Huang Yuxing - 20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale in association with Yongle Hong Kong Thursday, December 1, 2022 | Phillips

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  • “The river has great wisdom and whispers its secrets to the hearts of men.”
    — Mark Twain

    Enigmatically dynamic and hypnotically mesmerising, River is an irresistible symphony of colour, form, light, and movement, composed by Chinese contemporary artist Huang Yuxing’s to express his deep reflection on the human experience within time and space. Presented here is a whimsical landscape of a river stream where washes of opalescent purple-blue tides pool at the depth of the middle ground. Rendered in his highly individualised visual vocabulary of organic life forms, this alluring and dreamy scene is a prime example from Huang’s renowned River series, revealing his focus on the manifold and transient movements of life that is central to the artist’s explorations into universal themes concerning humanity.


    “My works focus on the now, but they will become a thing of the past. They are presented to the audiences honestly, with no sense of mystery. For me, shapes are associated with colours and feelings; and when they are presented in a profound way, they can touch the hearts of many. The mysterious feeling you sense stems from the incomplete perception of the truth, but it would draw you to be more interested in the truth, which makes my works more appealing.”
    — Huang Yuxing

    Movements of Life 

     

    Huang’s artistic practice entails a long-running investigation into the individual’s life experience in parallel to the natural world. The formative River series has its far-reaching impact on Huang’s academically and commercially acclaimed oeuvre, as it became one of the pillar stones where the artist’s later inspirations spring from. Evoking masterpieces by Dutch Post-Impressionist Vincent van Gogh’s The Starry Night with a comparable colour palette and vigorous energy, the painting features Huang’s reoccurring motifs of rivers and whirlpools, centring the discussion on the endless and all-encompassing movements in the river of life. Life’s journey is represented as colours and shapes captured in various states of motion, as fleeting and volatile as the temporary existence of an individual’s life.

     

     

    Vincent van Gogh, The Starry Night, 1889 Collection of the Museum of Modern Art, New York Image: © The Museum of Modern Art, New York/Scala, Florence
    Vincent van Gogh, The Starry Night, 1889
    Collection of the Museum of Modern Art, New York
    Image: © The Museum of Modern Art, New York/Scala, Florence

     

    Employing the horizontal-vertical composition that is typical of the series, River features a particularly enchanting colour-scheme that recalls magical fairy tales, luring the audience to immerse themselves into the pictorial space. Varying sizes of spirited swirls surface the otherwise tranquil indigo river, as if a secret underneath the water is eager to bubble up. Undulations of water is vividly rendered through the use of fantastical lines of colour to indicate both subtle and vigorous movements. In the background, streams of malachite green stand out amongst splashes of fierce currents surging up from the river, conveying much energy and power. Although uniquely subdued in colour scheme, Huang’s virtuosity in balancing colours of varying depths imparts to the work a warming glow that is unmistakably his.

     

     

    Be Kind Like Water

    “The highest form of goodness is like water. Water nourishes all things without contending with them. It stays in lowly places loathed by all men. Thus, it comes close to the Tao (the Eternal).”
    — Laozi, excerpt from Tao Te Ching

    Huang’s artistic investigations venture deep inside his introspective journey within. The choice of water as a subject-matter is profound and thought-provoking: water seems so ordinary, yet is vital to all lives, without ever being selective of who and what it benefits. The all-encompassing and nourishing qualities of water speak for the artist’s humanitarian concern on topics relating to experiences we all share as human beings, which transcends time and culture. 

     

     

    Detail of the present lot

     

    Despite being recognised and sought-after for his signature works that feature a frenetic, stimulating colour palette, Huang did not venture into the world of colour until he went through a challenging period in his life in 2008. In Huang’s own words, ‘that grey period gave me a more practical understanding of the concepts of light, life and hope, and this resolution became more real and deeper from abstraction, which made me begin to re-examine myself and slowly release the repressed desire for colour into the picture. Once this repressed desire and understanding of colour is unleashed, it was even more intense and gorgeous than before.’i


    “As an artist and as an individual, I discuss problems shared by all human beings. From my own individual perspective, the problems I discuss are those that our ancestors and future generations will encounter as well… people will continue to discuss these issues a hundred years from now. Because this is a proposition that will trouble the individual human life and the flesh.”
    — Huang Yuxing

    Alchemize The Traditional and The Personal  

     

    Trained in the Mural Painting Department of the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing, Huang’s painting techniques owe much to that of traditional Chinese art. His ability of morphing the latter into a modern appeal that comprise his unique abstract visual repertoire, testifying to the deep integration of his trainings and the discovery of his creative voice within.          

