Huang Yuxing - 20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale Hong Kong Friday, October 6, 2023 | Phillips
  • Painting is a way of creation that can be passed on, like a torch that can look back at the past and illuminate the future. It can be a dialogue with the old masters and a way to think about the unknown world.”
    — Huang Yuxing


    Rich eruptions of vibrantly effused colourways occupy Huang Yuxing’s Sunrise and Sunset, entrancing viewers with its hypnotic evocation of organic forms. The present work confidently demonstrates Huang’s distinct visual vocabulary that skilfully marries Western techniques with undercurrents of Taoist and Buddhist philosophies. The unrestrained palette of blazing orange and pastel purple – harkening back to the aesthetics of ‘Y2K’ (the abbreviation for Year 2000 which saw a lot of short-lived trends and the aesthetic had a distinct reflection of the time, primarily futuristic, glittery, cyber-obsessed, and full of teenage angst) – proves a drastic departure from the artist’s earlier works in 2012 from his Keyhole series, filled with sombre undertones. Following the wake of the Cultural Revolution, the subdued greyish tones and cryptic imagery gave way to fluorescent hues forming picturesque sceneries, testament to his genesis as an artist.



    From Past to Future: A Meditative Synaesthesia


    Just as a pointillist landscape is made up of small, distinct dots of colours, Huang’s works are comprised fully of fluid geometric forms. A signature motif of his oeuvre, concentric elliptical rings flow into one another at their borders, demonstrating a playful exchange between colour and form. Sunrise and Sunset strikes more like a symphony of colour than a landscape, reminiscent of Kandinsky’s colour studies.


    Kandinsky, Farbstudie – Quadrate mit konzentrischen Ringen, 1913
    Courtesy Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus, Munich
    Image: Artothek / Bridgeman Images


    Through foreshortening these shapes, Huang achieves an elusive spatial depth with concentric rings reaching a crescendo at the horizon before receding into the distance. Washes of blue-green tides shine with iridescence, echoing the way water droplets create ripples with swinging cadence in his River series (see for example, lot 11). One can almost hear the rhythmic drops of water cascading across the composition, evoking a meditative union of the visual and sound. Altogether, this synaesthesia recalls the expressionist landscapes of Edvard Munch – particularly, his lurid palette and warped forms. With a view of painting as ‘a way of creation that can be passed on, like a torch that can look back at the past’, Huang puts himself in ‘dialogue with the old masters.’ i Whilst Munch’s subjectivised lines elicit a sense of impending doom, Huang’s biotic ripples conjure up a serene oasis.


    Edvard Munch, Despair, 1894
    Courtesy Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus, Munich
    Photo © Munchmuseet



    The Flow of Life


    “Today's chaos is all a dream; the setting sun only sees the water flowing East.”
    — From "Memories of the Past" by Wei Zhuang

    During a pivotal journey to the Himalayas towards the end of 2009, Huang observed a monumental shift in his works as the influence of Tibetan culture grew large. In Sunrise and Sunset, Huang discovers parallels between the water cycle and Buddhist beliefs of reincarnation, denoting that ‘life itself is not just a process from the beginning to the end; it will, like the river, become clouds, and turn into water, returning to the starting point through another form.’ ii


    Detail of the present lot


    The cyclical nature of life and death is epitomised through the exclusive use of ellipses; as viewers trace the soft brushstrokes of the work, they find themselves returning to their origins. Imbued with significance and dominating half of the composition, water is the essence of life: oceans and rivers occupy miles of the earth; it is the most abundant molecule in all cells. At once macroscopic and cellular, Huang finds inextricable, enigmatic connections between bodies of water:


    “It is a view of the world in which the small is large and the large is small, a world in which everything is interconnected and has some connection.”
    — Huang Yuxing

    At the heart of Huang’s practice, water carries both spiritual and physical significance: he superimposes thicker layers of oil paints over his translucent layers, diluted with water to mobilise its pigments. The sea’s tumultuous currents act as a reminder of the transient nature of life and time, in a state of flow and retreat, conjuring Taoist teachings that one’s path of life contains constant motion and flux.



    Collector’s Digest


    • Born in 1975 in Beijing, Huang Yuxing graduated from the Mural Painting Department of the Central Academy of Fine Arts in 2000 and currently works and lives in his hometown.

    • Huang Yuxing was the first guest artist to be invited to display site-specific works at the Yuz Museum Project Room, Shanghai (2015). Since then, his highly sought-after practice has received recognition internationally; key solo exhibitions include An Absolute Power We Cannot Find at Almine Rech, New York (2022), Heaps of Brocade and Ash at Almine Rech, Brussels (2021), Essence of Landscape at König Gallery, London (2019). His most recent exhibition was held at Almine Rech, Shanghai in 2022 and showcased his latest drawings.

    • Sold by Phillips Hong Kong in June 2021, Bubbles surpassed its lower estimate more than tenfold, testament to the ongoing strength of Huang’s current market.

    • Huang was invited to collaborate with Louis Vuitton for their 2021 ‘Artycapucines’ collection.

    • His first NFT project, Meta-morphic, released online in 2022, was sold out within one minute of the launch.



    i Huang Yuxing, quoted in Shu Wen, ‘Painting is an intuition’, Artnow, May 2022, online
    ii Huang Yuxing, quoted in, ‘Introducing Meta-morphic: The Genesis of Huang Yuxing’, LiveArt, 14 September 2022, online

    • Provenance

      Private Collection, Asia
      Acquired from the above by the present owner


Sunrise and Sunset

signed and dated 'HUANG. Yuxing 13' on the reverse
oil on canvas
230 x 170 cm. (90 1/2 x 66 7/8 in.)
Painted in 2013.

Full Cataloguing

HK$2,500,000 - 3,500,000 

Sold for HK$3,810,000

Contact Specialist

Danielle So
Specialist, Head of Evening Sale
+852 2318 2027

20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale

Hong Kong Auction 6 October 2023