Zhao Zhao - Modern & Contemporary Art Day Sale Hong Kong Saturday, June 1, 2024 | Phillips
  • “It’s abstract, chaotic with a hidden narrative… In the painting there are shapes, shades, and different structures – It’s about living in a city with smog so thick that you cannot see the sky. Except, I paint a picture of intensely blue sky.”
    — Zhao Zhao on his Sky series


    Leading Chinese contemporary artist Zhao Zhao is famous for his non-conformist artworks and his beautiful Sky series paintings that references the polluted grey-yellow skies of Beijing, where blue skies are exceedingly rare. In works such as the current example, Zhao depict wispy yet heavy cloud formations that undualtes across the surface of the canvas, with lighter blues breaking through from areas of cold darkness. The heaviness of air and lightness of clouds is elegantly simplified via the artist’s luscious strokes of oil, transformed into moody modulations of blue.


    The Sky series of works serve as Zhao’s response to the air pollution in Beijing, and the rarity of having a clear blue sky in the city. Indeed, the apparent thickness of the billowing darkness is reminiscent of a dense smog, through which patches of light blue sky and natural sunlight struggle to pierce from behind, serving as a sort of back-light in the painting. Therefore, the series is firmly rooted in the context of China and Zhao’s identity as a Chinese contemporary artist, and fittingly featured as one of the main works in the artist’s major retrospective at the Long Museum in Shanghai, 2022. 



    A Sky series work shown at Zhao Zhao's solo exhibition at the Long Museum, Shanghai, 16 January - 4 March 2022


    Having graduated from the Xinjiang Institute of the Arts in 2003 and later attending the Beijing Film Academy, Zhao Zhao is a multidisciplinary artist, working in a range of media from documentary filmmaking to oil painting, participating in exhibitions around the world. A long-time assistant of Ai Weiwei, Zhao Zhao’s provocative works are known for confronting existing ideological structures and challenging notions of authority. His notobale solo exhibitions include A Long Day, Macao Museum of Art, Macau, 2022; Parallel Affinity, Tang Contemporary Art, Seoul, 2022; City of Sky, Tang Contemporary Art, Bangkok, 2022; Zhao Zhao, Long Museum, Shanghai and Zhao Zhao, Tang Contemporary Art, Beijing, 2021.

    • Provenance

      Tang Contemporary Art, Hong Kong
      Acquired from the above in 2018



signed and dated ‘ZHAO ZHAO [in Pinyin and Chinese] 2018.’ on the reverse
oil on linen
150.2 x 150.2 cm. (59 1/8 x 59 1/8 in.)
Painted in 2018.

Full Cataloguing

HK$240,000 - 450,000 

Sold for HK$330,200

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Anastasia Salnikoff
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Modern & Contemporary Art Day Sale

Hong Kong Auction 1 June 2024