art2feedbrains is a collection of contemporary art focused in the main issues affecting humankind

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Josep Soler i Casanellas

To think is contagious. Infect brains!

2022

a collection of contemporary art focused on the main issues affecting humankind


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Content

The collector............................................................................................................................................................ 4 The Origin: how to become a collector accidentally............................................................................................... 5 The collection .......................................................................................................................................................... 7 Works index .......................................................................................................................................................... 11 Ron English ......................................................................................................................................................................... 13 Yumiko Kayukawa .............................................................................................................................................................. 15 Kurt Westergaard ............................................................................................................................................................... 17 Chen Qiuchi ........................................................................................................................................................................ 19 Xiong Lijun .......................................................................................................................................................................... 21 Zhong Biao.......................................................................................................................................................................... 23 Yao Yuzhong ....................................................................................................................................................................... 25 Wu Shanzhuan ................................................................................................................................................................... 27 Duan Jianghua .................................................................................................................................................................... 29 Junqin Xing ......................................................................................................................................................................... 31 Grace Graupe-Pillard .......................................................................................................................................................... 33 Hua Qing............................................................................................................................................................................. 35 Gade ................................................................................................................................................................................... 37 Lydia Venieri ....................................................................................................................................................................... 39 Priscilla Bracks .................................................................................................................................................................... 41 Michael W. Soi ................................................................................................................................................................... 43 Sheng Qi ............................................................................................................................................................................. 45 Chen Qiuchi ........................................................................................................................................................................ 47 Chen Yu .............................................................................................................................................................................. 49 Yu Fan ................................................................................................................................................................................. 51 Jerry Ng .............................................................................................................................................................................. 53 Xiao Hong ........................................................................................................................................................................... 55 Patrick Bongoy ................................................................................................................................................................... 57 Willie Bester ....................................................................................................................................................................... 59 Gianfranco Gentile ............................................................................................................................................................. 61 Chen Qiuchi ........................................................................................................................................................................ 63 Dale Lewis .......................................................................................................................................................................... 65 Sheng Qi ............................................................................................................................................................................. 67 Gao Brothers ...................................................................................................................................................................... 69 Joe Doe ............................................................................................................................................................................... 71 Patrizio Vanessi .................................................................................................................................................................. 73 Pak ...................................................................................................................................................................................... 75 Siddhesk Katkar, @sidomatic ............................................................................................................................................. 77 Ron English ......................................................................................................................................................................... 79

Exhibition Summary .............................................................................................................................................. 83 It could look like this ............................................................................................................................................. 84 Others.................................................................................................................................................................... 85 Josep Soler i Casanellas. ESCACS1714 ........................................................................................................... 85 2


Josep Soler i Casanellas. Aigua de Vida (WHISKY)......................................................................................... 87 Juan Ramón ................................................................................................................................................... 89 We are as we have grown in our lifetime ............................................................................................................. 91 My websites .......................................................................................................................................................... 95

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The collector In life, we cannot limit ourselves to a single goal, which is why I’ve decided to do the things I craved and could fill my need for knowledge and experimentation. I started my career in the Catalan Public Administration as an Economist in the newly created Welfare Department of the Generalitat de Catalunya and promoted to Head of contracts. At the same time, after work, I worked for the Catalan pro-independence party. But the bureaucracy was not for me, after three years I left. Changing completely orientation and until 2005 I spent 14 years building an international experience in the automotive sector, in different Groups in the areas of Marketing, Sales and After Sales in several European countries (Catalonia, France and Italy; and indirectly in Portugal and Greece), diversified Brands (Seat, Fiat, Lancia, Alfa Romeo, Fiat commercial vehicles), in the Headquarters and subsidiaries. After the death of my father at 72 years old in 2006, just 6 months after his retirement after working all his life since 14. My mother received as a widow half of the public pension. I was 45. I also dedicated all my life to the companies which I worked for, I had success in my jobs and a very good salary, but... Then I decided it was time to dedicate my efforts to my thoughts and my likes. There is only one life to live. I started a collection of contemporary art, focused on political contemporary art and I started an activity of consultancy, communication, and proposing marketing projects regarding automotive, art and environment. Furthermore, in 2010, I started to promote Chinese contemporary art organizing exhibitions with friendship started with Lü Peng. I ran a web art gallery to introduce Chinese contemporary art in the West until 2015: www.artantide.es. In 2013 I organized the biggest Chinese contemporary art Exhibition outside China so far in Arts Santa Mònica Barcelona with MOCA Chengdu and curated by my friend Lu Peng. Following, in 2014 I organized a Chinese group contemporary exhibition in Gallery Dolors Junyent in Barcelona. Exhibition Website created by me. In 2013 I conceived, created, designed and marketed a Chess Game regarding The Succession War of Spain approved by The Commission of Tricentenari of Generalitat de Catalunya and Education Department: www.escacs1714.cat In 2017, from London, I started to promote various Chinese artists, building their websites as well: www.artistshengqi.com and www.chenqiuchi.com. I was born in Vilafranca del Penedès (Catalonia), working in Milano, Verona, Paris, and Torino. After that, I lived for 10 years in Sitges (Catalonia). I moved to London and now in Amsterdam. I read someone saying "I know that I am an art collector because I buy things I shouldn’t be buying because I can’t afford them." Let me add “and I don’t even know where to store them because I have not to place at home”.

I’m not Spanish, I’m Catalan!

