Untitled (Colosseum)

Untitled (Colosseum)
signed ‘yuanyuan’ (on the right side); titled and signed in Chinese, dated ‘2009’ (on the reverse)
oil on canvas
185 x 175 cm. (72 7/8 x 68 7/8 in.)
Painted in 2009
Acquired from the artist by the present owner
Private Collection, Asia
This work is accompanied by a certificate signed by the artist.

Brought to you by

Jessica Hsu
Jessica Hsu

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Lot Essay

Untitled (Colosseum) (Lot 143) was painted in 2009. At the time, Yuan Yuan was concerned with how the exterior of architectures can point to the cultural characteristics of a society. The structure in the painting refers to an iconic architecture in Italy — the largest colosseum that the ancient Romans built. However, its structural support is made up of broken elements taken from the traditional Chinese architecture of siheyuan — a set of four houses arranged in a rectangle surrounding a shared courtyard. Two different types of architectures are absurdly assembled together. In the 1990s, many traditional architectures such as siheyuan were demolished in a massive scale to make way for rapid urbanisation. They were replaced with high-rises that are supposedly to be more suitable for modern living. As the modes of living have changed, many customs, cultures, and lifestyles vanished. This painting not only investigates into the intricate relationship between human civilisation and the cost of progress, it also demonstrates the artist's sense of responsibility and accountability for the society.

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