Ling Jian - Contemporary Art Day Sale London Sunday, June 29, 2008 | Phillips
  • Provenance

    Private collection

  • Catalogue Essay

    Literally defining their physical space, the painted women bare all the emblems of refinement and class superiority. Their fair skins, bony frames and coiffures – from dolly bobs to silky tresses – serve as a background for gleaming jewelries and elaborate dress styles. Moreover, there’s something of an erotic of representation in the spectacle that all his painted figures enact, whether it is a large gem ornament dangling between their lips, sucking a cherry or merely alluring stares. This further adds a responsive element reminiscent of advertisements, creating a sensual spontaneity composed through decisive moods and musings. These stilled enigmas, bathed so often in the natural light of ambiguity, are intrinsic to Ling’s pictorial language. Josef Ng, surFACE: in transit, Bangkok, February 2008. The current lot, Communist Sisters – Tears of Idealism No. 2, is one of the artist’s most monumental paintings to date. Three disembodied female heads float in a black void. Hyper-realist and somehow cartoon-esque at the same time. Blood-like tears drip down powdery cheeks. Stork-like necks disappear into roughly sketched collars of Communist Youth cadre uniforms. Typically, Ling Jian’s models, most-often alone or set against a social backdrop, speak to the state of individuals awash in social change and excess. Here, the three figures are more symbolic of the whole rather than its parts. Perhaps they represent a generation bereft of a nuts and bolts political identity, or perhaps they characterize a generation self-conscious that the innocence of today’s youth is made possible by an emerging and unpredictable neo-nationalism. I love every single piece of my artworks and every character that I paint. Because only in this way can I paint them out. I love them. But that’s only an artistic kind of love. It’s just a process of creation. This kind of love is refined in the studio. It may be a spirit, an aesthetic feeling or a sense of sex. But this kind of love sounds a little old school, just like anthropology. But the creation of an artwork is, to some extent, very holy. A piece of canvas is a figure. If you can add a little soul to the figure, it becomes very noble.  Interview with Zhang Yizhou, February 2008.


Communist Sisters: Tears of Idealism No. 2

Oil and acrylic on canvas.
190 x 300 cm. (74 3/4 x 118 1/8 in).
Signed and dated 'Ling Jian [in Chinese and English] 2007' on the reverse.

£60,000 - 80,000 

Sold for £163,250

Contemporary Art Day Sale

30 June 2008, 10am & 2pm