Wang Xingwei - 20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale in Association with Poly Auction Hong Kong Tuesday, November 30, 2021 | Phillips
  • Wang Xingwei is undoubtedly an artist who excels at using art history symbols in the contemporary art world. From familiar classic artistic images to symbols of ‘bad taste’ that deviate from the mainstream, Wang combines the context of contemporary society with his unique observations and opinions, expressing them in unexpected ways - humorous, ironic, satirical, sad, or even helpless - leaving countless clues for the audience to reflect upon. Wang's paintings refuse to conform to a clear artistic style that can be easily identified by viewers. However, this has been a successful strategy to obtain even greater recognition, raising his popularity and market value. Collectors and art insiders who are not familiar with Wang’s paintings usually find them difficult to recognize at first glance. This is the essence of Wang Xingwei's art - a quiet accumulation and development of a unique creative energy while maintaining a distance from mainstream aesthetics.


    Untitled (Heart-Shaped Dance) is a part of the Large Rowboat Series - one of the artist’s countless attempts and challenges throughout his creative career. The subjects of the series are this man and woman. This work was exhibited as part of Wang Xingwei’s first important solo retrospective held at Beijing UCCA Center for Contemporary Art in 2013. It was also the first large-scale solo exhibition featuring only paintings at the UCCA exhibition hall. This exhibition showcased Wang's important pre-2013 creations, including what will later appear on auction markets in Hong Kong and Beijing and become his top 20 auction records. In 2020’s Poly Beijing’s Autumn Auction, Wang Xingwei’s 1995 painting Post-85s Look was sold for RMB 31.62 million. Nearly a decade after the 2011 sale of the Ullens Collection at Sotheby’s Hong Kong, where the same painting was sold for HKD 4.58 million. This is a testimony as to how Wang Xingwei’s top works have greatly appreciated in value. 


    In 2007, he held a solo exhibition ‘Large Rowboat’ at the Beijing location of Galerie Urs Meile and Untitled (Heart-Shaped Dance) is a representative work from this series. From about 2004 to 2008, the artist adopted cartoon images, using a man and a woman in the picture to replace original uniformed subjects such as airline stewardesses, navy officers, and nurses. The subjects in the painting not only lack uniform, but also detailed facial expressions. Wang uses geometric silhouettes found in cartoon and comics to portray the couple as if they were lovers. The images are simple and geometrically flat, but with distortions and exaggerations that can be considered casual. The subject’s expressions do not need to be delicately articulated; their identifying features are simple and clear. Throughout the rest of the series, this stylized shadow is present; behind it, there hides Wang Xingwei's attention to gender relations and sexual consciousness. This ambiguous representation allows viewers to engage their imagination when interacting with the piece.


    Wang Xingwei once said of this series: ‘I want to gradually break away from art history. In the past, the viewer needed a certain cultural background to understand my paintings. What I am creating now has a more direct relationship with anyone's personal experience. In the latest works, I take shaping the image as the starting point, and I want to simplify the form.’i Wang has established a unique artistic style, one that always challenges viewers, leaving them amazed, racking their brains, or suddenly enlightened. Ultimately, this is the core of Wang Xingwei’s work. 



    Nataline Colonnello, “Large Rowboat Isn’t a Group Exhibition”, Galerie Urs Meile, Beijing, 13 January, 2007, online (interview between Wang Xingwei and the author Nataline Colonnello at Wang Xingwei’s studio in Shanghai, 8 Januar, 2006 )

    • Provenance

      Galerie Urs Meile, Beijing
      Acquired from the above by the present owner

    • Exhibited

      Beijing, Galerie Urs Meile, Large Rowboat, 3 February - 31 March 2007, n.p. (illustrated)
      Beijing, UCCA Center for Contemporary Art, Wang Xingwei, 19 May - 18 August 2013, p. 123 (illustrated)

Property from an Eminent Private Asian Collection


Untitled (Heart-Shaped Dance)

signed with the artist's initials, titled and dated '"Untitled (Heart-Shaped Dance)" [in Chinese] WXW, 2006' on the reverse
oil on canvas
200 x 200 cm. (78 3/4 x 78 3/4 in.)
Painted in 2006.

Full Cataloguing

HK$2,800,000 - 4,800,000 

Sold for HK$3,780,000

Contact Specialist

Charlotte Raybaud
Head of Evening Sale, 20th Century & Contemporary Art
+852 2318 2026

20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale in Association with Poly Auction

Hong Kong Auction 30 November 2021