Derek Fordjour - 20th Century & Contemporary Art & Design Day Sale in Association with Poly Auction Hong Kong Thursday, December 3, 2020 | Phillips
  • Derek Fordjour, a Tennessee-born artist of Ghanaian heritage has become well known for his multidisciplinary practice exploring race, violence, displacement and inequality in American society. His paintings often explore the vulnerability of individuals, as well the strategies one must develop to navigate systemic racism in the public arena - from sports to schools or the street. Fordjour layers his work with humble materials—newspaper, oil pastels, charcoal—and utilises a palette and visual language that speak to Americana, Pop, as well as the vibrant colours and textures of Ghana.


    Untitled has the cheerful, slightly unreal, air of a circus with its harlequin bunting. Painted brightly in his signature graphic style, Fordjour’s tableau is celebratory yet underlined by a menacing air: two men, in traditional Ghanaian dress, welcome a third who is balanced perilously on a tightrope, whilst a shadowy fourth figure awaits his turn in the background. A trophy and the top-hatted outlines of spectators in the foreground indicate that this spectacle is a game of sorts, a leisurely form of entertainment at odds with the quietly resigned faces of the players. Using surrealism to call out the inequalities and abuses of power inherent in everyday occasions, Fordjour’s voice is highly relevant to our age.


    Derek Fordjour, installation view of Half Mast at Whitney Museum of American Art, New York in 2018. Collection of the artist; courtesy Night Gallery, Los Angeles. Photograph by Ron Amstutz

    Fordjour celebrated his first major solo museum show at the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis in January 2020. Frequently serving as a lecturer at institutions including Yale, his work is held in prestigious collections throughout the United States and Europe, including the Studio Museum in Harlem, the Dallas Museum of Art and the Whitney Museum of American Art.

    • Provenance

      Private Collection
      Acquired from the above by the present owner



signed and dated 'FORDJOUR '15' on the reverse
oil and acrylic on wood panel
157.7 x 101.3 cm. (62 1/8 x 39 7/8 in.)
Executed in 2015.

Full Cataloguing

HK$400,000 - 500,000 

Sold for HK$1,512,000

Contact Specialist

Danielle So
Associate Specialist, Head of Day Sale

20th Century & Contemporary Art & Design Day Sale in Association with Poly Auction

Hong Kong Auction 4 December 2020