Contemporary Asian Art Debuts at Bonhams Hong Kong Spring Auctions

Bonhams Hong Kong offers a capsule collection of carefully curated contemporary Asian Art during the Fine Chinese Paintings & Contemporary Asian Art Auction on 25 May at the Island Shangri-la Hotel. The Asian Contemporary Art department was established in early 2013 to lead the auction house's expansion in this vibrant art market. This capsule collection features iconic Chinese and Southeast Asian art and is a harbinger of a more comprehensive offering at the Autumn Auctions which will be held in November.

Highlights include:

Lot 825
Sui Jianguo (b.1956)
Legacy Mantle
Estimate: HK$150,000 - 190,000

Legacy Mantle, a sculpture by Sui Jianguo, is perhaps the icon in the medium of sculpture in contemporary art in China. The hollow "Mao jacket" is a metaphor for the heritage of Sun Yat-sen and its appropriation by Mao Zedong, conveyed through the image of his garment. The ambiguity of the tribute to Mao lies in the idea of the hollowness of the Maoist past rhetoric, and the formalism and rigidity of the conformist collectivism of the Communist system. The choice of such contemporary material as resin and rendition add to the meaning of the work. The jacket, black in this instance, also represents a dark cloak that covered and contained China during that time. This very sleek and utterly contemporary version in the series very rarely appears on the market.

Lot 826
Sui Jianguo (b.1956)
Clothed Discobolus
Estimate: HK$220,000 - 320,000

Clothed Discobolus, by Sui Jianguo is a take on a canon of antique Western sculpture. In Sui Jianguo's version the athlete wears Mao's, or rather Sun yat-sen's costume. The artist plays on the re-modeling of Western models with Chinese characteristics, as this suit first came from the West, like the antique model for arts training. The material chosen, bronze, is a reference to the role of copy in art history as the lost Greek original was made of bronze and is only know through its marble Roman copy. Sui Jianguo shows his mastery of anatomy, clothes folds and his irony through these references to very contemporary issues in China, the invasion of Western models and their copying.

Lot 824
Zhu Yiyong (b.1957)
Memories from the Past No. 27
Estimate: HK$190,000 – 280,000

Zhu Yiyong's 'Memories' series have the exceptional aesthetic qualities of Hyperreaslim, notably the perfect flat brush work and the intricate rendering of anatomy and clothes' folds, and the subtlety and soft elegance of the grey monochrome of the portrait. This work is one of the most accomplished in the series and a beautiful portrait of a young lady in military clad. The motif of the Cat's cradle, the red star, solely painted in colour and in relief, very textured and almost crisscrossed conveys the artist's message. Zhu Yiyong dwells on the collective memory of the Communist past. Through a reference to the lost innocence of childhood, he brings attention to its reality, which differs from the romantic version conveyed by propaganda.

Lot 846
U Lun Gywe (Burmese, b.1930)
Bathing at the Well II
Estimate: HK$65,000 - 85,000

The Burmese modern and contemporary art market is most probably the next one to blossom in Asia. U Lun Gywe is one of the most established living masters in Burma. His aesthetic sensibilities combine French Impressionism, Oriental roots and his own Burmese heritage. This painting seemingly depicts a scene of everyday life, women bathing at the well, but is infused with the romanticism of the technique and rendering in long strong brushstrokes. This work exemplifies the artist's technique and style. U Lun Gywe has extensive exhibition records in Myanmar and abroad; his works are in the collections of the National Museum of Myanmar and the National Art Gallery of Malaysia.

For more information please contact:
Mabel Au-Yeung
+852 9038 8939


Bonhams, founded in 1793, is one of the world's largest auctioneers of fine art and antiques. The present company was formed by the merger in November 2001 of Bonhams & Brooks and Phillips Son & Neale. In August 2002, the company acquired Butterfields, the principal firm of auctioneers on the West Coast of America. Today, Bonhams offers more sales than any of its rivals, through two major salerooms in London: New Bond Street and Knightsbridge; and a further three in the UK regions and Scotland. Sales are also held in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Carmel, New York and Connecticut in the USA; and Germany, France, Monaco, Hong Kong and Australia. Bonhams has a worldwide network of offices and regional representatives in 25 countries offering sales advice and valuation services in 60 specialist areas. For a full listing of upcoming sales, plus details of Bonhams specialist departments go to

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