Lot 580
  • 580

KOON Wai Bong

300,000 - 400,000 HKD
bidding is closed


  • Koon Wai Bong
  • Gentlemen (set of thirty-six)
  • colour on gold cardboard, six columns of six panels each, framed
  • executed in 2012
executed in 2012
marked with twelve seals of the artist

Catalogue Note

As a Hong Kong-based ink painter and professor, Koon Wai Bong is recognized for his conceptual installations and polyptychs of trees and landscapes. Using precise brushwork and pure ink and colour pigments, Koon’s tranquil depictions of nature evoke the timeless beauty of ancient Chinese guohua painting through a fresh, multicultural lens. In the thirty-six-panelled Gentlemen (Lot 580), the bordered panels connote the window frames through which modern urbanites appreciate nature, while the verdant green bamboo on gold ground alludes to the classical ambiance manifest in traditional painting.

Koon’s selections of traditional subjects should not be mistaken as paintings from nature, but as portrayals of literati themes and explorations of the often estranged relationship between man and nature in contemporary society. Since the Song dynasty (960-1279 C.E.), bamboo, along with plum blossoms, orchids, and chrysanthemums, are collectively known as the Four Gentlemen, which also represent the four seasons in Chinese tradition. Of the four, bamboo, with its straight and sectional appearance, is popularly associated with the Confucian standards of a gentleman, who possesses honest, modest, and restrained characteristics. The artist’s use of a scholarly motif illustrates an introspective mindscape and his sentiment for tradition. Successfully employing the negative space within the framed installation, Koon increases the depth of space between the viewer and painted subject, reflecting current interactions of city people with wildlife – through a window frame, or perhaps, through a smartphone screen.

Born in Hong Kong in 1974, Koon Wai Bong received his bachelor’s degree in 1996 and his master’s degree in 2002 from Chinese University of Hong Kong, before attaining his Doctorate in Fine Arts from the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology. Currently, he divides his time between painting and teaching at the Hong Kong Baptist University’s Academy of Visual Arts. Koon’s works have been exhibited internationally, and are in the present collections of notable private and public institutions, including M+, Hong Kong Museum of Art, CUHK's Art Museum, and Asian Art Museum of San Francisco.