Wang Guangyi - 20th Century & Contemporary Art & Design Day Sale Hong Kong Sunday, November 25, 2018 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Private Collection, Hong Kong
    Phillips, London, 28 February 2008, lot 203
    Acquired at the above sale by the present owner

  • Literature

    Karen Smith, Charles Merewether, Shanchun Yan, Li Xianting, Zhuan Huang and Lu Peng, Wang Guangyi, Hong Kong, 2002, p. 129 (illustrated)
    Wang Junyi, ed., Wang Guangyi's Works and Thoughts - Collection of Criticisms and Interviews 1985 – 2015, Beijing, 2015, p. 347 (illustrated)

  • Catalogue Essay

    The amalgamation of Maoist-era propaganda and Western-style advertisement adorned with invented serial numbers is quintessential of Wang’s Great Criticism series. As the leader of the post-1989 New Art movement, Wang owes his label as the King of China’s Political-pop to his inspirations, Andy Warhol and Joseph Beuys. Warhol taught Wang that anything can be considered art, and Beuys showed Wang that art should be connected to the real world. On the surface level, Great Criticism: Disney alludes to Warhol’s pop icons however, upon closer inspection it is evident that Disney embodies a sophisticated merging of equation and acquisition, as well as socialism and consumerism.

    Three classical figures of the revolution stand in unison as they dynamically raise their fists in the air. The placement of Walt Disney’s logo in front of the bold and graphic image of the labourer, peasant, and soldier illustrates the juxtaposition of socialist propaganda by a logo representing Western commercial propaganda. This blurring of opposing ideological beliefs is an embodiment of Wang’s reaction towards the influx of Western luxury goods into the Chinese economy and the polemics of globalisation.

    By utilising red, white and black, Wang remained faithful to the typical colours used in woodcut agitprop posters, however he often interchanged the commercial brand logos, ranging from Coca Cola and Rolex to Gucci. The Disney logo was utilised against different subjects on numerous occasions throughout the series. The selected logos itself have little meaning and were chosen to represent commercialism and symbolise capitalism. The barcode and serial numbers on the other hand makes a reference to the standardisation of arrangement systems within materialism.

    Wang became well acquainted with socialist propaganda imageries as a Red Guard poster painter. Over the years, he has perfected its aesthetic resulting in Disney, a prime example from the Great Criticism series that garnered him international success.

Property from the Locksley Shea Gallery


Great Criticism: Disney

signed and dated '2000 Wang Guang Yi [in Pinyin and Chinese]' on the reverse
oil on canvas
200.1 x 200.3 cm. (78 3/4 x 78 7/8 in.)
Painted in 2000.

HK$500,000 - 700,000 

Sold for HK$975,000

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20th Century & Contemporary Art & Design Day Sale

Hong Kong Auction 26 November 2018