Wang Guangyi - Contemporary Art Evening Sale London Wednesday, February 27, 2008 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Private collection, Hong Kong

  • Literature

    K. Smith, S. Yan and C. Merewether, Wang Guangyi, Hong Kong, 2002, p. 129 (illustrated); Handel, L., Weng, L., Wang, J. and Jiang, M., eds., Beyond Boundaries: Three on the Bund, Shanghai, 2003,, p. 118 (detail illustrated); Elle China, April 2006 (illustrated); Elle France, January, 2006 (illustrated); AD Spain, October, 2007 (illustrated)

  • Catalogue Essay

    One of the earliest pioneers to introduce Western collectors to Chinese art, Wang Guangyi’s revolutionary Great Criticism works juxtapose socialist propaganda images with contemporary consumer icons. “It was Wang Guangyi’s Great Criticism series that caught the imagination of the western art world and confirmed his position as leader of the avant-garde. In these paintings, the clashing ideologies of socialism and consumerism meet. Wang Guangyi unabashedly appropriated images from socialist propaganda art that depicted China striding towards an ideal tomorrow. Across these, he slapped various logos of famous western brand names to represent the concerns of consumerism,” (K. Smith, Wang Guangyi, Hong Kong, 2003).
    The present lot is one of Wang’s earliest Great Criticism works, a masterpiece depicting a triad of revolutionary workers upholding an exceptional trinity of brand images: the two Disney hallmarks combined with the extremely rare “©” sign in this series. Wang is now internationally recognized as the leading pioneers of the Chinese Political Pop movement, which remains one of the most recognizable commentaries on the influences of globalization following the cessation of the Cold War. “Arguably the first role model for a ‘contemporary’ artist in China post-1984, Wang Guangyi’s status was achieved on the back of a series of signature works that defined the early impulses of the nascent avant-garde as it emerged in the mid­1980s. Driven by a fierce prowess, characteristic of the northern region of China where he spent his formative years, he championed a new art that was rational, cool and honed to provoke. In the mid-1980s, he led his contemporaries as an outspoken theoretician and an active organizer of exhibitions, discussions and events. As the decade turned, he almost single­handedly put the ‘pop’ into the myriad art forms that were emerging through this time, but not before he had delved deep into western philosophy, deconstructed sacred images from western art history, and formulated a new cultural doctrine for a contemporary China.” (ibid)


Great Criticism: Disney

Oil on canvas.
200 x 200 cm. (78 3/4 x 78 3/4 in).
Signed and dated ‘Wang Guangyi 2000 [in English and Chinese]’ on the reverse.

£200,000 - 250,000 

Sold for £228,500

Contemporary Art Evening Sale

28 Feb 2008, 7pm