564
564
Xu Lei
CAGE
Estimate
500,000800,000
LOT SOLD. 1,375,000 HKD
JUMP TO LOT
564
Xu Lei
CAGE
Estimate
500,000800,000
LOT SOLD. 1,375,000 HKD
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Contemporary Ink Art

|
Hong Kong

Xu Lei
B. 1963
CAGE
signed and dated 1997 in Chinese
ink and colour on paper, framed
84.8 by 63.2 cm; 33⅜ by 24⅞ in.
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Provenance

Alisan Fine Arts, Hong Kong
Private Asian Collection

Literature

Xu Lei, Hebei Education Publishing House, Shijiazhuang, China, 2003, p. 27
Xu Lei, International Publishing House for China’s Culture, Washington DC, USA,2008, p. 48
Xu Lei, Culture and Art Publishing House, Beijing, China, 2013, p. 117

Catalogue Note

Xu Lei is an internationally recognized painter who was a participant of the nationwide 1985 New Wave movement creating provocative art in China. In the 1990s he embraced the ink medium to depict his surrealist and literary paintings, which starkly contrasted with his contemporaries who responded to the decadence of reality with nihilist imagery using non-classical media.  Art critic and curator Pi Li writes, "Though he still uses traditional media, his focus is not on conveying the formulaic, structured "beauty" of traditional Chinese gongbi painting, but instead closer approximates Lautréamont's "beauty" of the "chance meeting . . . of a sewing machine and an umbrella" from imagist poetry." In his own words, what appeals to him is not how to paint but how to play with the cerebral, rhetorical relations among images. 

The present lot Cage is one of Xu's most often published example of his self-reflexive images created in the 1990s where the viewer is both an observer and witness to the intimate scene. A birdcage sits atop a covered table behind curtains like the opening stage of a play. The empty space in the image is not meant to imply a void rather presence of meaning in the scene of shadows. Whether reflecting upon the iconic Las Meninas (1656) by Velazquez or the interior scenes by Vermeer, Xu appropriates similar techniques for using symbols and atmosphere to imply sensuality, voyeurism and memory. Unlike the comprehension of realist painting, understanding Xu's surreal scenes require viewer engagement and provoke a deeper reading of meaning.

1 Pi Li, "Departure and Distancing: Avant-Garde Reflection in Xu Lei's Painting" Xu Lei, Culture and Art Publishing, Beijing, China 2013, p. 48

Contemporary Ink Art

|
Hong Kong