Christie's Spring Auctions Exhibition

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 22 May, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 22 May, 2008, 12:00am

Convention Hall, HK Convention and Exhibition Centre

Today to May 29

Christie's first evening sale of Asian contemporary and Chinese 20th-century art, to be held this Saturday, looks set to firmly establish Hong Kong as Asia's top arts auction centre. This city now comes third place globally, after London and New York, in terms of sales and volume.

Vinci Chang, head of Asian contemporary art at Christie's, explained that pieces selected for evening sales were important, sought after and the most collectible among all works. All of these works will be on view to the public during the auction period in the coming week.

Works by the most renowned modern Chinese artists are the highlights of this sale.

Pioneer of cynical realism, Yue Minjun, is represented by several notable pieces: Gweong-Gweong (above), considered one of his best early works; Great Solidarity, that established his trademark repeated self-images; and Big Swan, a striking composition of eastern symbolism and features of classical Chinese painting, estimated at US$1.2 to US$1.9 million.

Zeng Fanzhi's Mask Series 1996 No. 6 has a pre-sale estimate of US$1.9 to US$3.2 million. Zeng's multiple masked figures explore conflicts brought about by the new urban life of 20th-century China.

Wang Guangyi's Criticism Series-Ferrari is on offer for an estimated US$769,000 to US$1 million, and significant works by Zhang Xiaogang and Liu Xiaodong are also included.

'The first evening sale for Asian contemporary art in Hong Kong is significant for all the artists and artworks involved, because ... we believe this is the biggest potential market for these types of works,' says Chang. 'Our sales last year showed that as long as we present exceptional quality work to the market, we will get better and better prices each time. This indicates that buyers and collectors are mature. They are rational in selecting and are willing to pay much more for better quality works.'

Artworks including those sourced from European and Asian private collections make up the draw for international collectors.

'The clients are coming for a certain type of art. According to our records the buyers are a mix of private, institutional and corporate collectors. [Their interest in] Chinese contemporary is very strong,' says Chang.

'A few years ago, they were just getting to know Chinese contemporary art. Today, they recognise what is good quality.'

1, Harbour Road, Wan Chai. Free admission. Inquiries: 2521 5396