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Gyatso's Palace

Gyatso's Palace
signed and dated ‘HUANG Yuxing 2019-2020’ (lower right)
acrylic on canvas
145.3 x 230 cm. (57 1/4 x 90 1/2 in.); & 12.3 x 12.3 cm. (4 7/8 x 4 7/8 in.)
Executed in 2019-2020
Private collection, Asia (acquired directly from the artist’s studio)
Acquired from the above by the present owner

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Jacky Ho (何善衡)
Jacky Ho (何善衡)

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Lot Essay

Vivid, mesmerizing, and compelling - Huang Yuxing’s Gyatso’s Palace encapsulates his artistic and spiritual journey in redefining contemporary landscape art. Fascinated by Chinese traditional ink painting techniques, Huang would adopt it with a western twist, combining it with an interplay of neon colours and layering until his works have undergone visual metamorphosis. His unique take on landscape painting paved way to a new generation of paysage that is both iconic and avant-garde.
Recalling his nostalgic journey to Lhasa, the present lot captures and embodies Huang Yuxing’s deep fascination for the Tibetan culture. As part of his homage to the Tibetan heritage, the word Gyatso seen in the artwork’s title not only represent one of the given names of the current Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso; it also translates to ‘ocean’ – resembling to a subject matter that holds close to Huang’s heart. The river is known to be the artist’s favourite subject matter, he once stated, “To me, it is the physical manifestation that represents the definition of time”. Upon his graduation from the Central Academy of Fine Arts in 2000, the artist decided to embark on an adventure to Lhasa. To fully immerse himself into the Tibetan lifestyle, he would opt to stay at monasteries, clothed in traditional Kasaya and even studied the Tibetan language among local monks. Thoroughly inspired by all that surrounds him, subtle elements from his momentous journey was integrated into this specific work. The intricate composition is seemingly split into halves along a horizontal line. Deep in the background lies an abstract form of the Gyatso Palace, standing tall in solidarity. Its presence interwoven by swaths of vibrant colours and neon swirls that resembles a cascading river plunging downwards. In contrast, the foreground is filled with psychedelic scribbles and curves, where the red obscured lines mimic the Buddhist scriptures the artist once studied. Lost in the vast spiritual dreamscape, the distorted skull face fixed on the small canvas stays afloat near the center of the piece, as if the artist was trying to contemplate his existence within time.
In Huang’s visual rhetoric, the river symbolizes time and life; it flows and has eternal qualities, allowing for the coexistence of destruction and vitality. The rushing yet calm waters in the present lot seem to reach an equilibrium between stillness and movement, re-creating a sense of timelessness in the contrasting elements of the work. To create this work, the artist would repeatedly apply thin layers of translucent paint all over the canvas, breathing life into the piece and the water body flourished under the artist’s skillful execution. The flowing river is transformed by the artist into a shifting yet eternal form, with a mesmerizing glow on the painting that seems to sprawl endlessly. Like The Persistence of Memory that epitomizes Salvador Dali’s theories of ‘softness’ and ‘hardness’, Dali uses soft watches as an unconscious symbol of the relation between space and time; time bends and distorts meanwhile it is relative to the person observing it. In a similar manner, this beautiful work offers a narrative of the artist’s concept of life and time. Using bold lines and prismatic colours to juxtapose river and architecture, Huang has successfully captured the elusive and intangible time – by chronicling the changes and experiences he encountered while placing viewers in a dreamland where transience and infinitude can both coexist.
River series is considered most sought-after within Huang Yuxing’s oeuvre, among his top ten auction records, half is dominated by this iconic subject matter. With his record setting work Enlightening in mind, an exemplary piece from his river series sold at Christie’s Hong Kong in July 2020; Huang Yuxing’s shimmering masterpieces continues to take the art world by storm.


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