AY CHOU x SOTHEBY’S presents the leading lights of contemporary art in a two-part auction series. International musician, tastemaker, and the first guest curator of Sotheby’s Contemporary Curated: Asia, Jay Chou selects a diverse group works led by prominent Western and Asian artists. The JAY CHOU x SOTHEBY’S Day Sale (Hong Kong, 10–22 June) represents an exceptional assemblage that includes works by promising artists – fresh faces who have recently garnered international attention and who continue to push the boundaries of contemporary art. The online auction offers the chance for established and first-time collectors to acquire works by some of the most dynamic artists in Asia, and perhaps the most influential megastars of tomorrow.
The pressures of urban life loom in the background of Eddie Kang’s consciousness, and his works reflect an increasingly mechanised modern culture, full of loneliness and anxiety. Technology, high-rise buildings, and robots all threaten to obliterate our humanity. He finds solace in the figures of memory and imagination – rag dolls, teddy bears, and pets – clinging to these childhood symbols of love and hope.
LOUSY is well known for his signature "Let’s Kiss" tag which have appears in alleyways all over Hong Kong, as well as in Taiwan and Seoul. LOUSY doesn’t consider himself a graffiti artist, but simply an artist who creates art on walls and canvases, taking inspiration from the spontaneous energy of urban life. Finding meaning in various cultural works such as punk rock, manga and even cave paintings, he deploys his signature style to depict "worldwide love", sex, aliens, gods, and monsters.
Singapore’s leading Pop artist, Jahan Loh uses the term “Terrarium of the Gods” to mean Earth – a planet of divinely engineered humanoids. The works bearing the name are emblematic of Loh’s preoccupation with the idea of genesis and creation, depicting scenes of Eden before the Fall. The biblical references bring to mind religious art iconography, which contrasts with Loh's pop-cultural depictions of fantastical alien beings.
Fatina Kong’s works are an exploration of the continuous and interdependent cycles of life and nature. These themes are encapsulated not only in the depictions that overlay modern structures with arboreal landscapes, but are also expressed in the circular shape of her works. These connections are further underscored by the sense of history and time recurring in a cyclical fashion, as Kong finds inspiration for her work from traditional Chinese poetry.
Jacky Tsai takes a fresh approach that blends traditional Asian artistic techniques and imagery with Pop art iconography. For example, he might insert the figures of Superman and Star Wars droid C-3PO in a Chinese blue-and-white ceramic design, in an irreverent nod to the widely contrasting cultural references that have shaped his art. Tsai’s explorations have taken him through mediums of painting, sculpture, painted ceramics, lacquer, and silk embroidery, with a commitment to revitalizing these age-old artistic traditions.
Angela Yuen collects locally manufactured objects – such as toys, hair clips, and plastic stationery – to create the miniature skylines of her installations. Yuen's tiny urban landscapes revisits the significance of these small objects, as they refer to the bygone Hong Kong of the 1960s and its manufacturing past. Within that is the promise of that era, and reflects a particular nostalgia of Yuen's generation.
Kyne’s famous dark-haired young women refer to an ideal of teenage beauty. They all appear to dwell in that liminal space between childhood and sexual maturity, looking at the beholder with an expression purity, fragility, and angst. The artist's style resembles pop illustration, and reflects a layering of many influences including manga tradition, graffiti, 1980s American pop culture, and kawaii culture.
Snipe1 is considered a pioneering graffiti artist in Japan who was instrumental to the rise in prominence of street culture in the country. Having been at the forefront of the underground scene, he championed urban contemporary art by pushing the boundaries and smashing stereotypes. The artist is best known for blending Japanese characters such as yokai (traditional supernatural creatures), sometimes fused with multi-referential modern pop cultural images, depicting them in his signature grunge spray technique of psychedelic colours.
Maiko Kobayashi wrestles with existential questions, as a lonely character recurs in her works. The soft pastel coloured animal is anthropomorphised in a way that suggests Japanese kawaii (cuteness) tradition, but in the character's sad eyes we are led to access something deeper in ourselves. The gestures and the isolation of the figure confront us with our own sense of loneliness, inspiring an empathetic protective instinct for this diminished version of ourselves.
The landscapes in Makiko Kudo’s paintings are conjured through memory to express dreams of girlhood. The artist returns time and again to these scenes of her youth in rapt fascination. Within these works are trees, plants, flowers and small creatures, expressed through lush colours and distinctive springtime motifs.