HONG KONG - Asia has seen an exponential growth in art collecting over the past decade. In recent years, increasingly sophisticated collectors have looked beyond art from their home countries and begun collecting internationally. Just as contemporary art practice today transcends national borders, so too does collecting. Hence the birth of Boundless: Contemporary Art, Sotheby’s unique auction in Asia that provides collectors the rare opportunity to access both Asian and Western contemporary art in one groundbreaking sale.
Zhang Xiagang’s Portrait, 1999. Estimate HKD6,000,000-8,000,000.
Come this June, the third installment of Boundless will offer a diverse group of 82 works in a carefully curated sale. Isaure de Viel Castel, Head of Mid-Season Sales, Contemporary and Modern for Sotheby's, says, “the Boundless sale brings the latest trends in Contemporary Art directly to both the new generation of Asian collectors who follow those trends, as well as established collectors to whom these categories are new. With each Boundless sale there has been an emphasis on a featured section. In the past it has been design furniture; this year, it is photography and installation art."
Zeng Fanzhi’s Marilyn, 2004. Estimate HKD5,000,000-7,000,000.
On the Asian art slate, the most anticipated lots are masterpieces by Zhang Xiaogang and Zeng Fanzhi, the top two names in the Chinese contemporary art world. Zhang’s Portrait (1999) has been in a French private collection for more than a decade; Boundless marks the painting’s first public appearance back in Asia. Zeng’s Marilyn (2004) is a clear departure from the artist’s renowned Mask series and marks the pivotal period during which he sought to systematically “unmask” his subjects and to approach an even more directly expressionistic language. The work is based on a well-known photograph of Marilyn Monroe stepping out of a car to attend the premiere of Walter Lang’s There’s No Business Like Show Business (1954). Another important canvas, Reading Series: Cubs by Li Shan comes from the collection of the legendary American photographer turned Chinese art collector Lawrence Schiller. From Marilyn Monroe to Robert F. Kennedy, Lee Harvey Oswald to Muhammad Ali, Mr. Schiller captured some of the most iconic images of mid-20th-century America.
James Turrell’s Magnetron Series: Pancho, 2000. Estimate HKD800,000-1,200,000.
On the Western art slate, Boundless is proud to present the first-ever James Turrell light installation at auction in Asia. Turrell, a leading member of the groundbreaking Light and Space generation of artists that emerged in Los Angeles in the late 1960s, is best known for his investigation into pure light and the complexities of visual perception. The work on offer, Magnetron Series: Pancho, consists of a small aperture in the shape of an old television screen. The light emanates from an actual 12-inch CRT television, placed out of view within the wall and tuned to a specific channel. Few of us have considered or seen light emanating from a TV screen in its pure, isolated form. The auction preview will be a rare opportunity for Turrell fans to experience this intimate and unique work.
Allora & Calzadilla’s Solar Catastrophe, 2011. Estimate HKD800,000-1,200,000.
The cover lot, Allora & Calzadilla’s Solar Catastrophe, will be another major highlight. Through a wide-ranging body of work in various media, the artistic duo, who represented the United States at the 2011 Venice Biennale, expose and scrutinize areas of political tension in the public sphere. In the present lot, solar cells – a seemingly ubiquitous symbol of environmental progress today – are broken into mere decorative elements on canvas, alluding to an aestheticization of environmental activism and, perhaps, the hypocrisy of it all.
David LaChappelle’s Inflatables: Wonderbread, 2002. Estimate HKD150,000-200,000.
Also offered in Boundless is a group of contemporary photography works by leading international and Chinese artists. From the contrast of attraction and repulsion in Andres Serrano’s work; to Vik Muniz’s appropriated image using unconventional materials; to David LaChappelle’s post-Pop consumer image; to Gilbert & George’s exposition of London’s violence and absurdities; they are as diverse in process and material as in subject and theme.
The Boundless: Contemporary Art auction in Hong Kong will be held 10 June.