6 Contemporary Artists to Raise Your Paddle for in The Now Evening Auction

6 Contemporary Artists to Raise Your Paddle for in The Now Evening Auction

Hong Kong’s The Now Evening Auction on 5 April brings together some of the most electrifying, exhilarating artists of the contemporary scene.
Hong Kong’s The Now Evening Auction on 5 April brings together some of the most electrifying, exhilarating artists of the contemporary scene.

F resh and invigorating, The Now Evening Auction on 5 April is a time to relish the joy and vitality of creativity. We highlight six artists who together form a snapshot of what it means to be a contemporary artist.

Robert Nava

Robert Nava, Neon Dragon, 2020 | Estimate: 1,500,000 - 2,000,000 HKD

Rather like a mint-striking error in a coin may lead to its being cherished all the more by numismatists, Chicago-born Robert Nava celebrates the flaws that bring art to life. As he once remarked: “Even looking at a Renaissance painting, I would be looking for error, like mistakes were more alive to me.” Neon Dragon (2020) is a painting of happy, upward motion, where Nava’s signature graphic language takes precedence over artistic dogma. His orange dragon floats through a background of azure and fluffy white. The painting radiates a heady spontaneity and tangy exuberance, the product of a glorious confection of acrylic, spray paint and grease pencil. Nava revels in a deliberate naiveté and disarming crudeness where dragons take flight on canvas and in our imaginations. An artist well known for his lively images of fantastical creatures, this painting particularly resonates as the year of the dragon gets underway.

Nicolas Party

Nicolas Party, Still Life, 2017 | Estimate: 20,000,000 - 30,000,000 HKD

Swiss phenomenon Nicolas Party is a painter and sculptor. In Still Life (2017), Party imbues painterly organic form with solidity and structure. The triangle is the strongest shape in architecture, and there is an air of tenacity and permanence to this triangle of fruits. This sense of determination and finality is mirrored by the artist’s use of pastel, which urges decisiveness and closure. Party once remarked in a 2019 interview: “I love pastels so much. I came to them because at one point I was doing oils, and my main problem was that I couldn’t stop editing the painting. Oils allow you to endlessly retouch.” Party’s signature use of vivid, saturated colour is evident across the composition of fruits. The deep reds, mauves and purples are clearly delineated from each other, offering a lustrous spectacle rich in texture and diversity. Rather than being situated on a kitchen table in a rustic farmhouse, these fruits are supported and offset only by colour, a leathery cream in the lower half of the painting and a deep mottled blue above it. In this still life, navigation is as much about colour as it is about form and the eye’s attention is wrested from one rich hue to another.

Vojtěch Kovařík

Vojtěch Kovařík, Theseus entered the Labyrinth, 2021 | Estimate: 1,200,000 - 1,800,000 HKD

Czech artist Vojtěch Kovařík is inspired by mythology and iconography. Born in the aftermath of the dismantling of the Soviet Union, he is alive to the frailty of figures of power and strength, a theme once explored by the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley in the 1819 sonnet Ozymandias. Kovařík’s work explores a combination of monumentality and fragility, not as opposing forces, but as complementary qualities of human existence. In Theseus entered the Labyrinth (2021), Theseus, mighty slayer of the minotaur, edges into the frame, skulking behind a wall, his muscle tone flabby and inert, sword falling limply below the horizontal. The greenish, stone-like patina of the skin is suggestive of water on a pond, whilst the upwardly thrusting verdant blades of grass seem invested with more agency than the hesitant Athenian prince on the cusp of classical immortality. We will all recognise the echoes within ourselves and within our society. We possess great power and potential, yet are beset by uncertainty, self-doubt and second-guessing. The golden thread in Theseus’ hand is a symbol of optimism; the thread given to him by the beautiful Ariadne represents the true path to follow, destined to keep Theseus safe, and help him accomplish his mission.

Daniel Richter

Daniel Richter, Plications of Come, 2019 | Estimate: 1,600,000 - 2,500,000 HKD

Berlin-based artist Daniel Richter has been a part of the contemporary art landscape since the 1990s. A synthesis of abstraction and figuration, Plications of Come (2019) exudes an eerie combination of action and hesitancy: a symphony of unease and disquiet. The protagonists appear purposeful in intent, alternately active and spectating, one bending forwards, two pink-visaged kibitzers leaning in. The sense of ambivalence and uncertainty is derived from the viewer’s own rampant conjectures as to the meaning of the arrangement of characters before him. What appears to be a reddened mask only heightens the sense of falsity and Brechtian defamiliarisation. The pattern of vertical lines is an uncommon feature in Richter’s works, lines which continually cut through the fizzing energy of the canvas, adding an almost mathematical, architectural quality. Plications of Come was featured in the German-born artist’s solo exhibition at Regen Projects, H.P. (JAH ALLO) in Los Angeles in 2019.


KAWS, Companion (OriginalFake), 2011 | Estimate: 5,500,000 - 7,500,000 HKD

KAWS is an artist who traverses street art, commercial art and contemporary fine art like few others. He has a global following for his lively characters, incarnated in sculptural form, paintings and clothing collaborations. KAWS’ fibreglass sculpture Companion (OriginalFake) (2011) shows his iconic Companion in an entirely new light, revealing the entrails and organs that lie beneath. Despite looking like an illustration from a medical textbook, Companion is no cadaver. Resolutely alive, his single eyeball holds our gaze steadily. Companion – an endearing combination of the slickly collectible and emotionally relatable – imparts the air of vulnerability and frailty which has helped set KAWS’ landmark creation on the path to immortality. The towering form, standing at more than two metres high, conveys a monumentality which never detracts from the involuntary engagement and attraction on the part of the beholder. As KAWS said in a 2016 interview: “I want the viewer to feel like they should somehow help or console the work, despite its towering gaze.”

Contemporary Art The Hong Kong Sales

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