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    Sale 2707

    Asian Contemporary Art (Day Sale)

    25 May 2009, Hong Kong

  • Lot 1117

    HOU CHUN-MING

    Price Realised  

    HOU CHUN-MING
    (b. 1963)
    Sin and Punishment in Hong Kong
    dated '1996.2'; signed, titled and inscribed in Chinese (on each panel)
    a set of three wood block prints
    each: 195 x 103 cm. (76 3/4 x 40 1/2 in.)
    edition 6/30
    Executed in 1996
    two seals on the artist (3)


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    On the eve of the handover of Hong Kong to China, Hou went to sojourn in the city, and created a triptych namely Sin and Punishment at Hong Kong (Lot 1117). The artist has followed the tradition of juxtaposing letters and images pioneered since Stories of Immortals, and borrowed from the Chinese earliest Buddhist scripture wood block printing as the form of expression. Hou "designates this composition to mock worship the metropolitan marginalized people," as deities, and with the same language and ethnicity and yet a foreign identity, to perceive this highly westernized hundred-year-colony. Hong Kong had been under the British rule for a hundred and fifty years. Nevertheless, though Hou in the work has selected the historical idea of cultural exchange between East and West as the blueprint, and addressed the impact of the 1997 handover upon Hong Kong citizens' concept of value and lifestyle, he fundamentally discusses that when capitalism evolves into the stage of pinnacle, people are being materialized under the apparently fascinating and rampantly materialistic environment. The so-called "scattering like frightened birds and beasts," "money making tool," and "living in desolation," mentioned in the work are undoubtedly the common problems of the lack of grounds in spiritual level and cultural recognition resulted from the encroachment of materialism. In Sin and Punishment at Hong Kong, Hou transforms the past moral admonitions of the local society into epigrams of secular concern.

    Hou's works in the early 1990s are predominantly prints that challenge social taboos. In fact, its meanings do not lie only on the decisive lines craved on woodblocks, but the complicated collaboration and contrast between the forms and contents, and its subsequent experience and reflection imposed on the viewers.

    Hou's works in the early 1990s are predominantly prints that challenge social taboos. In fact, its meanings do not lie only on the decisive lines craved on woodblocks, but the complicated collaboration and contrast between the forms and contents, and its subsequent experience and reflection imposed on the viewers.

    Literature

    Hou Chun-Ming, Legend Hou's Sin & Punishment-The Printing Creation of Hou of Liuchiao Township 1992-2008, Garden City Publishers, Taipei Taiwan, 2009 (illustrated, unpaged).