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La Fatiga Que Me Das (You Exhaust Me)

La Fatiga Que Me Das (You Exhaust Me)
signed with the artist’s initials ‘CB’ (lower right); signed, titled and dated ‘CRISTINA BANBAN 2019 ‘LA FATIGA QUE ME DAS’’ (on the reverse)
acrylic on canvas
59 1/8 x 71in. (150.1 x 180.4cm.)
Painted in 2019
WOAW Gallery, Hong Kong.
Private Collection, Asia.
Acquired from the above by the present owner.
Hong Kong, WOAW Gallery, Cristina BanBan, 2020.
Special notice
Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's Resale Right Regulations 2006 apply to this lot, the buyer agrees to pay us an amount equal to the resale royalty provided for in those Regulations, and we undertake to the buyer to pay such amount to the artist's collection agent. This lot has been imported from outside of the UK for sale and placed under the Temporary Admission regime. Import VAT is payable at 5% on the hammer price. VAT at 20% will be added to the buyer’s premium but will not be shown separately on our invoice.

Brought to you by

Michelle McMullan
Michelle McMullan Head of Evening Sale

Lot Essay

Three larger-than-life characters fill the canvas of La Fatiga Que Me Das (You Exhaust Me) (2019), a monumental painting that bursts with the figural distortions, exaggerated features and lush painterly bravura that define Cristina BanBan’s practice. A weeping woman rests her head on gigantic, knuckly hands; blue tears and blonde hair alike cascade down her face and through her fingers, pooling on the surface before her. Her liquid, cartoonish eyes stare wistfully off-screen. She might be heartbroken, or—as the title hints—just tired of it all. Flanking her left and right, two equally voluptuous figures comfort the woman, laying their own massive hands upon her in a colourful pile-up of flesh, touch and feeling. The left-hand figure bears a rich orange complexion and fetching blue nails. BanBan draws on inspirations ranging from Neoclassical portraiture to Abstract Expressionism and the graphic language of manga, but ultimately conceives of her work in diaristic terms. Always placing the female form centre-stage, her dynamic, vibrant compositions are at once bold and intimate, driven by everyday experiences of companionship, humour and self-definition.

Born in Barcelona, BanBan developed her interest in the human figure at a young age. She attended an after-school art programme from the age of five, gaining a firm grounding in the fundamentals of life-drawing and colour theory, and by the time she was a teenager was teaching the classes herself. She went on to earn her BFA in Fine Arts from the University of Barcelona, and in 2012 moved to London, where the expressive, inflated figures for which she is known today began to take shape. Her influences included Philip Guston, Willem de Kooning and the Japanese manga artist and character designer Akira Toriyama—best known for the enormously successful Dragon Ball series—all of whose styles can be felt in the present work. Infused with Rubenesque grandeur, the painting’s loose, deliquescent brushwork and extravagant forms are handled with a free-flowing confidence that is distinctly BanBan’s own. Today, the artist lives and works in New York: La Fatiga Que Me Das was painted shortly after her move there, just months before the coronavirus pandemic forced the world into lockdown.

BanBan’s merger of emotive exploration with the haptic, sensational qualities of paint is exemplified in her figures’ mighty hands, which have become something of a hallmark of her work. Foregrounding touch, engaged in gestural action and manipulating their own (and others’) bodies, they seem to shape the very world around them. ‘They’re my favourite part of the human body, after the teeth’, she says. ‘… Playing with hands brings movement into the painting. It doesn’t matter if the subjects are in relaxed positions, hands always create a dynamic composition’ (C. BanBan, quoted in E. Pricco, ‘The Nuance of Memory’, Juxtapoz Magazin, 7 June 2021). Both colossal and sensitive, the reassuring figures of La Fatiga Que Me Pas quite literally take matters into their own hands, presenting a warm, playful picture of communal strength, energy and imagination.

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