Natee Utarit - 20th Century & Contemporary Art & Design Day Sale Hong Kong Saturday, May 25, 2019 | Phillips
  • Provenance

    Richard Koh Fine Art, Kuala Lumpur
    Arndt Contemporary Art. Berlin
    Acquired from the above by the present owner

  • Exhibited

    Berlin, ARNDT, Asia: Looking South, 10 September - 27 October 2011
    Sydney, CASSydney, Migration, 27 March - 10 July 2012

  • Literature

    Katerina Valdivia Bruch, Kathleen Suraya Warden, Thanes Wongyannava, Patrick D. Flores and Brian Curtin, Natee Utarit – Illustration of the Crisis, Kuala Lumpur, 2013, p. 98-99 (illustrated)

  • Catalogue Essay

    Natee Utarit’s world is one of imagined compositions and objects that traverse and obscure the line between reality and fiction. In The Commitment (Illustration of the Crisis Series), Utarit paints a still life with elements of the domestic and ordinary placed in tandem with the bizarre and fantastical. A stone-white bull’s head lies stagnant on a ceramic platter. There is a physical and sentimental weight to it, as if it is the decapitated segment of a grand statue. It is a sense of weight one can attribute equally to the living and to the dead. Western art history is commonly referenced by Utarit, and in this case, we are led towards Salome’s slaying of St John the Baptist, or Judith’s beheading of Holofernes. A head on a platter is both sacrificial and ceremonial.

    Although Utarit works with conventional compositions and high technicality, clearly influenced by the Old Masters, he is also able to juxtapose this with his own contemporary flair. In this piece, a jarringly flat background is achieved through a solid grey table and striped wallpaper. Void of dimension, its bright colours vibrate with the hypnotism of a TV test signal, boldly contrasting the objects in the foreground. Bangkok born and educated, the visual contradictions in Utarit’s works are representative of the contradictions within his personal cultural experience, as well as Thailand’s socio-political landscape. This work is not visually cluttered, but it is symbolically and thematically complex.

    Utarit’s work is characterised by a smart combination of capitalist satire meets cultural reflection meets memento mori, and an ability to balance the aesthetics of realism with Modernist critique. The Commitment epitomises this nuanced style that makes Utarit unique amongst his contemporaries.

Property from an Important Contemporary Southeast Asian Collection


The Commitment (Illustration of the Crisis Series)

signed, titled and dated 'Natee Utarit 2011 "Illustration of the crisis series"' on the reverse
oil on linen
140 x 170 cm. (55 1/8 x 66 7/8 in.)
Painted in 2011.

HK$550,000 - 750,000 

Contact Specialist
Isaure de Viel Castel
Head of Department, 20th Century & Contemporary Art

Charlotte Raybaud
Head of Day Sale, 20th Century & Contemporary Art

20th Century & Contemporary Art & Design Day Sale

Hong Kong Auction 26 May 2019