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Huang Yan (Chinese, b.1966)
LOT ID: 66757
Untitled (Man's Chest-Chinese Tattoo Landscape), 2011

Oil, on canvas
59 х 59 in. (149.86 x 149.86 cm.)
Signed, and dated
Lot description
This stunning and monumental realist oil painting is by one of the most famous photographers, painters and performance artists in China, Huang Yan. This visually sublime and conceptually powerful painting depicts a man's muscular chest with arms crossed in an intense pose, his bare skin painted with a traditional Chinese landscape scene of winter in a sublime palette of blues, whites and greens across his bare skin. 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, in this case immortalizing one of his famous images from his earliest "Chinese Shan-Shui Tattoo Landscape" Series from 1999.

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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Sales Results for Comparable Works

  • Huang Yan

    Tattoo no. 13 (from Chinese landscape series)
    (H 31.7, W 39.2) in.
    (80.6 x 99.6) cm.
    Ed. 7/12
    Sold for: US$6,760
    Monday, April 2, 2012
    Sotheby's Hong Kong
    Lot 00930
  • Huang Yan

    Plum blossom (4 works from the Tattoo series)
    chromogenic prints
    (H 57.5, W 45.7) in.
    (146 x 116.2) cm.
    Ed. 3/15
    Sold for: US$14,430
    Sunday, November 27, 2011
    Christie's Hong Kong
    Lot 01623
  • Huang Yan

    Chinese landscape: Tattoo series
    color photograph
    (H 19.6, W 23.1) in.
    (49.8 x 58.7) cm.
    Ed. 4/12
    Sold for: US$8,025
    Monday, October 3, 2011
    Sotheby's Hong Kong
    Lot 00952
  • Huang Yan

    Chinese landscape (Tattoo no.10)
    color coupler print
    (H 46.9, W 62.2) in.
    (119 x 158) cm.
    Ed. 2/12
    Sold for: US$13,840
    Saturday, April 24, 2010
    Phillips de Pury & Company London
    Lot 00035
  • Huang Yan

    Ten Works: Chinese shan shui (Tattoo series)
    (H 20, W 24.0) in.
    (50.8 x 61) cm.
    Ed. ed.12
    Sold for: US$32,434
    Saturday, October 18, 2008
    Phillips de Pury & Company London
    Lot 00240
  • Huang Yan

    Chinese landscape tattoo
    chromogenic print
    (H 39.0, W 31.9) in.
    (99 x 81) cm.
    Ed. 2/12
    Sold for: US$10,673
    Monday, December 3, 2007
    Artcurial – Briest - Le Fur - Poulain - F.Tajan
    Lot 00640
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