• Christies auction house James Christie logo

    Sale 14160

    FIRST OPEN | Shanghai

    22 October 2016, Shanghai

  • Lot 133

    JI DACHUN (CHINESE, B. 1968)

    Money Tree

    Price Realised  


    JI DACHUN (CHINESE, B. 1968)
    Money Tree
    signed in Chinese (upper center)
    oil and mixed media on canvas
    110 x 110 cm. (43 1/4 x 43 1/4 in.)
    Painted in 1998

    Contact Client Service
    • info@christies.com

    • New York +1 212 636 2000

    • London +44 (0)20 7839 9060

    • Hong Kong +852 2760 1766

    • Shanghai +86 21 6355 1766

    For me, painting is a process of gaining happiness through suffering. Often, though, it's just suffering from start to finish.
    --- Ji Dachun
    As his given name Da Chun (“great purity”) might lead you to expect, Ji Dachun’s paintings exhibit a simple, childlike quality – yet far from being infantile or naïve. Rather, the youthfulness we see in his work is the artist's unique perspective on the creative process. The artist has chosen to craft the "Money Tree”, a familiar concept within Chinese mythology, with simplistic and to some extent absurd brushstrokes. This dichotomy, between a grand concept and its juvenile depiction, indicates an obscure and somewhat strange sense of humour. The “Money Tree” itself, faithful to his natural and unadorned style, bears thin contours more closely resembling freehand calligraphy than the delicate tree branches they depict. Lines and shapes separate, meet and overlap against the background of creamy white, creating unique structures not unlike those found in Chinese characters. At the base, the flowerpot forgoes the constraints of the real world, slanting to the left as the artist's loosening grip on his brush adds a certain childlike playfulness. Meanwhile, in a departure from the title of the piece, the branches themselves are covered with a blurred haze of colours, spots and stains, with only a single gold ingot sketched on to the top of the branch. This unusual image is a far cry from normal depictions of Money Tree, with which the viewer is well acquainted. Painting a new and irrational take on the Money Tree creates space for humour; a particular brand of humour which captures the very essence of Ji Dachun’s style.


    Private Collection, Asia