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    Sale 2605

    Asian Contemporary Art (Day Sale)

    25 May 2008, Hong Kong

  • Lot 595


    Price Realised  


    (Born in 1964)
    Children No. 4
    signed and dated 'Guo Jin; 2007' in Pinyin (lower left)
    oil on canvas
    225 x 100 cm. (88 1/2 x 39 1/4 in.)
    Painted in 2007

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    Children have been utilized as a favored motif by many Chinese contemporary artists and prominently by the two brothers, Guo Jin and Guo Wei. The artistic freedom that children liberates with their refreshing naivete opens the spaces for the two artist's to genuinely paint a timeless moment that does not typically correlate to the highly popularized political or cultural issues, frequently depicted by their peers. Instead, the two brothers are more receptive towards their personal, individual relationship to their immediate surrounding.
    Promptly yet straightforwardly reacting to those subjects that are most near to him, Guo Wei in reality, paints his own children, thus in result, accentuating the subject that becomes responsible for the overall impact. Dull blues and whites are often set as a backdrop for his canvas to trigger a nauseating effect, overcastting the a slightly satirical atmosphere over the half naked children. The perplexing ambiguity in the age of these children allegorically correspond with his dim washes of murky blue in its ambiguity as a color or as an attempt in utilizing the symbolism of a black and white monochrome palette. The awkward classification resembles the awkward classification of teenagers, who are not yet an adult nor a child in which their susceptibility makes them the perfect epitome for pictorial investigation. The bare skins of the figures are exposed in susceptibility as the artist intuitively inserts mosquitoes and moths, disposed on the floor. Throughout the three paintings of the Mosquito and Moth series (Lot 653, 689, 688), Guo Wei, in planned representation, arranges at least one of the figurines to stare through his canvases. The subjects do not merely become a content of painterly depiction but with their perceptual dialogue with the audience, the blurry atmosphere expands outwards the canvas, engulfing out to reality, where the audience finds themselves surprisingly positioned inside the painting in one split second of hypnotism by the characters.
    Despite his ongoing maturity and investigation from his early days, the wet nuance of the paint remained crucial in marking his technique. Visually distinctive in brush strokes and composition, Guo Wei's earlier work Bathroom Series No. (Lot 654) undertones faintly abstract in its spatial composition, moreover, seemingly surreal in its general impression. The strong vivid color of red skin pulsates through the canvas, creating a different type of susceptibility from his later works; more raw and perhaps brutal to some extent, where the nudity of these figures are further accentuated with the infant obscurely placed in the centre of the painting. The bathroom setting in conjunction to a newly born infant insinuates the symbolism of water; drawing intense dampness to the canvas. However, he soon cultivated a peculiarly matte-yet wet ambiance in his later works that appear strangely captivating with his cunning composition; in which positions the spectator's attention in grippingly cautious and watchful stare, whereas his younger brother Guo Jin creates a painting that clench onto the viewer like a child's grip for an attention, in which nevertheless, invoke a friendly awe from the viewer.
    Here, the artist's technical process is at utmost compatibility with the coarse surface of the rugged tree, and of course with his adroit control in texture, enables to stir up an overall aura of a crisp, sweet smell of dawn.

    Guo Jin's children are placed in whimsical wonderland, disclosing the artist's delightful creativity and amity. In contrast to his brother, Guo Jin paints scratched surfaces of implicative lines that exhibit his willful vulnerability and candidness of his psyche whilst Guo Wei paints in conscious definite contours disclosing his assured psychological state. The paints of pale yellow, pink, grey and blue are ingeniously scraped with his dexterity in control of the contour and tone. The rugged yet soft texture of the surface emerges out of the canvas with tactile accretion bringing seemingly rigid contour to the subjects; in which also simultaneously generates an aura of soft paint washes to bring gentle flexibility to the figure's postures. In Untitled (Lot 607), the child lays in pure enjoyment of the situation under the warm spotlight of yellow, her innocent gaze invoking the maternal awe of the spectators, changing their initial perception of the rough hideous tactility of the skin as something hideous into something beautiful. In both Backstage 1 (Lot 606) and Children No.4(Lot 595), the artist bestows imperceptible eyes, which harmonizes with the innocence he strives to portray. The small eyes provide limitation of perception, creating no room to view corruption that surrounds these children in reality, allowing them to live their innocence to the purest sensation. Sheltering his children in the protected realm of his canvases, Guo Jin endeavors to remind the audience the essential beauty in the simplicity and purity of things, in which he diversely exemplifies in his atypical subject of a landscape in Dawn. No.11 (Lot 596). Here, the artist's technical process is at utmost compatibility with the coarse surface of the rugged tree, and of course with his adroit control in texture, enables to stir up an overall aura of a crisp, sweet smell of dawn.

    These two artists successfully encapsulated an essential feeling of raw freedom felt only by children; unburdened and un-dulled by experience of past events. The children, depicted in groups of two or three, revel in each other's company and we are reminded of the intense purity of pleasure in simple childish pursuits, in which at the same time, one cannot help notice an underlying darker story behind the artist's projection of child-like naivety.


    Kwai Fung Art Publishing House, Guo Jin, Hong Kong, China, 2007, p. 22. (illustrated)