or collectors with an eye for discovery, nothing quite matches the thrill of finding new and promising artists, poised to leave their mark on the contemporary art world. This season's Contemporary Art Evening Sale (9 October, Hong Kong) presents a stellar line-up of works notable not only for its diversity, but also for the selection of emerging era-defining artists of today. We've hand-picked a list of artists who have captured our attention – with reasons why collectors should take time to explore their works, and what inspires these young artists in their own words.
Ghana-born, Austrian-based Amoako Boafo has captured the attention of the art world, applying paint onto canvas with his fingers and creating sensational, large-scale portraits of Black figures, of which White Hat White Shades (2019) is a prime example.
"Years of experimenting produced this technique, which makes my subjects more beautiful. The absence of a tool – and therefore of an obstacle – frees me and allows me to achieve a very expressive skin colour that I could never get with a brush. A simple movement can create an incredibly intense energy and reveal highly sculptural figures, which I adore, with a certain lack of control. It’s fairly paradoxical really: you’re taught to use a brush, and instead you end up going back to the origins, finger painting, the primitive gesture as used by the first humans."
Expressing her love of the abstract and the emotive is London-born painter, Jadé Fadojutimi, who at the age of 28 is the youngest artist to be included in the permanent collection of the Tate museum, London. Her work is currently on exhibit at Hayward Gallery’s Autumn showcase. To Fadojutimi, painting is a means of self discovery. Immersed in joyous memory, often an object which has inspired her or a deep emotion, these thought and feelings, nostalgia and fantasy are channeled into powerful brushstrokes. Sweeping strokes of soothing blues cascade across Under the Weather (2017), a beautiful example from the artist’s impulsive oeuvre.
“I think we can translate a lot of moods into colour, and see it literally, too. I’ve been thinking about a lot of what it means to talk about identity, or question it... We are all colours that are constantly fluctuating… I am constantly changing, and the colours I am experiencing are constantly changing."
Making his auction debut in Asia, Louis Fratino draws upon a myriad of different sources from art history and memory to create poignant paintings that typically explore queer identity, as seen in the subtle sensuality of Tristan Dancing, Venus (2017).
"Representation in painting isn’t about me telling other groups of people how I see them, it’s about making a space for us to identify with each other. We all experience love and loneliness, and I’d love for us to all meet in an image."
Loie Hollowell’s Portrait of a Woman with Green Hair (2015) is emblematic of the artist’s abstracted bodily landscapes that are simultaneously seductive and sacred, expressing the physical and psychological experiences such as sexuality, fertility, and childbirth. In an interview earlier this year, Holliwell describes how motherhood and pregnancy transformed her art.
"My work is an expression of my core sensuality. I’m a body experiencing desire, experiencing pleasure… It is sensual and needy and dirty and expressive."
Rafa Macarrón’s Rutina Fluor (2019) marks artist's debut auction in Hong Kong, and the iconic large-scale work embodies the Spanish artist’s delightful depiction of dreamscapes littered with his cast of uncanny characters. Macarrón transforms the ordinary and the everyday into playful adventures, with a sense of unbridled optimism and limitless possibilities experienced in childhood.
“It is expressionism because it is born from a gesture, but also a new figuration. To create my elongated figures requires knowledge and respect for anatomy. I know the structure of the body perfectly. Then, I begin to try out distortions and deformations, which I think works very well. I am able to create my own characters, each with their own soul and personality.”
American artist Joel Mesler, incorporates words and images into his playful ruminations of childhood memories, encapsulated by this engaging and colourful canvas work, Untitled (Hope and Dreams) (2019). Mesler began as a successful art dealer in New York, and has in recent years turned his focus to his own art. Earlier this year, he has been honoured with his first solo show in Asia, Joel Mesler: In the Beginning, which was on view at the prestigious Lévy Gorvy gallery in Hong Kong.
"The paintings come out of the memories of nights my parents would go out for the evening. They would usually tuck me into my bed and kiss me goodnight, my mom leaving red lipstick residue smudged on my cheek. As I would fall asleep, ... I often thought about what my parents were doing as the night went on. I knew they did things, but I didn’t really have the language yet to describe them. The paintings in this show are my dreamscapes as my parents and I moved through the night.”
French, Los Angeles-based artist, Claire Tabouret explores identity and notions of childhood in her beautifully theatrical oeuvre, as typified by this large-scale group portrait, Les Débutantes (vert de jaune) (2014), covered in an incandescent green. This year, the artist has been honoured with multiple solo and group exhibitions, with Almine Rech Paris scheduled to feature the artist’s work in an upcoming solo show, L’Urgence et la Patience (16 October - 18 December 2021).
“There’s something about a human face.…[It is] constantly in motion, constantly escaping, constantly mysterious—and painting allows me to paint this state of [being] unfixed.”