This painting is called Execution. Along the entire backdrop is a long, red wall which reminds one of the wall outside the Forbidden City. Yet Yue Minjun, the artist, who is based in Beijing, insists his painting should not be seen as depicting that unspeakable event of 1989.
Billed by Sotheby’s as “among the most historically important paintings of the Chinese avant-garde ever to appear at auction”, the painting had apparently been sold a decade ago “under condition that the painting not be shown in public because of its subject matter”.
Apparently the auction held in London had other exciting moments, including the unexpected outburst from a man who shouted “Shame on all of you! You’re spending millions of pounds on art and the world is falling apart!” (see video). He was quickly escorted away, and the sale went on.
The record sale of 2.9 million British pounds ($5.9 million) smashed the previous record for the most expensive work of Chinese contemporary art ever sold, also held by Yue for his “The Pope” sold for nearly 2.15 million British pounds ($4.37 million). Earlier this week at yet another Sotheby’s auction in Hong Kong, another of Yue’s works “The Massacre at Chios,” sold for nearly $4.1 million. With such rising fortunes, the artist definitely has good reason to be laughing. Now you know why you’ve been seeing so many of his works all around town. They’re all fakes.
“The Pope” and “The Massacre at Chios” after the jump!