Auction | China Guardian (HK) Auctions Co., Ltd.
2015 Autumn Auctions
20th Century and Contemporary Chinese Art

Guarded By Dragon And Tiger

Ink and colour on paper

120 x 150 cm.47 1/4 x 59 in.

Signed and dated in Chinese,stamped with one artist’s seal on lower left and another artist’s seal on upper right

LITERATURE Hanart TZ Gallery,Hong Kong,Liu Kuo-sung:A Retrospective View,2005,p.93.

EXHIBITED Hanart TZ Gallery,Hong Kong,LIU Guosong Solo Exhibition,Nov.22 - Dec.16,2013.

Liu GuoSOng(LIU KUO-SUNG)b.1932

This piece,Guarded by Dragon and Tiger,was created by Liu in 2002 at the age of 70. To commemorate and mark the 70th,such a special age in the Chinese cultural context,Hanart TZ Gallery curated a solo exhibition “The Universe in the Mind:A Retrospective of Liu,Kuo-sung”. For the exhibition,several significant pieces were selected from Liu’s different stages and styles. Among all selected works,Guarded by Dragon and Tiger was one of the magnificent pieces presented.At that time,the artist already reached his 70 but his creativity was still running wild. His thirst and desire of pursuing new horizons and exploring new possibility in creation were still very strong. To present a new artistic conception,Liu never stop experimenting.?He has been believing that both scientists and artists should do different experiments relentlessly in the workshops. The former one create materials culture and the latter one create spiritual culture for humanity. Having said that,Liu turned his quest and experiments from the workshop to the nature to look for inspiration. By the summer of 68 years old,he went to Tibet and trekked to the basecamp at 6,000 feet above the sea level and had a taste of the living at the Himalayan region,feeling the?spirits of the world’s highest summit. Though he lost the?hearing in his left ear after returning to the foot of the mountain,which stroke him heavily,the suffering did not hinder him from?creating. After the incident,he finished the Tibet series sequentially,which is another remarkable series in his career.

In Guarded By Dragon and Tiger,the bold brush strokes in the spontaneous approach come from the approach Liu adapted on the rugged snowy mountain in his Tibet Series. As suggested by the title of the painting,the brush strokes intimate a dragon crouching on the snow,or a fierce tiger wandering in the wild green,which seems are awaiting a tremendous happening. Under Liu’s?brushwork,it shows the detailed structure and texture of the snowy mountain in the mighty mist. The white sheer slope is interlocking with the blue and green rocks,echoing with the flowing wind,whirling clouds and accumulated snowfall. On the painting,the sharp rocks and the charming ink brushes are blended in unison,though both elements are playing together in a fashion of harmony and disagreement. The huge tension arises from them and the recollection of vicissitudes of life inevitably overflows his works.

Modernist Movement in Taiwan

In the aftermath of the wars,Taiwan went through a decade of ordeal but stabilized gradually in the late 1950s. Art and culture began to thrive on the island. Influx of Modernist literature and art encouraged diversification in the Taiwanese art scene. The globally dominant Modernist art movement was the first to take shape in Taiwan. Largely influenced by American Abstract Expressionism and European Art Informel,Modernist Art foregrounds ‘liberation from form’. In 1957,two renowned Modernist art groups were founded:the Eastern Art Association by students of Li Chung-sheng,and the Fifth Moon Group by graduates of the Department of Fine Arts,National Taiwan Normal University. Li Chung-sheng was a pioneer in bringing the concepts and creative practice of Modernist art into Taiwan via his unique and private teaching. Liu Kuo-sung of the Fifth May Group and Hsiao Chin of the Eastern Art Association were among the top-notch artists in this Modernist wave. They had a revolutionary spirit. They looked up to traditional Chinese aesthetics intellectually,and ventured in action to bring in Modernist thinking from the West to pave a new way for Chinese modern art.

In the late 1960s,Hsiao Chin’s freestyle hand painting began to yield to a rational and structural approach. Starting from the 1980s,he avoided the direct and formal interpretation of zen and launched his Chi series. In 1969,Liu Kuo-sung’s Space series was displayed for the first time,which marked the maturity of his artistic style. At the end of 1972,Liu brought in the traditional Chinese techniques of watermarks and water rubbing(shui tuo)to instill a mood of traditional ink painting into his works. Also inspired by the Modernism during the Nativist Movement,Ju Ming began to combine concepts of both traditional and Modernist sculpture,and eventually established a style of his own in the 1970s,the renownedTaichi series, which transcends both of its parents. Chiu Ya-tsai,who is noted for his portraits,delve into the fragility of human nature masked behind a rational face through his paint brush. The literati in his portraits have fine,elegant contours and square faces with rounded corners,which reflect the profound influence of the art of the Tang Dynasty on the artist. However,the subjects’ highly refined and simplistic styles reveal a sense of loneliness and decadence of the literati in the age of Modernism.

Taipei Fine Arts Museum,founded in the 1980s,began to introduce original foreign modern artworks into Taiwan while providing a platform for local artists to showcase their works. The opening of the museum beckoned many young artists who were studying abroad home. Their works injected much vigor and diversity to the Taiwanese art scene. In 1982,Richard Lin,who had gone to study in the United Kingdom,presented his first solo exhibition back in Taiwan. His White Space series attracted enthusiastic debates in the local art circle on the concepts of GeometricAbstraction and Minimalism,giving rise to a group of mainly cool abstract art by the artists of the 1980s. Lin created a rage in the Taiwanese art scene with his highly pure artistry,keeping away from the local political and cultural turmoil. Lin was a class by himself.

After 1970,a large amount of young Modernist artists went overseas,galleries became popular and thus Modernist Art in Taiwan subsided into the past. However,the brave venture and innovation of the artists had brought the local art scene forward and livened it up with their artistic pursuit. Despite complicated social conditions,the artists’ unique creative expressions reflected a deep understanding of the culture they belonged to,a yearning to free themselves from colonization and to bring out their independence and modernity on the global stage. Artists of the time had set a benchmark in the Taiwan’s art development. This auction has the honor to present works from the most important pioneers and advocates in Taiwan Modernism,selected works from the most zestful time of Taiwan’s art scene,and to showcase how the masters opened up new possibilities for the era through their artistic quests and discoveries.

Price estimate:
HKD:1,100,000 - 1,500,000
USD:141,900 - 193,500

Auction Result:
HKD : 2,006,000



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