Lin And Wang Among China’s Most Respected Contemporary Artists
By this point, it’s well established that the likes of Zhang Xiaogang, Wang Guangyi, Yue Minjun, Zeng Fanzhi and Fang Lijun — artists who made their names in the late 1980s and the 1990s — are firmly established as some of the country’s most sought-after blue-chip contemporary artists. But with works by these artists regularly selling for millions of dollars at auctions in China, Hong Kong and overseas, one of the important questions for a hopeful new collector is which artists are due for more attention. In its newest issue, Art+Auction looks at the question of who are the next most-collectible artists in the world, beginning with a discussion of what exactly the word “collectible” means. Via Artinfo:
To some it may simply be a synonym for popular. For certain connoisseurs it may function as shorthand for aesthetic quality. When the editors of Art+Auction convened for the first time to discuss the topic several months ago, we each brought our own predilections and biases. Was this an opportunity to laud established artists who had not been given their due? Should we hitch our reputation to our favorites from the up-and- coming generation? Ultimately, this being a magazine of the art market, we decided our aim should be to identify artists who have demonstrated past strength at auction or in primary sales and show promise of continued development. We did not want to merely list the people at the top of the market, but to cite those who might find themselves there in 10, 20, or 30 years. In short, we were looking for artists whose works have room to grow aesthetically and rise in terms of monetary value.
Speaking with collectors, art advisers, auction house specialists and dealers, the magazine tracked down which artists have been selling and who have been buying, which works are most in demand and which are undervalued. Eventually, Art+Auction narrowed down the list to the world’s “50 Next Most Collectible Artists,” listing two Chinese contemporary artists, Lin Tianmiao and Wang Keping, alongside artists from around the world, among them Tomma Abts, Kristin Baker and Wade Guyton. Though not unknown by any stretch of the imagination (Wang was a founding member of the Stars art group, founded in Beijing in the late 1970s, and Lin has exhibited around the world), the inclusion of these two artists in Art+Auction’s list indicates that, for collectors around the world, there are still many top-tier Chinese artists left to discover.
Art+Auction’s profiles of Lin and Wang:
One of China’s preeminent installation artists, Lin also creates sculptures, photographs, and videos that have secured her reputation as a major figure in contemporary art. She enlists craft-based techniques and frequently uses a white-gray palette to give her works an appearance of fragility that initially disguises their questioning of gender norms. Lin’s signature material is thread. Last May, a Surrealist-inspired sculpture of a thread-wrapped clothes iron, “Bound & Unbound,” more than tripled its high estimate when it brought $13,700 at Christie’s Hong Kong. Thread also appears in “Focus,” a series of large prints of hauntingly washed-out faces that have been embossed, sewn, and hole-punched. “The ‘Hand Signals’ and ‘Focus’ series have been sought after by collectors,” says Jennifer Olshin, director of Friedman Benda, Lin’s gallery in New York. “Here? or There?,”a series of photographs made with her partner, Wang Gongxin, for the 2002 Shanghai Biennial, garnered huge interest before it was purchased by the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art at the University of Oklahoma. Expect wider demand in the West following the debut of her solo exhibition at the Asia Society in September.
A member of the Stars, an avant-garde collective of Chinese artists active in the early 1980s, Wang has been quietly developing an international following over the course of his 40-year career. The sculptor’s early political work rarely surfaces but commands substantial prices: “Idol,” a sculpture of Mao from the 1980s, fetched a record-setting $118,200 last year at Christie’s Hong Kong. Nevertheless, according to his New York dealer, Gwenolee Zürcher, Wang’s work, now focused on the female form, tends to sell for up to 50 percent more on the primary market, where pieces range from $25,000 to $400,000.