     

     

    Left: Detail of Xu Wei, Peony, Bamboo and Rocks, hanging scroll, Ming (1368-1644) Collection of the Shanghai Museum  Right: Detail of a Jun Ware Flower Vase in the Form of an Archaic Bronze Zun Vessel, Ming Dynasty (15th Century) Collection of the National Palace Museum, Taipei 
    Left: Detail of Xu Wei, Peony, Bamboo and Rocks, hanging scroll, Ming (1368-1644)
    Collection of the Shanghai Museum

    Right: Detail of a Jun Ware Flower Vase in the Form of an Archaic Bronze Zun Vessel, Ming Dynasty (15th Century)
    Collection of the National Palace Museum, Taipei 

    Meticulously delineated colourful lines are immediately reminiscent of the traditional Chinese realist style gongbi zhongcai (工筆重彩). Intensely bright acrylic paints are treated like layers of chiffon on Huang’s paintbrush, paying homage to the traditional Chinese painting concept of ‘five shades of ink’ (墨分五色), which refers to the technique of mixing varying amount of water into ink to yield nuanced tones and textures with only the colour of ink. This dilution technique not only gives the gradient tie-dye quality to the paint, but also locks in on a particular movement of water in time as the dripping glaze of Chinese ceramics that vitrifies during the firing process. By presenting a multifaceted visual language that straddles the line of being the traditional and the contemporary, Huang anchors a ground for his abstract narration to bloom and continuously evolve.

     

    Brilliantly captivating and fluid, the poetic River exemplifies the highly individualised style that Huang Yuxing is recognised and celebrated for. Shining through veils of enchanting indigo, violet and malachite green, an overflowing vitality of Huang’s ever-evolving oeuvre narrates his poetic vision of the omnipresent universal energy that we all share.

     

     

    Collector’s Digest

     

    Huang Yuxing, River, 2013 Sold by Phillips, Hong Kong, 9 July 2020 for HK$1,375,000 (Premium)
    Huang Yuxing, River, 2013
    Sold by Phillips, Hong Kong, 9 July 2020 for HKD1,375,000 (Premium)

     

    Born in 1975 in Beijing, Huang Yuxing graduated from the Mural Painting Department of the Central Academy of Fine Arts in 2000, and currently lives and works in his hometown. He was the first guest artist at the Yuz Museum Project Room in 2015 and has been extensively holding solo exhibitions since. 

     

    In 2020, Almine Rech has announced the representation of the artist in the United States, Europe, and the United Kingdom. Huang’s current  exhibitions includes Heaps of Brocade and Ash at Almine Rech in Brussels (3 June – 31 July 2021), and Huang Yuxing, with Almine Rech Shanghai, 4 November - 3 December 2022 (works on paper). Scheduled for 3 November – 17 December 2022, his solo show titled An Absolute Power We Cannot Find at Almine Rech, New York marks Huang’s debut in the city. 

     

    Huang was invited to collaborate with Louis Vuitton for their 2021 ‘Artycapucines’ collection, joining the likes of Urs Fischer, Tschabalala Self, Liu Wei, Henry Taylor, Jonas Wood, and Alex Israel, to introduce their innovative aesthetic visions to the brand.

     

    Huang’s first NFT project, Meta-morphic, was released online on 7 September 2022 and sold out within one minute of the launch.

     

     

     

    i Shu Wen, ‘Huang Yuxing: Painting is an intuition’, Artnow, May 2022, online

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    • Description

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    • Provenance

      Private Collection, Asia

Ж11

River

signed and dated 'Huang Yuxing 2015' lower centre
acrylic on canvas
150.9 x 199.3 cm. (59 3/8 x 78 1/2 in.)
Painted in 2015.

Full Cataloguing

Estimate
HK$1,200,000 - 1,800,000 
€149,000-224,000
$154,000-231,000

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Contact Specialist

Charlotte Raybaud
Specialist, Head of Evening Sale
+852 2318 2026
[email protected]

20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale in association with Yongle

Hong Kong Auction 1 December 2022