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The Origin: how to become a collector accidentally I know, I know, my narrative is not from a “curator” point of view rather from a collector and an initial commercial point of view. Let me say an enthusiast collector. But this need not detract at all the value of the collection and the public interest of this set of exceptional works. I received the Christie’s catalogue for the auction on Nov 25, 2007, and I registered because I wanted a Yue Minjun if the price were to be within my budget. Turning the pages over and over again for several days I realized The Sanya collection and the explanation attached, but I believed this would be very expensive, considering Christie’s estimated price. The auction confirmed to me that Yue was unaffordable, but regarding the Sanya collection… I was surprised there was not a big interest during the auction. The auction started with bad signs, one hour delay in Christie's' live due to excess of the public. That means only one thing: too much interest, bids too high. In fact, despite a fair budget, I only can bid at the beginning of the lots. I lost the Yue's, the Tang's... The Sanya collection approaches but my chances were very few, all the lots before reached a very high price, the lot before, oil on paper by Zhang Xiaogang, reached 1.800.000HKD, plus auction fees, plus shipment, plus import taxes... The Sanya collection contained at least two very nice Zhang's, one Yue Minjun face smiling, Wang’s, Zeng’s lines, Zhou blossoms, Mao Paternalism, Ye birds... and despite there were in ink, the price will be high, I thought. The bid started, one-click, answer, another click, I thought now will start the war, nothing, a voice “one”, the amount in green in my screen, again “two for internet bidder”, pause, ????, estrange, “third for internet bidder”. It was mine!!! Where was the mistake, I told to me. 28 works, greatest contemporary artists, colour ink, traditional tools... I did not understand why so few interests, I had to wait for receiving the works to be sure I did not make a mistake. Which? I do not know, but someone sure. They arrived, no mistake, on the contrary, the works arrived framed, and they look much nicer than in the catalogue's picture where they were altogether attached in two pages as drawings of a child. Then the problem was that I waited for 28 pieces of paper and I received 28 framed works, where to put them? Where to store them? Well, that's another history. I do not understand this lack of interest because of several reasons: The honourable purpose of the sale; The idea of the collection; The works are by the most valuable contemporary artists; They are unique and rare works because they are painted by contemporary artists with traditional tools; They are unique because they link contemporary and tradition; They are unique and rare because the artists never did that and probably never will do this again; Someone who would like to support the idea could bid for the works. Well, the only reason I can think of is that people only want to speculate, to buy recognizable works, and in canvas support. They do not think in the long term and about the intrinsic value of the works. Despite all this, I think it is very good business; the works of Zhang Xiaogang alone could get a big price. The lot before was oil on paper (52x76cm) sold at 1.800.000 HKD (160.000€ or 230.000$) plus 20% buyer’s premium. Any small piece of paper of Basquiat, Warhol, or Picasso has valued hundreds of thousands of US dollars. Until I receive the works at home and see them I would not believe the price I paid for them. And considering it is largely the higher price I ever paid for a painting. Anyway, I wanted to go deep about that even before receiving the paintings because I would like to know who painted what because not all the works were recognizable and any label was attached. Three works of Zhang Xiaogang were very recognizable, one Yue Minjun with a smiling face also, Wang’s for his let’s say easy work, Ye Yongqing for his traditional work, Mao Xuhui for his scissors, Zeng Fanzhi for his lines and Zhou for his early landscapes, other less. My idea is to maintain the collection with all the information and materials, and the “spirit” which drove the gathering first and the collection afterwards. On top of this, I would like to buy, step by step, and depending on the budget available each year, one work from each one of the artists* who went to the gathering. I believe “the Sanya Collection” could be an exhibition per se. But thinking about that, I told myself why not suggest Lü Peng do something more and take advantage of the great idea of the gathering and selling the works all together like a Collection: “the Sanya Collection”. To do something more to help him also in to rise founds. Why not write a book about your Sanya gathering? I very much liked 5


the description in the catalogue and the answers from the artists, therefore why not explain it in a book. A book containing an explanation of the works, but also with the travel comments and landscape descriptions, the ideas emerged during the gathering, the situation of the artists in the art world, their opinions, and thoughts, asking them for contributions, anecdotes, their experiences in this world which is changing so fast and so positively for them… I think you had a unique opportunity to share a trip experience with the most important contemporary artists, altogether. The capitalist market moves very fast and probably they will never meet again like this. A book between an “on the road” novel, a critical research, and an artist’s book. Once received the collection I can affirm that it has been a great acquisition, the works framed win in quality and become more powerful, to see the fragility of doing so by ink much more. Each work has something in se, but the interpretation of the Zhang works with traditional tools is extremely qualitative. The exercise of Yue Minjun ahead of smile faces is also appreciated (a curiosity, the work was prepared to hold in vertical, probably it’s difficult to understand if you are not familiar with his work and see it from away), the Zhou blossoms, the watermelon of Zeng... Each work is great per se, but the whole is magnificent, unique, and rare. I’m sure, the value of each work separately is bigger than the whole collection, but that’s the difference between speculating and become a collector**. Thanks to Mao Xuhui, Wang Guangyi, Wu Shanzhuan, Ye Yongqing, Yue Minjun, Zeng Fanzhi, Zhang Xiaogang, Zhang Peili, and Zhou Chunya for maintaining this spirit of a generation of Chinese painting. And thanks to Lü Peng for maintaining they linked. Sitges, December 2007 The idea above has been impossible to fulfil because of the high prices achieved by each of them. Sitges, 2012 I decided to auction most of the works of The Sanya collection to my regret but maintaining one of the best works of each artist. That was due to family circumstances to cash in, but also for other two motivations: first, during three years I tried to exhibit all the collection around the world by free, but no one seemed interesting; second, I decided to create a small market for ink works by contemporary artists that usually do not work this medium, so the best way was to put in the market this works. The results were encouraging with more than acceptable results; let’s see if in the future the market has been created. London, 2015 After a long period without buying any work, I started again in 2017. The friendship with Sheng Qi opened my appetite for new works. I decided as well to recollect all the information dispersed on several websites and concentrate it in this book. The works are rigorously ordered by order of acquisition and the ones are remaining in my collection. Unfortunately, some works have been sold to cash in to maintain my journey in life without a fixed work. You’ll have a clear idea of the evolution of my thoughts at the end of the book because I don’t try only to show works, but the evolution (or not) of my thoughts, my likes, and so on. All the comments have been written when the works have been bought. London, 2017 The world is still a mess and multiple conflicts arose here and there. Catalans were punched by police because they wanted to vote, in Europe, in democracy. A Europe of shame with its institutions lacking credibility, the UK going away, the crisis in the Mediterranean… The rest of the world, most of the same, conflicts for freedom, dictatorships in Africa, a foolish in the White House, China increasing the control of his citizens…Human rights violated here and there… In art, I found a few interesting artists and works to add to my collection, almost all unsold at auction or commissioned directly to the artist. I like to do deep research before buy or commission work. I’m happy to add sculptures. Of course, no place to exhibit them, well, I hope one day I can. Right now almost all the works in a container in a relocation warehouse, low walls at a small home, but a very nice one. And not last, not enough money to buy all I like and help artists compromised with freedom, human rights, and social issues. Amsterdam, August 2019 6


