30 under 30: drawing

[07 Aug 2012]


This summer Artprice will be presenting the future stars of the art market in the form of a weekly ranking of the thirty top-selling artists aged under 30 in each artistic medium: this week we focus on drawing.

Top 30 : drawing

Rank Artist Auction result
1 Ariadhitya PRAMUHENDRA $51440
2 Alexandru BUNESCU $50561
3 Tauba AUERBACH $48000
4 Dash SNOW $22000
5 BO Chunyu $14820
6 Alireza DAYANI $13000
7 YANG Nan $11587
8 LI Jiaru $9485
9 CHEN Jing $9216
10 WANG Fang $8695
11 HAN Mei $7904
12 YANG Yu $7904
13 ZHANG Zhiyong $7092
14 ZHANG Xilian $6602
15 HE Jiawen $6602
16 Handan FIGEN $5873
17 KAO Yu $4886
18 Kristina BENGTH $4518
19 WEI Jiujie $4401
20 YAN Yi $4401
21 FANG Kun $4398
22 DU Wenfei $3952
23 LIU Ling $3887
24 TANG Huijian $3478
25 Jackson SLATTERY $2969
26 Achraf TOULOUB $2958
27 SHEN Yao $2845
28 Sasayama NAOKI $2822
29 Ayako ROKKAKU $2644
30 JIA Liang $2371

The top three

An Indonesian, a Romanian and an American scored the top three results in 2011 for drawings by artists under 30.
The top result was generated by the Indonesian artist Ariadhitya PRAMUHENDRA (born in Sematang in 1984) whose career has got off to a powerful start and who is already being supported by the Perrotin Gallery. His work will be on show at the Hong Kong premises of the French gallery between 22 August and 13 September 2012 (Religion of Science). Pramuhendra’s charcoal drawings, which often theatrically integrate his own image, refer to the great compositions of art history and use powerful chiaroscuro that evoke the atmosphere of paintings by Georges de la Tour and Caravaggio. Since his 7-meter fresco depicting the Last Supper entitled Holy Mass fetched the equivalent of $92,800 (HK$ 720,000) on 4 October 2010 at Sotheby’s Hong Kong, his market has been in constant ebullition throughout Asia.

A giant pastel entitled Princess by the young Romanian artist Alexandru BUNESCU (born 1988) already ranked among the top 10 results for Drawings by artists under 35 after it fetched $50,000 at Artmark in Bucharest on 13 April 2011. The same result gives the artist second place in this under-30 ranking. In both rankings Bunescu is followed by the American artist Tauba AUERBACH, who plays with our optic nerves in elegant and methodical compositions. Her ability to renew the trompe l’oeil has quickly won the support of prestigious galleries: after joining New York’s Jeffrey Deitch gallery, her work is being exhibited by Paula Cooper.

Chinese Contemporary art: the great East / West divide
In this ranking, even more than in our previous Top 30 under-30s rankings, young Chinese artists are by far the majority. No less than 19 of the 30 young emerging artists at worldwide auctions in the drawing segment are Chinese. Many of them are valued by Chinese buyers seeking continuity with the traditional language within an aesthetic that is relatively far removed from the preoccupations of Contemporary creation and hence the majority of them are unlikely to penetrate the international market.
Among these artists, BO Chunyu creates traditional subjects that appeal to a number of his countrymen. First presented at auction in Beijing in 2011, each of his four works since presented have sold. His record is just under $15,000 for a drawing of six cranes on flowering branches, in the purest tradition of naturalistic subjects in ink on silk (Rong Bao Auctions, 12 August 2011). The same collectors bid for landscapes in ink by ZHANG Zhiyong who, despite his 26 years, creates works that seem to be from another era to the untrained eye (inks fetch between $5,000 and $10,000). They also appreciate the landscapes of DU Wenfei, affordable at less than $5,000.

Others artists “appropriate” their cultural codes, like WANG Fang, who plays with traditional landscape drawing by creating miniatures and soaking them in a glass of water. His Landscape in a vase fetched nearly $9,000 at Rong Bao Auctions on 11 November 2011. Another is HAN Mei who specialises in portraits. Much of Han Mei’s delicate art, with its gentle melancholy, receives little attention from bidders who prefer his paintings such as Figures from the Beijing opera which fetched $5,700 in November 2011 at Rong Bao Auctions, Beijing. Similar in style, the ink works by WEI Jiujie sell for slightly little less ($4,400 for a work over 2 metres at China Guardian, Beijing, on 20 September 2011).

Note also a taste for a kind of mushy eroticism: pink peonies tattooed onto flesh coloured female anatomy is the banal recipe used by the young Chinese artist LI Jiaru (b. 1987) for stimulating the bidding. At 25, his drawings are already fetching between $5,000 and $10,000 in Beijing. YANG Yu’s lascivious pictures of women must also be ranked among our top 30 best results for artists under 30 in 2011.
Other young Chinese artists are surfing on the wave of trendy radicalism and society criticism torn between the consumption of luxury goods and regressive games.

Two Japanese artists… poles apart: hyper-violence vs. regression to childhood
This ranking also contains the hyper violent works of the Japanese artist Sasayama NAOKI. This “catastrophe painter” has developed a kind of bloodthirsty voyeurism that is particularly popular in Hong Kong and Tokyo. In the speculative momentum of the years 2007 and 2008, his drawings twice fenced over $14,000. His prices are currently between $3,000 and $6,000.
A protégé of Takashi Murakami and a worthy successor to the Kawaii attitude (or Japanese Pop), Ayako ROKKAKU is often present in Contemporary art fairs in Asia. She performs her works in public without prior sketches, painting with her hands. Her spontaneous paintings are a return to childhood in their technique, their state of mind and their subject. They only ever appear in Tokyo auction rooms and fetch between $2,000 and $3,000.

Next to the overwhelming majority of Asian artists, a few Turkish and Iranian artists have also taken positions in this ranking. Handan Figen is a young Turkish artist, trained at the Ecole Nationale Superieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris and subsequently in the studio of Jean-Michel Alberola for four years. She lives between Paris and Istanbul, but she earned her auction debut in London in April 2011 with a watercolor entitled Stain which fetched nearly $6,000 at Sotheby’s. Six months later, the Iranian Alireza DAYANI made an excellent start to her auction career with a superb Indian ink drawing that fetched $13,000 at Christie’s Dubai (untitled, 26 October 2011). So far her exhibitions can be counted on one hand, but her work is definitely worth following.

We should also mention two artists from opposite ends of the world: the Australian Jackson SLATTERY and the Swedish Kristina BENGTH. The former gleans images from National Geographic, from Flickr and from his personal collection to create watercolors with heavy atmospheres (around $3,000 at auction), while the second distorts the past and falsifies our memories with her drawings, interpreting archives and fragments of life that do not belong to her. An auction debut in Stockholm was successful for a watercolor entitled Skiftningar which fetched the equivalent of $4,500 (Stockholms Auktionsverk, 15 November 2011).