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Ron English 1966, Dallas, USA Bought in 2005 Snoopy bombing the Simpsons 92x177cm, oil on canvas, 2005, Arte Vista Gallery (RE talk), NL Is on the Internet that I first saw one of the best paintings that summarizes the creativity and thoughts of Ron English « Snoopy bombing the Simpsons » To see his revision of the Guernica was a revelation. He made a series based on Guernica, taking a very serious issue like war and the disaster caused during the civil war in Spain, which Picasso painted so wonderfully, and re-thought it using two universally-know cartoon heroes like Snoopy and the Simpsons. The first reaction was ouahu, ouahu, and again ouahu! Wonderful, colorful, genius! To take the Guernica and review it like this, what an idea, never tried before. The second thought has been: isn't it crude to take one of the gravest (if not THE gravest) painting ever made and revisits it like it was a joke? Isn't it dealing too lightly with such a serious matter like war, death? Isn't it too disrespectful to play with Picasso's most important painting? The answer is a mix of both feelings: he took the Guernica, with all the meaning it bears, and revisited it in a modern way.He went even further, explicitly showing who dropped the bomb that caused the massacre. Using a modern language he maybe allowed a new understanding of this work, especially to the young, for whom war is something both remote (at least in Europe and the USA, the so-called first world) and near (because the third world is still suffering from never-ending conflicts, and TV is bringing all this in our homes at lunchtime, making it a day-by-day fact, and so unavoidable, like many other things). Should something like Guernica happen today, it would probably be painted like Ron English did. He perfectly achieved to give less drama to this episode, while adding emotional pathos and keeping the emotional impact of the original. The choice of the players is terrifically effective: the Simpsons and their dog, Joe, Snoopy dressed as the Red Baron, all wonderfully well combined, expressive, and colorful. But this is secondary: the important thing is to have had the idea of mixing the Guernica with two modern icons, simply genius! It is not just a review of other famous paintings he did, it is THE Guernica. In the other version I know, he uses Americans versus Indian, which is another excellent way ofinterpreting history using a well-know painting, but for me more local (US), less universal than Snoopy and the Simpsons. I think we should pay more attention (and respect) to Ron English's Guernica series. I do not know if my thoughts about his work match with the author's intention, but in any case this is what I feel when I look at this painting, and I am Catalan. Few times in our evolved world has painting been a tool to provoke a critical discussion and reflection about what happens in the world. Until now the original Guernica has been not so easily accessible, but now, in the Internet era, everything is such at hand, there are no more barriers. Ron English makes us questioning ourselves through paintings. I think his Guernica represents a new step in the art world. WAR Pop iconoclast Ron English paints, infiltrates, reinvents and satirizes modern culture and its mainstream visual iconography on canvas, in song, and directly onto hundreds of pirated billboards. English exists spiritually somewhere between a cartoon Abbie Hoffman and a grown-up, real-life Bart Simpson, delivering a steady stream of customized imagery laden with strong sociopolitical undertones, adolescent boy humor, subversive media savvy, and Dali-meets-Disney technique. Dedicated to finding the sublime in the everyday and breaking the momentum of the didactic approach to art and life, English offers up an alternative universe where nothing is sacred, everything is subverted, and there is always room for a little good-natured fun Kurt Westergaard 1935, Denmark Bought in 2005 Turban bomb "Caricature of a swarthy man with a bomb swaddled in his turban", to support free speech 42x21.5cm, print 204/1000, 2005, website, DK "Caricature of a swarthy man with a bomb swaddled in his turban" was published by daily Jyllands-Posten on September 30, 2005. In collaboration with the artist, the Free Press Society in Denmark and the International Free Press Society has printed up a limited edition of 1000 copies. The proceeds from this offer will go towards the International Free Press Society’s continuous campaign for free speech. Proceeds will support research, public education and legal efforts for individuals and organizations under assault for exercising their right to free expression; and to support efforts to ban hate speech laws and pass laws protecting freedom of expression. FANATICISM I prefer not to publish the cartoon. Tell me coward if you like. Kurt Westergaard (born 13 July 1935 as Kurt Vestergaard) is a Danish cartoonist who created the controversial cartoon of the Islamic prophet Muhammad wearing a bomb in his turban. This cartoon was the most contentious of the 12 Jyllands-Posten Muhammad cartoons, which met with strong reactions from Muslims worldwide, including Western countries. Since the drawing of the cartoon, Westergaard has received numerous death threats and been a target of assassination attempts. As a result, he is under constant police protection. Although it has never backed down from its 2005 publication, the newspaper, citing security concerns, was the only major Danish daily not to carry any illustrations from Charlie Hebdo in the wake of the Paris attacks, in which gunmen killed 12 people. “The truth is that for us it would be completely irresponsible to print old or new Prophet drawings right now,” editor Jorn Mikkelsen wrote. "Bands of youths set fire to cars and trash bins overnight in a fourth consecutive night of vandalism mostly in immigrant neighborhoods of the Danish capital, police said. Seventeen people were arrested, Copenhagen Police spokesman Flemming Steen Munch said, and adding police were not sure what sparked the violence. Some observers said immigrant youths were protesting against perceived police harassment and suggested the reprinting of a cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad in Danish newspapers Wednesday may have aggravated the situation. (So, what are they after now? Last time was the UN resolution against the “defamation” of religions…). “They feel provocations and discrimination by the police that stop then now and then to check them,” Copenhagen social worker Khalid Al-Subeihi said. “It doesn’t make it easier when the cartoons come back again.” The youths set dozens of fires in several districts of Copenhagen, torching cars and trash bins and in some cases hurling rocks at police. Newspaper Jyllands- Posten said one of its photographers received minor injuries when he was attacked by vandals in the Noerrebro district. It was not immediately clear whether the attackers knew he was working for Jyllands-Posten, which first printed the 12 cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad that sparked massive protests in Muslim countries two years ago. (It was not inmediately clear, and it is not now, because the article does not say anything at all…). […] There were also reports of vandalism in Aarhus, Denmark’s second-largest town, but no arrests were made". Chen Qiuchi 1959, China Bought in 2006 Scenery 1 90x140cm, oil on canvas, 2006, Direct artist, CN Browsing different web pages I found one of a community of Songzhuang painters, among the many unknown painters today had been in Lin Jun and in Yue Minjun. The picture that caught most of my attention was the explosion of an atomic bomb full of small faces, as if they were emphasized by results. The picture is strong, full of irony, denouncing the wars. Of the same series, there were also pigeons of peace full of faces. Indeed, the faces are the symbols used by this painter. I contacted the addresses I was finding, because everything was in Chinese. A Chinese responded, I do not know who he is. The fact is that we started writing and I did not want to sell the box in question. The painter will do in October and for a year a series of exhibitions in solo hi does not want to sell the large paintings. In addition, he tells me, the fist, that the works are priced very quickly and therefore if I want to buy it will be for a price of one year. Not to lose the effect of the possible rise in price I asked if I could buy other boxes. The whole process lasted a good month. He wrote to me in Chinese and I translated it with Google. He sent me and I stayed with this one. Because? It contains more than I wanted, not just the reflection on wars with the fighter plane fought against the landscape, but also the reflection on today's wars based on the superiority area and the bombings since Air, and also the contrast between traditional Chinese painting and modern.Internet is fantastic, without knowing Chinese, transferring money, carrying the picture, everything is possible. Now expect the painter to be discovered and the box is priced. This is another reason, none of the painters are well known. ARMAMENTS Although Chen was born, raised and educated in the same era as other artists from the group Cynical Realism Movement, he fell short of becoming part of the establishment, simply due to the fact that he did not graduate from China’s select art schools, coupled with his shyness of self-promotion. While Chen Qiuchi’s paintings definitely share some similar qualities and themes with other cynical realists, his concern and focus are beyond the usual subjects of his contemporaries. He draws from both Chinese and Western symbols, blending surrealism and pop elements in his creations, producing a unique vision that is both universal and diversified. Chen’s interest lays in issues that are connected to the rapid development of modern technologies; and modernity’s subsequent social changes are a recurring theme in Chen’s intriguing and singular body of work. Chen finds that our era of high technology is one of progress, but it is also one of environmental and social crises. Much of Chen’s work visually focuses on the contours of the human head to reflect the existential thought process that drives the day-to-day that makes up our world. Chen does this by moving beyond the ebullient and larger-than-life faces evident in the Chinese modern—from political art of the mid-century to contemporary Chinese art. He conceives caricatures in multiple forms, compounding the complexity and frustration of today’s vibrant milieu. Today, the development of high-technology not only brings us splendent physical fortune but also the spirit. Meanwhile accompany with living crisis. The population crisis, energy crisis, enviromental crisis, just like pestilence puzzled the Mankind. To being one of the human societies, I am deeply abhor the behavior caused by the minkind's gradually expansile desire. However I am just use the art to release my emotion. The head of man is the best section of the body,I use all these head as symbol to complete the picture. Some of the symbol smells some of them guffaw, but all the symbols turn a blind eye to the things. Minkind just like a virus propagate in the earth's body. Meanwhile with the rapid increase of mankind they also produce some exclusive rubbish through their excellent intelligence and high technology. All these virus and high-tech rubbish make the earth thoroughly refuted. How long could the earth suffer from this? How long could mankind in charge of it? My paintbrush is under suspiration. Xiong Lijun 1975, Chongqing, China Bought in 2006 Cute! Thumb down 157x198cm, acrylic on canvas, 2004, Pacific arts group, USA I discovered Xiong Lijun reading a lot about Chinese contemporary artists, she was considered as one of the most talented young artists. His painting are plenty of live and colour, showing the current transformation in China, where young Chinese aer adopting occidental dressing and habits. The colours are really astonishing and hitting the eyes, the eyes in his pictures are always alive and showing what are they watching at. The work reflects the changes in a society closed to another opened to the rest of the world. I contacted his gallery, www.shineartspace.com, but all works were sold out. Very kindly they put me in contact with Jon, from a company in Sausalito, www.pacificartsgroup.com, we started a nice exchange of mails and he supply me with a list of works. And my surprise was when one work matched perfectly with my collection, the girl with a ring in form of star thumb down the finger. That permits a lot of interpretations and when you see it, the finger is big as at least 50 cm, it hits you. What she rejects? What we reject? To think about. Ah, the colours looks more astonish in real, the red that seem s more closely to orange is a really red. And the water a real splash! I’m sorry, another thing you can not see, the colours lighting on the dark.The second one was in the package and I like it very much, you can not see it in the picture, but in his eyes is reflected why she is screaming. The last works of Xiong Lijun are still better in terms of definition and she is continuing showing this China transformation. NEW GENERATIONS Born into a Chinese generation that grew up amidst an economic revolution, Xiong Lijun firmly belongs to an age seeping with consumerism. In her lifetime China has undergone an economic transformation and a resulting rapid increase in personal wealth, the years 1978 to 1998 seeing a phenomenal twenty fold increase in GDP. Along with which came the introduction of televisions, computers, the internet, fashion magazines, commercial advertising and the introduction of the one child policy; exposure to the outside world which combined with the expendable income of the one child family, resulted in the evolution of a booming youth culture heavily influenced by a western model. Since the 1970s there has become readily available a mass selection of fashionable and affordable clothes, a wide selection of western and local music, movies, video games, and increased access to foreign media. Open romantic relationships have become acceptable as increasingly has pre- marital sex, although still