Phillips Hong Kong to Offer Cutting-Edge Contemporary Artworks by Pioneering Chinese Artists of Cynical Realism

Phillips Hong Kong unveils highlights from its upcoming spring sales, led by a selection from the Scheeres Collection. The collection includes works from the 1930s to the early 2000s by some of Asia’s greatest modern and contemporary artists, such as Zhang Xiaogang, Fang Lijun, and Yue Minjun.

Zhang Xiaogang’s Bloodline: Big Family No.9, painted in 1996, is the centrepiece of the collection. Marked as estimate upon request, the painting is never before offered at auction. In this rare and nostalgic painting, Zhang challenges the notion of identity in the context of Chinese collectivism through his iconic stoic figures.

Drawn from Zhang’s memories of Cultural Revolution-era China, the painting illustrates the joint consciousness of the country at a time of social turmoil. It comes from a sentimental photograph of the artist’s family depicting his brother on his 100th Day Birthday with their parents.

Fang Lijun’s Series 2 No. 10, estimated at HK$6m-9m. As a pioneer of Cynical Realism, Fang creates fictional and ambiguous narratives to examine the shift in China following the social movement in China in the late 1980s.  

Created in 1992, Series 2 No. 10 depicts a female acquaintance with her palms pressed together beside her face with a slightly provocative expression emphasized by her subtle smile. She is flanked by two robust men, amidst a backdrop of rippling water dotted with three bald figures emerging from the ocean gasping for air. Such scenes demonstrate an openness in society and a sense of a affluence and freedom coming after Deng Xiaoping’s Open Door policy in 1978.

Also created by Fang, 1994 No.4 is a key work from his meditative 1994 blue swimming series. Estimated at HK$2m-3m, the work captures the artist’s preoccupation with human’s relationship with water. It depicts a figure, naked and alone, trying to exist and stay afloat in the large seemingly endless body of water, which represents one’s feelings of being omitted and ignored in society.

Yue Minjin’s Penguin, estimated at HK$1.5m-2m, stands out as a bold example of the artists’ distinctive surrealist depictions. This work captures the artist’s highly recognizable humourous portraits of himself with the wide-mouthed expression of laughter and ludicrously embracing a penguin in a heightened surrealist image.

A dedicated preview for highlights from the Nick Scheeres collection will be held in H Queen’s Atrium from 24 to 27 May 2018. The auction will take place in Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong on 27 May at 6 pm.


Highlights from the Scheeres Collection

Zhang Xiaogang. Bloodline: Big Family No. 9.

Created in: 1996
Estimate Upon Request

Fang Lijun (b. 1963). Series 2 No. 10.

Created in: 1992
Estimate: HK$6,000,000 - 9,000,000

Fang Lijun (b. 1963). 1994 No.4.

Created in: 1994
Estimate: HK$2,000,000 - 3,000,000

Yue Minjun (b.1962). Penguin.

Created in: 1999
Estimate: HK$1,500,000 - 2,000,000

Auction details

Auction house: Phillips Hong Kong
Sale: 20th Century & Contemporary Art and Design Evening Sale
Location: Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong, 5 Connaught Road, Central, Hong Kong
Auction date: 2018/5/27|6pm