Kawaii Pop Powers Through Bonhams Modern and Contemporary Art Sale in Hong Kong

• Sale 94.2% sold by lot
• Sale total HK$19million, doubling the pre-sale estimate
• Half of the sale sells above high estimate
• New global buyers contribute to over half of the sale total
• Works by Yayoi Kusama 100% sold
• Western art 100% sold, doubling the pre-sale estimate
• Nearly all works by Kawaii Pop artists find a buyer

Hong Kong – Ayako Rokkaku's Rainbow and a Girl, a prime work of the artist considered as 'the new Nara' by many, is the top lot at Bonhams Modern and Contemporary Art Sale in Hong Kong on 26 May 2022. After a see-saw competition of 15 bids from global bidders, the large-scaled acrylic on canvas sold for HK$4,665,000, far exceeding the estimate of HK$1,500,000-2,000,000. Now the fifth top price of the artist at auction, Rainbow and a Girl is a prime example from Rokkaku's oeuvre, featuring her signature technique to directly apply brightly-coloured acrylic paint with bare fingers and hands, evoking a sense of dynamic imagination and lack of rules in children's drawings. All of the quintessential elements of Rokkaku are included in this work: a little girl with candid facial expressions full of character, warm and vividly-coloured backgrounds littered with flowers, butterflies and rainbow-like smears. It is a concoction of joy and dreaminess.

All twelve but one lots by Kawaii pop artists found a buyer. Ayako Rokkaku's Wanna eat it! sold for HK$1,011,000, eclipsing the high estimate (estimate: HK$700,000-1,000,000). Yoshitomo Nara's (B. 1959) Challenge! sold for HK$859,800, over three times the estimate (HK$250,000-400,000).

Marcello Kwan, Bonhams Head of Modern and Contemporary Art, Asia, commented: "Our strategy to curate a sale addressing a wide range of price points proves to be highly successful. Not only are the prices consistently strong across the sale, we have also attracted an influx of new global buyers, who contributed to half of the sale. The positive results confirm Bonhams' leadership in the core market."

All seven works by Yayoi Kusama sold, and six of them sold for multiples of their estimates. Leading this section is Lights in Montreal, which sold for HK$2,271,000, nearly three times the estimate (HK$800,000-1,200,000). Pumpkin 1998 (lot 8) and Pumpkin 1985 (lot 9) sold for HK$1,641,000 and HK$ 1,389,000 respectively, leading the market of mid-sized pumpkin sculptures by Kusama.

Leading the western art section is Untitled by Abdoulaye Diarrassouba "Aboudia" (B. 1983), which sold for HK$948,000, over three times the pre-sale estimate (estimate: HK$300,000-500,000).


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