The collection Interview 2008 Do you have a really strange collection, on one hand, you have works from USA artists and on the other hand Chinese contemporary, is there a link? Of course, there is a link; despite now is changing a little bit. I started with pop-surrealism from the USA; I liked very much their colours, their cartoon style, and the issues they paint. Then, I did not have the idea to create a collection; only buy some works I liked. That’s why I tried to buy a Wang Guangyi because I liked him so much for a lot of years and I liked his social/political content. It was at that time, regarding the magazine Juxtapoz that I adapted a concept: “To think is contagious. Infect brains”. Going forward researching works matching this concept I discovered a mine in the Chinese contemporary works, then the next step to start to buy Chinese contemporary was easy. You can find the same worries across the planet. Tell us something more about this concept? I always liked the works of art as a tool for thinking about the different issues than surrounded us. Beginning by the Guernica and following with others. Art like a tool for personal growth. And more you will grow; much more society will be free. And consequently, more you will contagious other people to think by themselves, more the society will be free. Therefore: infect brains! How did you start collecting? I started in 2005 when I left the company I used to work for a sabbatical year, which now became undefined in the time. I started with pop-surrealism from west coast USA and after a few months, I got the opportunity to buy the Wang Guangyi. After that, one thing follows another, and collecting became a passion and a full day work. What previous experience do you have as a collector? In the beginning, when I was young in the 90’s I was more attracted by ancient books, especially art books. I also thought I could not afford paintings. Just before I bought two sculptures works multiples of Rodin and Modigliani, my first’s works. When I moved to Italy I collected books. Afterwards in France beginning the 2000’s I started to buy each year an artwork at Montparnasse air Fair to help an artist in some way. I also bought an excellent and funny sculpture by Saint Silvestre in 2000, “le coq pecheur”. But I bought my first “big” painting, the Erro at Art Paris 2003 to Sonia Zannettacci. My biggest artwork investment ever, then! (7.000€) Can you tell us how, when, and why you began collecting Chinese contemporary art? Since the first exhibition in the FIAC in 2000 or 2001, I was very excited by the works of Wang Guangyi. His colours and his social/political taste attracted me very much. But at this moment I liked art, follow exhibitions at Museums and art fairs, but I never thought to buy an artwork. It seemed to me so strange to pay such amount of money for “a piece of paper”. If I thought of this “such” amount today, it is ridiculous! How did you go about collecting? In the beginning, I did not know anything about the inside of the art world. I noticed through the Internet about an exhibition of Wang Guangyi at Urs Meile Gallery in Luzern. So, with my wife, I planned a flight to be there at the very beginning of the exhibitions to be the firsts to buy a work. I had a budget to put there like an investment. We discover that we were “innocents”. All the artworks were sold before the start of the exhibition. Madness!!! In reality only one was on hold, the one we liked and much importantly, fit the budget. After a few days without calling us, I called them and we discover we could do the business. A big Wang Guangyi, black background with a big Mao conducting a crowd. Incredible! After that, a lot of the Internet search, a lot of articles read and a lot of emails sent to be in the pre-lists. The last was at auctions, mainly Christie's because it is live! The system is really good. But I will prefer 7


to buy directly and avoid such amount of commission plus Import VAT too excessive. Why pay import VAT? Did you travel to China? Yes, several times, including Tibet in 2007. And it remains exciting for us to see the speed of development in this country and the feel of the people in this growing environment. How did you conduct research on the artists? Homemade. Internet and the Internet search again and magazines where to search what I like. Of course, I continue to snoop around in art districts such as 798, Dashanzi in Beijing, or Moganshan Road in Shanghai and I visit exhibitions and art fairs. Was it difficult to collect? Did you buy it at auction? Did you buy from art galleries? It is difficult to collect the greatest now, there are not exhibitions and where there are the works are sold out, moreover than crazy prices. Young artists are easy to buy directly at galleries. Regarding auctions I tried but also the prices are at each time bigger and bigger, moreover than buyer premium’s and import taxes that make the artwork at least 30% more expensive than the bid. Because of that, I try to avoid auctions if it is not something really special. Can you tell us a little about what appealed to you about the artists you selected? In the beginning, the first rule of thumb is that we only buy what we like and if linked to social/political matters. That’s the centre of my pop-surrealism collection and all the Chinese works bought until the Sanya collection. Did you collect in an organized way, or simply pieces you liked? In other words, were you trying to collect in a strategic pattern or not? As I mentioned it was strategic in the first phase, only works I liked with social/political content and trying to find this kind of work by an artist I liked. An example is the work of Xiong Lijun who normally did works without content but I found this particular work who matched both interests, the artist I liked and the content of the work. I wanted to do the same with Zhong Biao from the same exhibition at Frey Norris Gallery, but finally, I decided to buy a very classical work from him, despite other works were more political, “the chairs are weak”. I’m collecting only Paintings, I do not understand the value of photography despite I could like very much the work and we do not have space for sculptures. The only exception is the suicide book of Cai Guo-Qiang, something too special to lose. Somehow in a second phase, we ended up with a collection which includes various masterpieces of today’s established artists but with lesser-known artwork, that’s The Sanya Collection. I still do not believe to have the opportunity to buy this collection! Today, the collection includes works from more than 30 artists. We like all of our pieces and most of them surround us in our home every day. What have you now decided to do with your collection? Are you showing it in Europe? Making it available to exhibitions? Are you putting any of it up for sale? The first thing was to put it online. I had not a wealthy economic situation to build or buy a place to show it, so I decided to do it online, collecting a lot of information around each work and artist. Of course, one day I would like to exhibit it. As a whole but also partially, for example, The Sanya Collection as a whole. And I believe I’ll do that in the future. I’d like to do in Europe to approach China to western, but that will be more difficult. In May we assist to a conference in the Fundació Miró hold by Ulli Sigg, they attend less than 20 people!!! Such an opportunity for so fewer people, Chinese art is still ahead of western culture. In any case, I am not anymore linked to a piece of land. Any day I could be in one place or another.

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Who are some of your favourite artists and why? Well, there are many of them. Here are some examples: I like Wang Guangyi or the freshness of Xiong Lijun or the kids of Yin Kun. I like the special techniques of Duan Jianghua, any work of The Sanya collection because of how it has been made. Or take the great idea of the book from Cai Guo-Qiang…the list goes on and on. Regarding pop-surrealism, I appreciate very much the cynics by Ron English and the works of Ausgang that give movement to the subjects. All are favourites, if not I will not have it, isn’t it? How was the Sanya Collection acquired and why did you choose these works? Regarding the Christies site, I noticed the works of the Sanya but were very bad presented, all together and very small. Only when I received the catalogue I could appreciate the works, and the most important, the history behind. The estimates were very low from my point of view. In this auction held in November 2007, there was a drawing by Zhang Xiaogang that I went really interested in, but I thought that maybe any other will noticed the works because of the bad presentation. In fact, I lost the Zhang Xiaogang and following the entire auction through Christie's' live! I believed that the price of the Sanya collection will rocket. I start to bid, once, twice… and the works were mine. I could not believe it, and I did not be sure until I received the email confirmation. I thought to receive 28 pieces of paper and I received two boxes of 300kg! All the works were framed and they looked really great, much greater than the photo in the catalogue. Why did this work? Just read the history behind, the firsts work made with traditional tools by the greatest contemporary artists, a link between tradition and contemporary, a traditional look to contemporary forms. Moreover, then be the opportunity to ad the biggest names to the collection than will be impossible by acquiring his oil/acrylic works too expensive for me. Does the acquisition of these works mean you are moving in a new direction? I’m not sure which direction, but yes they moved me. With this acquisition, I relegate the spirit of the collection to a second range. Tell us a little about the works? Each work is great, you can really see the strokes of the painters and in some cases, the contemporary subjects translated by using the traditional tools, like the works of Zhang Xiaogang. Why Photo? (Added later on) I’m still asking this question, and why at this moment at the end of September 2008. The markets supported the biggest and deep drop after September 11th 2001, and I’m buying photo! Well, normally when markets crash and consequently I lose money I buy. It does not sense because I lose twice, but in some way, I need to satisfy myself, so I buy art! Why photo? I discovered Lydia Venieri in a magazine, afterwards, I decided to take a tour to Grace and Priscilla which works I knew from two years ago and I was flashed with the link between them. Then I decided that I could start a section of photography in my collection based on the aim of the whole collection: politics and social issues. I believe the three matches perfectly in this aim and make stronger the whole collection. It’s also curious that the three are women. It seems that women are more sensitive to these issues than men. I’m really happy to have the opportunity to contact them directly, exchange emails and have them in my collection. Did you sell any earlier works to make these new acquisitions? No. I want to keep my collection intact and growth it. Are you continuing to collect Chinese contemporary art? Yes. But I am still not sure in which direction. Moreover, until now, the exchange rate between the dollar and the euro help us very much. I do not know in the future if this really helpful tool will continue in the future. But as always it is a double side if you are in the selling position your works will be valued more. I would like also to collect a few works from Indian, Vietnamese, Russian, Latin-American or USA painters to complete wisdom of the world. 9


