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Zhang Xiaogang (Chinese, b.1958)
LOT ID: 66063
Untitled (Empty Bed and Flashlight) from the "Memory & Amnesia "Portfoilio , 2006

Screenprint, Offset lithograph, Somerset 300g paper, loose (as issued)
23 х 18 in. (58.42 x 45.72 cm.)
Signed, numbered and signed, lower margins front in graphite.
Print/Casting Year 2006
Edition 84/88
Foundry/Publisher Gallery Artside, Beijing and Seoul
Lot description
Chinese Contemporary artist Zhang Xiaogang's paintings and prints continue to set records on the primary and secondary markets. This stunning print of an empty bed, with flashlight shining a red-colored beam as it rests atop a hand-written letter that sits on the white bedding, with a bare light-bulb hanging above the bed. This surreal and sublime example of the imagery and compositions that make the prints of Zhang among the most sought-after Chinese Contemporary works, world-wide. This offset lithograph in colors belongs to his iconic "Amnesia and Memory" portfolio that includes a stunning range of rare and poignant figural and representational images.

Zhang Xiaogang is best known for sombre , yet somehow dreamy and poignant, depictions of families, children and surreal narratives. The apparent similarities in all the portraits and object express the homogeneity and collectively Zhang saw as hallmarks of this time in Chinese history. However, false colors and often small incongruous elements belie the consistent, smoothed simplified features of the original source imagery for his work, the conservative black and white, often retouched vintage "studio portraits" of families popular in China before the days of the Cultural Revolution, giving only a glimpse of the individual behind the image. With the widespread disappearance of the “family portrait” during the Cultural Revolution, these painted portraits and objects that occupied his home-life, become steeped in an air of memory, nostalgia and loss.

The artist was born in a province capital in South western China, and was eight years old at the beginning of the Cultural Revolution. During this dangerous and turbulent time, the artist’s mother insisted he learn to draw in order to keep him inside as much as possible, hence the prints here of depicting hand to paper, often with ink spilled. Far from the original intention of hiding him from the world, this practice led Zhang Xiaogang to become indisputably one of the most recognizable and significant Contemporary Chinese artist today, and he has enjoyed this status since the earliest days of the international art market in China. According to Sotheby’s, “…these hallmark images have become nothing less than visual shorthand for the entire category known as ‘Chinese contemporary art’." A painting by the artist just set a record for the highest price ever paid at auction for a Contemporary Chinese painting
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