Lot 250
  • 250

CJ Tañedo

50,000 - 70,000 HKD
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  • CJ Tañedo
  • Clair De Lune (Moonlight)
  • Signed, titled and dated Feb 2013
  • Oil on canvas, diptych
  • Each: (i) 183 by 122 cm.; 72 by 48 in. (ii) 183 by 152.5 cm.; 72 by 60 in.
  • Overall: 183 by 274.5 cm.; 72 by 108 in. (2)


The work is in good condition overall. There are indications of minor wear and handling around the edges, but paint layers are well-preserved. Under ultraviolet light inspection, there is no evidence of retouching. Unframed, on stretcher.
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Catalogue Note

For his latest work, CJ Tañedo returns to the imaginative terrain and themes that characterized his earlier oeuvre while imbuing it with the clarity and precision of his later fascination with the techniques of hyperrealism—bring both together in an impassioned work where the artist that brings forth a startling marriage between two disparate but related worlds. Inspired by the American painting Arrangement in Grey and Black No. 1, (or Whistler’s Mother as it is more famously referred to) the artist re-imagines it for a contemporary setting, and furthers Whistler’s visual narrative by introducing another character: a masked man in formal garb, an artist.

The diptych depicts a couple engaged in what seems to be a long-distance entanglement: a man so lost in the sorrow of solitude that he is averse to exposing his pain, a woman lost in a dream state after being sung to sleep by a framed image of the man—her sole source of comfort. The distance between them has caused their worlds to be in a constant state of imbalance, underscored by the inclined angle of his image on the right, and by her seeming surrender to the perpetual seesawing of a rocking chair.

Still, Tañedo achieves a balance between these two seemingly disparate elements, making them a harmonious whole. He does this not by smoothing out the irruption but by presenting an uncompromising view of their reality that suggests a union that goes beyond the placement of their bodies, a quiet submission to their present physical disengagement which somehow bonds them even more tightly together.

The title of the piece Clair De Lune (Moonlight) (taken from Debussy’s ballad, which coincidentally has been said to have also been inspired by the iconic Whistler painting) offers solace in the form of the lullaby, giving the piece a movement, like the gentle rocking of the chair that the woman sits on, that offers a penumbral path in-between the shadows that separate them. This love affair is not doomed, after all, Tañedo seems to say, hinting at hope—in the way she holds on to that satin ribbon (from an opened present from him?), in the way those reflected images of butterflies are making their way towards the source of light—his metaphorical version of the framed painting on the right.

The work as a whole not only reiterates Tañedo’s devotion to his beloved expressionist and impressionist styles but it heralds, too, his return to creating a visual narrative. The wealth of symbols and movements in his Clair De Lune (Moonlight) echoes as well his recently acquired process of painting, using thick amounts of oil paint on each layer, allowing the brushstrokes, instead of lines, to accomplish the desired image. Every layer is a complete painting, the artist says, and he waits until a layer has suitably dried before he employs a scraper to smoothen the work, making it one solid, refined piece of painting—but made of several complete luminous layers of the same image. Tañedo says he finds that the thicker the paint, the more it becomes quietly luminous as it ages, and the work, perhaps not unlike wine, gains a fuller, richer body.