Sitges, 2008 A few words in Catalan: Quan ets a dalt, els teus amics saben qui ets... quan estàs a baix, tu saps qui són realment els teus amics ... No depenguis de ningú en aquest món, perquè fins a la teva ombra t'abandona quan estàs en la foscor ... Aprèn a apreciar el que tens abans que el temps t'ensenyi a apreciar el que vas tenir ... Mai et donis per vençut si sents que pots seguir lluitant ... No esperis el moment perfecte, pren el moment i fes-ho perfecte. La vida té quatre sentits: estimar, patir, lluitar i guanyar. Qui estima pateix, i el que pateix lluita ...i el que lluita guanya. X. Termens When you're up, your friends know who you are... when you're down, you know who your friends really are ... Do not depend on anyone in this world, because even your shadow leaves you when you're in the dark ... Learn to appreciate what you have before the time teach you to appreciate what you had ... Never give up if you feel you can keep fighting ... Do not expect the perfect moment, take the time and do it perfect. Life has four senses: love, suffer, fight and win. Who loves suffers, and who suffers fights... and the one who fights wins. X. Termens Amsterdam, 2019 In times of covid19 here a few thoughts. First, I hated prints, well, now I hate them more, I think it’s just a photocopy of a work and only contributes to devaluate the original work of one artist although for them is more monetary productive to sell this shit of prints. I’ll try no to buy from artists who make photocopies. Second, the world is plenty of artists, very difficult to choose one between all of them, but more and more look similar all said. Third, maybe it’s time to start to think to sell all the works, the world becomes more and more insecure and the idea to monetise all and go to a lost island attracts me more and more, too much twitter, too much Instagram, too much Facebook, too much LinkedIn, too much of all. Amsterdam, May 2020

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Works index Artist

Country Title

Year

Ron English

USA

Snoopy bombarding the Simpsons I love you, too

Yumiko USA Kayukawa Kurt DK Westergaard Chen Qiuchi CN Xiong Lijun

CN

Zhong Biao

CN

Yao Yuzhong Wu Shanzhuan Duan Jianghua Xing Junqin Grace GraupePillard Grace GraupePillard Hua Qing

GaDe Lydia Venieri Priscilla Bracks

Tibet GR

Michael S Soi Sheng Qi

KEN

Technique

About

Buy

2005

Dim. Cm L H 177 92

oil painting

War

2005

2003

56

40

Love

2005

Turban bomb

2005

21

42

Acrylic on illustration board print

Fanaticism

2005

Chinese scenery 1 cute!

2006

90

140

oil on canvas

Armaments

2006

2004

157

198

oil on canvas

New Generations Visual point of view Freedom The Sanya collection Environment

2006

2007

150

200

oil on canvas

CN CN

Evening bell tolls Monks Words

2006 2007

120 140

160 70

oil on canvas Ink on xuan paper

CN

Pavilion no.2

2007

200

150

Oil on canvas

CN USA

Cross Cube Washington Square Park Refugees Washington Square Park funeral Allegory of Human Being road no. 5 tanka Afghan women 2/7 Battle for the High Ground 4/8 Shame in Venice I Yellow umbrella on red waves Mushroom cloud II Untitled series no. 1A+B Lin Hulan 5/6 State of iron bars (HK and Catalonia) Intellectual Youth

2005 2008

170 152

230 100

Oil on canvas photo archival pigment print

Religion Refugees

2008 2008

2007

152

100

photo archival pigment print

Death

2008

2006

130

162

oil on canvas

Education

2008

2009 2007

70 152

116 76

Oppression Women rights

2008 2008

2008

75

75

oil on rough canvas photo archival dye-sub on satin photo lenticular

Resources

2008

2016

300

112

oil on canvas

2015

2014

90

60

acrylic on canvas

Shame and colonisation Hope

2017

2004

180

240

oil on canvas

Stupidity

2017

2008

140

180

x2

oil on canvas

Curiosity

2017

2003 2017

29 30

195 20

30 X4

sculpture fibreglass photography Wood and light installation

2017 2018

2006

150

170

Commitment Social situations HK and CAT Idealism

USA

CN

AUS

Chen Qiuchi

CN exile UK CN

Chen Yu

CN

Yu Fan Jerry Ng

CN HK

Xiao Hong

CN

oil on canvas

2007 2007 2007 2008

2018 11


Patrick Bongoy

CG-SA

The Revenant IV

2019

45

176

70

Willie Bester

SA

ANC lives

1990

37

155

7

Gianfranco Gentile

IT

2016

300

200

Crayons on assembly of packing cartons

Chen Qiuchi

CN

2010

400

200

Acrylic on canvas

Dale Lewis

UK

Vite di cartone (cardboard’s lives) Plum blossom desert Princes

2019

170

200

oil, acrylic, spray on canvas

Sheng Qi

CN exile UK CN exile UK

5 angels

2016

150

200

acrylic on canvas

May God Bless Catalonia Loch Ness Enchantress Portrait of tomorrow

2019

A Cube Its only one straw said 8billion people #1567

Gao Brothers Joe Doe Patrizio Vanessi

IT

Pak @sidomatic

IND

Ron English

USA

Slavery, abuse, women

2018

War Sirs, corruption, blind Human crisis, migration

2019

Climate change Transgender, the human condition Fight for freedom

2019

Digital

Freedom again

2019

photography

Gender beauty

2020

2019 2000 16000

Acrylic on polyethylene sheets

2020

2021 2021

NFT NFT

Nature and human footprint NFT Nature

2021 2021

2021

NFT

Idea

2021

2019

80

100

Sculpture recycled rubber tubes on fibreglass cast rubbed aluminium cans, acrylic, barbed wire and wood

