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The history of Olympic Suite dates back to 1892, when a French pedagogue, Baron Pierre de Coubertin, took the lead in the recovery movement of the Olympics that would lead to the celebration of the first Olympic Games in Athens.
100 years later, in 1992, the Olympic committee commemorated this event by creating the Olympic Suite, a set of 50 lithographs and serigraphs by the most renowned international artists that will be auctioned on September 28th on Setdart.com.
Artists for Olympism.
The different artists chosen are defined in different pictorial movements and currents: from the increasingly narrative complex figuration of Rafael Canogar, who uses the head as a representation of the man who loses his individuality and becomes a plastic sign (35217386); to the abstract plastic arts of Eduardo Chillida, who depicts in his lithography the play of masses, empty spaces and identifying lines of his usual language (35217372) or the informalism of Antoni Tàpies (35217377).
The rich and varied imaginary of creators is completed by the Chinese Zao Wou Ki (35217376) and Chu Ten-Chun (35217385); the Spanish Antonio López (35217373) and Luis Gordillo (35217382), as well as Carlos Cruz Díez (35217378), Bengt Lindström (35217387) or Sol Lewitt (35099183), among many others.
In this same auction of graphic work we highlight the coincidence in auction of two Chinese artists belonging to the same generation (born in 1920 and 1921, respectively), whose brilliant careers have run in parallel, both gaining universal recognition in recent decades, both critically and in the market.
We talk aboutZao Wuo-Ki ( 35217376 ) YChu Teh Chun ( 35217385 ) , two artists who emigrated to Paris at the end of the 1940s in search of greater creative freedom, since Mao Zedong had risen to power in China, and the most repressive period of the communist regime was beginning.
The quotes of Zao Wuo-Ki’s work reached their climax in 2018, when he became the most expensive Asian painter in history. That year, his more than 100-meter-long triptych “June-October 1985” was awarded at Sotheby’s for $ 65 million.
The famous architect IM Pei had commissioned him the monumental triptych to be exhibited in Raffles City in Singapore, where it would remain until 2005. The recognition of the arduous career of Wuo-Ki had been expanding in the course of the last decades, multiplying his exhibitions around the world.
In Spain, his work could be seen in the ontology that the IVAM of Valencia dedicated to him in 2001. Wuo-Ki practiced an abstraction deeply rooted in the oriental understanding of landscape and at the same time enriched by the legacy of European painters such as Paul Klee.
So, the oriental mystique and the landscape tradition of small painting are expressed in his large canvases and in drawings in Chinese ink, while the more lyrical aspect of western abstraction is distilled by the artist through his subtle search for soft and silent cadences .
The art market is symptomatic of canon changes One of these changes being the opening towards previously ignored historical layers, such as non-Western women and artists. On the other hand, the asian giant, on its way to becoming the world’s leading market, struggle to reappropriate those great artists that at the time censored or undervalued The Wuo-Ki gallery owner, Franck Prazan, thus confirms the interest of Chinese galleries in collecting national works that are already a safe value in the European market.
As to Chu Teh Chun, both his life and his work have clear connections with that of Wuo-Ki : his way of navigating between two cultures, the gradual international recognition… In the fifties, living in the French capital, he was part of the circle of artists of the School of Paris: Pierre Soulages, Hartung, Mathieu… Already in the sixties, he participated in exhibitions that traveled to Pittsburgh, Jerusalem, Athens and Sao Paul.
In the work of Chu Teh Chun, landscape art also inaugurates a new chapter in the history of abstraction. Like those of Wuo-Ki, his landscapes emanate from subtle poetry. Inspired by oriental calligraphy, he reinvents visual arts through a language that expands the margins of both poetry and painting.
The lithographs that are auctioned at Setdart of these two fundamental figures of contemporary Chinese art are part of the “Suite Olympic Centennial” collection, a series of engravings by international artists that was part of a project to commemorate the 1992 Olympic Games.