Hong Kong: A set of 14 paintings made with gunpowder and ink by Chinese artist Cai Guo-Qiang sold for $9.5 million in Hong Kong, a record for both the artist and Chinese contemporary art, Christie’s auction house said Monday.
The abstract works by Cai were sold to an anonymous bidder on Sunday as part of a mammoth auction of contemporary Chinese, South Asian and Southeast Asian art in Hong Kong, Christie’s said in a statement.
On the first day of the five-day auction, Christie’s said it took in $$107 million, more than four times its estimate, with buyers from India, mainland China, Europe and the United States all competing for the works.
Cai’s 14 screens, done in gunpowder and ink, sold for double their estimated value of between $3.5 million-$4.6 million, making him the world’s most expensive contemporary Chinese artist.
“The creative vision of Cai’s unique work captivated the imagination of collectors around the world. This piece presented a powerful combination of traditional and contemporary elements that appealed to both East and West, and drew bidding from Asia, Europe and America,” Eric Chang, Christie’s International Director of Chinese 20th Century and Asian Contemporary Art, said in the statement.
The previous record for the most expensive contemporary Chinese painting was set by Yue Minjun, whose “Execution” sold for $5.9 million last month at an auction by Sotheby’s in Britain.
Yue was also represented at the Christie’s auction in Hong Kong where “Life,” an installation of 15 separate paintings each depicting his self-image in different, contorted and absurdist positions, sold for $2.78 million, the auction house said.