Ling Jian (B. 1963)
PROPERTY FROM AN IMPORTANT NEW YORK COLLECTION
Ling Jian (B. 1963)

Communist Sister - I Can Give You Best Fruit

Details
Ling Jian (B. 1963)
Communist Sister - I Can Give You Best Fruit
signed in Chinese; signed 'LING JIAN' in Pinyin; dated '2006' (on the reverse)
oil on canvas
148.5 cm. (58 1/2 in.) (diameter)
Painted in 2006
Provenance
Sotheby's New York, 21 March 2007, Lot 23
Acquired directly from the above by the present owner

Lot Essay

Ling Jian is best known for his realistic, seductive portraits of beautiful women and androgynous men. For him 'women are symbols of timeK The beautiful ladies I paint are indeed the visualisations of our society and a new sense of nationalism, as well as a reflection of contemporary values and aesthetic standards'.
In Communist Sister - I can Give You Best Fruit (Lot 482) and Palace Servant (Lot 481), we see our current society's standards of beauty applied in these overtly idealised features of oval faces, almond eyes and luscious red lips. The features incorporate characteristics both Western and Asian and reveal the cultural shifts that establish new international standards of beauty in most consumerist societies.
Ling is well versed in both cultures, having spent three decades living in Vienna, Hamburg and Berlin. Since returning to China in 2003, he has increasingly turned his attention to conceptualising the contemporary Chinese identity. He hints at the complex inner psyche of his subjects, with faces and facial expressions that offer ambiguity and conflicting testimony, and the generalised features brand them with a sense of manufactured artificiality like those seen in fashion magazines. Yet the slight glimpses of their attire refers to his memories of the Cultural Revolution. His portraits can be seductive, aloof, mournful or disturbing, but they all reveal a range of visual cues that cannot be deciphered with simple reason or rationality as he continuously explores themes of culture and individual identity within modern society.
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