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  • Provenance

    Acquired directly from the artist

  • Literature

    G. Wang, Wang Guangyi, Hong Kong, 2002, p. 113 (illustrated); Wang Guangyi, Art Collecting, Volume 1, Beijing, 2002, p. 14 (illustrated) and 113; K.‘Smith, Nine Lives: The Birth of Avant-Garde Art in New China, Zurich, 2005, pp. 37–38 (illustrated)

  • Catalogue Essay

    Little Criticism: Fruits, executed in 1992, is one of the earliest examples of the Chinese Political Pop movement: a fundamental component in the evolution of Chinese contemporary art, and a reaction to the 1989 events in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square. The work depicts four figures in typical communist style appropriated from the visual
    tropes of propagandist art from the Cultural Revolution. Wang Guangyi combines these figures with crude renderings of fruit and their English spellings. These figurative elements have been reworked using the insistently two-dimensional, colourful style of American Pop Art and ostensibly float amongst each other against a rich blue
    hue. The banana, apple and pineapple may be read as the ‘fruits’ of mass industrial labour, the rewards fuelling the increasingly material obsessions of over a billion Chinese consumers. The artist further develops these ideas when later painting luxury consumer logos such as Rolex, BMW and Gucci, juxtaposed with classical communist
    workers in his widely acclaimed Great Criticism series. This particular piece acts as an intricate gateway work within Wang Guangyi’s oeuvre, bridging his Post-Classical series of the late 1980s with his Great Criticism series of the mid-1990s, reflecting two very diverse aesthetics and ideologies.

15

Little Criticism: Fruits

1992
Oil on canvas.
149.9 x 97.5 cm (59 x 38 3/8 in).
Signed in English and Chinese and dated ‘1992 Wang Guang Yi’ on the reverse.

Estimate
£40,000 - 60,000 

Sold for £133,250

BRIC

14 - 15 April 2011
London