2019

2019

2020

12


Ron English 1966, Dallas, USA Is on the Internet that I first saw one of the best paintings that summarizes the creativity and thoughts of Ron English « Snoopy bombing the Simpsons » To see his revision of the Guernica was a revelation. He made a series based on Guernica, taking a very serious issue like war and the disaster caused during the civil war in Spain, which Picasso painted so wonderfully, and re-thought it using two universally-know cartoon heroes like Snoopy and the Simpsons. The first reaction was ouahu, ouahu, and again ouahu! Wonderful, colourful, genius! To take the Guernica and review it like this, what an idea, never tried before. The second thought has been: isn't it crude to take one of the gravest (if not THE gravest) painting ever made and revisits it like it was a joke? Isn't it dealing too lightly with such a serious matter like war, death? Isn't it too disrespectful to play with Picasso's most important painting? The answer is a mix of both feelings: he took the Guernica, with all the meaning it bears and revisited it in a modern way. He went even further, explicitly showing who dropped the bomb that caused the massacre. Using a modern language he may be allowed a new understanding of this work, especially to the young, for whom war is something both remote (at least in Europe and the USA, the so-called first world) and near (because the third world is still suffering from never-ending conflicts, and TV is bringing all this in our homes at lunchtime, making it a day-by-day fact, and so unavoidable, like many other things). Should something like Guernica happen today, it would probably be painted as Ron English did. He perfectly achieved to give less drama to this episode, while adding emotional pathos and keeping the emotional impact of the original. The choice of the players is terrifically effective: the Simpsons and their dog, Joe, Snoopy dressed as the Red Baron, all wonderfully well combined, expressive, and colourful. But this is secondary: the important thing is to have had the idea of mixing the Guernica with two modern icons, simply genius! It is not just a review of other famous paintings he did, it is THE Guernica. In the other version I know, he uses Americans versus Indian, which is another excellent way of interpreting history using a well-known painting, but for me more local (US), less universal than Snoopy and the Simpsons. I think we should pay more attention (and respect) to Ron English's Guernica series. I do not know if my thoughts about his work match with the author's intention, but in any case, this is what I feel when I look at this painting, and I am Catalan. Few times in our evolved world has painting been a tool to provoke a critical discussion and reflection about what happens in the world. Until now the original Guernica has been not so easily accessible, but now, in the Internet era, everything is such at hand, there are no more barriers. Ron English makes us questioning ourselves through paintings. I think his Guernica represents a new step in the art world. Pop iconoclast Ron English paints, infiltrates, reinvents and satirizes modern culture and its mainstream visual iconography on canvas, in song, and directly onto hundreds of pirated billboards. English exists spiritually somewhere between a cartoon Abbie Hoffman and a grown-up, real-life Bart Simpson, delivering a steady stream of customized imagery laden with strong socio-political undertones, adolescent boy humour, subversive media savvy, and Dali-meets-Disney technique. Dedicated to finding the sublime in every day and breaking the momentum of the didactic approach to art and life, English offers up an alternative universe where nothing is sacred, everything is subverted, and there is always room for a little good-natured fun.

WAR The bombing of Guernica (26 April 1937) was an aerial bombing of the Basque town of Guernica (Gernika in Basque) during the Spanish Civil War. It was carried out, at the behest of Francisco Franco's rebel Nationalist faction, by its allies, the Nazi German Luftwaffe's Condor Legion and the Fascist Italian Aviazione Legionaria, under the code name 'Operation Rügen'. The operation opened the way to Franco's capture of Bilbao and his victory in northern Spain. The attack gained controversy because it involved the bombing of civilians by a military air force. Seen as a war crime by some historians, and argued as a legitimate attack by others, it was one of the first aerial bombings to capture global attention. The number of victims is still disputed; the Basque government reported 1,654 people killed at the time, while local historians identified 126 victims (later revised by the authors of the study to 153). A British source used by the Air War College claims 400 civilians died. Soviet archives claim 800 deaths on 1 May 1937, but this number may not include victims who later died of their injuries in hospitals or whose bodies were discovered buried in the rubble. The bombing is the subject of the anti-war painting Guernica by Pablo Picasso, which was commissioned by the Spanish Republic. The bombing shocked and inspired many other artists. Guernica is certainly his most powerful political statement, painted as an immediate reaction to the Nazi's devastating casual bombing practice Guernica during the Spanish Civil War. Guernica shows the tragedies of war and the suffering it inflicts upon individuals, particularly innocent civilians. This work has gained a monumental status, becoming a perpetual reminder of the tragedies of war, an anti-war symbol, and an embodiment of peace. 13


Bought in 2005 Snoopy bombing the Simpsons 92x177 cm, oil on canvas, 2005, Arte Vista Gallery (RE phone talk), NL

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Yumiko Kayukawa 1970, USA From my beginnings collecting American popsurrealism. Dalek, Shepard, Ausgang has gone, but this one remains. I feel a very strong connection and the image is stronger. LOVE Whatever that means.

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Bought in 2005 I love you, too 56x40 cm, acrylic on illustration board, 2003, DC Gallery, Denver, USA

