Dali, Picasso works cast Central in surreal light

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 20 March, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 20 March, 2007, 12:00am

The luxury brands and conservative business workers who inhabit Central have some surreal company for the next few weeks.

Bronze sculptures by surrealist master Salvador Dali and paintings by fellow 20th-century giants including Pablo Picasso are on display - and for sale - inside The Landmark and in the plaza around the IFC buildings until April 15.

The nine bronze works were created by the famous Spaniard in the late 1970s and early 1980s in limited numbers. They are part of the 'Masterpieces and Beyond' exhibition held by Opera Gallery Hong Kong, sponsored by Hongkong Land and featuring exhibits worth a total of US$90 million.

Among the items for sale are works by famous European masters including Picasso, Marc Chagall and Joan Miro, as well as the likes of Colombian Fernando Botero.

Visitors to The Landmark building are greeted by Dali's Surrealist Newton, the late artist's faceless tribute to the discoverer of the workings of gravity.

Four sculptures surround the upmarket mall's fountain, but the biggest works are left for the area outside the IFC.

The 1-tonne Space Venus - an ambiguous torso with breasts but no arms - is the most expensive at US$1.7 million. Also on show are Dali's bronzes Alice in Wonderland and Woman Aflame, the latter positioned to make it seem the hands are touching Two Exchange Square.

'We didn't want to put the works in a museum because we really wanted to take them to the people,' said Shirley Ben Bashat, general manager of Opera Gallery. 'They are right here in Central and people can touch them and look at them.

'Buyers can see them in the natural environment and imagine what they would look like in their own space.'

The gallery had already sold six of the pieces on display.

'We want to show people in Hong Kong that they can buy traditional European art as well as Chinese masters.'