perhaps seen as a taboo subject. In general, the lives of young people in China today would be unrecognisable to their equivalents thirty years ago. This is the context in which Xiong Lijun creates her work, with everything in her paintings reflecting her contemporary existence. She is one of the most prominent and distinctive artists to emerge from her generation, her dynamic and intensely vibrant paintings expressing the twenty-first century voice of China's urban youth. Her neon, cartoon like oil and acrylic paintings are a visual bombardment where figures dance, sing or throw themselves into dramatic poses influenced by fashion photography. Fluorescent flashes of pink, yellow, green and blue forcibly grab our attention; cartoon like colours that were never previously thought to belong in a gallery space but which are here being used with a new finesse and purpose. Xiong attended the Sichuan Art Academy in Chongqing, where like all Chinese art students of her generation, she received a strictly traditional artistic education that engendered her technically brilliant painting style. Therefore, implicit in her iconography of the new commercialist age is a kind of celebration; a sense of the relative freedom that today's youth have compared to their parent's generation. A major facet of Chinese contemporary mass imagery is cartoon; Xiong Lijun's style bearing testimony to the phenomenon that is animation in modern society. Her decision to paint in this manner is also largely based upon her desire to make art relevant to a wider audience, an aim which she successfully achieves. Cartoon gained massive popularity throughout the 90s in China, after a long period of non existence under Maoist rule. When access to the art form was once again allowed through the channels of international media, Japanese and American styles become hugely influential; in the form of comic books, animated cartoons and computer games, millions of young people fell in love with a host of characters, even becoming personifications of them in cosplay, the Japanese phenomenon that started in the late 80s. Xiong's great enthusiasm for cosplay and all kinds of cartoon expresses itself in the large bright eyes, oversized heads, long thin bodies and costumes of her characters. They are forms which may be cartoon in their colouration and style but in many other aspects of Xiong's paintings; the objects, detailing, reflections and shadows we see the realism of traditional fine arts. The enthusiastic colours and lively forms in Xiong Lijun's works make it easy to recognise them as representations of China's inspired urban youth and indeed, this is partly true. However, lurking behind the brightness of the neon there is something more complex, something that the artist may not have even consciously implied.What we see may be a positive hope for the future but it is also a reflection of the new generation of material pressure that China's youth feel themselves under today; a very different pressure to the political devotion required of yesteryear, but one which is by no means less forceful. Shag - Josh Agle 1962, USA Bought in 2007 76x61cm, oil on board, framed, 2007, MModern Gallery, USA The fish monger Josh "Shag" Agle is arguably the world's hippest artist right now. His "60's styled" artwork, once a cult favourite, is now sought after worldwide (with a sizeable following amongst the rich & famous). "The paintings are based on stylized commercial advertising from the mid 50's through the mid-sixties. Back then, a lot of magazine ads, TV commercials, and product packaging had sort of cubist-cartoonish look, which I've appropriated and expanded upon for these Shag paintings. I almost always try to paint a story...something that's happening, often sinister, and usually a bit mysterious." WILD LIFE The paintings themselves celebrate consumerism and consumption on vividly colored, sharply rendered panels; the characters drink, smoke and eat in lavish, stylish surroundings. But Agle see the visuals of his work as window-dressing or stage scenery. He's more concerned with the narrative of the art. "Most of my paintings are set in the middle of a story or situation - characters are interacting and reacting to each other and to outside events". Agle doesn't offer too many clues about the stories, preferring that the viewer create his or her own narratives to fit the situations. Zhong Biao 1968, Chongqing, China Bought in 2007 Evening bell tolls 150x200cm, Charcoal and acrylic on canvas, 2007, Frey Norris Gallery, USA In fact, he is one of the first Chinese that hit me, probably because of his combination of the real with the unreal, in the style of Magritte, my favorite. The pictures in the box in the box are always fascinating. Last year I wanted to buy one, a little smaller and they asked for € 20,000. I judged it excessive, and in addition, it did not go with the rest of the "more political" collection. Even then, knowing that the Wu Miki was also carrying Zhong I asked if he would have it, in fact he had an exhibition in May, but finally it seems to me that they did not agree with the prices. I found on the Internet that there would be an exhibition in the USA and I contacted the gallery owner, I asked for a discount but nothing. The picture I would have liked is more with its new line, the same characters, the same technique, but introducing elements of war, instability such as helicopters or rockets. Unfortunately already sold. However I have taken it. It is what is now a little out of the collection, but it is fully Zhong Biao. I can not think that everyone agrees with my ideas and my valuation of art, so I have to diversify. When I could buy it, Yue Minjun seemed so stupid and so similar to Berlusconi's face that I did not buy it, but I still did not buy the Wang. I paid for it, at Auction price, but I think it's time to buy. What is the relationship with the idea of my collection? Directly little, but since something I have to find, I will say that it reflects on the perspective. About that things can be seen in different ways, in their context or extrapolated, that according to how we deal with one thing this will give us a result or another. If innovation is simply the result of drawing on skillfully hidden source material, Zhong Biao may be the most innovative painter at work in China today. His gift is not to radically overturn what he's inherited and replace it with a whole new system of art and understanding - as many cutting edge European or American artists have sought to do-but rather, and simply put, he's a collector of disorienting images who paints arresting and intriguing hybrids. These distinctive pictorial inventions are accessible to people all over the world; the artist communicates to a vast audience by drawing on the familiar. His people are distinguished as ephemeral, fleeting and changing, painted in gray-scale, contrasted against the rest of the world, which is far more static, painted in rich color. As the above quote illustrates, the inclusion of a person, symbol or place doesn't always make perfect sense, so the viewer is given something in flux, a relationship to contemplate. "We don't have to understand everything in each picture. Like our lives, we cannot make sense of everything we have seen or experienced." Zhong Biao Steven Hawking, Marcel Duchamp, Marilyn Monroe, Alfred Hitchcock, Mao Zedong and many others all find their way into a surreal history of the world that doesn't exist outside the artist's mind. THOUGHT As a sensitive artist, Zhong Biao has captured the pulse of China's social reforms through the visual symbols Chinese people are familiar with. He takes the visual experiences of an era as the image source of his works, including sculpture and china representing China's past glories, the labor models of the Cultural Revolution, and such symbols of modern life as McDonalds and Boeing aircrafts. Of course, most symbols are skyscrapers and western-style buildings in old China. What attract artists is the different meanings of these images, because in the language of ordinary Chinese people, what used to be synonymous with corrupt capitalist society or colonization is now the symbol of modernity. With the development of movies, TV, printing, and digital technology, it seems that the way modern man receives information has already undergone the transition from text to images. In these new circumstances, images from different eras are frequently taken out of their original context and used repeatedly. And in this process they are continuously endowed with new cultural meanings. Zhong Biao's work is similar to the "knowledge archeology" described by Facult Michael. In "visual archeology" similar to "knowledge archeology," he cuts a section from the visual symbols people are familiar with, then takes out those fragmented symbols from the cultural deposits of different times, and last arranges and combines them in a unique way. What he wants is not to show the meaning of symbols themselves, but to reveal the changing meanings of the images through setting up peculiar scenes. As an artist, Zhong Biao adheres to "visualization" to accomplish his "archeological work." Instead of juxtaposing concepts, he expresses himself through paradoxical scenes. While his early works usually juxtapose cultural images from different times, his later works are characterized by more transformation. He sets color dimensionality against time direction. The artist's imagination adds color to aged images, yet the images close our daily life are deprived of any color and context. Living people lose color, yet the dresses and accessories they wear, which are the symbols of the era, stay on. With the fading away of colors, the limit between reality and memory is completely destroyed and illusion begins. This illusion, rather than being founded on pure biological sensation as in the case of surrealism, is based on cultural accumulation and memory. Yao Yuzhong 1964, Shanxi, China Bought in 2007 Monks 120x160cm, oil on canvas, 2006, Kerseboom Gallery, NL In one of my visits to a Dutch internet site, I found this work. Among the works, there were three works that expressed the cry of the monks in deep clouds. One with a row of monks going up into the sky and the last one that is what I have finally taken. Commercially others will have more importance, but they have a less obvious political content. The fact of seeing the monks seated in the grass with their hidden head and under imposing red flags is a clear message of oppression of the Tibetan people, as well as a strengthening of the spirituality of the open. This oppression of the Tibetan people leads me to reflect on the oppression of other peoples, and in particular, my own: Catalonia. All my collection is turning on reflection, about the need to give something from the painter, and from my collection to show a day to those who look at it, who is in front of each painting, But above all, it comes out, after having seen everything, with questions, with new reflections, eager to consider things. In fact the painter, born in 64, is a stranger and there is nothing about him in Internet, so from the point of view of the investment not very good. In addition to taking into account that the price is high, but as Williem wrote, it is the minimum that any Chinese asks now. Everyone wants to get rich quick, and I do not deny them to want to. After the trip to Tibet in September 2007, I still give it more importance. In fact, the claim of Tibet as an autonomous nation of China, the Dalai Lama's trips has always been recognized, but it is so far away ... And in fact, speaking with the guide, one realizes how they are so similar to the situation Of Catalonia, although there is a religious factor in Tibet. But they also want freedom, they cannot talk about politics, except the Chinese, they do not give them permission to go abroad, none, except the Chinese, in prisons there are only political prisoners and the army is surrounded by everything Lhasa If in our case the similarities of race are the same as the Spaniards, in their case they are completely different, one recognizes a Tibetan of a Chinese, the Tibetans are more morose, more Indians, with the eyes less scratched and the face more Round We told him that everything will come, I hope that. In any case from now on I will try to support the movement, I do not know how, but I'll look for the way. As for the picture I was surprised by the colours. Once gone there no longer, the blue is very blue, the green is an obscure velvet carpet and the clouds really are touching. Let's talk about Lhasa at 3,600m. The red is really red. I appreciate you much more. We tried to ask if he was known, but nothing. In the only gallery of contemporary art they knew nothing. There were other paintings, and some really liked it, now we will go to the internet to see. Really contemporary art is difficult, not only by the Chinese pressure, but also by the religious, 95% are Buddhists, the rest Muslims. FREEDOM The Tibetan independence movement is a movement for the independence of Tibet and the political separation of Tibet from China. It is principally led by the Tibetan diaspora in countries like India and the United States, and by celebrities and Tibetan Buddhists in the United States and Europe. The movement is not supported by the 14th Dalai Lama, who although having advocated it from 1961 to the late 1970s, proposed a sort of high-level autonomy in a speech in Strasbourg in 1988. Among other reasons for independence, campaigners assert that Tibet has been historically independent. However, some dispute this claim by using different definitions of "Tibet", "historical" and "independence". The campaigners also argue that Tibetans are currently mistreated and denied certain human rights, although the Chinese government disputes this and claims progress in human rights. Various organizations with overlapping campaigns for independence and human rights have sought to pressure various governments to support Tibetan independence or to take punitive action against China for opposing it. On 25 April 1995, Gedhun Choekyi Nyima turned six years old. Barely a month later, had he become the world’s youngest political prisoner. Gedhun Choekyi Nyima is the Panchen Lama, the second highest