SCMP charity art auction features work by major Chinese artists
Works by local and mainland artists to go under the hammer this autumn in a charity auction organised by the Post, writes Isabella Cheuk
A new work by Zeng Fanzhi will lead a charity art auction organised by the South China Morning Post this autumn. Snow, which has an estimated value of between HK$1 million and HK$1.6 million, will go under the hammer on September 3, as part of continuing events to celebrate the newspaper's 110th anniversary.
Proceeds from the sale will go to St James' Settlement, the Tung Wah Group of Hospitals and the Society for Community Organisation (SoCo). St James' Settlement will use the money to give spectacles to schoolchildren, and to provide food and counselling for low-income families. The Tung Wah group will use the funds to offer physiotherapy to the elderly, and SoCo will launch a home improvement scheme for poor families.
The SCMP Charity Art Auction, conducted by Sotheby's, will be held at the Grand Hyatt Hong Kong. A preview exhibition of the auction will be held at Sotheby's Art Gallery from August 1 to 5.
Star of the show is Snow by mainland artist Zeng, whose Last Supper set a record last year for contemporary Asian artwork when it sold for US$23.3 million. He painted the oil on canvas especially for the auction. It features a cluster of three trees with their branches covered in snow against a stark, grey background. The piece is stretched onto a circular frame, harking back to ancient Chinese round paintings and evoking a wonderful stillness, as if one is looking through a small window with the clutter of the wider world blocked out.
Local artist Simon Birch has donated his untitled painting of a woman vigorously shaking her head with eyes shut. The plain background accentuates the pure beauty of the human body and the forceful emotions within. This work is estimated to fetch at least HK$175,000.
Lam Tung-pang, a veteran of the local art scene, has chosen one of his Land Escape series - charcoal and acrylic landscapes executed on the unusual medium of plywood. In We looking at each other, a figure is strolling through a tree-lined country path in isolation from the modern tower blocks peeping out from behind the hill. It is valued at HK$85,000 to HK$98,000.
Wilson Shieh finds inspiration in a city landscape. His Five Tallest Buildings in Hong Kong is a beauty parade of buildings instantly recognisable to anyone living in this city. It is, the artist says, a playful reversal of the masculinity that pervades the architecture of the city and its financial industry. This painting is valued at HK$120,000.
For those in search of artwork in non-traditional media, LED artist Teddy Lo is offering a collection of prints (estimated at HK$100,000 in total) that show rotating, multicoloured formations that float in the dark like mythical deep-sea creatures.
Sohan Qadri, who died in 2011, was not a local artist but his expression of Tantric yoga philosophy is something that Sundaram Tagore, owner of the eponymous gallery in Hollywood Road, believes will appeal to a universal audience. The artist, who has been compared with Mark Rothko, painted this untitled work in fiery red and used his favourite motifs of horizontal lines and dots to reflect his understanding of human and cosmic energy.
The line-up of local artists also includes Koon Wai-bong, whose ink-on-silk Forestscape (estimated at HK$220,000) hints at the infinite, precise world of fractals that so obsessed M.C. Escher, while simultaneously evoking the lyrical landscape of traditional Chinese scrolls.
Chui Pui-chee, another master of traditional Chinese art forms, decides to replace words with mosquitoes in a triptych called Friends of Humble Chamber (estimated at HK$120,000) as he breaks through the boundary of conventional calligraphy.
The auction also features a painting by Liu Tung-mui, a cerebral palsy sufferer voted one of Hong Kong's top 10 outstanding young persons in 2005. She has picked Persimmon (estimated at HK$20,000-HK$30,000), a vibrant, impressionistic image that has been reproduced as a large mosaic and worked wonders in livening up the Jordan MTR station.
Kevin Fung, whose wooden sculptures can also be found in many public spaces, has offered a piece from his newer body of work using bronze. Summation of Choices IX demonstrates the artist's maturation and skilful use of the material. To create these sculptures, he made delicate bronze casts of tree branches, some as long as 6.7 metres in length.
A vibrant work by indigenous Australian Peter Nyaningu titled Peter Nyaningu's Creation Story, donated by a private collector, vividly depicts symbolic scenes from ancient folklore that has inspired and fascinated for generations.
The youngest artist featured in the auction is Kenny Lau, an eight-year-old who sold his first paintings when he was just four and counts former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg among his collectors. His choice for the auction is Wonderful Hong Kong (estimated at HK$80,000), a fitting selection for the Post's 110th anniversary theme of "Celebrating Hong Kong".