A Divine Comedy

A Divine Comedy
signed ‘David Chan’, dated ‘2006’, titled ‘A Divine Comedy’ and inscribed ‘160 x 250 cm oil on canvas’ (on the reverse)
oil on canvas
160 x 250 cm. (63 x 98 3/8 in.)
Painted in 2006
Art Seasons Gallery, Singapore
Anon. Sale, Sotheby’s Hong Kong, 6 April 2014, Lot 306
Acquired from the above by the present owner
Private Collection, Asia
Art Seasons Gallery, Singapore, A Divine Comedy: An Art Exhibition By David Chan, 24 November – 31 December 2015

Brought to you by

Jessica Hsu
Jessica Hsu

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Lot Essay

A Divine Comedy (Lot 134) by Singaporean artist David Chan takes its inspiration from Northern Irish orchestral pop band fronted by Neil Hannon; specifically, a series of highly narrative songs with humorous – bordering on cynical – attitude towards future generations.
The works from this series explores Chan's then preoccupations with the simultaneous existence of science, technology, and traditions, their inherently dissonant natures juxtaposed through his realistic representations of dogs. In his familiar tongue-in-cheek style, Chan deliberately selects to paint Man's best friend for its anagrammatic play on the word 'god'.
In A Divine Comedy, a confrontation between robot dogs and their living, breathing counterparts takes place. Between these two factions sits Man, his face obscured to deemphasise his individuality, for he is merely a representation of an ideology. There is a sense of tension and apprehension, and an unknowing in what the outcome of this moment could be. It is precisely in creating such works that Chan is able to encapsulate his own inquisition into the fundamental nature of tradition and Man's quest for knowledge through our advancements into science and technology.
A Divine Comedy is a natural trajectory that follows from Chan's earlier series Genetic Wonderland, in which he explored the kinds of negotiations that would happen as a result of genetic modification and engineering – the act of playing god. Chan's works are an opportunity for the viewer to confront one's own morals and beliefs, and in some ways act as a mirror to hold against ourselves.
Chan graduated from Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology with a BA in Fine Art in 2004. He was the recipient of the 23rd UOB Painting of the Year (Representational Medium Category Award) in 2004, which is one of the most prestigious awards given to young talents in the visual field in Singapore. He has since exhibited his works at the 54th Venice Biennale at the Fondazione Claudio Buziol and the Wereldmuseum Rotterdam in Netherlands, among various other international galleries and institutions.

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