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Kurt Westergaard 1935, Denmark "Caricature of a swarthy man with a bomb swaddled in his turban" was published by daily JyllandsPosten on September 30, 2005. In collaboration with the artist, the Free Press Society in Denmark and the International Free Press Society has printed up a limited edition of 1000 copies. The proceeds from this offer will go towards the International Free Press Society’s continuous campaign for free speech. Proceeds will support research, public education and legal efforts for individuals and organizations under assault for exercising their right to free expression; and to support efforts to ban hate speech laws and pass laws protecting freedom of expression. FANATICISM I prefer not to publish the cartoon. Tell me a coward if you like. Kurt Westergaard (born 13 July 1935 as Kurt Vestergaard) is a Danish cartoonist who created the controversial cartoon of the Islamic prophet Muhammad wearing a bomb in his turban. This cartoon was the most contentious of the 12 Jyllands-Posten Muhammad cartoons, which met with strong reactions from Muslims worldwide, including Western countries. Since the drawing of the cartoon, Westergaard has received numerous death threats and been a target of assassination attempts. As a result, he is under constant police protection. Although it has never backed down from its 2005 publication, the newspaper, citing security concerns, was the only major Danish daily not to carry any illustrations from Charlie Hebdo in the wake of the Paris attacks, in which gunmen killed 12 people. “The truth is that for us it would be completely irresponsible to print old or new Prophet Drawings right now,” editor Jorn Mikkelsen wrote. "Bands of youths set fire to cars and trash bins overnight in a fourth consecutive night of vandalism mostly in immigrant neighbourhoods of the Danish capital, police said. Seventeen people were arrested, Copenhagen Police spokesman Flemming Steen Munch said, and adding police were not sure what sparked the violence. Some observers said immigrant youths were protesting against perceived police harassment and suggested the reprinting of a cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad in Danish newspapers Wednesday may have aggravated the situation. (So, what are they after now? Last time was the UN resolution against the “defamation” of religions…). “They feel provocations and discrimination by the police that stop then now and then to check them,” Copenhagen social worker Khalid Al-Subeihi said. “It doesn’t make it easier when the cartoons come back again.” The youths set dozens of fires in several districts of Copenhagen, torching cars and trash bins and in some cases hurling rocks at police. Newspaper Jyllands-Posten said one of its photographers received minor injuries when he was attacked by vandals in the Noerrebro district. It was not immediately clear whether the attackers knew he was working for Jyllands-Posten, which first printed the 12 cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad that sparked massive protests in Muslim countries two years ago. (It was not immediately clear, and it is not now, because the article does not say anything at all…). […] There were also reports of vandalism in Aarhus, Denmark’s second-largest town, but no arrests were made". Religious extremism, fundamentalism, violence and terrorism can be found around the world in worrisome supply. Religious tolerance, multiculturalism and equality are the particular targets of extremists. Their own religion provides guidance that trumps any secular law or any concept of human rights. Although all mass movements breed the occasional extremist, the horrific spectres of oppression and violent coercion have resulted mostly from Abrahamic monotheistic religions such as Judaism, Christianity (mostly in the past, fortunately, in Europe, although most of the wars ended with the Peace of Westphalia in 1648, religious conflicts continued to be fought until at least the 1710s) and Islam (particularly prone to it at present), and to a lesser extent from other traditional religions such as Hinduism, especially as a result of battles against multiculturalism. Even Buddhism has sometimes been the source of violent extremists acting in the name of their religion. Most justifications for religious extremism are fundamentalist in nature, based squarely on religious doctrine, strictly interpreted. The declining strength of religion in the face of secularisation means there are fewer middle-ground religionists to rein in extremists. Although many national governments are involved in "fighting" extremism, very few succeed in making direct progress. The best way to avoid "home-grown" extremists is to improve education, access to education, job security and family stability.

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Bought in 2005 Turban bomb "Caricature of a swarthy man with a bomb swaddled in his turban", to support free speech 42x21.5 cm, print 204/1000, 2005, website, DK

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Chen Qiuchi 1959, China Browsing different web pages I found one of a community of Songzhuang painters, among the many unknown painters today had been in Lin Jun and Yue Minjun. The picture that caught most of my attention was the explosion of an atomic bomb full of small faces as if they were emphasized by results. The picture is strong, full of irony, denouncing the wars. Of the same series, there were also pigeons of peace full of faces. Indeed, the faces are the symbols used by this painter. I contacted the addresses I was finding because everything was in Chinese. A Chinese responded I do not know who he is. The fact is that we started writing and I did not want to sell the box in question. The painter will do in October and for a year a series of exhibitions in solo hi does not want to sell the large paintings. Also, he tells me, the fist, that the works are priced very quickly and therefore if I want to buy it will be for a price of one year. Not to lose the effect of the possible rise in price I asked if I could buy other boxes. The whole process lasted a good month. He wrote to me in Chinese and I translated it with Google. He sent me and I stayed with this one. Because? It contains more than I wanted, not just the reflection on wars with the fighter plane fought against the landscape, but also the reflection on today's wars based on the superiority area and the bombings since Air, and also the contrast between traditional Chinese painting and modern. Internet is fantastic, without knowing Chinese, transferring money, carrying the picture, everything is possible. Now expect the painter to be discovered and the box is priced. This is another reason, none of the painters is well known. ARMAMENTS Although Chen was born, raised and educated in the same era as other artists from the group Cynical Realism Movement, he fell short of becoming part of the establishment, simply because he did not graduate from China’s select art schools, coupled with his shyness of self-promotion. While Chen Qiuchi’s paintings definitely share some similar qualities and themes with other cynical realists, his concern and focus are beyond the usual subjects of his contemporaries. He draws from both Chinese and Western symbols, blending surrealism and pop elements in his creations, producing a unique vision that is both universal and diversified. Chen’s interest lays in issues that are connected to the rapid development of modern technologies, and modernity’s subsequent social changes are a recurring theme in Chen’s intriguing and singular body of work. Chen finds that our era of high technology is one of progress, but it is also one of the environmental and social crises. Much of Chen’s work visually focus on the contours of the human head to reflect the existential thought process that drives the day-to-day that makes up our world. Chen does this by moving beyond the ebullient and larger-than-life faces evident in the Chinese modern—from political art of the mid-century to contemporary Chinese art. He conceives caricatures in multiple forms, compounding the complexity and frustration of today’s vibrant milieu. Today, the development of high-technology not only brings us a resplendent physical fortune but also the spirit. Meanwhile, accompany with a living crisis. The population crisis, the energy crisis, the environmental crisis just like a pestilence puzzled Mankind. To being one of the human societies, I deeply abhor the behaviour caused by mankind's gradually expansible desire. However, I am just using art to release my emotion. The head of man is the best section of the body; I use all these head as a symbol to complete the picture. Some of the symbols smell some of them guffaw, but all the symbols turn a blind eye to the things. Mankind just like a virus propagate in the earth's body. Meanwhile, with the rapid increase of mankind, they also produce some exclusive rubbish through their excellent intelligence and high technology. All these viruses and high-tech rubbish make the earth thoroughly refuted. How long could the earth suffer from this? How long could mankind in charge of it? My paintbrush is under suspiration.

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Bought in 2006 Scenery 1 140x90 cm, oil on canvas, 2006, Direct artist, CN

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Xiong Lijun 1975, Chongqing, China I discovered Xiong Lijun reading a lot about Chinese contemporary artists, she was considered as one of the most talented young artists. His painting is plenty of live and colour, showing the current transformation in China, where young Chinese are adopting occidental dressing and habits. The colours are really astonishing and hitting the eyes, the eyes in his pictures are always alive and showing what are they watching at. The work reflects the changes in a society closed to another opened to the rest of the world. I contacted his gallery, www.shineartspace.com, but all works were sold out. Very kindly they put me in contact with Jon, from a company in Sausalito, www.pacificartsgroup.com, we started a nice exchange of emails and he supplies me with a list of works. And my surprise was when one work matched perfectly with my collection, the girl with a ring in form of star thumb down the finger. That permits a lot of interpretations and when you see it, the finger is big as at least 50 cm, it hits you. What she rejects? What we reject? Make us think about it. Ah, the colours look more astonished in real, the red that seems s more closely to orange is really red. And the water a real splash! I’m sorry, another thing you cannot see, the colours lighting on the dark. I bought another one at the same time and the other two successively as gifts. The last works of Xiong Lijun are still better in terms of definition and she is continuing showing this China transformation.

