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Sheng Qi (Chinese, b.1965)
LOT ID: 66267
Ai Weiwei, 2009

Acrylic, on canvas
27.5 х 22 in. (69.85 x 55.88 cm.)
Signed, and dated on back of canvas.
Lot description
"Ai Weiwei" (2009) is unframed and in excellent condition.

Sheng Qi's dynamic portrait of his friend and art colleague, Contemporary Chinese artist Ai Weiwei (China, 1957) depicts the famous bearded artist up-close with eyes squeezed shut and teeth clenched in an expression somewhere between extreme pleasure and pain. This is one of the most exciting and important works by Sheng to-date, as it is the only portrait of Ai Weiwei that he has painted, typically reserving his subject matter to depicting China's past political figures and narratives such as portraits of Mao that he visually and thematically corrupts with lewd imagery.

The bright red background of this portrait is in marked contrast to the grey-scale portrait, the use of red a main feature of Sheng's paintings. In a bold painterly manner, Sheng allows the red paint of the background to mix with the paint of his portrait, with drips of red, grey, white and black running down the artist's visage. This manner fluid manner of using the color red here signifies more than Communist China, but also references the "blood and sweat" of the artist; the artist as martyr, and Ai's Chinese familial blood-line.

Sheng Qi, born in 1965, is a Chinese contemporary multi-media and performance artist. He is best known for social-political prevalent themed paintings and photographs. He led one of Chinese contemporary art's earliest performance art groups: Concept 21 and was a key member of China’s New art Movement in 1985. He uses the human body, whether in photographs or paintings, as a field of protest. Sheng emigrated from China to live in Europe and earned his master's degree from London's prestigious St. Martin's Academy of Art and Design. He is famous the world over, having participated in select exhibitions in Europe, Mexico and the United States, including the much-hyped (1998) "Inside-Out" exhibition in New York. Sheng Qi is represented top galleries in Europe and Asia. Sheng Qi returned to Beijing in 1998.
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Sales Results for Comparable Works

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