authority in Tibetan Buddhism after the Dalai Lama. To many Tibetan people, he is a figure who commands deep respect and reverence. To the Chinese government, which has occupied Tibet since invading it in 1950, the young Panchen Lama was a potential threat to their rule. The Chinese government rejected the Dalai Lama's candidate as "illegal and invalid" and, six months after Gedhun's abduction, China announced that it had found the "real" reincarnation. The Story behind the Works from 'Sanya Elegant Gathering' The idea of having a relaxing gathering with friends has been on my mind for a while. Since 1993, Chinese artists have frequently participated in international and many other exhibitions. Since the late 90s, and especially nowadays, few artists have been able to relax and rest because of their active involvement in exhibitions and activities. I started to write 20th Century Chinese Art History in 2004, and at that time I talked to Wang Guangyi, Wu Shanzhuan and Zhou Chunya about a possible gathering in the future. The chance came as my book was going to be published in January 2007. I knew I could get the artists together under the pretext of discussing it. I began to contact Wang Guangyi, Zhou Chunya, Wu Shanzhuan, Mao Xuhui, Zhang Xiaogang, Fang Lijun, Zeng Fanzhi, Li Luming, Ye Yongqing, Yue Minjun and Zhang Peili in December 2006, and invited them for a gathering in Sanya. Everybody was strongly interested in this idea and so the "elegant gathering" by the sea was confirmed in mid-December. Unfortunately, because I adjusted the meeting time later, Fang Lijun could not make this appointment as he had to go to Hong Kong for an activity. Of course, this was not only a vacation. I arranged a "brush meeting", where all the artists gather together and paint on the same subject. Not only because this was a traditional custom for Chinese scholars when they met together at gatherings, but also I was thinking that I could bring the calligraphy and paintings to auction after the gathering, and use the proceedings to support AAA's (Asian Art Archive) academic research and my own art history teaching program. Of course, I do not see this "brush meeting" as a formal academic activity. I asked my friend in Nanjing to purchase xuan paper, brush, ink and four albums for me, as my plan was to let the artists paint without restraint in a relaxing environment with our traditional utilities instead of oil paint. Our gathering started on the evening of January 9th. We flew to Tianhong Resort in Sanya from different cities that day, and Zhou Chunya was the last one to arrive. Tianhong Resort was the smallest hotel in Sanya's Yalong Bay, thus it was most suitable for a private gathering, for we could avoid of the crowds of tourists. After dinner that evening, the artists finished four albums and a few individual inks on xuan paper paintings in the meeting room by the resort's swimming pool. In this most relaxed and casual atmosphere, most of the abstract ink works were completed by brush and, in some cases, hands. The artists that were present are not considered traditional Chinese painters, and they seldom use brushes or ink. Consequently, they were able to apply ink in a totally free way. Zhang Peili completed most of his works by hand. Everybody was so excited, and some paintings were results of group efforts. We went to Mount Nan the next day. None of us would have thought that one day, we, the modern artists, the avant-garde artists, the pioneer artists, and the contemporary artists, would worship in a Buddhist temple with incense. All of us felt that time had flown quickly in the past decades, and that our understanding and perception of life had changed significantly. The artists donated generously to the temple, and the scene of Wang Guangyi, Zhang Xiaogang and Zhang Peili worshiping devotedly in the temple impressed me deeply. We returned to the resort after dinner, and everybody remained in a peaceful state of mind. We talked about the past and present state of Chinese art, people and circumstances. In a peaceful atmosphere, Zhang Xiaogang, Mao Xuhui, Ye Yongqing and Zhou Chunya completed different number of paintings, and most of the consignments for this auction were completed that night. I have included many contemporary artists in my book 20th Century Chinese Art History. The place that important events have taken in Chinese art history, from the Modernism campaign in the late 70s to today's contemporary art, is an issue that concerns most of us. In fact, I hoped through this gathering I could listen to opinions from different artists on this matter. Though their thoughts and opinions may not be bases for my future research on Chinese art history, their feedbacks were beneficial nonetheless. To my great joy, I managed to achieve my goal. As a member of AAA's academy council, I believe that AAA's work is most helpful for the research in Asian contemporary arts (including Chinese art, of course). It is therefore my continuous goal to contribute to this cause. At the same time, as a lecturer in the Department of History of Art at the China Academy of Fine Arts, I hope that my students can have achievements in their studies of contemporary arts. They need to collect information and interview artists in their research, which requires financial aids. I would like to take any opportunity to help their endeavors, and that the "Sanya Elegant Gathering" is an excellent way to do this. I hope that these works completed by the artists whilst in high spirits can be sold successfully and collected by those who really appreciate them; and that the proceeds will fund AAA's research and part of my art history teachings. To take such an opportunity and carry out this idea relies on the artists. Therefore I would like to thank all the artists who attended "Sanya Elegant Gathering": Only because of your generous participation that this charitable cause was possible. The images and marks you have left are historical memories. I would also like to thank the AAA. My idea was supported and encouraged by Claire Hsu and Jane Debevoise, who helped turn these works into something that will benefit AAA's cause. In addition I would like to thank Christie's Hong Kong for their understanding and constructive advice to put these works as a charity auction, which makes the art and the auction particularly special. Thus, I cannot help but express my appreciation again! Lü Peng Tuesday, July 10, 2007. That’s a story of friendship double. First, the story of the encounter of a generation of contemporary Chinese artist’s unprecedented group of the first artists who embraced contemporary art in China, a project around one of the most important personalities of Chinese art, Lü Peng. Second, and from the purchase of works of these artists, searching and finding friendship with Lü. About the history of friendship of the artists and how born The Sanya collection was we will have to let’s talk Lü. Sure than in the memory of the artists and the material collected by Lü will be much material and stories. But that must be Lü who bring to light in the future. In any case, it is a story unique in the world of art, as individual and competitive like it is. Only once has happen in the history of contemporary art, in the incipient boom years of 2007, with whom later became the greatest artists and where they worked together in a series of works using the techniques of traditional Chinese art, far from the oil, the acrylic and canvas usually used in their works. From the history of friendship with Lü is still continuing and I hope will continue for years. From the difficulties of finding him, the difficulties of communication, the difficulties to understand what I searched, have passed 5 years of exchanges of ideas, reflections, projects to promote Chinese contemporary art beyond the borders of China, and encounters in Amsterdam, Venice, Beijing, Chengdu, and Barcelona. China has changed dramatically in the last 10 years, in economic terms but not in political terms, worsening in freedom and human rights terms. It is a world distant yet completely closed to us, very difficult to understand his dynamics, but hopefully with further and deeply collaboration of trade, ideas and travel we will promote mutual understanding and open the Country to new forms of freedom. I sold a few works of the original collection. Why? As Lu Peng will interrogee me. First, I tried for more than five years to exhibit the whole collection offering it to the institutions around the world at free cost without success. Second, as consequence, I decided to create a market of works in ink from contemporary artists, only Zeng Fanzhi had a few works in ink on auction previously. Third, cash is always welcome in a crisis period. And fourth, I lost my faithful in art institutions closed in their own circuits and friendships. Of course, I decided to maintain the works I believe are the most representatives of each artist. Josep, around 2013 Zhang Xiaogang 1958, Kunming, China Bought in 2007 The Sanya Collection ZX 1 70x140cm, Ink on xuan paper, 2007, Christies, HK The Amnesia and Remembrance series deal with the workings of memory. The artist is interested in how memory can be selective and often inaccurate. Here the artist draws upon elements of his very early work prior to 1993, light bulbs, and open books with writing, pens, etc. Since 2000, Zhang Xiaogang has been exploring the idea of nostalgia for the past and the continuous change of memory in his series Amnesia and Memory, In & Out and Description. In Amnesia and Memory, the artist illustrates those who were hurt by the remembrance of the past, whilst In & Out represents his childhood memories that focus on symbolic images of speakers and green walls that have remained in his memory. On the other hand, he uses the format of a diary in Description to write over his paintings of popular TV and film from his childhood, experimenting with the overlap of different memories. The electric lightbulb hangs to the side of her. It was only years after he had first painted the bulb that Xiaogang had a flash of recognition as to its meaning. He recalled how his father had always been in the habit of plugging extension cords into light sockets. The bulb was an unconscious symbol of his father. Zhang’s artworks focus on the relationship with past, memory and history. The artist has always placed an emphasis on the existence of history and memory in the present. In his works, history exists in the present, there is no way to erase it, and it is continuously being revised. It is impossible to not involve history; our current perception is too derived from our memories. Zhang has always been a traditional artist, who expresses man’s experiences and emotions through his paintings. Those scintillating spots, scars and lines on his canvases reveal the references to history and the release of emotions. Such traditional expression and the insistence on it bring us back to the belief in and worship of painting’s narrative. Paintings in his Bloodline series are often monochromatic, stylized portraits of Chinese people, usually with large, dark-pupil eyes, posed in a stiff manner deliberately reminiscent of family portraits from the 1950s and 1960s. For years, his works - like those of other avant-garde artists of his generation - could not be exhibited in China, often because they were deemed too modern or questionable. Like the emotionless figures in the artist’s most famed ‘Bloodline: The Big Family’ series, the mark of scar represents the material residue of a formative experience. Zhang believes that transformative experiences, no matter it is good or bad, become inscribed to a person’s character as if to the flesh itself. On the other hand, Zhang’s imageries are usually based on archival photographs from the Cultural Revolution period. Therefore, the anonymity and lack of individuality ties him tightly to the collective memory of this traumatizing national event and the simultaneous homogenization of citizens. I’ll never forget our flight BCN-MAD-BCN with him and Lu Peng visiting The Princesa Sofia and the Prado, them for first time. MEMORIES What is memory if not the Living Spirit? Human existence conserves representations of its past. How strange a weakness then is forgetfulness. This disappearance of memory. This brainwash. Zhang Xiaogang has always addressed personal memory as a central theme in his works, often reflecting the collective memory of the Chinese cultural identity of his generation. “What I do is to represent the individual within history. What I want to look at is the state of the individual within history as well as the relationship between the individual and the collective.” The personal history of Zhang’s subjects – families, comrades or the anonymous – does not critique history per se, but rather places the living conditions of the individual against the great backdrop of history. The Amnesia and Memory series, began in 2002, marked Zhang’s move away from grand history, from what was seen as an expression of the Chinese past and consciousness, to the bare individual. Zhang’s paintings are about the historic issues of human kind. Among these images are the birthmark-like prints and bloodlines in “Big Family Series”, the colored shades on the face and tear stains under the eyes in “Amnesia and Memory Series”, the electric wires, lamp cords, ink and pens in “In-Out Series”, the lines representing blood ties in “Green Wall Series” and the parallel tracks in “Train Window Series”. All these images extend the cultural historical memory contained in the artist’s self-exploration which is exuberant with a mildness and tenderness that are unmistakably Zhang’s. Moreover, they could also be understood as a continued personalized expression of a collective memory. It is exactly Zhang’s primitive expression and adherence to the traditional culture that brings back our belief in and worship of the narrative quality of painting. What Zhang tries to do through painting is no less than reconstructing “humans” and reinvigorating faith in an era overflowing with concepts such as “Super Flat” and “Cool”.In Amnesia and Remembrance series deal with the workings of memory. The artist is interested in how memory can be selective and often inaccurate. Here the