Contemporary Showcase: Another World

Contemporary Showcase: Another World

Sotheby’s newly launched Contemporary Showcase series presents its inaugural edition “Another World,” an eclectic selection of Western Contemporary Art.
Sotheby’s newly launched Contemporary Showcase series presents its inaugural edition “Another World,” an eclectic selection of Western Contemporary Art.

L ed by Contamination by Sanya Kantarovsky, the intimate and tightly curated assemblage is grounded thematically by the poetic title of Tracey Emin’s Another World, with each work individually and collectively probing at the imaginative, restorative and escapist possibilities of the figurative image.

watercolor and bleach on canvas
Executed in 2016.
Estimate: 850,000 - 1,200,000 HKD

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Russian-born artist Sanya Kantarovsky’s Contamination headlines the group with a striking image befitting of our fraught times: a doctor peers down his patient’s gaping abyss of a mouth, in fervent search of something no one can see. Contamination is true to Kantarovsky’s acclaimed style and signature offbeat dark humor, which always seems to reveal at its core a sense of discomfiture and existential anxiety. His work shows a gamut of influences – among them Matisse and Chagall, Russian and Eastern European literature, traditional folklore and children’s book illustrations, humanist painting and caricature. With subjects often entangled in psychological and physical conundrums, Kantarovky’s paintings are infused with a deep concern for the human condition.

“Art has never been about morality or about the pure and clean and correct. It’s always been about the grime and pain and totally unfair contradictions of being alive—and humor, very much so, is a kind of pressure valve.”
Sanya Kantarovsky, 'Vogue' May 2019

watercolor and acrylic on paper
Executed in 2019.
Estimate: 60,000 - 80,000 HKD

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American artist Emily Mae Smith’s Empathetic Machine speaks to the contemporary zeitgeist, with the luminous anthropomorphic tuning fork looming as a force of reckoning. Through striking surreal visual motifs painted with photo-realistic details, the artist asserts a unique style of penetrating feminine social commentary, attuned always to multiple wavelengths from otherworldly universes. Fellow female American artist Katherine Bradford’s radiant and whimsical Ice Cream Girl and Superhero Boy seems to respond to Smith’s call or plea for empathy, exploring the personal complexities of isolation, yearning and fantasy, excavating intimate emotions deep within us. The work hovers at the edge of abstraction, as radiant fields of color and pared down forms allow the artist to dip into an otherworldly dimension, occupying the hazy space between reality and imagination.

acrylic on canvas
Executed in 2019.
Estimate: 80,000 - 120,000 HKD

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oil on canvas
Executed in 2016.
Estimate: 280,000 - 380,000 HKD

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The natural vistas of the Mediterranean and the San Francisco Bay Area feature prominently in the idyllic landscapes of Etel Adnan, inviting peaceful daydreams within an ideal world. Indeed, the outlines of mountains emerge in Untitled, with delicate and luminous colors that are strikingly reminiscent of California, where for decades the highly acclaimed Lebanese artist has called home. Also an accomplished and celebrated writer, the artist expresses in words vivid imagery that brims with energy and connects closely with her paintings. These works are often understood as a translation of her own perception of reality, revealing Adnan’s remarkable ability to synthesize the world around her into refined interpretations.

butterfly and household gloss on canvas
Executed in 2012.
Estimate: 200,000 - 300,000 HKD

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Within Damien Hirst’s deliberate artistic lexicon, the butterfly has come to signify the soul itself, evoking both the ephemerality and the abiding joy of life. In the artist’s own words, “I think I've got an obsession with death, but I think it’s like a celebration of life rather than something morbid. You can’t have one without the other.” Hirst’s vibrant Cute offers a welcome escape into the electric tension between surface and substance, reality and imagination.

neon, in 4 parts
Executed in 2018, this is number 1 from an edition of 3.
Estimate: 500,000 - 700,000 HKD

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Rounding up the group is Tracey Emin’s Another World, which gives its name to the auction series and grounds the group thematically. The artist first gained fame and notoriety as the “enfant terrible” of British art in the 1990s, well known for her provocative, sometimes outright controversial practices, and part of the Young British Artists group. Emin has worked with a diverse range of media and increasingly deployed deeply personal, diaristic imperatives as her subject matter. Another World unifies the eclectic assemblage of six works, as the variations in aesthetic, symbolism, wit and dark humor coalesce in a liminal space where the registers of seeing and making collide. Each composition remains faithfully allegiant to its image, and the paintings suggest an elusive possibility that is at once destabilizing and liberating.

Contemporary Art

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