Sotheby’s Hong Kong and Adidas Present Sport in Art Auction

HONG KONG – Sotheby’s Hong Kong is proud to partner with the Adidas Sport in Art Exhibition to hold the Sport in Art Auction on October 5 at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, during Sotheby’s Hong Kong Contemporary Chinese Art Autumn Auction. This prestigious event will promote the Olympics, sport and art, and Sotheby’s and Adidas will be donating the auction proceeds to Right to Play China for its long term relief efforts to help those affected by the Sichuan earthquake earlier this year. Right to Play China is a charity that works to enhance the health and education of young people in China through sport.

Adidas Sport in Art Exhibition invited over 70 artists from China and beyond to create an inspiring collection of artworks themed “Sport & Humanity”, encapsulating the spirit and passion of the Olympic Games. A broad range of mediums are used – from traditional paintings and works on paper to video, photography and installation. The exhibition showcases over 80 works by such prominent artists as Tang Zhigang, Feng Zhengjie, Chen Wenbo and Thierry Bouet, alongside emerging artists. There are also seven innovative works by international sports stars – David Beckham, Yelena Isinbayeva, Gilbert Arenas, Jeremy Wariner, Lionel Messi, Ian Thorpe and Tyson Gay – which comprise the “Artworks from Athletes” series. Most of the works have already been exhibited in leading museums in China, beginning at the Shanghai Museum of Contemporary Art, then in Guangzhou, Nanjing, and Shenyang, and ending this month in Beijing Today Art Museum.

Of the artworks, 46 from 37 artists will be auctioned by Sotheby’s Hong Kong at the Sport in Art Auction this October, including the entire “Artworks from Athletes” series. The sale is expected to achieve HK$9.7 – 14 million.

Mr. Kevin Ching, Chief Executive Officer of Sotheby’s Asia said, “This extraordinary Sport in Art exhibition and auction project brings together the beauty and excitement of sport and contemporary art in this landmark year of the Beijing Olympics. All the works have been created by outstanding contemporary artists and athletes from across the world, and exhibited to public acclaim in no less than five cities in China.”

He continues, “Sotheby’s Hong Kong has been here for over 30 years. Like everyone else in China, we are naturally excited about the Beijing Olympics and we are absolutely delighted to be a partner with Adidas in this very meaningful project in support of Right to Play China for its long term relief efforts to help those affected by the Sichuan earthquake earlier this year.”

There are 46 art pieces on offer for the first time at auction. Highlights include works by Tang Zhigang.

Tang Zhigang is from a military family and his childhood was spent in an agricultural labor camp. He enrolled in the People’s Liberation Army and participated in the Vietnam War. Imagery from his childhood often appears in his work. In Children’s Meeting, his most famous series, children reappear at meetings symbolizing the absurdity of the power games in Chinese politics. Tang’s most recent series (created for the Sport in Art Exhibition) is titled Chinese Fairy Tales 1 & 2, and is a continuation of his childhood memories: children participate in gymnastics and on the seesaw.

Footballer David Beckham reveals his three-year struggle to come back after the infamous red card he received during the ’98 World Cup. Despite suffering harsh criticism and death threats, his efforts were rewarded when he scored the qualifying goal against Greece. David Beckham describes the artwork in his own words: “The whole canvas is the idea of the goal. There’s the ball in the corner, my celebration, and the words, Belief, Strength, and Family, which is what I needed to get through after ‘98’”. (Note: The auction hammer price of this lot will be divided equally between the ‘Right to Play China’ organization and David Beckham’s foundation)

Wei Jia is a celebrated “post-70’s” Chinese artist. Different from the previous generation of artists, the focus of post-70’s” Chinese artists lies more on personal life rather than political and social issues. Many of the post-70’s Chinese artists infuse cartoons and bright hues into their works, but Wei’s works are more melancholic and sensitive, the colors subtle and subdued. The upper part of the work represents a young wrestler whose mirror image is in the lower section, symbolizing sportsmanship. They are divided by green grass evoking philosophical thoughts about sportsmanship.

Renowned French photographer Thierry Bouet began work with various publications and magazines such as Vogue, Vanity Fair, Harper’s Bazaar, ELLE, etc. In 2000, GQ Magazine described him as one of the five best photographers in the world. The Tough Day series is inspired by women’s life and echoes aspects of sport humorously: carrying three pieces of Louis Vuitton luggage feels like weight lifting; wearing tights is like gymnastics; trying hard to open a door is like wrestling. The photos are about the absurd humor of everyday life.

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