artist draws upon elements of his very early work prior to 1993, light bulbs, open books with writing, pens etc. Duan Jianghua 1963, Hunan, China Bought in 2008 Pavilion no.2 150x200cm, oil on canvas, 2007, ChinaSquare Gallery, USA The picture doesn’t reflect the power of the strokes. It is magnificent, a Museum’s work. Not only for the powerful strokes in the second half represented for the contrast of the material between the first and the second half of the work, at the same time the lightness of the strokes representing the structure of “the nest”, moreover than the lightingness of the black colour, but also by the size of the work. In reality, the colours and the lines are more defined and the contrast between materials and techniques between first and second half are much more evident. The “rain” doesn’t exists, the brown colour of the Summer’s Palace are more defined and nor the white points in the laterals of the Stadium. The subject place us in the middle of the debate between how to respect the tradition and the new, represented by the lines of the “Summer’s Palace” in the background and the new Olympic Stadium of Beijing in front of us plenty of crowds to go in. The fine strokes like acrylic for the above Summer’s Palace reflect a picture of the past, the great strokes of below reflects the today, the mouvement, adding a new dimension to the work and the today towards the future. Another unknown for me, moreover than unknown in the world of the auctions. Therefore I bought him without any reference. And I do not like to act like that. Like much the time I fall in him navigating through internet, regarding the site of Yishu there was a “manchette” of Chinasquare Gallery. January 2008, the woks were dark like stock markets and that mood help me to decide to buy it. The artistic reasons were three: first the technique, that will be my first oil, with a strong use of material, adding a dimension to the work that it is impossible to see in the picture but that are very expressive looking at it; secondly, the darkness and consequently the work with the light to discover the forms; third, the use of the new Olympic symbols against the classical images of China, ones in front, the others rear. Altogether suggesting this war between old and new that is so present in China, this war represented by the Olympics against the Chinese Regime, freedom against communism, open mind against closing inside. One yesterday against one tomorrow. Will be the Olympic Games this tomorrow and a new era will be open for Chinese people plenty of freedom? Will be the right choice to choose China for the Olympics to provoke in them a change? Until today from the election of China several years ago, the answer is yes, not a plenty yes but in the right way. I hope this painting will represent the change from darkness to lightings for Chinese people. For that I choose “the nest”, that will be the symbol of the 2008 Olympics. More like investment I have to say that its not the best moment to do that, the stocks market trouble ant the economy will follow. Moreover without reference I do not know if the price I paid it is right. I believe not, because there are still works on sale, therefore there is not demand for him. But there was not demand three years ago for Chinese and see where we are now! True that the works are really big. In any case, this is a technique that I wanted to add to the collection and the subject match perfectly with it. ENVIRONMENT Duan Jianghua’s expressionist-style paintings struggle with the ramifications of power; power worshiped, pursued, lost, redeemed. Duan’s violent and strong strokes, dark and dense, question the space between man and his surroundings, the present and past, things plundered and revered. Calculated angles and vanishing points placed precisely on the horizon pull the viewer into the subject matter through strong feelings of loneliness and isolation. An overarching eerie metaphysical darkness sheds light on the conundrum of the self. Revisited from Duan’s youth, resurrected from China’s political past, historical sites and monuments now deserted, give way to a heroic yet tragic expression, a fierce contemplative vision of reality. Careful examination reveals an echoing desire for sublimation, one with the intent of redeeming power among the hidden vestiges of history. At here we would like to ask ourselves, is there the eternal value exists? Obviously we should not view the history and the passage our nation has been followed and walked by through the historical determinism. In the mind of Karl Popper, human could not foresee the future course of its history. American scholar Francis Fukuyama has once written a book called "The End of the History", indicating that the conflict of ideology will go to the end by the disaggregation of the former USSR. No matter how effective his idea will be, but the conflict of ideology today in the world is actually giving place to the clashes between socio-religious groups and civilizations, the erstwhile memories of revolution have gradually vanished in the crack of time. In Duan Jianghua's work, we could actually feel a sense of end of history; it has nothing to do with the issue of ideology. It's neither the nostalgic calling of the past, nor the shallow irony towards the reality; it's but the sincere reflection upon the history and its relationship with the reality based on another level of humanistic care, this is something really makes his work powerful and striking. History is not only the history of spectacle, it's but the composition of numerous important as well as trivial events and figures, just like what the French Annales School historian Fernand Braudel has expounded. For Braudel, history has three levels: one is an imperceptible passage of history, it constitutes the background of the entire human history; second is about the slow social changes brought up by the conflicts and interacts between different social groups; and the third one is about the individual's life. But in the historical textbook, we could only find out the history of those great humans and significant events, and victories and failures, there is no shadows of the throng, they only form a background. Nevertheless, in Duan Jianghua's painting, we could perceive a manner towards the perception of history, through moving out the human figures from the image, the artist trying to tell us that the history without the populace but only the monuments is desolated and empty. Hua Qing 1962, Anhui, China Bought in 2008 Allegory of Human Being (road no.5) 162x130cm, oil on canvas, 2006, Osage Gallery, HK Remember, all of us at the beginning were apes! The only thing that separates us from apes and others is the capability to learn and think. I think this painting will be the centrepiece of the collection, it reflects really what I want to explain when I say: “To think is contagious. Infect brains”. We, as human being, are the only animals who had the capability to think and develop fast our brains. We have this unique opportunity, and the most of the times we don’t use it or we use it for destructive ways. There is a very thin line between the evolution of ones and others, therefore use our capabilities at our best. This painting has to remember us that. Moreover, this painting has to remember the young generations that they have to pursuit in learning and discovering, that we never have to stop in learning, only learning make us human beings. Other conclusion is that we have to push our knowledgement and discover beyond the limits of what understands now or someone wants we believe to. Einstein has been the most important human being and I like to have him in front of me each day as a referent and remember me to go further in anything. Road no. 5 is one of the best works by Hua Qing. It’s very strong. If you see the painting in person, you’ll be impressed by the strength of brushstrokes and the deliberate handling of dripping paint of the gorilla. The animal looks as vivid as if it’s alive. I also like the clean and clear background with a lot of space which makes the gorilla much more outstanding. I decided to take a break to buy more paintings, but I could not stop when I saw this painting, it was too much strong and matched so well in my collection that I could not pass through. True, Hua Qing is an unknown painter despite he was born in 1962 and I do not find so much information in Internet, but his series with the apes is incredible strong and smart. What a surprise when I undercover the painting when arrived at home. It supposes to be for me a quite flat painting, but not. My surprise arrived when the strokes hurt me, Osage Gallery staff already advice me about that, but in real the strokes are very strong and the colors much more powerful than the picture you can see and which I saw when I decided to buy it. So, a big surprise and a big satisfaction. See details below, if I could have enough words in English to explain it. The work is like Duan Jianghua strokes, but now in color, really great; I like these paintings where you can see really the strokes, the work of the artist. EDUCATION Hua Qing's paintings are very much like the man himself - making silent yet sharp and precise observations about our surroundings. As man loses control over his momentum trying to brace himself to face the fast, rapid changes of the world, Hua Qing has chosen to confront these changes in a calm and unhurried manner, meanwhile encouraging us to do a self-introspection to ponder upon our essential qualities that we are slowly losing. Hua Qing hails from among the pioneer batch of artists to inhabit Yuanmingyuan. Over the past two decades, he has focused on expounding his artistic language and creative thinking. The "Red Ape" has become a representative symbol of his. He has reverted man into the red ape - the primitive form of man - to arouse from within us the primitive force residing in our inner soul, so as to arm us with sufficient sincerity and courage to reflect upon the modern commercial society's so-called civilization of today. The Ape, or the primitive man, is used as a means to highlight the transformation process of today's society in an attempt to seek the Truth. He (it) has transcended the domains of humanities, science and philosophy. Huaqing's creative process, as depiced by the apes in his paintings, is an attempt to seek the Truth. In an increasingly complex society which has deviated from its intrinsic nature, the ape is construed as the primitive form of man, to reveal the evolutionary process of human civilization. The primitive ape in his paintings and the reconaissance of humanities and philosophical thinking are manifested as images that reveal both past and current dialectic thoughts. At the first instance, Hua Qing's painting of the ape manifests its existence through its intense gaze and primitive passion that overwhelms us, yet upon closer scrutiny, we discover that the ape's gaze has outshone the presence of and broken away from its primitive body. The look is a sharp, pondering and critical examination of the current state of affairs. The various "man-like" positions assumed by the ape: sitting, lying, walking and being deep in thought reveal a state of deep contemplation. The ape's sharp gaze is focused upon the Truth that lies ahead. Its strides follow the path leading towards the Truth. Its fingers are almost pointing out at the Truth. Amidst increasingly Junqin Xing 1960, Shanxi, China Bought in 2008 Cross Cube 230x170cm, oil on canvas, 2005, Vecchiato Gallery trhough telemarket, IT I liked two things from him. First, he is a colonel of the red army painting contemporary art. Incredible for an occidental! And second, his rethinking of important artworks or symbols through a war or camouflage style with a small cynic point of view, as best example the red army soldiers with Coca-cola cans. He is able to paint matters like religion or occidental consumism without had been censured. I liked so much the cross cube because of his religious significance and the interpretation of the camouflage that seem to talk to us the disasters of the war and the suffering of the humanity, moreover than be from Dalí, one of my most admiralty painters and combine the concept “camouflage” with other of the big like Warhol. At this stage, June 2008, I am not so sure I will maintain it in my collection. True, I like it, I really like it, but I bought it because of a matter of price. I found it through Internet at a very affordable price, a very strange affordable price, and I decided to buy it in order to resell it and make cash to buy other more known artists. But I am not sure, like I am not sure why this little price… because of the matter of the painting, because it remained unsold for two years after the original exhibition… At these days the Chinese market is so strange than is really difficult to follow it. RELIGION Xing Jun Qin is an artist-colonel in the Chinese military. His large-scale, realist paintings portray its activities: manoeuvres, processions and occasionally actual battles. While Xing is an 'insider' within the military his pictures are not as straightforwardly propagandistic as one might expect. A recurring theme is the soldiers' use of the tools of war (guns, Jeeps, tanks etc.), a juxtaposition of the human figure and the machine which is unsettling even as the artist seems to revel in its pictorial potential. Xing's camouflaged soldiers occupy a shallow, stage-like space that lends these paintings a beguiling unreality. Dalí, Crucifixion ('Corpus Hypercubus'), 1954 when disembarking from the steamship America in Le Havre on March 27, 1953, on his return from New York, Dalí announced to the reporters gathered around him that he was going to paint a picture he himself termed as sensational: an exploding Christ, nuclear and hypercubic. He said that it would be the first picture painted with a classical technique and an academic formula but actually composed of cubic elements. To a reporter who asked him why he wanted to depict Christ exploding, he replied, "I don't know yet. First I have ideas, I explain them later. This picture will be the great metaphysical work of my summer." It was at the end of spring in 1953 in Port Lligat that Dalí began this work, but it is