On 30th November, Phillips Auction House will present a very special work by Javier Calleja in the 20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale in Hong Kong in association with Poly Auction. The work, Untitled (Estimate: HK$3 million – 5 million/ US$ 385,000 – 641,000), was originally commissioned by the iconic Spanish restaurant La Rambla in Hong Kong in 2017, when Calleja made his Asian debut with a solo show at AishoNanzuka gallery.
Comprising 30 individual drawings on paper that Calleja worked on one-by one over a course of 4 months, the piece marks a significant moment in the artist’s career serving as the bridge between his earlier concepts and world renowned character-based imagery. “It’s like the old work says goodbye and the new work says hello,” Javier Calleja explains the importance of this single piece which was inspired by Joan Miró’s surrealist pictorial language, non-verbally connecting Spain and Hong-Kong.
Simultaneously, by capturing the whimsical attitude of his ever-exciting exhibitions and installations, the piece can be installed in endless ways, adjusting to different walls and spaces. Such elastic, modular quality is achieved by creating countless points of relationships between the individual parts, something that the artist had put a lot of attention to. “It just doesn’t work separately,” Calleja concludes, pointing at the texts on the shirts, the character’s positioning, the perspectives shift, and the colours used. All those elements construct a playful environment that is meant to be the essence of the work.
It has been nearly five years since La Rambla opened its door and Calleja’s cheerful customised installation has accompanied many guests who visited the restaurant with an iconic Hong Kong harbour view. To mark the five-year anniversary momentum, part of the proceeds from the sale of Untitled will be donated to the Red Cross.
Untitled will be traveling for touring previews in Shenzhen from 26th to 27th October, Beijing from 4th to 5th November, and will be showcased at the ART 021 Contemporary Art Fair in Shanghai from 11th to 14th November, before returning to Hong Kong for an auction preview at the JW Marriott Hotel from 25th to 30th November. Through these touring exhibitions, Calleja’s enchanting imagination featured in this work will be appreciated by more art lovers across Asia.