NEW GENERATIONS Born into a Chinese generation that grew up amidst an economic revolution, Xiong Lijun firmly belongs to an age seeping with consumerism. In her lifetime China has undergone an economic transformation and a resulting rapid increase in personal wealth, the years 1978 to 1998 seeing a phenomenal twentyfold increase in GDP. Along with which came the introduction of televisions, computers, the internet, fashion magazines, commercial advertising and the introduction of the one-child policy; exposure to the outside world which combined with the expendable income of the one-child family, resulted in the evolution of a booming youth culture heavily influenced by a western model. Since the 1970s there has become readily available a mass selection of fashionable and affordable clothes, a wide selection of western and local music, movies, video games, and increased access to foreign media. Open romantic relationships have become acceptable as increasingly has pre-marital sex, although still perhaps seen as a taboo subject. In general, the lives of young people in China today would be unrecognisable to their equivalents thirty years ago. This is the context in which Xiong Lijun creates her work, with everything in her paintings reflecting her contemporary existence. She is one of the most prominent and distinctive artists to emerge from her generation, her dynamic and intensely vibrant paintings expressing the twenty-first-century voice of China's urban youth. Her neon, cartoon-like oil and acrylic paintings are a visual bombardment where figures dance, sing or throw themselves into dramatic poses influenced by fashion photography. Fluorescent flashes of pink, yellow, green and blue forcibly grab our attention; cartoon-like colours that were never previously thought to belong in a gallery space but which are here being used with a new finesse and purpose. Xiong attended the Sichuan Art Academy in Chongqing, where like all Chinese art students of her generation, she received a strictly traditional art education that engendered her technically brilliant painting style. Therefore, implicit in her iconography of the new commercialist age is a kind of celebration; a sense of the relative freedom that today's youth have compared to their parent's generation. A major facet of Chinese contemporary mass imagery is a cartoon; Xiong Lijun's style bearing testimony to the phenomenon that is animation in modern society. Her decision to paint in this manner is also largely based upon her desire to make art relevant to a wider audience, and aim which she successfully achieves. Cartoon gained massive popularity throughout the 90s in China, after a long period of non-existence under Maoist rule. When access to the art form was once again allowed through the channels of international media, Japanese and American styles become hugely influential; in the form of comic books, animated cartoons and computer games, millions of young people fell in love with a host of characters, even becoming personifications of them in cosplay, the Japanese phenomenon that started in the late 80s. Xiong's great enthusiasm for cosplay and all kinds of cartoon expresses itself in the large bright eyes, oversized heads, long thin bodies and costumes of her characters. They are forms which may be cartoon in their colouration and style but many other aspects of Xiong's paintings; the objects, detailing, reflections and shadows we see the realism of traditional fine arts. The enthusiastic colours and lively forms in Xiong Lijun's works make it easy to recognise them as representations of China's inspired urban youth and indeed, this is partly true. However, lurking behind the brightness of the neon there is something more complex, something that the artist may not have even consciously implied. What we see maybe a positive hope for the future but it is also a reflection of the new generation of material pressure that China's youth feel themselves under today; a very different pressure to the political devotion required of yesteryear, but one which is by no means less forceful.

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Cute! Thumb down 198x157 cm, acrylic on canvas, 2004, Pacific arts group, USA

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Zhong Biao 1968, Chongqing, China He is one of the first Chinese that hit me, probably because he combines the real with the unreal, in the style of Magritte, my favourite. The pictures in the box in the box are always fascinating. Last year I wanted to buy one, a little smaller and they asked for € 20,000. I judged it excessive, and also, it did not go with the rest of the "more political" collection. Even then, knowing that the Wu Miki was also carrying Zhong I asked if he would have it, in fact, he had an exhibition in May, but finally, it seems to me that they did not agree with the prices. I found on the Internet that there would be an exhibition in the USA and I contacted the gallery owner, I asked for a discount but nothing. The picture I would have liked is more with its new line, the same characters, the same technique, but introducing elements of war, instability such as helicopters or rockets. Unfortunately, it was already sold. However, I have taken it. It is what is now a little out of the collection, but it is fully Zhong Biao. I cannot think that everyone agrees with my ideas and my valuation of art, so I have to diversify. When I could buy it, Yue Minjun seemed so stupid and so similar to Berlusconi's face that I did not buy it, but I still did not buy the Wang. I paid for it, at Auction price, but I think it's time to buy. What is the relationship with the idea of my collection? Directly little, but since then something I have to find, I will say that reflects on the perspective. About those things can be seen in different ways, in their context or extrapolated, that according to how we deal with one thing this will give us a result or another. If innovation is simply the result of drawing on skilfully hidden source material, Zhong Biao may be the most innovative painter at work in China today. His gift is not to radically overturn what he's inherited and replace it with a whole new system of art and understanding - as many cutting edge European or American artists have sought to do-but rather, and simply put, he's a collector of disorienting images who paints arresting and intriguing hybrids. These distinctive pictorial inventions are accessible to people all over the world; the artist communicates to a vast audience by drawing on the familiar. His people are distinguished as ephemeral, fleeting and changing, painted in grey-scale, contrasted against the rest of the world, which is far more static, painted in rich colour. As the above quote illustrates, the inclusion of a person, symbol or place doesn't always make perfect sense, so the viewer is given something in flux, a relationship to contemplate. "We don't have to understand everything in each picture. Like our lives, we cannot make sense of everything we have seen or experienced." Zhong Biao Steven Hawking, Marcel Duchamp, Marilyn Monroe, Alfred Hitchcock, Mao Zedong and many others all find their way into a surreal history of the world that doesn't exist outside the artist's mind.

VISUAL POINT OF VIEW As a sensitive artist, Zhong Biao has captured the pulse of China's social reforms through the visual symbols Chinese people are familiar with. He takes the visual experiences of an era as the image source of his works, including sculpture and china representing China's past glories, the labour models of the Cultural Revolution, and such symbols of modern life as McDonald's and Boeing aircraft. Of course, most symbols are skyscrapers and western-style buildings in old China. What attracts artists is the different meanings of these images, because in the language of ordinary Chinese people, what used to be synonymous with corrupt capitalist society or colonization is now the symbol of modernity. With the development of movies, TV, printing, and digital technology, it seems that the way modern man receives information has already undergone the transition from text to images. In these new circumstances, images from different eras are frequently taken out of their original context and used repeatedly. And in this process, they are continuously endowed with new cultural meanings. Zhong Biao's work is similar to the "knowledge archaeology" described by Facult Michael. In "visual archaeology" similar to "knowledge archaeology," he cuts a section from the visual symbols people are familiar with, then takes out those fragmented symbols from the cultural deposits of different times, and last arranges and uniquely combines them. What he wants is not to show the meaning of symbols themselves, but to reveal the changing meanings of the images through setting up peculiar scenes. As an artist, Zhong Biao adheres to "visualization" to accomplish his "archaeological work." Instead of juxtaposing concepts, he expresses himself through paradoxical scenes. While his early works usually juxtapose cultural images from different times, his later works are characterized by more transformation. He sets colour dimensionality against time direction. The artist's imagination adds colour to aged images, yet the images close our daily life are deprived of any colour and context. Living people lose colour, yet the dresses and accessories they wear, which are the symbols of the era, stay on. With the fading away of colours, the limit between reality and memory is completely destroyed and illusion begins. This illusion, rather than being founded on pure biological sensation as in the case of surrealism, is based on cultural accumulation and memory. 23


