Flash News: Ousmane Sow: Dakar – Paris. Hao Liang – contemporary tradition. David Altmejd

[28 Nov 2014]


Every fortnight, Artprice provides a short round up of art market news: Ousmane Sow: Dakar – Paris. Hao Liang – contemporary tradition. David Altmejd

Ousmane Sow : Dakar – Paris

As a Senegalese sculptor who is much loved in France, the sale of « Zoulous » has thrust Ousmane SOW back into the spotlight, one year after his election to the Académie des Beaux Arts. The five statues went under the hammer for €410,000 ($512,336) on 19 November at Millon et Associés, setting a new record for an artist whose market has been somewhat slow to take off.
It is true that his African warriors have exceeded the $100,000 mark on numerous occasions, but too many of his giants have failed to ignite the sale rooms. Between 2010 and 2013, these five pieces were all withdrawn from sale. So it was something of a relief when his only work to come up for sale this year easily outstripped its estimate of €200,000-€300,000.
Something of a relief because Ousmane Sow’s market still has size problems – it is totally restricted to France. It does not augur well when an artist’s works are only of interest to the same collectors and the same circles and are never exported.
Although Ousmane Sow does not claim to be truly French, his artistic career has revolved around France, and more specifically around Paris. He studied at the Académie des Beaux-Arts, held a key exhibition in 1999 around the Pont des Arts and claimed a brand new seat at the Académie des Beaux-Arts at 23 Quai de Conti. Ousmane Sow’s sphere of influence is strangely restricted to a tiny dot on the globe…

Hao Liang – contemporary tradition.

At just 30 years old, HAO Liang has emerged as the new poster boy of the hyper-contemporary Chinese art market. He unexpectedly burst onto the scene with « The Tale of the Clouds« , a silk scroll just 40 cm wide but over 13 m long, which sold for $912,000 (CNY 5,600,000) at Christie’s in Shanghai on 24 October 2014.
Its style is reminiscent of traditional Chinese works, those old parchment scrolls with their dream-like scenes and fantastic andscapes. But this piece was produced between 2012 and 2013. It has already been sold twice and demand is on the up and up.

The Asian market is supposed to be flagging, but collectors are continuing to pay ever higher prices, even for very young artists.
Drawings are still the mainstay of the Asian market, representing over 75% of sale proceeds. Despite this, ZENG Fanzhi, LUO Zhongli, CHEN Yifei and Xiadong Zhang – the market’s top performers – have conditioned us into thinking that painting still reigns supreme in the contemporary art market… as in the West.

David Altmejd

The worlds created by David ALTMEJD (born 1974) hover somewhere between life and death. Decomposing bodies, plastic biospheres and mirror effects come together to create a universe that, like mythology, is simultaneously of this world yet other-worldly. The sculptor loves to create giant creatures that are half-man, half-beast or half-man, half-plant. His works can currently be admired at MAM de la ville de Paris. This exhibition will then move on to the Musée du Luxembourg and finish up in the artist’s home town of Montreal.
At times unsettling, the poetic works of David Altmejd often have a dreamlike quality. At first glance, they seems more suited to the hushed atmosphere of a museum than to a private collection. With a Paris retrospective, an exhibition at the Brant Foundation in 2011 and an appearance at the Venice Biennial in 2007, it is tempting to think of him as an artist who is most at home in an institutional setting. But his works are increasingly attracting the attention of collectors and his prices are creeping upwards. His colossal work « The New North » from 2007 was sold for $210,000 at Sotheby’s New York in 2009, increasing to $280,000 at Christie’s London in 2012. It seems thatDavid Altmejd is seducing old and new continents alike. He is represented in New York by the Andrea Rosen gallery and in Europe by Xavier Hufken (Brussels).