Hulda Guzmán - 20th Century & Contemporary Art & Design Day Sale in association with Yongle Hong Kong Tuesday, November 29, 2022 | Phillips
  • "Art is an excellent medium, and probably the only one aside from spiritual practices, that allows us to communicate and channel those things that are difficult to explain in words."
    — Hulda Guzmán

    Marking her debut at international auction, And Then I Looked Up is a prime example of the mystical, otherworldy realms Dominican artist Hulda Guzmán conjures in her distinctive practice. The work was first unveiled during her solo show with Dia Horia in Athens in 2019. Titled With the Mother, the exhibition coincided with the artist’s participation as part of the Dominican Republic’s first pavilion in the 58th Venice Biennale.


    Installation view of Hulda Guzmán’s work as part of the Dominican Republic’s pavilion at the 58th Venice Biennale in 2019


    Living and working in Samaná, on the northeast coast of the Dominican Republic in a bungalow studio built by her architect father, Guzmán paints surrealist works that are connected to nature. They are connected to nature in their materiality, as encapsulated by the haptic texture of the wood patterns in the present work that symbolise a record of growth and the passing of time, thus evoking ideas about the temporality of our existence. At the same time, Guzmán’s works connect to nature as she incorporates images of the lush vegetation of her home country into her atmospheric compositions, as evidenced by the silhouetted fauna in the lower right quadrant of And Then I Looked Up that is decorated with the reflection of bouncing, technicoloured disco lights.


    Like ‘portals into a psychedelic jungle, summoning Henri Rosseau on LSD’i, Guzmán’s joyful, narrative-focused artworks present a fantastical realm where humankind is represented as an intrinsic part of the ecosystem of our natural world. In the present piece, two figures dance freely atop dark, wooden pyramids in an otherwise sparse landscape set in perpetual twilight. While the figure on the left brings to mind images of Caribbean folk dance—a reference source Guzmán has previously stated she finds inspiration in addition to Mexican muralism—the right-hand dancer shares a likeness to the artist herself, perhaps alluding to it being a self-portrait.


    At the same time, the dancing pair can peraps be interpreted as a metaphor for the ‘dance of nature’, as the artist explains, ‘we've all witnessed the wind dancing between the trees, and heard its subtle, surrendered sound, smelled its natural, healing aroma, and felt its power to anchor us. We know there's something underneath what we perceive through our sense, an essence that encompasses all living creatures in a general symbiosis, which appears very much like a dance.’ii


    Guzmán is represented by both Dio Horia Gallery and Stephen Friedman Gallery, which presented her most recent solo exhibition, the artist’s first solo show in the United Kingdom, from 16 March – 14 April 2022 in London. Alexander Berggruen also recently hosted a solo exhibition for the artist, titled my flora, my fauna, which took place in New York between 23 October – 19 December 2020.



    The artist in her studio


    i Cathryn Drake, ‘Hulda Guzmán’, Artforum, 3 February 2020, online
    ii Hulda Guzmán, quoted in Ayla Angelos, ‘Hulda Guzmán celebrates the people and luscious nature of the Dominican Republic’, Creative Boom, 11 April 2022, online

    • Provenance

      Dio Horia Gallery, Athens
      Acquired from the above by the present owner

    • Exhibited

      Athens, Dio Horia Project Space, Hulda Guzman: With the Mother, 23 October – 24 November 2019


And Then I Looked Up

cherry wood veneer and acrylic gouache on mahagony plywood
48 x 76 cm. (18 7/8 x 29 7/8 in.)
Executed in 2018.

Full Cataloguing

HK$100,000 - 150,000 

Sold for HK$138,600

Contact Specialist

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

20th Century & Contemporary Art & Design Day Sale in association with Yongle

Hong Kong Auction 30 November 2022