Edgar Plans - 20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale Hong Kong Wednesday, June 22, 2022 | Phillips

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  • “If I am asked when I started to paint or indeed why, well that’s something I can’t define so easily. I can say how and where, using pencils and crayons on every wall within reach, outside the house in Majadahonda, on the nursery walls and the pavements.”  
    — Edgar Plans


    Spontaneous, playful and charming, Spanish artist Edgar Plans’ compositions feature his signature characters, ‘Animal Heroes’. Blending graffiti, comic books and children’s book illustrations, Plans evokes the visual rhetoric of works by Jean-Michel Basquiat, Cy Twombly, and Keith Haring, creating a spirited world that is uniquely his own. Wearing colourful capes, masks, and expressive big eyes – the artist’s protagonists communicate his observations of socio-political issues and criticism, as well as stories from his imagination.


    Creatures of the Night


    Monumental in scale, Night Creatures is the largest work by the artist to come to auction. Intentionally playful, Plans harnesses the boundless creativity of children’s drawings in the current work, returning to simple visual cues that reflect a form of pure artistic expression. Yet, the intricate layering of a variety of mediums and interwoven visual planes demonstrate a refined practice that references Plans’ historical influences and showcases his ingenious improvisational skills.


    Central to Plans’ practice is the ‘Hero’ figure, defined by their mouse-like round ears and colourful masks. Often holding spray paint cans and torches, these little heroes wander through the night, scribbling on the walls. Shadows of these characters are sometimes mismatched from their actual silhouettes, introducing a playful and surreal element to the artist’s composition.


    Detail of the present work


    In the current work, a blue multi-eyed creature stands against a towering abstract backdrop filled with intricate doodles, as it sputters glowing neon bubbles upwards in the air. A whole cast of figures above are running along a labyrinth-like ladder system that is evocative of fellow Spanish artist Joan Miró’s Surrealist landscapes, passing paint brushes to each other or running open armed with a tube of red paint. Alluding to a wide array of references to the night, Plans scrawls words such as ‘MOON’, ‘3m2 dream area’ (with a bed), ‘dracula’, ‘Hooo Hooo’, ‘dark dark choo’, ‘night coffee’ (with a figure holding a cup), echoing the works title. These scribbles unfold across the surface, conveying an unbridled sense of freedom.


    Joan Miró, The Escape Ladder (from the Constellation series), 1940
    Collection of the Museum of Modern Art, New York
    © 2022 Successió Miró / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris


    Returning to Childhood Simplicity

    “I really like Children’s art, the freedom of expression, the gestures, the strokes and the free use of colour. I’m worried about losing those qualities someday. It’s very difficult to paint as a child when you are an adult.”
    — Edgar Plans
    Typified by expressive characters, lively compositions and bright colours, Plans’ paintings are fantastical encounters with whimsical childhood reveries. Growing up surrounded by art around his home, Edgar Plans was encouraged to explore his creativity from a young age by his father, who is a science fiction and fantasy author. Surrounding himself with all sorts of pencils, pens, and brushes, Plans was able to explore freely and independently on painting and drawing, fuelled by his fascination with graffiti, urban art, and comic books.

    “I never faced any restrictions, only encouragement for my need to draw and paint.”
    — Edgar Plans


    In Night Creatures, a small red house is seen in the lower right corner, glowing warmly from within, with papers and pencils lying outside its door, possibly alluding to the artist’s own childhood living room that was brimming with scattered manuscripts, sketches, and painting tools, imbuing the work with a sense of nostalgia.


    Detail of the present work


    Sharing a comparable conceptual and visual approach, fellow Spanish artists such as Javier Calleja and Rafa Macarrón also employ a similar mode of expression where the artists create childlike ideations of their own cast of creatures and characters to combat senses of loneliness, injustice or nostalgia, demonstrating a current trend of the Spanish New Wave within contemporary art.


    Left: Lot 19, Javier Calleja, 01971, 2017
    Estimate HKD 3,500,000 - 5,500,000

    Right: Lot 49, Rafa Macarrón, Sin título (Cosmos), 2015
    Estimate HKD 700,000 - 1,000,000

    The Everyman Hero


    First coming into fruition in 2006, Plans’ Animal Heroes series reflects the artist’s outstanding ability in portraying instant visual narratives in his oeuvre, typified by the variety of expressions and actions of the little heroes. These characters encompass a range of emotions such as joy, mischief and play – elements that define Plans’ celebrated oeuvre. Seemingly innocently at play, these light-hearted illustrations are in fact a commentary on socio-political issues of racism, gender equality and climate change. Through the creation of his personal heroes, the artist demonstrates a yearning for the ability to make one’s dreams come true with heroes of his own creations. Plans also aims to empower and urge everyone to take action against injustice, becoming heroes in their own right.

    “The Animal Heroes arise from my intention to create pictures of denunciation in favour of the environment, to denounce the human actions that contaminate, destroy and poke the planet. In turn these heroes have simple powers that today’s society is losing as they are solidarity, companionship, respect… and these animals through art and their actions want to reintroduce people.”
    — Edgar Plans

    Collector's Digest


    Garnering increasing international popularity in recent years, Edgar Plans’ latest solo exhibition focused on his Animal Heroes characters, The Freedom to Dream and Want to Be, and was held at the Moscow Museum of Modern Art in 2021. He has also held solo presentations with Almine Rech, Paris (2021) and Alzueta Gallery, Barcelona (2019), along with an exhibition pop-up in Hong Kong at the K11 Musea (2021). Launching his first collection of NFTs this year, Edgar Plans collaborated with Phillips for his Lil’ Heroes NFT Online Auction in March 2022.


    Plans’ works are also in the public collections of the Museum of Fine Arts of Asturias, the Caixa Foundation, the Cristina Peterson Foundation, and the Masaveu Foundation, amongst others. Edgar Plans is represented by Alzueta Gallery, Barcelona and Padre Gallery, New York & Moscow.


    • Provenance

      Galeria Cuadrada, Bogota
      Acquired from the above by the present owner

Property from a Distinguished Private European Collection


Night Creatures

signed 'Plans' lower left; further signed, titled and dated '"Night Creatures" Plans 2020' on the reverse
mixed media on canvas
150 x 280 cm. (59 x 110 1/4 in.)
Executed in 2020.

Full Cataloguing

HK$1,200,000 - 1,800,000 

Sold for HK$3,024,000

Contact Specialist

Charlotte Raybaud
Specialist, Head of Evening Sale
+852 2318 2026

20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale

Hong Kong Auction 22 June 2022