dated 1954, the year in which it was finished and then exhibited in the month of December at the Carstairs Gallery in New York. The painting may be regarded as one of the most significant of his religious oils in the classical style, along with The Madonna of Port Lligat, Christ Grace Graupe-Pillard NYC, USA Bought in 2008 Washington Square Park Funeral 101x152cm, Archival pigment print, 2007, Direct artist, USA ??? Whashington Square Park refugees 101x152cm, Archival pigment print, 2008, Direct artist, USA I’ve discover her work at Chicago Art Fair 2006 internet site. I was attracted by the subject of her paintings and the way how she painted it. The consequences of the war between human beings: death, refugees, hungry, devastation... I’ve tried to buy a painting what it was at the beginning of my collection and I did not know all the details to be in this art world. The works were really very big and I was scare about transport prices and at the end I lost the opportunity to buy it. Time to time I check my favorites artists and this time I fall in her photo work. This combination within the technique used in paintings and the scenario from a photo. Her serie about the sames subjects it is really strong. I’ve bought this two photo because of they have the same scenario: the Washington Square Plaza, but with two diferent consequences: the death of a soldier and the refugees caused by the war. One place, two consequences, the same indiference between the people in the scenario. DEATH Grace Graupe-Pillard appropriates photojournalistic imagery from the Internet or the news, and repaints the images. By heightening color to high contrast, and by creating zig-zag fields of linked abstract forms, Graupe-Pillard has dislodged elements of the photos from their context in an event or in history, and returned them to the stories of individuals. The work is clearly a response to the new world we live in characterized by tribes, raw surfaces, monumentality, meandering abstraction, escapist fantasy, borders, nomads ideas, motifs; symbols of a culture, as they build up, daily, in a milieu. And no doubt Grace Graupe-Pillard’s new work is political. She recaptures the human tragedy that is too often blunted by the mechanics of patriotic or political representation (as in Red Hand, which I do not read as an anarchist cry against a solider with blood on the hands, but a sickened wish to see all bloodshed come to an end). Like an Afghani rug-maker that keeps weaving traditionally, even when a Soviet helicopter happens to wander into the pattern, Graupe-Pillard’s touched-up reality has a sublime artfulness that predicts that long after the dust of history settles the art of humanity will lives’. REFUGEES In 2003, shortly after the onset of the Iraq War, I began working on a series of photographs entitled INTERVENTIONS focusing on the horror and human cost of wars being fought in far-off places. These photographs depict images of soldiers, car-bombings, ruins, explosions, and refugees, which are digitally embedded into the familiar streets and parks of New York City, Baltimore and the New Jersey wetlands. . INTERVENTIONS attempts to make visually evident the ongoing tragic repercussions of war in our own backyard, as well as the equally powerful manipulation of the electorate through the “politics of fear.” Gade 1971, Lhasa, Tibet Bought in 2008 New Tanka 116x70cm, oil on old canvas, comisioned sept 2008, Direct artist, Tibet The first time I noticed the Gade works was in Lhasa in summer 2007. Near the Jokhang on the northeast corner of the Barkhor is the Gedun Cheopel Artist’s Guild, an exhibition hall ans coffe shop. Small place with a wonderful look at the Barkhor, nice people, fresh people and small gallery. In an ambul there were works by several artists, and Gade has a wonderful picture there about comic features. I asked for the work, but it was already sold, there was only an ambul with works. I keep with me a card and the name of Gade. For a time I forget, but sevral months afterI read an article about Tibetan art in AsianArt News and surfing Internet afterwards I found an exhibition in Plum Blossoms gallery with a selection of Tangkas representing comic features keep my attention. It was a link with the Guernica I had painted by Ron English representing Snoopy and The Simpons, but with a touch from Tibet. Ron used western icons and Gade used east icons, The Tangka. Unfortunately all the pieces were sold. For a while I tried to find a work without success. Contacting the gallery in Lhasa I reached the email of Gade and starts an exchange of mails. He, very kindly, agreed to do a work for me. I asked him a New Tangka, as he wanted to paint. I showed him my collection, I explained him the issues of my collection and told him about my idea of put together one of his New Tangkas with a Old Tangka. The contemporary with the traditions, something very related to Tibet, but also to the wester culture. I had this idea because when I was in Tibet I bought a very nice Tangka, a traditional one representing one of his Budha. The young guide told me about the difficulties to be young and fight with a very though traditions, moreover than fight against the Chinese expansion. And when I saw the Gade the idea came to me naturally, in one hand the traditions, in the other one the new, but integrated in a same way to talk, through a Tangka form, a very Tibetan form. I had not any idea about which kind of feature he could paint: a Mickey, Spiderman, Superman... Probably any of a comic feature. Any will be ok for me and for the purpose to contrast old against new, tradition against novelty, spiritual against terrestrial...In the meantime he sent me pictures about his last works for an exhibition in China and they were wonderful, with these comics’ features, so I expected the same for my work few weeks after. But, which a surprise when he sent me the images. This was my answer to him: “Gade, OOUUAAUUU!!!!! I like it very much, really very much. I do not know how it will look like in live, but these pictures are incredible! I like the argument; I like the different things, the composition.A wonderful complement to a traditional tangka. The past and today, the spirit and the oppression... It's necessary to look at it closely and with time in order to find any dea you had and you painted. One time and another and probably next time you'll discover another thing. You are really great.” I was very excited, really very excited. And I am still very excited. Now, I have to think about how promote him and specially this work that talks directly to us about the sufferance of the Tibetan people. Maybe I will have a lot of enemys, but this work is really powerful. Thank you very much Gade for offering me this work. OPRESSION As a young painter in Lhasa at the turn of the 1990s, Gade was set apart from his peers not only for his “more abstract shapes and forms redolent of Picasso, but [also]…the use of Chinese mineral colors on cloth as opposed to popular oil paints.” Yet, even with his interest in Western art at that time, one saw in Gade’s painting a clear and subtle marriage of styles. “In Gade’s there is a distinct juxtaposition of styles: while his paintings are essentially modern in character, he continues to work in a mostly classical Tibetan style. “When I went to Beijing to study at the Central Academy of Fine Arts in 1992, I wanted to show how the traditional and the contemporary could be brought together in my work. But I wasn’t very satisfied with this. I was young then and I didn’t have very much life experience,” says Gade. “When I look back at that time, I see that I was looking at the Tibetan tradition and the contemporary like I was looking at mathematics, as some kind of formula. But since Buddhism and the culture were strongest for me, they dominated the look of my work, which was to represent Tibetan culture. Slowly I learned to see that bringing things together was not like a formula. “I really like traditional Tibetan culture but I found it difficult to understand at times because there was a gap due to the Cultural Revolution. When you want to repeat the tradition I couldn’t because of the changes and my life at that time didn’t allow for it. I thought that depicting tradition wasn’t real for me because when I was young, Chinese and foreign influences had a big impact on me and on my memories of childhood. But in painting I saw that a lot of artists were trying to make their tradition mysterious. But I knew that I didn’t want my work to become mere decoration for people’s houses. I felt that I had a responsibility as an artist to my society, its culture, and its traditions.” Forms such as the tangka, the scroll, the sutra, and the mandala are vital to Gade’s expression of traditional culture in his art practice. Now, however, they also serve to emphasize a new vision that incorporates traditional symbolism alongside the contemporary capitalist iconography that has come to permeate Chinese and Tibetan society -- McDonald’s, Mickey Mouse, and Spiderman, for example. These have become commonplace symbols in the art of many young Chinese artists over the past decade or so. But in many ways the use of capitalist logos among many of China’s Political pop artists were realized in a smooth, sophisticated manner that suggests the graphic art of slick advertising campaigns rather than any meaningful act of protest or cultural criticism. His careful use of dark mineral colors, particularly his brooding reddish browns and ochers, lend his art robustness so different from his earlier paintings of a decade ago. Combining this with his placement of his new iconography within the careful geometry of his forms also lends his art a subtle power that is lacking in a great deal of work that makes up the Political pop genre. Any discussion today about Tibet and its relationship with China is tainted by the opaqueness of emotional argument. For many Tibetan artists there are many different realities tugging at their consciousness. In their art there is often tension but there is also a clear resolve to hold fast to many of the traditions that are under threat. But there is also a clear dissatisfaction with the outside world that looks in. “Sometimes I really don’t get the ideas expressed by tourists that Tibetans should stick to their own culture and way of living,” says Gade. Lydia Venieri 1964, Athenes, Greece Bought in 2008 AfganWoman - Woman being executed by Taliban 76x152cm, Archival Dye-sub on satin, 2/7, 2008, Direct artist, USA Despite writting this lines just fiftheen days after known the work of Lydia I’m not sure how I’ve become in love of her work. I can not remember if I saw her in a magazine, I think not, or sailing in Internet, probably but where? In any case, the eyes of these dolls reflect all the human miseries. I hesitated between Lost youth and Afghan woman. My first impression was for Lost youth, the worst episode of the humanity reflected in the innocence of her eyes, in black and withe, the youngs that will never become mans. I’ve wanted to have a work remembering this period but... I’ve take finally Afghan woman because of two reasons: one about the subject and another about the technique. About the subject I want to pojnt out the importance of the conflict between religions in the contemporary wars and the weakness of women in these wars, moreover than the classical ideologic wars of the XX century. About the technique, Afghan wman is more centred in the eyes than Lost youth and also the expression of the doll manifesting her scare. I beleive I find with this works a new way to collect. I hope one day I could exhibit them altogheter. WOMEN RIGHTS Lydia’s new digital photographic-works on silk question the way that images of war and terror are used by the media to distort reality. Venieri’s images explore the juxtaposition of hyper-realistic photographs of war taken from film-stills and the news media with seemingly naïve images of children’s dolls. Positioned, digitally, to fit within the eyes of children’s dolls, the works disarm viewers at first glance, while delivering a potent punch of terror upon further inspection. The serene dolls volunteer themselves to our gaze, beckoning the viewer to approach in an unguarded and vulnerable state. Images of genocide, suicide bombings, and the devastation caused by the allied bombing of Nagasaki are literally pulled from the headlines of CNN and Fox news. Captured inside the reflections of the haunting gaze of these empty vessels, they create a mysterious relationship between two conspicuously diverse visual worlds. This bold work opens up the possibilities of technology in a way that echoes both modern genetic science and the uncanny effects of the Surrealists. Continuing her search for the human embodiment of social issues within the constructs of a deceivingly simple vehicle, this series offers an in-depth look at human perception and the dissemination of images and information. Priscilla Bracks 1973, Northern New South Wales, Australia Bought in 2008 Battle for the High Ground 75x75cm, Archival Lenticular Print, 4/8, 2008, Direct artist, AUS Only a few words: the first contemporary artist using photo I’ve ever liked. I noticed her when in 2007 she wins the Australian’s award showing a double image of Jesus and Ossama Bin Laden that made the cover arround the world. After visiting her site I was really interested by the works executed with her doll Cherry Wang. This mix between innocence and war it seems to me really effective. When I came the first time to her site I did not noticed that the works had a double vision, this technique give them much more interesting. I used to work as Marketing Director in the 90’s and I already used this technique for a campaign. To apply it to art it’s really great. Almost all the works were great. But finally I decided for it because of this first plane of the doll with the bazooka and the second image with the boom like a cartoon or a Linchestein.’s work. I hope she will have more opportunities to exhibit abroad Australia. RESOURCES Making the Empire Cross is a series of lenticular images, which take an irreverent look at contemporary geo-political figures and events. The images form a loose narrative featuring a motley cohort of plastic toys dressed