 1 December at 4:30pm HKT.

Isaure de Viel Castel, Head of 20th Century & Contemporary Art, Phillips Hong Kong, said, “We are pleased to have assembled this season’s Hong Kong sales that showcase so many international names together, reflecting current collecting tastes across the 20th and 21st centuries. Works by blue chip artists, in-demand names and cutting-edge contemporary talents are on offer, with 95% of the lots in our Evening Sale having never been sold at auction. With Hong Kong’s further eased restrictions on arrivals, we look forward to welcoming our community of collectors across the region into our sale room at the JW Marriott in Hong Kong on 30 November – 1 December.”

The Pop Culture of Graffiti

This season’s Evening Sale will offer four fresh-to-market works of highly desirable blue-chip street artists Banksy and KAWS. Undoubtedly one of the most controversial street artists in the contemporary art scene, Banksy has achieved global attention whilst still maintaining his anonymity. Known for his iconic anti-war imagery as can be seen in Kids on Guns, presented in this season’s Evening Sale, Banksy’s works provide poignant and potent social commentaries on contemporary issues such as terrorism, political authority and capitalism. With its striking simplicity and raw immediacy, Kids on Guns is a prime example and demonstrates the artist’s famed stencil and spray paint approach that originated from his time as a graffiti artist on the streets of Bristol. Another highlight offered in this season’s Evening Sale is Banksy’s Girl with Balloon & Morons Sepia, a double-sided composition boasting two of the artist’s most famous images: Girl with Balloon and Morons.

Considered one of the most iconic and forward-thinking artists of his generation, KAWS is celebrated for his multi-disciplinary practice which has caught the attention of collectors worldwide, and his works are cemented within the permanent collections of international institutions. Offered in the Evening Sale, HOT SEAT JUNCTION is a key example of KAWS’ ability to transform the familiar and drawing from nostalgic imagery in order to capture complex ranges in human emotion. Cropping in on and chopping up the culturally ubiquitous character SpongeBob SquarePants, KAWS brings this well-loved icon into his unique vernacular with his signature crossed out eyes. The work was painted in 2010 and exhibited in the solo show, KAWS: PAY THE DEBT TO NATURE in Galerie Perrotin. Another highlight offered in this season’s Evening Sale is KAWS’ COMPANION, which is undoubtedly one of the most prized symbols that defines the multidisciplinary oeuvre of the artist.

An Auction debut for the artist, Brett Crawford’s 3MO SUPPORT is an homage to a plethora of pop culture and contemporary icons from Pinocchio to Virgil Abloh’s Louis Vuitton x Off White Nike sneakers. Based in Southern California, Crawford is a multidisciplinary artist whose works span across painting, sculpture, design, and street murals; each of his works is a cultural exchange between art, fashion, and street culture. Playing with fairy tale imagery and surreal settings, Crawford’s canvases are populated with pop references and contemporary icons that prompt the viewer to seek for hidden stories within.

Themes of Childhood

Coming to auction for the first time, Yoshitomo Nara’s charming Nachtwandern, meaning walk by night or night hike in German, is exemplary of Nara’s whimsical, endearing body of work and registered in the Yoshitomo Nara Online Catalogue Raisonné. Painted in 1994 when Nara lived in Germany, just one year before his seminal solo exhibitions at SCAI the Bathhouse and Blum & Poe, Nachtwandern is a piece filled with latent talent, the product of a young artist on the cusp of enormous international renown. A defining example capturing Nara’s signature powdery white backgrounds filled with multilayered clouds of soft pastels, Nachtwandern’s titular somnambulant infant floats with a curious backwards glance at a solitary lightbulb, suspended aglow to the right of the frame. Another exquisite painting that combines a number of Yoshitomo Nara’s most iconic motifs presented this season is No Reason Why. The first of a small series of only five works created in 1995 that feature text within a comic book style speech bubble, this is the only painting of the group to feature Nara’s iconic large-headed girl with her most desirable traits.

Summoning feelings of childhood innocence and curiosity, Once in Life offered in this season’s Evening Sale is a compelling rendition of Spanish artist Javier Calleja’s instantly relatable and light-hearted imagery. First unveiled in Tokyo at NANZUKA gallery during their 2018 exhibition titled Do Not Touch, the endearing canvas depicts a wide-eyed, macrocephalic child reaching out to the viewer with his genuine sense of sincerity and hope. One of the biggest names in contemporary art today, Calleja’s works have been widely exhibited at numerous prestigious galleries and institutions worldwide. Phillips set his auction record in Hong Kong in 2021 when the artist’s multi-part installation, 30 Works: Untitled sold for over HK$12 million. 

Female Artists to Watch

Phillips returns this season with a roster of up-and-coming female artists, with the likes of Lucy Bull, Caroline Walker, Christina Quarles, Michaela Yearwood-Dan, Ewa Juskiewicz, Hulda Guzmán, and more. Please find out more here.

Colombian-born artist María Berrío follows in the tradition of her Colombian forbearers by weaving magical realism into her kaleidoscopic tapestries where folklore and figuration come together in sumptuous harmony. Her artistic process is one of painstaking yet beautiful dedication to the craft of collage: taking rare decorative papers from Thailand, Japan and Nepal, she then creates a delicate veneer on which she then applies watercolours. Phillips recently set the world auction record for the artist, with her He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not realised US$1.6 million in New York. Offered in Hong Kong this season is The Lovers 2, an accomplished work of this desire to define female autonomy and demonstrates a turn to the introspective.

Pantone 130C by Victoria Tang-Owen

In 2019, Phillips unveiled a groundbreaking concept at its Hong Kong auctions: the Pantone Room, a custom-designed space displaying a curated selection of fine art, functional furniture, and conceptual works from the 20th Century & Contemporary Art & Design Day Sale, giving visitors an immersive experience that a gallery alone cannot provide. This season, Phillips has partnered with Victoria Tang-Owen, Founder & Creative Director of Victoria Tang Studio & Thirty30 Creative, to design this season’s Pantone Room at the Hong Kong pre-sale exhibition. The room which features the Pantone colour 130C, will allow the audience to explore a space that mimics the curves of crisp autumnal leaves.

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