Chen Fei - 20th Century & Contemporary Art & Design Day Sale in association with Yongle Hong Kong Tuesday, November 29, 2022 | Phillips

Create your first list.

Select an existing list or create a new list to share and manage lots you follow.

  • “Nowadays, aside from emphasising our own cultures’ attributes, we should also attain a culture that has no locality — one that lets people feel the extraordinary qualities of your culture but also allows accessibility. In general, it is necessary to connect with modernisation seamlessly. I would like to be the connection between these cultural differences so that everyone can experience these core values. Of course, my capabilities are limited, so this may only be a beautiful vision.”
    — Chen Fei

    True Identity is a 2012 painting by the acclaimed Chinese artist Chen Fei. His fascination with human bodies – often depicted as naked and partially covered in tattoos – is here expressed in the portrait of a shirtless man with a short beard, and buzz-cut hair. His portrayal shares a likeness to the artist’s own appearance, suggestive of this being a self-portrait of Chen Fei himself. Two golden laser rays beam out from the protagonist’s eyes, which instantly bring to mind the depictions of laser eyes popularised by Japanese comics and animations, Akira Toriyama’s Dragon Ball series created between 1984 and 1995, and DC Comic’s iconic Superman.


    At the same time, Chen Fei often discusses his connection with Chinese culture when interviewed about his art practice, his position in relation to the ethics and values embodied by his country of origin, and the differences between Western and Eastern imageries. As he explains, ‘I discovered that differences in the core expressions of Eastern and Western cultures are not in the formation of appearance or language, but rather in their intrinsic philosophies. Their appearances may look similar, but there are different paths of entry leading to that. As my work evolves, I have come to realise that we think of time and space in different ways’. i



    As such, True Identity could therefore also be understood as a double exploration of the concept of identity, as an individual and as member of a community. The rays of light which come out of the subject, painted a gleaming golden shade, seem to indicate a tumultuous force which erupts outwards from the soul to reveal one’s inner strength.


    Chen Fei was born in 1983 in Hong Tong, Shanxi Province, China, and studied cinema at Beijing Film Academy, before choosing to focus on painting. His most recent exhibitions include the solo shows Morning Market and Reunion, at Yuz Museum in Shanghai (27 February 2021 – 9 May 2021) and Perrotin in New York (2 November 2019 – 21 December 2019), and the group show On / Off 2022: Carousel of Progress at HEM - He Art Museum in Shunde, Guandong, China (4 February 2022 – 5 June 2022). His artworks are part of the collections of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, of the Franks-Suss Collection in London and the DSL collection in Paris, France, among others.


    Chen Fei, quoted in “Reunion: A Conversation with Chen Fei Prior To His First Exhibition in North America @ Perrotin NYC”, 20 November 2019, online.

    • Provenance

      Private Collection
      Yongle Auction, Beijing, 28 March 2020, lot 594031
      Acquired at the above sale by the present owner


True Identity

signed, titled and dated '"True Identity" Chen Fei. [in Chinese] 2012.' on the reverse
acrylic on canvas
40 x 40 cm. (15 3/4 x 15 3/4 in.)
Painted in 2012.

Full Cataloguing

HK$200,000 - 300,000 

Sold for HK$403,200

Contact Specialist

Danielle So
Specialist, Head of Day Sale
+852 2318 2027

20th Century & Contemporary Art & Design Day Sale in association with Yongle

Hong Kong Auction 30 November 2022