in custom made costumes, and set against illustrated comic backgrounds. They come to life playing out scenarios which are in many ways less ridiculous than the reality of the politics they parody. After the commencement of the Afghanistan war, I was not sure whether I should be more disturbed by the war itself, or the abundance of cheap war toys which seemed to flood the market at that time. My response was to collect them over a period now spanning 4 years. Gradually they formed the basis for this work, the darker side of which ponders the ways in which popular culture and media have been used to make the case for a conflict which is relatively unsupported outside fundamentally conservative communities (of all religious persuasions). Yet despite its black humor, it is my hope that the work is not heavy handed or angry. The lenticular medium also plays an important part in the visual language employed by this work. You can learn more about what lenticular images are in this section. The medium is popularly used to create engaging images for children. Here its fun, frivolous and toy-like nature, and a comics aesthetic, is subverted to reveal how even the most unlikely stories can make their way into popular culture and into the realm of ‘truth’, principally through media associated with entertainment. As a medium and a technique, the lenticular process used by Bracks for this project is eerily appropriate to the subject matter, which is not just the war, but also the mass media. Lenticular prints resemble the pixelated pictures on an old style television set. Laminating two pictures together allows a transformation to occur when the image is viewed from different angles, which underlines the fact that the real picture is not a simple one. Michael W. Soi 1972, Nairobi, Kenya Bought in 2015 Shame in Venice I 101x299cm, Oil on canvas, 2016, Bonhams post auction, UK Michael Soi is a Nairobi based artist whose pieces provide a personal reflection and satirical commentary on contemporary social, economic and political trends in Kenya. The work is the artist's comment on the controversy that accompanied the Kenyan entries to the 2013 and 2015 Venice Biennale. In 2015, the Italian curators of the pavilion selected six Chinese artists, out of a total of eight, to fulfil the commission. A similar situation had occurred in 2013. In response, a petition was circulated entitled 'Renounce Kenya's fraudulent Representation at 56 Venice Biennale'. Kenyan cultural leaders and artists were angry that the government and organisers were not supporting African or local talent, especially in light of Nairobi's burgeoning art scene. Nairobi-based artist Michael Soi has criticised the continued involvement of China in Africa for several years. In particular Kenya has experienced a wave of Chinese migrants since the boom in Chinese infrastructure projects (estimated to be worth $3.27 billion in 2013). The artist executed a series of paintings between 2012 and 2013 entitled 'China Loves Africa'. The works criticized the Chinese government's increasing socio-economic control over the continent, and imagined the repercussions it could have with regards to foreign debt. The current Shame in Venice I, continues to scrutinize this relationship, in light of the events at the Venice Biennale. In an interview, Soi said of the work: "The Shame In Venice is all about misrepresentation and fraud flying the red, green and black of the Kenyan flag in a pavilion full of Chinese artists. For those who don't know, Kenya has a lot of great contemporary artists who can represent Kenya at whatever level. Artists living in the diaspora and the local gang operating from Nairobi and other towns in Kenya. The likes of Wangechi Mutu, Naomi Wanjiku Gakunga and the local brigade with the likes of Peterson Kamwathi, Paul Onditi, Richard Kimathi, Jimmy Ogonga, Jim Chuchu, Emily, Beatrice, Miriam, Jackie... We can go on and on...that Kenyan pavilion is as phony as a 3 dollar bill." Bibliography A. Klein, 'The Shame in Venice: Michael Soi responds to the Chinese takeover of Kenya's Art Pavilion' from www.okayafrica.com, (30 March, 2015). S. Moses, 'Outrage over Chinese artists chosen to represent Kenya at Venice Biennale' in www.theguardian.com (15 April, 2015). Interview, https://www.one.org/international/blog/kenyan-society-through-the- eyes-of-artist-michael-soi/ Video: https://youtu.be/f1W03g1sF5o https://youtu.be/D70CX2hK4a4 SHAME AND COLONISATION Sometime in 2016 I discovered Michael Soi. He represents everything I love about an artist, who is critical of his time and expresses his ideas through art; and also I like it. I knew what happened to the Pavilion of Keyna perfectly because I know who was the curator, and the painting depicts several stories in one space: 1. the rarity of the representation of Chinese painters in the pavilion of Keyna; 2. how to work the Italians, I have worked many years there and for them, able to justify everything and do what they want giving back to things; 3. colonization of China in Africa buying natural resources; 4. corruption of African states, how to explain what happened; and 5. the art world that far from being scandalized likes these debates. I also like the African color of Michael Soi, the stroke of the drawings of the characters, unfortunately only one of its African women without their hidden exuberance, but it is also the strength of the work. The significance of the underwear is to symbolize shamelessness in which people are willing to go to get what they desire! In conclusion: a great work, which represents a unique moment in the history of art; and a great artist, that if someday Africa gets developed, will be one of the most important, critic and with an extensive quality work. In fact I had seen the work before to be auctioned, but I completely forgot it. By chance I saw him again in my artprice and went to control the price that had been sold. My surprise was that it did not sell, nor had sold a year ago and decided to make a proposal to the seller from accepted. How strange is the art world, a published work which had a lot of media attention around the world of art and not, with a reasonable price, one of the few African artists with international projection and the pound at its worst, unsold. So with the chance, I've got a great work, big very big with storage problems. Since I had at least seven years without adding a work to my collection. Michael Soi has managed to enlighten my curiosity and pique my interest again. Sheng Qi 1965, Anhui, China Bought in 2017 Yellow umbrella on red waves 60x90.5cm, acrylic on canvas, 2014, Direct artist, UK The big issue with the current (2017) art Chinese contemporary scene is that the artists have abdicated of one of his goals: to complaint social and politics matters. From the fear of the youngsters until the commodity of the biggest names shows today a boring scene plenty of works depicting nature or just strokes in at least the last 20 years. It’s a pity that there is no trace of the originals and two of the most interesting movements in art worldwide like Cynical Realism and Political Pop, when Chinese contemporary art emerged onto the world scene in the 1990s, after the suppression of the 1989 student movement, felt intensely disappointed by the incident, and disappointed by authority figures. They felt it was all a kind of joke, and this changed their attitude. They finished in their self with his painters diving in abundance, Mercedes, wives and big studios. Fortunately there is still an artist from the origin of contemporary art in China stand alone and continuing, since the Tienanmen protests, depicting what really happens in China. Obscured in China, ignored by their contemporary, but the only one raising his voice though art. At some point, when democracy will arrive in China, because it will arrive someday, I hope he will be recognised as a fighter for that freedom and repaired. Sheng Qi, I following him since the firsts years of my interest in Chinese contemporary art and now I’m glad to add a small but powerful work to my collection which is a scream for hope and freedom. The Umbrella Movement (雨傘運動) is a pro-democracy political movement that was created spontaneously during the Hong Kong protests of 2014. The protests that began on 26 September 2014. Its name derives from the recognition of the umbrella as a symbol of defiance and resistance against the Hong Kong Police, and the united grass-roots objection to the decision of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPCSC) of 31 August. Since the start of the 2014 protests, movement activists have complained of harassment from political opponents "alarmingly similar to the way mainland Chinese activists and their families have long been targeted". December 11th 2014 Hong Kong police and protesters brace for the final clearance of the city's main pro-democracy site. In 2017 I strenght a very good friendship with Sheng Qi and we had spent a few beers talking about art and social matters. HOPE Just a fragile yellow umbrella surfing and avoiding to be dragged by the red waves and a plumbed red sky who covers all, trying at the same time open the sky and see the white and pure light of freedom. Poetic representation homage to the umbrella movement of Hong Kong started in 2014 and still continuing in spite of the brutal repression of the China authorities. Hope, because freedom starts with the movement of the people, the artists, the workers, the youngsters, the elders, a society which mobilise for freedom of any kind. First a few, then others join the movement until there is no Government who can face them unless using the violence! Chen Qiuchi 1959 Bought in 2017 Mushroom cloud II 180x240cm, oil on canvas, 2004, artists, CN "I have my own conscience. I cannot but concern myself with the reality, the changes and problems occurring in the process of development of human society". Words by Chen Qiuchi that I can assume myself. I bought one of his works in 2006 and again in 2017, when I met him and build up his website, happy to be his friend. Qiuchi Chen is an artist with a subversive-conceptual personality by nature, reflective and of kind temperament; he deals with strength and determination the necessary topics to let the public reflect on the civil values necessary to safeguard peace and the survival of whole humanity. He is very incisive towards human arrogance, rudeness and technology that in China has already caused a deep environmental crisis and an existential one of the human relationships, the artist asserts that life is the most important and precious right that each of us received, and it must be honored giving always our best and we must do all our most for the good of humanity. Wars, nuclear, demographic, energetic and environmental crisis are the main denounce because as artist and member of the human community, he deeply feels the duty to get people aware and to discuss about these topics with the hope that this can be of help to shake feelings and humans can be able to get through and out from the current avid era and begin again to take care of nature. After so many years, finally we meet at Como in 2017 for his solo exhibition, spending a very good night together with Marsiglione and his wife, moreover than translation adventures and visas. STUPIDITY When his criticism is for wars and weapons, his airplanes, shotguns and tanks are covered by a lot of “little faces” and are “humanized” till make them loose their own destructive power, whereas other times he simply wants to express his feelings of love towards this world by painting smiling flowers. Most of Qiuchi Chen’s work is visually focused on the human head’s contour to reflect the process of the existential thought which day by day leads all us and which is our world. Qiuchi Chen does this, moving beyond the enlarged faces represented in the paintings by his companions of movement and by the political art of the first half of the last century, he creates more shapes caricatures, understanding and representing society’s complexity and frustration. Chen Yu 1969, Anshun, Guizhou, China Bought in 2017 Untitled 2008 Series No. 1A+B 180 x 140 x 2 cm, Oil on Canvas, 2008, Direct to Nicole Schoeni collection Trained in the art of engraving and having worked in the publishing industry, Chen Yu chose to become a painter to focus on creating a world of his own and to work by himself among his works, almost like traditional Chinese painters. Influenced by the art of printmaking, Chen Yu differentiates himself with the monotony of his subjects, which are cloned as if they were reproduced by the printing press. Rows of duplicated human heads are a constant symbolic feature in his paintings. Their repetition questions the place given to individuality and its expression. In some series of works, only one protagonist has his/her eyes open. The portraits repeat with boredom, with the figures looking detached from each other and forlorn, while among them one figure looks on. The artist’s sense of humour is perceptible in the way he illustrates individuality. The gestures or expression of the singled out character is most of the time hilarious. Sometimes picking one’s nose, water being poured on one’s bold head, looking at the spectator with a cigarette in one’s mouth, etc. are examples of such attitudes the artist picks to make one person among his created crowds stand out. Above the figures, a single motif absurdly floats in the composition, breaking this monotonous pattern by bringing the attention away from the human subjects. Over the years, his style and technique have matured into more realistic aesthetics, still crisp but with more accomplished renderings and a more subtle colour palette. In recent works, Chen Yu explores individuality in new ways, the difference between the characters are shown in gender, outfits, and facial expressions. The figures appear to be more related, less isolated and if one individual is distinguished, the others seem to interact with him or her - their eyes are open. In this work, is it in fact a portrait of his young brother Chen Li! I have to thanks Nicole Schoeni for helping to reach an agreement, when you run short of Money is not easy to add very good works to your collection. CURIOSITY Curiosity is the first stage of freedom. Yu Fan 1966, Qingdao city, China Bought in 2017 Liu Hulan 30.5 x 195.6 x 73.7 cm. (12 x 77 x 29 in.). Signed, numbered, and dated 'yufan 2003. 