Three works by celebrated Chinese contemporary artist Qu Lei Lei will be a focal point at the Bonhams Hong Kong 2013 Spring Auctions to be held from 22 to 26 May at the Island Ballroom of the Island Shangri-La Hotel. Qu Lei Lei is an innovative and influential Chinese contemporary artist who holds an important place in art history. Internationally acclaimed for his ground-breaking work which portrays light and shade in his unique brush and ink language that combines the best of the East and the West. He shows how the Chinese medium of brush and ink, which is traditionally a linear art, can, through skillful and extremely subtle gradations of light and shade, produce those tactile values of Western art. Qu Lei Lei's art has been shown at significant exhibitions in China and the rest of the world.
Three Qu Lei Lei paintings, all fresh to the market, will be offered during the auctions. The first one, titled 'The Future Remains in Our Hands', has been kindly donated by Qu Lei Lei for a charity auction at the Bonhams Charity Dinner to benefit Operation Smile China Medical Mission to be held on 22 May on the opening night of the Spring Auctions. The proceeds will go to fund free surgery and post operative care to needy children and young adults in China born with a cleft lip or cleft palate and help them regain their smiles in order to live healthy, normal lives.
The Future Remains In Our Own Hands
Chinese ink on Xuan paper, scroll, 66cm x 180 cm, 2008
This painting is from one of Qu Lei Lei's 'Facing the future' series where he shows deep concern for the fate of humanity with a series of images of hands each in a different expressive position. To Qu Lei Lei, the language of the human hand transcends all race, class, and nations and this painting could be the story of one man, one family, one nation or the whole world. In this series, Qu Lei Lei also concentrates on a deeper exploration of the brush and Chinese ink with a new methodology by combining the traditional Chinese technique and materials with Westernised painting and its exploration of light and shadow with a strict adherence to human anatomy.
Estimate: HK$150,000 – 200,000
Two other paintings will be offered at the Fine Chinese & Contemporary Asian Art auction to be held on 25 May at the same venue.
Reclining Figure On Eastern Rug
Chinese ink on Xuan paper, scroll, 91cm x 170cm, 2011
This painting is from the series ' Brush, Ink, Light, Shadow'. In this series Qu Lei Lei practises and explores both Eastern and Western aesthetic concepts. The image here combines an Oriental spirit with Western tactile values exploring how the brush on Xuan paper can create light and shadow. Strict adherence is given to the build up of the human structure. The image holds a variety of elements of yin and yang contrasts including black, white and grey, lightness and heaviness, intricate complexity and freehand simplicity plus solidity and emptiness. Collectively, these elements create an aesthetically stimulating image.
Estimate: HK$200,000 – 300,000
We Are Invincible
Chinese ink on Xuan paper, scroll, 91cm x 171 cm, 2011
This painting is from the series 'Thousands of Years of Empire'. In this series Qu Lei Lei reflects on his understanding of history and culture. Apart from using traditional materials and methods, he also uses surrealistic languages as a means of travelling through time to find grid references to modern history. In the individuals he portrays, he explores the idea of the dual relationship between the personal and the comparatively impersonal identity of the common man and the human condition in the context of a whole national identity.
Estimate: HK$200,000 – 300,000
About Qu Lei Lei
Qu Lei Lei (b.1951) is an innovative and influential Chinese contemporary artist who holds an important place in art history. He started his career as a founding member of the famous avant-garde 'Stars Group' in China. The Stars Movement developed between 1979 and 1980 and stood as an important symbol of the launch of Chinese contemporary art.
During his 'Stars Period' from 1978 to 1984, Qu Lei Lei produced works including Pen and Ink Line Drawings to express his inner beliefs describing his personal emotion concerning the fate of the whole Chinese nation. He also explored the question both visually and literally 'Who am I, Where am I from, and Where am I Going to?' in his artwork and in his life until he left China for England in 1985 to study Western Art.
In England in approximately five-year stages, he produced various differing projects. From 1990 to 1995, he completed 'The Sun in my Dream - the First Half of My Life' series which concerned learning from the past and knowing the future. From 1996 to the end of the decade, he completed the 'Here and Now - To Face a New Century' series. This explores the basic features which unite all mankind, what elements we all share concerning the historical present and future. From the year 2000 to 2005 he completed 'Everyone's Life is an Epic'. This series concentrates on individual peoples' living conditions and their desires. Between 2005 and 2010 he completed his aesthetic 'Brush Ink Light Shadow' series to see how far he could go with Chinese brush and ink to emulate the achievements of the European Renaissance masters. In the new decade, he started three new projects simultaneously - 'Miners', 'Mothers', and 'Thousands of Years of Empire', in an ongoing exploration of history, culture and humanity.
Though Qu Lei Lei's paintings are rooted in the Chinese tradition, his work has a Western quality combining light and shadow. With his deep understanding of human anatomy he has created his own unique brush and ink language. Qu Lei Lei's painting has a great sense of individuality as well as having a distinctly original and creative style. His paintings display the tactile values of Western art whilst still clearly maintaining the Chinese spirit, ultimately combining the best of both East and West. Unique to Qu Lei Lei is the manner in which his work portrays light and shade. He shows how the Chinese medium of brush and ink, which is traditionally a linear art, can, through skillful and extremely subtle gradations of light and shade, produce those tactile values of Western art. This is what makes his paintings so interestingly different from traditional Chinese paintings. In addition he uses Xuan paper, one of the 'scholar's four jewels' and the perfect medium for conveying the spirit of Chinese calligraphy and painting, in his works which is in complete contrast to the oils and acrylics on canvas used by Western artists.
Qu Lei Lei's social influence is extensive. Since 1979, his art has been shown in many significant exhibitions in China and around the world. Among these he has also had solo shows at the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford in 2005 and China National Art Museum in 2011. His works have been collected by The Victoria and Albert Museum, The Ashmolean Museum, Japan Modern Art Museum, China National Art Museum, Barclays Bank and have been included in the private collections of many eminent collectors including HRH The Prince of Wales, and Professor Michael Sullivan, one of the pioneers of modern Chinese art history. He has published seven books of Chinese art. As a visiting tutor, he lectures in traditional Chinese painting and calligraphy as well as Chinese contemporary art at The British Museum, Victoria and Albert Museum, The Royal Academy, and other institutions. Due to his continuous achievements, he was elected Chairman of Great Britain's Chinese Painting Society in 1999.
NOTES FOR EDITORS
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