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  • Provenance

    Galleria Massimo de Carlo, Milan

  • Catalogue Essay

    Born in Shanghai in 1960, Yan grew up during the Cultural Revolution during which the striking posters of Mao Zedong and other political leaders made a deep impression on the young artist. Yan moved to France around 1980 to pursue a career as an artist. His work took on a Western influence to become an assimilation of the style of Chinese propaganda and the reductive methods of the Abstract Expressionists. The marriage of these influences is to be seen in the simplified monochrome palette together with minimal but bold brushstrokes. Yan’s own unique methodology is both gestural and descriptive, something directly inherited from Pollock and De Kooning yet strikingly personal in its quasi-realism. The result of this is a balance struck between the ‘real’ and the transcendent, in which a near photographic quality is signified through audaciously large brushstrokes. It is this two-fold technique that both brings together the metaphysical and the everyday and also visually declares their juxtaposition.
    Throughout Yan’s work, immediately recognizable figures such as Chairman Mao, Pope John Paul II and Bruce Lee, appear again and again in an attempt to diminish their stature to something more intimate. There is an overarching trajectory through his work that addresses themes of identity and mortality and which goes some way towards explaining his obsession with portraiture. The recurring subject of Mao in this context suggests an attempt to humanise the Great Leader and to deconstruct the propagandist iconography that was so celebrated by Warhol in his Mao portraits.



Oil on canvas.
100 x 73 cm (39 1/2 x 28 3/4 in).
Signed, titled and dated 'Yan Pei-Ming Mao 2001' on the reverse. This work is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity.

£100,000 - 150,000 

Sold for £133,250

Contemporary Art Evening Sale

13 October 2010