5/6' (middle). Fiberglass sculpture, in two parts. Executed in 2005. Edition 5/6 In the oeuvre of Beijing-based sculptor Yu Fan—whose recognizable creations are sleek, glossy, and delicate—disparate themes and characters collide. While one body of work is comprised of dainty mythical white horses, another series portrays elongated Chinese everymen. Yu’s work also ventures into more serious dialogues with both the history of Western art and Chinese politics—The Death of Liu Hulan, for example, juxtaposes a disconcertingly slick, Pop-inspired style with subject matter relating to the dramatic 1947 beheading of a young female Communist Party member. Yu renders his sculptures in fiberglass, copper, and bronze, making his shiny polished surfaces by covering these primary elements with bright car varnishes. Liu Hulan (刘胡兰, 1932–1947) was a young female spy during the Chinese Civil War between the Kuomintang and the Communist Party. She was born in Yunzhouxi village, in the Wenshui County of the Shanxi province. She joined the Communist Party in 1946[3] and soon after joined an association of women working in support of the Liberation Army. She was actively involved in organizing the villagers of Yunzhouxi in support of the Communist Party of China. Her contributions involved a wide range of activities, such as supplying food to the Eighth Liberation Army, relaying secret messages, and mending boots and uniforms. On January 12, 1947, the Kuomintang army under Yan Xishan invaded her village in response to the assassination of Shi Peihuai, the village chief of Yunzhouxi, who was known to be loyal to the Kuomintang. Upon entering the village, Kuomintang soldiers rounded up several reputed Communist Party members believed to be involved of the assassination, among them the teenager Liu Hulan. The party members were decapitated in the town square. Before killing Liu Hulan, the executioners paused, giving her one final chance to renounce her allegiance to the Communist Party. She refused, and was immediately beheaded. She was 14 years old. The life and death of Liu Hulan has become a symbol of the courage of the Chinese people, and is often cited as a homily of their loyalty to Communism. Her story is often told as homage to the struggles endured, and the sacrifices made, for the cause of liberating China from centuries of rule by foreign powers. In recent history, Chinese political leaders have praised her heroism as the reason why the Chinese Communist Party has risen to take a dominant place in the politics and culture of modern China. It was in her memory that Mao Zedong wrote the famous line, "a great life, a glorious death" ("生的伟大, 死的光荣"). She is the subject of a 1949 opera, remade in 1954: Liu Hulan. COMMITMENT I confess, I’ve been fallen in love as soon as I saw it. Very powerful thinking just seeing at it, and then, when you go deeply in the story, then is still more powerful. Afterwards you look at the price and then you say why so low, its part of a lot of a private collection in USA then you can expect any kind of valuation, but Christies put a so low price (?), one work in the famous Stella collection was auctioned for a high price many years ago, in the note about conditions seems normal, less than the cost of produce it... I waited to bid an in fact there was no interest until the end. People don’t like this kind of works at home, although is a Museum work and could be perfectly in each Museum of China because the subject and the comporanity of the work. My last bids were in the car and after a small fighting the work is mine for what I’d like to spend, in the limit, and dollars helps a bit. This year I’ve already spend too much! And another work to the garage, not enough room at home. Coming back to commitment, if you read above the story nothing to add. Just that it’s similar at what our Catalan Government is suffering nowadays: prision and exile inside Europe, because their commitment. Jerry Ng Hong Kong, 1992 Ordered December 2017, finished in February 2018 State of Iron Bar (2017) (2) Wood and light installation on Hong Kong protest images State of Iron Bars Catalunya (2018) (2) Wood and light installation on Catalunya referendum 1-O forbidden by Spanish Government 30x20cm https://youtu.be/Sl3AbDGqgSY Ng Sek Hin, Jerry, graduated from CUHK in Fine Arts. His works mainly are media installations. In early 2015 he did his solo exhibition people missing", assisted preparation of Touch wood in K11 artspace and paticipate in yellow whisper Umbrella movement showcast. My work mostly inspired by social issues and injustices. I believe that art has it role in bringing synergy and light to the society. In the future, I will seek for the connection and balance between Fine arts and some social situations. SOCIAL SITUATIONS I discovered Jerry Ng trhough a benefical auction in Hong Kong for a Human Rights association. I saw 4 works of his Hong Kong umbrella movement and I tried to bid, but I was unprepared from my phone and with my credit card far from my pocket. Let’s say better! Better, because I tried to find him, Facebook it’s always a good way, and after been in touch with him I proposed textually: “I'm a collector, mainly of Chinese contemporary art and regarding subjects about political and social conflicts. I'm Catalan, probably you ear about our current fight for freedom. I tried to buy your work in the auction finished à few hours ago. Unfortunately I was on my mobile, like now, and I didn't have the credit card closest, was not specify to fill it before for bidding. Let me congratulate you for the i suppose donation of the work. I didn't see it but it seems really interesting. You're very young and seems to me with great future, although works with high political content are hard to sell. Let me ask if you have others or i can commission one. I like big works.” “May I suggest to open the Hong Kong series to other conflicts clashing people aspirations with politics and police? I attach a few links to what Catalan we're fighting for independence and images of clashes between people ready to vote and Spanish police forbidden them and bitten them as well on October 1st. Currently two liders of citizens movement are in prision since almost 2 months, alll the Government was jailed but 2 members of the Government are still jailed facing 30 years imprisonment for rebellion. The President and 4 memebers of the Government are in Belgium and if they travel to Spain will be detained. Let me know what do you think.” At this time there are only two movements driven by people, peaceful, asking for freedom, the Hong Kong movement and the Catalan one. What I cannot understand is where is the European Union in all of that? Probably Hong Kong is far away, but is it not true that Europe is the champion of the Human Rights and freedom with USA? And Catalan are not European citizens? Where are the rights of Catalans of free speech and democracy? How is possible to have ostages and political prisiones in an European state and other exikliates inside the EU? Where is this shit of political UE? Where we are going? The worst movements in Europe started like this, letting the States to withdraw rights when the other looking to another side! Xiao Hong Bought in 2018 Intellectual Youth, 2006 170x150cm. Oil on Canvas, 2006 The art of Xiao Hong is a journey to genetics and heredity’s relation to our appearance. Everybody’s face is an unread book, hiding a huge number of secrets. The artist tries to make us open our eyes to what should be the necessary basics in human relations, in order to push Humanity to the next level of evolution. Every face is a hidden treasure of forgotten roots, made of traditions of the past combined with reality fragments. Xiao Hong’s works on Intellectual Youth Series combines the elements of contemporary and tradition onto one canvas. With portrait of an Intellectual Youth as the main subject of his painting, one can immediately identify with his subject – how China is now full of young, talented and capable youth to bring it to the next level of development. However, it is his use of scenes and fragments of reality from the past which is rather unique. He turns these scenes and fragments of reality into marks on the skin of a human face, treating them like moles or freckles in a portrait, moulding them to the undulating contours of facial structure. Now, the combination of the two implores upon us a message that one should always have a root in traditions and the past. Fascinated by the murals of Dunhuang, the artist merged images from the murals with portraits. He then moved on to integrating scenes from the Cultural Revolution and scenes from everyday life into his portraits, exploring people's fragmented memories of history and life and the feeling of being unable to dismiss certain scenes. IDEALISM What’s not in a head of a youngster?

TEXTS

Patrick Bongoy 1980, Kinshasa. Democratic Republic of Congo, líving in South Africa Bought in 2018 The Revenant IV, 2019 176x45x70cm. 25kg. Sculpture recycled rubber tubes on fibreglass castrubbed, commissioned directly to the artist “Hi Patrick, Thanks for your reply through Facebook. I loved your work at auction because fitted perfectly in my collection and my idea to help artists to do political and social works. That's why I bought another African artist like Michael S.Soi. Works that normally are not commercial for big public, but a must for a good collector. This series of Revenants (talking about Revenant III) is really wonderful, very powerful with a big content. I really don't understand what happens at Bonhams, I wrote Eliza that told me was in contact with you as well regarding if stands or not the work. I wrote them as well after the auction, it's not normal to offer 10.000GBP without waiting the opening bids with an estimate of 4.000 and one of your works auctioned in February in SA for 3700GBP. It could be really nice if the price was achieved trough a war of bids, but not something like this. Probably for you is good at short term because your price rise, but I'm concern at mid term, because was not tested if it was a few collectors interested or not. There were also other incidents in this auction, well... art market is like this... and then after the Bansky self-destructed in Friday... well... no comment. Coming back to my commission. I'd like a work in the Revenants series, of course you're the artists and your creativity it's fully free. I commissioned works before and always very happy with the results”. Although he now lives in South Africa, Bongoy's work remains deeply informed by the socio-economic context of his home country. Born in Kinshasa in 1980, the artist was raised in a climate of fear and persistent violent conflict. As the Cold War waned in the early 1990s. The use of rubber references the exploitative practices of the country's European colonisers prior to independence in 1960. The wealth of natural resources was the primary reason for Belgium's annexing of the Congo, and rubber was the main export. Bongoy's subject matter and medium tell the story of his people's suffering – a narrative of depleted natural resources – but they also speak of survival and defiance. The discarded rubber may have lost its original use, but through the artist's creativity, it has been recycled into something new; there is hope even in destruction. “I’m not telling people what they know; I’m offering them my world of possibilities and the way I’m seeing life through death, the process of transformation,” Bongoy says. The Revenants. This works speaks to the movement of displaced peoples, forced into on going migration, evicted from the space of belonging by war, depletion, corruption or erosion of various resources. The human vulnerability and fragility as a result of this expulsion is worsened by the physical impact of long, difficult paths of navigation, the literal exposure to the elements, no shelter from harsh weather or dangers of the natural environment. The instability this creates is also psychological as the upheaval and being bereft of home, brings extended grief and uncertainty as to whether you will ever return, to the life or home you once knew. Women have the added threat of sexual exploitation and violation along the way. Her children, sometimes still in utero, also experience the trauma, whether by witnessing it, the overwhelming sense of helplessness or death as a result of this. This precocity of existence is that the shift from a known environment also affects the generations ahead, as well as the country, the population left behind. Their exodus is a loss, to the ones who will be born far from home, who will struggle to make a new site home. It is a drain on the human resources of the original country over generations. There are visible and many more invisible losses and trauma as the reluctant travellers are transformed into outsiders, aliens who carry as much as they can bear on their bodies but also this substantial internal damage. Being deprived of the opportunity to feed and protect themselves or loved ones, the entire sense of self, dignity, ownership of property and personal agency, is abruptly lost or stripped away gradually as migration continues. And what kind of returnees will they be...even if that were possible? Damaged, polluted, reshaped and forced to remake or hold oneself together – this journey and its hostile environments transforms a person, Their being. Will your own people even recognise you after this profound change? The compromise or loss of indigenous language etc. becomes further barriers to their retorn. “About this particular piece, it's reflecting the vulnerability and ashame of women in this ostille environment of war, patriarchy etc. The work explore also the none-belonging of women in our society where mostly we do not consider or give them space to speak among men. She's wearing a veil, sign of shame. Covered by her own anguish.” PB. SLAVERY, COLONIALISM, DISPLACEMENT, ABUSE, WOMEN The misery of the mankind, not only abuse other humans beens, but abuse women as well. ANd still we don’t learn anything about the black holes of the history.
