Auction | China Guardian (HK) Auctions Co., Ltd.
2019 Spring Auctions
Asian 20th Century and Contemporary Art

Yuan Yuan (b. 1973)
Steam Room III(Painted in 2010)

Oil on canvas

150 × 63 cm. 59 x 24 3/4 in.

Titled, dated, and signed in English and Chinese on the reverse

2016, New Landscapes, HDM Gallery, Hangzhou, p.18-20
14 May – 11 Jun 2016, New Landscape, HDM Gallery, Hangzhou

Private Collection, Asia

Dramatic Monologue in an Empty Space
Yuan Yuan’s Steam Room III
“I want to express people from the marks they make through their actions ... I am particularly interested in spaces imbued with a sense of humanity”
—Yuan Yuan
Yuan Yuan was born in Zhejiang Province, China, and graduated from the Oil Painting Department and Graduate School of Oil Painting at the China Academy of Art in Hangzhou. Yuan is particularly adept at depicting the internal structure of buildings and outdoor space with a focus on certain parts of buildings, his distinctive brushwork giving viewers a sense of the passing of time.
Dreamlike Peace and Quiet
In 2010, Yuan Yuan began to experiment with the “windows” and “doors” that were integral elements of the spatial structure in his earlier paintings as independent painting motifs in their own right. This approach extended the artist’s point of view to enclosed spaces, expressed emotion through color and lines and focused on “repetitive” structures where imagination and reality overlap. In this way, Yuan elevates things from daily life to the plane of color as he traverses the limits imposed by abstraction, representation, realism and expressionism, powerfully asserting his own distinctive artistic style. The auctioned work Steam Room III is an important piece from this transitional period.
The sauna originated in Finland but later became part of daily life in Asia. For urban residents, the sauna allows them to be enshrouded in mist and haze in a place they can relax and reflect. In Steam Room III, Yuan Yuan chooses not to depict a bathhouse scene full of people, preferring instead to focus on an empty shower area. The copper red, light yellow and green-black patches in his detailed depiction of orderly mosaic ceramic tiles in a circular space, display a masterful ability to control color and create atmosphere. What is perhaps most surprising, is the way the small lights at the top of the shower resemble a starry night sky, while the surrounding shimmering gold hue allude to a scenario that could be from the Buddhist “three thousand realms.” Indeed, it is easy to imagine that while bathers enter this space naked their souls are comforted by the tranquility and steam. The shower and the white scale-like water spray are imbued with heat, creating an almost dreamlike space that appeals to the desire of viewers to forget worldly woes by immersing themselves in tranquility.

Price estimate:
HKD: 220,000 - 320,000
USD: 28,200 - 41,000

Auction Result:
HKD: 259,600



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