Alex Israel - New Now Hong Kong Friday, March 29, 2024 | Phillips
  • Alex Israel is a multifaceted artist, writer, and entrepreneur known for his work that deeply engages with the culture, imagery, and aura of Los Angeles. Born in 1982 in Los Angeles, Israel's art often reflects the city's landscape, celebrity culture, and the cinematic world, serving as a bridge between contemporary art and the broader media landscape of Hollywood. His work encompasses a variety of mediums, including painting, sculpture, film, and large-scale installations, often characterised by bright colours, iconic symbols, and elements that evoke the essence of L.A.'s entertainment industry.  On the current lot, the artist captivates us with the unexpected texture of fibreglass, creating a rather dynamic interplay of light and shadows that defies the traditional flatness of paintings. The soft, gradient colours are aesthetically pleasing, harmoniously coexisting with the metallic canvas. They could be reflecting a Californian sunset, infusing contemporary art with a fresh, luminous perspective.


    An immediate impression of the present lot is reminiscent of the world-renowned Hokusai's The Great Wave of Kanagawa. While Hokusai captures the formidable power of nature with his iconic woodblock print, featuring frothy, claw-like waves ready to engulf the boats beneath Mount Fuji, Israel's ‘Wave’ offers a modern, stylised iteration. Israel's wave, often rendered in pastel gradients, feels more serene and polished, evoking the laid-back culture of contemporary California. Where Hokusai's work is detailed and dynamic, suggesting motion and sound, Israel's interpretation is smooth and almost static, its minimalism lending a tranquil and graphic quality to the natural form.


    Katsushika Hokusai, Under the Wave off Kanagawa (Kanagawa oki nami ura), also known as The Great Wave, from the series Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji (Fugaku sanjūrokkei), ca. 1830–32. Image: © The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York,  H. O. Havemeyer Collection, Bequest of Mrs. H. O. Havemeyer, 1929, JP1847


     In the TV series ‘And Just Like That…’, one of the artist’s Wave series works was featured in one scene. This scene amplifies the contemporary relevance of both the artist and the Wave series, as viewers witness the characters engaging with the artwork, bridging the gap between the fictional narrative and the real-world art scene. On Wave, the artist employs a sleek, graphical style that combines the sharpness of modern designs with the richness of traditional painting, paying homage to L.A.’s fusion of cutting-edge visual culture and timeless glamour. The present lot is a strikingly contemporary piece that resonates with the city’s pulsating, yet laid-back aesthetic.


    Scene from ‘And Just Like That…’
    Image: Courtesy of the artist’s Instagram
    • Provenance

      Gagosian, Hong Kong
      Acquired from the above by the present owner



signed and dated 'Alex Israel '20' on the reverse
acrylic on fibreglass
61.8 x 61.8 cm. (24 3/8 x 24 3/8 in.)
Executed in 2020.

Full Cataloguing

HK$300,000 - 400,000 

Sold for HK$355,600

Contact Specialist

Angela Tian
Associate Specialist, Head of New Now Sale
20th Century & Contemporary Art, Hong Kong
+852 2318 2058

New Now

Hong Kong Auction 29 March 2024