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  • Provenance

    Acquired directly from the artist

  • Catalogue Essay

    Yue Minjun is one of the most representative contemporary Chinese painters since the 1990s. His works are immediately recognizable, whether in his over life-size paintings or sculptures, Yue presents a satirical version of his own self-portrait, frequently in multiples posing in absurd positions, and always with a gaping over-size grin. The figures are direct and their impact immediate; but their hilarity more often than not seems frivolous if not cynically hollow.
     
    In the present lot, the taller than life bronze figures stand squarely upright, arranged in an apex or circle formation, looking outwards straight at the viewer with an honest undeniable presence and demeanor. Here, Yue is making a visual parallel with the terracotta warriors, buried in the tombs of China’s notoriously tyrannical first emperor, Qin Shihuang, in which over seven thousand warriors and other treasures were discovered in 1974. The stiff hard lines of the muscular figures evoke a history of familiar ideological positions while critiquing the extremes and contradictions inherent in China’s path of modernization. The bald head, exaggerated limbs, laughing mouth and dense row of tiny teeth are all symbolic features of Yue’s work, who adapts a modern spin on these statutory figures to create a contemporary ‘army’ of Chinese sculptures. When an image is duplicated continuously, the subsequent strength in numbers produces an immense force. Once the image transforms into an idol, I am able to manipulate and utilize the image repeatedly. An idol has a life force; it often influences our lives and regulates our conduct by setting itself as an example. A contemporary society is an idolized society; hence its culture becomes an idolized culture. (Yue Minjun quoted in: DianaYeh, ‘The Wisdom of Fools’, www.culturebase.net)
     

354

Contemporary Terracotta Warriors No. 7

2005
Five cast bronze sculptures with green patina.  
Each approximately: 181 x 52 x 44 cm. (71 1/4 x 20 1/2 x 17 1/4 in).
Each: incised with the artist's signature and titled 'Yue Minjun No. 7' and numbered of twenty-five on the reverse of the base. Each sculpture is from an edition of twenty-five.

Estimate
£500,000 - 750,000 

Contemporary Art Evening Sale

18 Oct 2008, 7pm
London