“The Art of Life” presents a diverse collection assembled by a distinguished Asian private collector and important patron of the arts. A passionate believer in the power of art to change lives and instigate positive change in society, the Collector has spearheaded innumerable notable contributions within the local art scene in Asia. As one of the most prominent patrons of art and culture in the region, the Collector’s broad vision, dedicated efforts and selfless generosity have resulted in significant impact and achievements on the development of the art scene and art ecology in Asia, including contributions towards the growth of local art institutions, art education programmes and the support of established artists as well as emerging local talents.
Sotheby’s is deeply privileged to present a curated assemblage of works from such an illustrious Collection. Unconfined by genre, category, medium or style, the selection encompasses paintings, drawings, sculptures and photography as well as iconic cuttingedge design, furniture and decorative pieces. In honour of the Collector’s firm belief on the ability of art to induce positive influence on both our physical and emotional spaces, the selection of works on offer across our Evening and Day Auctions this Spring focuses on design and sculptural works that reflect the collector’s notion of living with art as an art of living.
Leading the group are exquisite pieces by renowned artist-designer husband-and-wife duo François-Xavier and Claude Lalanne. Les Lalanne, as they are known collectively, have carved out individual oeuvres shared by a common universe inspired by flora and fauna. François-Xavier Lalanne is best known for his celebrated bestiary that straddle the whimsical, the primal and the elegant; here represented by the monumental bronze sculpture Gorille de Sûreté I in our Evening Auction and Chien Prosaïque Contrarié and Le direction de L’escargot in our Day Auction. Sharing her husband’s love for nature, Claude Lalanne’s enchanting amalgamations of botanical forms and furniture are represented by Lantern With Butterflies, Bougeoir 4 bobêches and the pair of Chaise Aux Branchettes. Seamlessly integrating art and nature into domestic iving spaces, Les Lalanne’s fantastical creations are highly coveted by celebrities and contemporary collectors.
Contrasting with Les Lalanne’s organic aesthetic are the sleek forms by leading industrial designer Ron Arad. The shelf RTW (Re-Inventing the Wheel), and table Puddle 8 are classic examples of Arad’s radical re-conception of forms and structures grounded in tireless experimentations on materials and technology.
Further epitomizing the dynamic relationships between figure and space, art and environment are acclaimed sculptures by Sir Antony Gormley. The life size blockwork GUT XIII on offer in the Evening Auction was featured in the exhibition States and Conditions, Hong Kong in 2014. Designed to resonate within the dense urban conditions particular to the city, Gormley’s sculptures were strategically positioned and dispersed throughout the gallery’s rooms and corridors, activating the environment into a psychic and physiological testing ground. The artist’s dexterity and diversity in his choice of medium are displayed to full effect through two smaller blockworks of wood (GUT MODEL I) and alabaster (SPLICE MODEL II), as well as the early cast iron sculpture INSIDER XIV (CHILD), which are on offer in the Day Auction.
Rounding up the selection on offer this Spring are exciting works by highly sought-after Asian contemporary artists, including Sui Jianguo’s Earthly Force #22, an early sculptural work from his Earthly Forces series; Cai Guo-Qiang’s Man, Eagle and Eye in the Sky, a piece derived from the artist’s major site-specific project in Siwa in 2003; Yoshitomo Nara’s Welcome to Fight, an early drawing of his classic feisty child with fist raised in victory; and Suh Do-ho’s Myselves, which investigates identity, individuality and collectivity. Last but not least, Andreas Gursky’s photograph of Hong Kong Kai Tak Airport when it was still in service in 1993 adds a poetic touch of nostalgia while nodding to the Asian heritage of the Collection.