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12 Things You Should Know About Isabel Rawsthorne | isabel rawsthorne

HONG KONG, China (CNN) -- Yue Minjun acknowledges that "Execution," aggressive by the blood-soaked Tiananmen crackdown in 1989, is the best politically acute of his work.

Isabel Rawsthorne: artist and muse  Art UK

A area of Yue Minjun's "Execution," which the artisan shows how animal battle is account bedlam at

But while Tiananmen served as the catalyst, the oil painting should not be apparent as depicting what happened at Tiananmen, the Beijing-based artisan said this anniversary through a translator in a buzz interview.

Billed by Sotheby's as "among the best historically important paintings of the Chinese beat anytime to arise at auction," "Execution" had been tucked abroad from afterimage until now. Its buyer bought it from a arcade in Hong Kong a decade ago beneath action that the painting not be apparent in accessible because of its accountable matter, according to Sotheby's.

On Friday, it went on bargain in London, a highlight in a abreast arts bargain that additionally included Jean-Michel Basquiat's "Untitled (Head)," Mark Rothko's "Untitled (Blue Divided by Blue)", Andy Warhol's "Jackie," Francis Bacon's "Studies of Isabel Rawsthorne," and Damien Hirst's "Adenosine."

"Execution" would become the best big-ticket assignment of Chinese abreast art at auction, affairs for 2.9 actor British pounds ($5.9 million). It eclipsed Yue's antecedent record, set in June aback his "The Pope" awash for about 2.15 actor British pounds ($4.37 million). The bargain of "Execution" additionally comes on the aforementioned anniversary addition Yue piece, "The Massacre at Chios," awash for about $4.1 actor at a Sotheby's bargain of abreast Chinese art in Hong Kong.

Stretching beyond "Execution" is a continued red building, suggesting Tiananmen's aboideau alfresco the Forbidden City. Is the painting of Tiananmen?

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"I appetite the admirers not to anticipate of one affair or one abode or one event," he said from his Beijing home. "The accomplished world's the background." The red building, he explains, is artlessly article that's accustomed to him as a Chinese artist. "As I said, the eyewitness should not articulation this painting to Tiananmen. But Tiananmen is the agitator for conceiving of this painting."

The accomplishments may accomplish bodies anticipate of Tiananmen because he is a Chinese artist. "But it should not be," he said.

Yue corrective "Execution" in a ages -- in 1995. However, "it took me absolutely a continued time for me to put the abstraction together."

The big picture, he said, "it's on the accomplished world's animal battle that is account bedlam about."

Drawing references to Francisco de Goya's "The Third of May, 1808: The Beheading of the Defenders of Madrid" and Edouard Manet's "The Beheading of the Emperor Maximilien of Mexico," the painting depicts a apish execution.

Manet, it charge be acicular out, modeled his painting afterwards Goya's; and Yue's "Execution" mirrors both of those -- but with his brand animated clones, all likenesses of Yue himself.

Isabel Rawsthorne  Francis Bacon

And the men in the position of actuality attempt are apparent in their underwear. "People feel freedom, best themselves, at home in their underpants," Yue said. And admitting in Goya's painting, the man's easily are up in resistance, the men's easily in "Execution" are down. "They are not fearing death," Yue said.

"The action allegorize my abysmal feelings," he said. The eyewitness will feel beatitude but additionally abhorrence against the approaching and the unknown, a accepted sentiment, he said. "One ability be actual blessed now but consistently borderline of what's activity to appear next.

"I anticipate Chinese and the apple accept agnate animosity in this respect," he said.

As for the capital abstracts that boss the right-half of the painting, they accept the position of captivation the guns, but afterwards the accoutrements themselves. "In my painting, they're assuming to authority guns, as if arena a game." The man on the far right, captivation one duke to his chest and addition by his waist, is a absolute advertence to the man on the far right-hand ancillary of Manet's painting: In that, he is cocking a gun.

Yue disagrees with the angle that his paintings are a buried criticism of his government or of Chinese society, and he does not accept that this assignment will accompany him trouble. "I anticipate the painting expresses my feelings. It's not a criticism," he said, anecdotic himself as not accepting able political leanings. "I was aggravating to accurate my abashing over what I see."

The apple has agnate problems, he said.

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Yue said he does not accede with actuality tagged a "Cynical Realist," a appellation coined by arch art analyzer Li Xianting to alarm China's post-Tiananmen bearing of disillusioned artists. At the aforementioned time, he doesn't affair himself about what bodies alarm him, he said.

That his painting has political undertones is inevitable, he said. "I cannot anamnesis any accident that has shaped my political views, but backroom is everywhere in Chinese life, like the meal you eat every day," he said.

Of China, he said, "I anticipate it is abounding of hope, but there are a lot of difficulties, too. China has a continued cultural history and additionally faces a lot of problems appropriate now. Appropriate now, bodies are not satisfied, but we can acquisition our way out."

Yue awash "Execution" to Hong Kong art banker Manfred Schoeni anon afterwards painting it. "It awash for about $5,000," Yue said. "Probably not any cent would appear aback to me," he said of the millions his paintings now accumulate at auctions.

Now 45, Yue said he abstruse about added artists through account books afterwards 1978, aback China had amorphous to accessible itself up beneath new baton Deng Xiaoping's "Open Door policy." The decade-long Cultural Revolution that had preceded fabricated account books an impossibility.

And what is the acceptation abaft the cloned abstracts that buck his affinity in all his paintings?


"Because I appetite to be famous."

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