On The Block: Top Lots At Para Site's Annual Fundraising Auction
This November, Hong Kong's oldest contemporary art centre, Para Site, is hosting its annual fundraising auction. The sale of more than 90 pieces—including works by renowned artists such as Daido Moriyama, Antony Gormley, Pacita Abad and Angela Su—will raise funds to support the centre's upcoming exhibitions and fund public arts educational programmes.
After months of social distancing, art lovers will unite to watch these pieces go under the hammer at an invite-only dinner at the St. Regis hotel on November 19 hosted by Shane Akeroyd and Virginia Yee. The evening will also see Para Site launch its latest grant for artists: The NoExit Grant for Unpaid Artistic Labour. Supported by an anonymous donor, the grant will go towards providing financial relief to 25 Hong Kong artists who are not receiving stable income from the market or academic work.
Leading up to the action, all of the pieces featured will be showcased in a preview exhibition at Soho House from November 12 to 18. And for art enthusiasts who can't wait to declare their interest in these sought-after works, bidding begins online from November 5 at 6.00pm HKT on Artsy.net.
Ahead of these events, here are the top lots up for auction at Para Site's upcoming gala. See and read about the must-have pieces below.
Deep-Fried Shrimps & Egg Bento (2020) by Frog King
Kwok Mang-ho, popularly known as Frog King, has donated Deep-Fried Shrimps & Egg Bento, a folding screen featuring his distinctive mix of painting, calligraphy, graffiti and drawing, as well as several of his signature characters, such as the red-and-white smiling face of a frog.
Hair Warp—Travel Through Strand of Universe (2020) by Ashmina Ranjit
In her series Hair Warp—Travel Through Strand of Universe, Nepalese artist Ashmina Ranjit works with human hair, which she considers a sacred material that connects women to the universe. In the paintings, the sinuous strands of hair morph into different braids, swirls and landscapes—Ranjit says they "flow, fly, dance, celebrate, shout, and echo in the night sky".
Effaced 1 (2014) by Lam Tung-pang
Effaced 1 is an enlarged Hong Kong 100-dollar bill. This bill displays the iconic panorama overlooking Victoria Harbour and Lion Rock. To create this symbol of power, value and identity, the artist laboriously rubbed, sanded and scraped the surface of the print, creating the feel of a used banknote that has been in circulation for a long time. The concept of erasure comes from the artist's speculation that if Hong Kong continues to change, the Hong Kong dollar bill will cease to exist.
Julian (2005) by Elizabeth Peyton
Julian by Elizabeth Peyton depicts American musician Julian Casablancas, lead singer of rock band The Strokes. Best known for her captivating portraits of friends, celebrities and historical figures—among them David Bowie, Frank Ocean, and Barack and Michelle Obama—Peyton's style is characterised by her jewel-like tones and expressive lines. She is inspired by the works of modernists such as Flaubert, Sargent, Balzac and Delacroix.
Untitled (2018) by Rirkrit Tiravanjia
In Untitled, the red typography reads: "Do we dream under the same sky?" layered over copies of the South China Morning Post newspaper. The Argentinian-born Thai artist Tiravanija consistently engages with the ideology and construction of propaganda by asking questions about the way that news is made, assembled and distributed, as well as exploring how readers are absorbing it. He explores what it means to follow the news while simultaneously challenging these notions.
Tao Shu · Autumn Thoughts—Twilight (2020) by Hao Liang
This piece is a working sketch of a new painting series by Hao Liang. While honouring the past, the artist documents and reflects the present day on the canvas.
Distressed Canvas Circuit Board (2019) by Analia Saban
For Distressed Canvas Circuit Board (with Component Rubbings and Punctures), Argentinian artist Analia Saban envelopes a circuit board with canvas and uses rubbing techniques that allow its batteries, resistors and transistors to emerge from behind its linen encasement. The work invokes Arte Povera, a radical Italian art movement in the 1960s and 1970s that encouraged artists to use non-traditional materials and processes.
Threshold (Preliminal) (2020) by Michael Joo
Threshold (Preliminal) originated from a moment when New York-based artist Michael Joo smiled at a monk in a temple in Kyoto back in 2018. The monk smiled back and gave the artist this water ladle, which he had just used to wash his hands. Joo, whose work touches on fundamental questions about identity and the human condition, explores concepts of cleanliness and community in this particular piece.