Classy ink art spread on the block

Updated: 2016-03-18 08:12

By Ming Liu(China Daily)

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Color is brought into this lyrical and contemplative piece, and like his mentor, Liu Dan, Tai is increasingly coveted by major private collectors both in the East and West.

While such works are largely a dialogue with history, a host of others embrace more contemporary themes.

Wei Qingji's ink-and-mixed-media piece, Sacred Mountain (HK$250,000-350,000) offers an avant-garde contrast, thanks to its print-like Hollywood signage.

The commentary is on the here and now-or, rather, icons of consumerism-a subject that Lu Hao also tackles.

Mainly known as a radical installation artist and photographer, his Landscape Series No 23 and No 24 (HK$120,000-180,000 each), dated from 2007 and 2008, and part of the sale, showcase his move into painting more everyday objects.

Again, the subject is China's cultural pop movement. "It's a very common theme for many artists who were working in the 2000s," says Don, "when a lot of attention was on China. These artists were in the spotlight."

Contemporary Chinese art fans will also likely eye certain art-world darlings.

Liu Wei's Flowers (HK$400,000-600,000), an ink, watercolor and acrylic on hanging paper scroll, for example, is almost classically beautiful-and a far cry from the cynical realist's reputation, developed as a major player on the scene in the 1980s and 1990s.

Liu in fact was trained in classical painting, as was Qiu Zhijie, who is also a printmaker.

Hailed as a conceptual artist and intellectual, his brilliant Monuments: Revolutionary Slogans of Successive Dynasties (HK$150,000-250,000), one of 16 works, is in fact a performance piece that comments the preservation of art in recent Chinese history.

Despite the varying styles and concepts in the collection, there is a key unifier: Nearly all the artists are classically trained and have a solid foundation in Chinese painting.

Bidders can expect a collection of visually attractive, high-quality works, and potential buyers won't need a deep academic understanding of the genre.

Equally, ink art by its very nature inspires awe. "It's a very personal medium," says Don. "Ink itself is very unforgiving, (it's) not something that is very malleable. Once you go for it, that's it. It's evident in every stroke and you need to have a plan. Technically its quite literal ... it's just brush and ink but there is a lot you can do with it."

The prices, too, reflect a segment of the market that's still underdeveloped and financially attractive. Auction day will be closely watched.

As Don says: "It could go either way."


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