Hopare - 20th Century & Contemporary Art & Design Day Sale in Association with Poly Auction Hong Kong Sunday, June 6, 2021 | Phillips
  • I am a big image addict. I love daily rituals, traditional craftsmanship, modern architecture, rock culture, hip-hop and travels. But more than anything, I love stories, and this is what I try to capture in my work. [...] I draw my inspiration from the people I meet and the experiences we share. I experience the world with all my senses, all the time. I like cities as much as the countryside. I feel like everything is a source of inspiration.”—Hopare

    Phillips Hong Kong is excited to present the work of rising star Hopare for the first time at auction. 



    A street artist by training, Paris-based Alexandre Monteiro, aka Hopare, hails from the same radical, iconoclastic origins as former street artists Jean-Michel Basquiat and KAWS. Aged 12 Hopare came across an old factory covered in graffiti, and there he made his first marks. Barely a year later Hopare completed his first significant mural, honing his skills in abandoned warehouses and rail depots.


    Working for an interior architecture company profoundly influenced Hopare’s mode of creation, introducing bold geometric lines in the midst of dream-like scenes verging on graphic abstraction. The complex lattice of overlaid lines lends an intense dynamism to the faces of his international subjects, each one unique yet timeless and universal in their humanism. Instinctively driven to record the traces of silhouettes, moments, and faces that cross his path whilst travelling, Hopare’s artworks are each born from a chance encounter. Wherever in the world he is invited to paint a mural, he stays for a while. Living with a local, he begins his search for “what fundamentally distinguishes a Columbian housewife from an old Moroccan man, adolescents attired with flowers in Benares from Portuguese grandmothers whose pale blue eyes end up melting into the washed-out motifs of Azulejo tiles.” [1] 


    Hopare, Yiruma

     The Artist’s Instagram on 16 February 2021



    Yet, to his greatest surprise, it isnt so much the singular features of each face, each human encountered during his travels that catch his eye, but rather what unites them all, the spark in their eye that is the breath of humanity as a whole. Back in his studio, these faces surround him, encourage him, and press him: they are the guards and protectors of his arts probity. —Stéphane Corréard


    Hopare’s street art origins have given him a unique perspective as an artist, which the scholar and curator Germano Celant described as “an abandonment of the narcissistic, opportunistic aspect—as concerns the market—of the communicational break, in favour of a fluidity that directly captures the reality of the city”. [2] In a decisive break with his origins as a highly successful urban artist, Hopare gave up spray paint in his studio altogether. Free from the shackles of academic training, Hopare has proved himself to be an exceptionally gifted self-taught oil painter with an intuitive desire to push the boundaries of the medium. His experiments with oil pigments have discovered a spare, essential new form of painting distanced from the medium’s historically bourgeois and decorative qualities, showcased at its best in Yiruma. A larger than life portrait of a young woman, with tenderly delineated features that evoke the familiar yet the unknown, Yiruma attests to Hopare’s ability to immerse the viewer in his experience of humanity: “I am convinced that faces reveal people’s souls and weaknesses. But they can also deceive, conceal people’s real feelings! Doing a portrait is like exposing someone’s soul. You have to catch the time when the person is not paying attention, when she is looking inward. This is when I take the picture or make a sketch.” [3]


    Hopare Yiruma Zoom
    Detail of the present lot

    "Before the pandemic I used to travel a lot. The inspiration for my work had always been linked to travel: it was always about the people I was meeting, I would grab my camera or my notebooks and I would draw immediately these instants in life or these moments I was interested in, some gestures, feelings, and I would transcribe them afterwards onto the canvas. Since the pandemic began, I have had to find new sources of inspiration. Now my portraits and the bodies I am working on are often linked to music I am listening to, or stories I am reading."—Hopare 


    Yiruma was inspired by the stage name of South Korean contemporary pianist and composer Lee Ru-ma, a classical music prodigy whose name means "to realise a dream" in Korean.  Inspired by Yiruma's music, Hopare started listening to several of his albums at the studio and told himself that once he reached the end of the albums he had managed to find the canvas would be finished.



    Hopare has developed close ties with Asia over the course of his 15-year long career, and Phillips is honoured to present his work for the very first time at auction in Asia. Invited to participate in the 2015 HKWALLS street art festival, Hopare’s mural can still be seen in Sheung Wan, whilst works created for the 2018 Cicada Festival for GmoMA in South Korea have also attracted international acclaim. Invited ahead of the legendary Super Bowl, Hopare painted Symphony (2019), an over 10,000 square-foot mural in downtown Atlanta.


    Hopare, Sheung Wan HK

    Install view of Hopare’s mural for the 2015 HKWALLS street art festival in Sheung Wan, Hong Kong

    Hopare, Korea

     Install view of Hopare’s mural for the Cicada Festival for GmoMA, 2018 in Dongducheon, South Korea


    [1] Stéphane Corréard, Hopare, exh. cat., Paris, 2020, pp. 1-5

    [2] Germano Celant, ‘BD and K’, exh. cat., KAWS 1993-2010, New York, 2010, p. 47

    [3] Hopare, quoted in Laura Audibert, ‘Hopare: Iconic’, GRAFFITIART #55, April/May 2021, p. 78


    • Provenance

      Acquired directly from the artist by the present owner



signed 'HOPARE' lower right; further signed, titled, dated and inscribed 'HOPARE "Yiruma" 2021 "Je bricole des cabannes éphémères / Et des royaumes d'enfants/ Accordez-moi le bon- Apportez-moi le don..."' on the reverse
oil and oil pastel on linen
200 x 200 cm. (78 3/4 x 78 3/4 in.)
Executed in 2021.

Full Cataloguing

HK$250,000 - 450,000 

Sold for HK$693,000

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 7 June 2021