Willie Bester 1956, Montagu, Cape, South Africa Bought in 2019 "ANC Lives", 1990 aluminium cans, acrylic, barbed wire and wood 155 x 37 x 7cm (61 x 14 9/16 x 2 3/4in). Bonhams Willie Bester is regarded as one of South Africa's most important resistance artists. He incorporates recycled material into his paintings, assemblages and sculpture, usually commenting on political injustices and human rights issues of the day. Born in the small town of Montagu, South Africa in 1956, Willie Bester’s creative genius was apparent from a young age. Making toy cars from recycled wire just like the other kids, Willie’s draadkars would stand out from the rest with elaborate decoration and metal work. Willie’s passion for political and social issues was ignited when he had to leave school at 10 to help the family financially due to the forced removal from their home under the Group Areas Act. With a Xhosa father and coloured mother, Willie was classified ‘other coloured’ under the Apartheid laws, which meant their mixed race family was not allowed to live in a “coloured” area. As a migrant worker, the only lodgings available to his father were single-sex hostels in large fenced-off compounds. The only option for the family to live together was in informal housing in other people’s backyards. Bester’s first works consisted of paintings in oil and enamel in bright colors displaying life in the black townships. These pieces also incorporated cardboard, photographs, and debris collected from local trash dumps, often embedded with descriptive words about daily life or text from newspapers and legislation, all in response to the racism and discrimination that was, and still is, rampant in South Africa. Often comprising a plethora of recovered objects, these works reflect the waste of consumer society, and the excesses that sometimes remain beyond the reach of black and minority township residents, yet which are often deposited in facilities near these very townships: Coke cans, war toys, scraps from electrical appliances, shovels and paddles, automobile parts and license plates, parts of weapons, and other salvaged objects. This work is just before becoming a professional artist in 1991 and the same year Nelson Mandela was released from prision. "We were naïve about the state of things in South Africa; we thought things would be different. We wanted to believe that our culture had changed, because we so badly wanted things to be different so that we could move forward. But it’s impossible to forget the past because it influences our future. This is why I document these events, so that we do not forget." "I am sometimes tempted to go to the seaside and to paint beautiful things from nature. But I do not do it because my art has to be taken as a nasty tasting medicine for awakening consciences." Bester emerged as one of South Africa's most important resistance artists. He is recognised internationally for his ground-breaking anti-apartheid work. In more recent years, Bester has explored contemporary themes arising from the challenges of post-apartheid South Africa such as crime, greed, poverty and corruption. For him, resistance to apartheid was fundamentally about humanity and human rights, which he continues to be vigilant about. Willie Bester’s organic, gritty and tangible art speaks, unmediated, from his heart and soul. While his inspiration no doubt arises from the life experiences that have forged him, it stands as a metaphor for the life experiences of all South Africans. His art is a vital part of our national consciousness. WAR SIRS, CORRUPTION, BLIND FOLLOWERS, HUMAN STUPIDITY and INSPIRATIONAL as well I liked the theme at the first glace, but I liked as well the connection with arte povera. Don’t need to have an expensive crazy white canvas to express your feelings and transmitt a strong message to the audiences. But as well the fight for freedom inside the appartheid, one of the most terrible règims humanity has been able to create. The peaceful fight by Mandela, the war inside and outside the ANC, the delopments and fight for power inside the ANC... A dark history of humanity. But a so inspirational man like Nelson Mandela. I’m sorry, it’s not comparable, but currently Catalan politicians are facing a trial or/and exili because they organised a legal referèndum for the independence of Catalonia in October 1st 2017. Already facing more than one year in jail before the trial started in March 2019.
Gianfranco Gentile 1949, Verona Bought in 2019 Vite di cartone, 2016 Crayons on assembly of packing cartons, cartons for packaging, 230 x 300 cm. Artantide Italy From the mid-1990s he began his journey into the pictorial art that leads him to the present day, using mainly pastels and mixed techniques, with a particular attention to the everyday common visual reality that the frenetic and inattentive contemporary life tends to make meaningless. For some years, through the use of recycled pastel dry cardboard packaging and the invention of a technique based on an accurate removal of the unpainted surface, Gentile proposes an operation of memory, an industrial archeology that reflects aesthetically on human invention and its passing, on the rusty myths of positivist thought and on the second beauty of the object, no longer functional, created by the flow of time with its oxidations and corrosions of matter. The dramatic and often tragic events of recent years, linked to the flight of thousands of refugees from war and hunger, have "led him to reflect on the" historic "link between this material and poverty. In my mind resounded words from my childhood, memories of a country that seems to have lost its memory, our migrants who left with cardboard suitcases, so they said, and basically this poor material has always been the last precious home of those who have nothing left and live on the margins of society. As in the works of industrial archeology, in some of my recent works the cartoon (ri) assumes the sense of fragility of these people suspended between life and death. " The work is handmade with dry pastels on the surface of 6 recycled and assembled packaging cardboards. The dramatic often tragic events of recent years, linked to the escape of thousands of refugees from wars and hunger, have led me to reflect on the "historical" link between this material and poverty. In my mind are words of my childhood, memories of a Country that seems to have lost memory, our migrants leaving with cardboard suitcases, so it was said, and in the end this poor material has always been the last prescious home of those who live on the margins of society. In these my recent works, cardboard takes on the sense of fragility of those people suspended between life and death. HUMAN CRISIS, POVERTY, MIGRATION, OPEN ARMS, BUSINESS I spend a lot of time thinking to add this work, at some point I have to stop. I’m not a collector with huge resources. But I couldn’t resist buying it. Reflects where Europe is right now in 2019, poverty, immigration, aroud us without almost take care about. People escaping from Africa for a better future in an old Europe, tired, without economical growing, the opposite of the anti immigration parties which growth. People who finishes living in cardboard. Citizens between citizens, cities between cities.
Chen QiuChi 1954, China Bought in 2019 Plum blossom, 2010 acrylic on canvas, 200x400. Directly to the artist He’s a friend, well has become a friend because he is a wonderful human being. Unfortunately his works are not appreciate in China because any political or social reference is banned and against the teories f the great leader and dictator Xi Xinping. But as he told me once, it’s what I want to paint. Middle 2019 he was not in his best economical moment and asked me support buyng any work almost at any price, he was desperate and in the edge to be spit off from his studio and without any alternative to go. Me neither economically but I did my best, probably not enough and I have to supply that at any moment in the future. I asked him to sell me the work below, I was attracted to it before to but the cloud mushroom, but was so big and the proce so high that finally I bought the cloud mushrooms, but plum blossom has been always in my shopping list. We made an agreement. CLIMATE CHANGE This will be the issue of 2019 and years ahead for new generations. Population is growing, need of rough materials at the same pace, dictatorships like China or Russia not aware, by the way like United States to maintain his industrial and military supremacy over the planet. The work is not only stetical awesome, the contrast grey and red, the dessert in grey, the red flowers of the plum blossom the heads laughing, the plum blossom branchs in grey as well like death… A powerful message. I don’t know if I’ll have the possibility to see it holded, I don’t have space. Let’s see.
Dale Lewis 1980, UK Bought in 2019 Princess, 2019 oil, acrylic and spray on canvas, 200x170. Edel Assanti, UK “I hope you are well? Dale Lewis forwarded me your enquiry about his work and asked me to reach out to you. I see from your email that you are specifically interested in work dealing with issues of transgender. As it happens we have one painting in London that may be of interest. Princes was completed this summer whilst Dale was on a residency in Athens. Appropriating the compositional framework from Bottacelli's painting of the three graces, Dale has depicted a scene he observed in one of the city's most notorious transvestite clubs. The central figure has the head and torso of woman but as the viewer pans the figures physiology contorts and evolves into that of a man. Dale describes the figure as 'ejaculating their male self' as though ridding them self of this part of their person. Like the best of Dale's work the painting is infused with satire and anecdotal references. Dale’s work presents a collective portrait of urban society from the high street to its fringes: 9-5 jobs, consumerism, multiculturalism, gay culture, class divides, drug addiction and hooligan violence. Whilst the unsettling, parodic works inherit their scale and compositional inspiration from canonical art historical painting, Lewis’ lyrical style of painting leaves the works in suspension, underdone rather than overworked. His oeuvre is furnished by a spectrum of contrasting imagery – the collision of ancient with new, abject poverty alongside grotesque displays of wealth, sacrilege taking the place of religious symbolism.” That’s how all starts. Like many graduates, Dale Lewis began his art career on the lowest rung, as an assistant first to Damien Hirst, then Raqid Shaw. Two and a half years with Damien were spent on kaleidoscope paintings, which meant placing thousands of butterfly wings in patterns onto paint, while his four and a half years with Raqid were spent working in minute detail on photorealist paintings. It was when he became involved in the year-long Turps Banana painting programme that Dale’s style moved away from the labour intensive processes he’d learnt under Damien and Raqid. TRANSGENDERS and HUMAN CONDITION I saw his works at Saatchi one or two years ago, fascinating, big, clever, strong, realistic, not political correct, a fist in the face, new, fresh, unconventional, disturbing, node, sex, violence, delírium, hallucinatory yet convincing stories of the young, multicultural, gender-ambivalent, debauched and a class-divided society.... depicting the life as it is, you like or not like. To see it there make me consider his work unaffordable, mistake. A few months ago I saw one work at auction and withdraw it immediately, offensive price and I liked someone, the gallery, takes control of these things. I wanted to know more, contacted galleries and tried to contact Dale as well and see if he had something about transgender. Why transgender? It’s a subject that fascinates me in the last years. Hidden, persecuted, prostitution pushed, sexual objects... just because nature is like it is and the humans decided that had to be binay, one way or another. This work goes beyond, not only transexualisme, but other hidden humans sex behavoirs, hidden mostly. Mixing addictions to tabac. Probably what it’s behind the image that a mirror reflects for a lot of people. That’s why I like the Dale’s words: “I hope people can identify with the work and see beyond the surface. Read the paintings in a more formal way instead of just identifying the narrative on the surface that informs them, but it doesn’t really matter if they do or don’t.”
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Made by Josep Soler Casanellas
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