Painted by Chinese artist Zhou Chunya (b.1955), a painting A Lying Woman, Black Stone fetched nearly HK$10m in the recent spring sale at Poly Auction Hong Kong. Since most of the buyers would like to stay anonymous, we don’t usually get them to talk about the artwork of they have successfully bid on. But Amanda Wei, the new owner of A Lying Woman, Black Stone, is delighted to share with The Value her recent acquisition as she reminisced the bidding, ‘I consider this painting a perfect work, so I was determined to buy it.’
Zhou Chunya. ‘A Lying Woman, Black Stone’.
Auction house: Poly Auction Hong Kong
Created in: 1992
Estimate: HK$8,000,000 -12,000,000
Price realized: HK$9,440,000
Amanda Wei, the founder of Amanda Wei Gallery
Q: What do you like about this painting?
Amanda: This is an early work by Zhou Chunya from his ‘Stone’ series in 1992. This work is a representative example from the series. His works have synthesized the techniques of traditional Chinese paintings by "Four Masters of the Yuan Dynasty" and Bada Shanren, together with the Neo-Expressionism from Germany.
Q: How do you interpret this painting?
Amanda: Stone symbolizes hardness and coldness while woman body symbolizes femininity and softness. Zhou set two extremes, cold and warm, hard and soft against a background of nature. It embodies the concept of ‘the Union of Man and Nature’. The way he painted the work seems so effortless. It is abstract and expressive. It is my favourite of all purchases this year.
Q: How did you feel when you were bidding? Were you nervous?
Amanda: Not really. I have already bought a couple of Zhou Chunya’s work. I consider this painting a perfect work, so I was determined to buy it.
Besides his ‘Stone’ series, Zhou Chunya is best known for his ‘Green Dog’ and ‘Blooming Flower’ series, which have been highly sought after in the market. What does Amanda think about Zhou's other series?
'Green Dog' series by Zhou Chunya
Q: Have you collected other series by Zhou Chunya?
Amanda: I personally like the ‘Mountain Stone’ and ‘Blooming Flower’ series. His ‘Green Dog’ series is unique but it doesn’t resonate with me. So, my collection is from the series of ‘Mountain Stone’ and ‘Blooming Flower’.
'Stone' series by Zhou Chunya
Q: Where does your obsession with Zhou’s work come from?
Amanda: Zhou Chunya is different from other artists. For most modern and contemporary artists in around his age, their works are mostly related to the social environment because China has been through many changes and reforms, including The Cultural Revolution and Chinese Economic reform. The society has experienced fundamental changes and there has been a drastic change in people's thought, mind, and daily lives. Many artists think they have a certain mission when they create their works.
Zhou Chunya's Red Stone
Amanda: But I found Zhou Chunya is not like them. He lives in an ideal world of his own. Like the paintings of mountain stones and women, they show the harmony between human and nature. Then he created the ‘Blooming Flower’ series, painting the scene of blooming flowers, lovers falling in love. It is all about natural beauty and human’s primitive desire.
'Blooming Flower' series by Zhou Chunya
Amanda: I feel like Zhou is not influenced by the world around him. Then later I met Zhou in person, exactly the kind of artist as I imagined. He is not secular. He is like living in his own world. Zhou Chunya also like working with me. And he will be holding an exhibition at my gallery at the end of this year.
'Landscape' series by Zhou Chunya
Being a seasoned art collector and a gallery owner, Amanda exudes passion and enthusiasm for art from the way she talks about her treasured collection. Maybe her easy-going personality is also reflected from her artwork choices.
Q: Does your preference for Zhou’s painting also have to do with your own experience?
Amanda: I think so. There is something that I share in common with Zhou Chunya. I also live in my own world of imagination. Though I do pay attention to what happens around me, I like to follow my heart. Like how I operate this gallery, I don’t have the pressure of comparing my gallery to other international galleries. To be honest, I don’t pay much attention to how others operate their galleries. I just follow my mind and operate the gallery in my own way. That’s it.
We met up with Amanda in her gallery, Amanda Wei Gallery, where a range of whimsical and intriguing artworks is currently on display. These are all created by rising artists that Amanda Wei Gallery is in collaboration with. In our next interview, Amanda is going to talk about the vision of her gallery, as well as other gems from her trove, from contemporary art to Chinese antiques.