Cleon Peterson - 20th Century & Contemporary Art & Design Day Sale Hong Kong Thursday, July 9, 2020 | Phillips
  • Provenance

    OVER THE INFLUENCE Gallery, Hong Kong
    Acquired from the above by the present owner

  • Exhibited

    Hong Kong, OVER THE INFLUENCE, Purity, 21–31 January 2016

  • Catalogue Essay

    Greek Terracotta amphora, c.520 B.C.
    Collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

    Leon Golub
    Interrogation III, 1981
    The lawless world depicted in Los-Angeles-based artist Cleon Peterson's critically acclaimed practice is one where deviance has become the norm, inhabited by anonymous protagonists who clash in scenes of combat that are equally as mesmerising as they are disturbing. Filled with references to power, submission and mortality, Peterson's contemporary scenes of carnage simultaneously draw to mind art historical influences including Francisco Goya's Disasters of War, Leon Golub’s unflinching representations of brutality, and the warriors in battle that adorn Classical Greco-Roman ceramics, whilst also directly challenge modern-day anxieties. Portraying themes that are 'dark… but part of everybody' (Cleon Peterson quoted in Christopher Sleboda and Kathleen Sleboda, 'Into Darkness', in Cleon Peterson, ed. Draw Down Books, New Haven, 2015, p. 11), viewers are unapologetically confronted by raw and provocative compositions that powerfully explore the violence of the human condition that is without cultural-exclusion.

    Executed in 2015, The Converter and The Nightcrawler both featured as part of the artist’s inaugural solo exhibition in Hong Kong, hosted by Over the Influence in 2016. Purity showcased a series of paintings that in the artist’s own words, portrayed ‘our new reality, a world where humanity is divided by war and chaos [where] at the heart of all of this is an impulse to make the world PURE’.
    Francisco Goya
    Y son firas (And they are like wild beasts), 1810-23
    Collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art
    Masterfully composed in the artist’s signature style of threatening mercenaries rendered in flawless line against a nondescript flat background, both works are bold and emotive, and immediatley draw the eye in. Whereas The Nightcrawler is strictly black and white, depicting a victorious brute sat atop a horse with his conquest slain in pooling blood below, The Converter’s colour-palette of scarlet and black recalls both ‘80s punk, and the ‘authoritarian colours used in propaganda, uniforms and symbols from the past.’ (Cleon Peterson quoted in ‘Cleon Peterson’s new exhibition Blood & Soil attacks American politics head on,’ It’s Nice That, 6 July 2018, online). Sophistically executed, both The Converter and The Nightcrawler are compelling examples from Peterson’s instantly recognisable oeuvre that showcase his continuous investigation into the darkest recesses of mankind.


CP006 The Converter

signed and dated 'Cleon 15' on the reverse
acrylic on canvas
45.5 x 60.8 cm. (17 7/8 x 23 7/8 in.)
Painted in 2015.

HK$150,000 - 250,000 

Contact Specialist
Danielle So
Associate Specialist, Head of Day Sale

20th Century & Contemporary Art & Design Day Sale

Hong Kong Auction 9 July 2020