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Huang Yan (Chinese, b.1966)
LOT ID: 66343
Portrait of a Woman, 2012

Oil, on canvas
47.25 х 35.5 in. (120.02 x 90.17 cm.)
Signed, and dated. This work is accompanied by a formal certificate of authenticity signed by the artist.
Lot description
"Portrait of a Woman" might be easily mistaken for a photograph, however this is actually a rare and exciting photo-realist oil painting by one of the most famous photographers, painters and performance artists in China, Huang Yan. Depicting a close-up portrait of a beautiful young Chinese woman's face that has been painted white, with traditional Chinese floral patterns in bright golds and green painted across her visage, her face as canvas. In stunning contrast to the tranquil scene upon her face, the clear and direct gaze of her wide-open, dark brown eyes makes this one of the most accomplished paintings by Huang, both conceptually and aesthetically. Huang Yan is internationally renowned for redefining the "human body as a canvas". This work belongs to his new series of large-scale oil paintings whose images are sourced from Huang's own, earlier celebrated photographic works of the human body as canvas.

This exciting series of large-scale oil paintings are very rare and are a highly important addition to the artist's oeuvre, as he has only painted a handful of these works to-date. In these paintings, and more often in photographs, Huang disproves the assumption that the human figure must always take the role of subject. In fact, this painting encapsulates what makes Huang so important, as it is a synthesis of a traditional Chinese landscape painted in a contemporary setting on a human body, thus creating a unique conceptual context. Huang continues to find new ways to encourage the viewer to ask whether the human figure is a passive backdrop for the real artwork- the painted landscape- or whether the figure is the subject of the artwork itself?

Huang Yan is highly sought-after by collectors and curators alike and has for decades been the subject of important solo and group show, including: 100 International Artists at the Casoria Contemporary Art Museum, 2005, Italy; Between the Past and the Future at the International Center of Photography, 2004, NYC; Guangzhou Triennial Exhibition at the Guangdong Museum of Art, 2002; 1st Chinese Art Triennial, Guangzhou Art Museum, 2002; Canton Triennial, Canton Museum of Fine Arts, 2002, China; The Turn of the Century: Exhibition of Chinese Art 1979-1999, Chengdu Museum of Modern Art, 1999, China; The East is Red, Victoria and Albert Museum, 1999, London UK. Huang Yan graduated from the Changchun Normal Academy, China in 1987. The artist lives and works in Beijing, China.
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