W ithin the canon of Western art history, paintings and sculptures – categorised historically as the “fine arts”– often receive much more attention and value than other mediums. However the art world is starting to pay more attention. A Survey of Global Collecting 2022 report by Art Basel and UBS published just earlier this month indicates that some 53 percent of HNW collectors intends to purchase works on paper in the next 12 months, while 48 percent intends to purchase prints and 44 percent intends to purchase photography.
From prints to drawings, photography, ink paintings and more, it is an exciting world to discover. Illustrated by selections from Modern Discoveries online sale, here are four to explore.
Drawings can be a final piece of art or sketches that the artist made while fleshing out ideas in the process of creating. Whether the artist was working with canvas or plaster, bronze or marble, it is likely that it all started with a drawing or quick sketch. Such drawings can provide fascinating insight into the artist’s creative process and a better understanding of their work.
And the world of drawings is more diverse than one might think, utilising a variety of materials and pigments. The British Museum in London houses some 50,000 drawings in its collection, one of which is an untitled piece by Grayson Perry done with crayons, pen and ink, gouache and watercolour, along with a collage of photographs, magazine illustrations and even silver glitter. Another piece in the collection, titled Power: The Players II (2012) by Nigerian-American artist Marcia Kure, was created using pencil, watercolour, gouache and kolanut, a traditional pigment.
Sometimes more attention is paid to the fact that prints are artworks that were produced more than once using whichever printing or transfer process was chosen by the artist, such as etching, screen-printing, lithography and woodcut. However, prints are not merely copies, rather they are considered an original piece of work, with each print numbered. Oftentimes, artists see it as a way to experiment, innovate and learn. Furthermore, prints are a more accessible way to purchase art by a high-profile artist. Another plus is that prints are usually smaller in size, which gives the collector more flexibility in where to display the art.
There is growing appreciation and exciting new developments for contemporary Chinese ink, and it is a genre that collectors should watch out for. Ink is a key characteristic of traditional Chinese art and Chinese artists are now using modern techniques to create ink works that combine tradition and innovation to intriguing effect.
There is also something about ink that gives the art piece a delicate quality. Among the British Museum’s collection is one by South Korean artist Minjung Kim, titled Mountain (2009). Kim applied the ink on wet hanji. The bleeding ink travelled upwards, creating an ethereal hilly terrain that stretches beyond and fades.
With a photograph being a true document of a moment and place in time, they can make for an alluring piece of art that can allow your imagination to wonder and introduce you to a new subject or culture. During the mid-19th century, photographic societies started to form around the world, paving the way for photography to be seen as a form of art.
The works from two Hong Kong-based photographers, Yau Leung and Wing Shya, are prime examples of photography that holds its own as an art form. While Yau specialises in documentary style photographs of scenes of Hong Kong, presenting poignant, nostalgic snapshots of the city, Shya, who got his start when he was chosen by film director Wong Kar-wai to be the on-set photographer for the film Happy Together, is known for moving photographs that capture the emotion and mood of the moment. Both artists create work that are captivating, the type of work that you never get tired of looking at.