Bought in 2007 Evening bell tolls 200x150 cm, Charcoal and acrylic on canvas, 2007, Frey Norris Gallery, USA

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Yao Yuzhong 1964, Shanxi, China In one of my visits to a Dutch internet site, I found this work. Among the works, three works expressed the cry of the monks in deep clouds. One with a row of monks going up to the sky and the last one that is what I have finally taken. Commercially others will have more importance, but they have less obvious political content. The fact of seeing the monks seated in the grass with their hidden head and under imposing red flags is a clear message of oppression of the Tibetan people, as well as a strengthening of the spirituality of the open. This oppression of the Tibetan people leads me to reflect on the oppression of other peoples, and in particular, my own: Catalonia. All my collection is turning on reflection, about the need to give something from the painter, and from my collection to show a day to those who look at it, who is in front of each painting, But above all, it comes out, after having seen everything, with questions, with new reflections, eager to consider things. The painter, born in 64, is a stranger and there is nothing about him on the Internet, so from the point of view of the investment was not very good. In addition to taking into account that the price is high, but as Williem wrote, it is the minimum that any Chinese asks now. Everyone wants to get rich quick, and I do not deny them to want to. After the trip to Tibet in September 2007, I still give it more importance. The claim of Tibet as an autonomous nation of China, the Dalai Lama's trips has always been recognized, but it is so far away... And, speaking with the guide, one realizes how they are so similar to the situation Of Catalonia, although there is a religious factor in Tibet. But they also want freedom, they cannot talk about politics, except the Chinese, they do not permit them to go abroad, none, except the Chinese, in prisons there are only political prisoners and the army is surrounded by everything Lhasa If in our case the similarities of race are the same as the Spaniards, in their case they are completely different, one recognizes a Tibetan of a Chinese, the Tibetans are more morose, more Indians, with the eyes less scratched and the face more Round We told him that everything will come, I hope that. In any case from now on, I will try to support the movement, I do not know how, but I'll look for the way. As for the picture I was surprised by the colours. Once gone there no longer, the blue is very blue, the green is an obscure velvet carpet and the clouds really are touching. Let's talk about Lhasa at 3,600m. The red is really red. I appreciate you much more. We tried to ask if he was known, but nothing. In the only gallery of contemporary art, they knew nothing. There were other paintings, and some liked it, now we will go to the internet to see. Contemporary art is difficult, not only because of the Chinese pressure but also by the religious one, 95% are Buddhists, the rest Muslims. FREEDOM The Tibetan independence movement is a movement for the independence of Tibet and the political separation of Tibet from China. It is principally led by the Tibetan diaspora in countries like India and the United States, and by celebrities and Tibetan Buddhists in the United States and Europe. The movement is not supported by the 14th Dalai Lama, who although having advocated it from 1961 to the late 1970s, proposed a sort of high-level autonomy in a speech in Strasbourg in 1988. Among other reasons for independence, campaigners assert that Tibet has been historically independent. However, some dispute this claim by using different definitions of "Tibet", "historical" and "independence". The campaigners also argue that Tibetans are currently mistreated and denied certain human rights, although the Chinese government disputes this and claims progress in human rights. Various organizations with overlapping campaigns for independence and human rights have sought to pressure various governments to support Tibetan independence or to take punitive action against China for opposing it. On 25 April 1995, Gedhun Choekyi Nyima turned six years old. Barely a month later, had he become the world’s youngest political prisoner. Gedhun Choekyi Nyima is the Panchen Lama, the second-highest authority in Tibetan Buddhism after the Dalai Lama. To many Tibetan people, he is a figure who commands deep respect and reverence. To the Chinese government, which has occupied Tibet since invading it in 1950, the young Panchen Lama was a potential threat to their rule. The Chinese government rejected the Dalai Lama's candidate as "illegal and invalid" and, six months after Gedhun's abduction, China announced that it had found the "real" reincarnation.

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Bought in 2007 Monks 160x120 cm, oil on canvas, 2006, Kerseboom Gallery, NL

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Wu Shanzhuan 1960, Zhoushan, China Chóng fù jiū shì lì liàng yī jiǔ bā wǔ nián, wán quán wù lǐ èr líng líng líng nián! (Repetition is power 1985! Completed physics 2000!) Repeat these words five times and you will get a total of 100 Chinese characters. Plus" Sān Yà Yǎ Jí" (Sanya Elegant Gathering) has four characters. Multiplied by this by two equals 108* characters! - Wu Shanzhuan *Note from the translator: Mr. Wu here is making an allusion to 108 heroic outlaws in the famous Chinese epic Outlaws of the Marsh, to symbolize the Chinese contemporary and avant-garde artists' rebellious hearts. Wu Shanzhuan (吴山专 was born in 1960 in Zhoushan) is one of the most influential artists in the avant-garde movement. He rose to prominence in the 1980s as a long-haired conceptual artist known for his experimental works with language and the use of big character posters, a kind of precursor to the better known works of Gu Wenda and Xu Bing, which also toyed with language and meaning. Wu was part of the red humour group, engaged in performance art, created installations, appeared at the famed no u turn exhibition in 1989, he created a “Big Business” performance that involved selling shrimp; and later left for Europe, where he spent more than a decade in Germany and Iceland before returning to China in 2005. His works are filled with satire, language tricks, symbols and radical games. He often posed nude in his art works, for a while with his former wife, Inga Thorsdottir. His work is filled with absurd imagery and fantastical language. As one of the leaders of the Chinese Conceptual Movement in 1980s, Wu Shanzhaun was the first artist in China to incorporate textual pop references into his work. Wu’s pivotal 1986 installation, Red Humour International, laid the foundation for his highly idiosyncratic and sophisticated approach to painting, which forgoes image in favour of political jingoism, religious scripture, and advertising slogans. Wu’s unique process of painting as writing is exemplified in his Today No Water series. Conceived as a graphic novel, each canvas is a chapter of a continuous stream of consciousness narrative. These works don’t tell a story per se, but rather present a visual tension between fragmented phrases and images, culminating in dizzying compositions that map out free-style associations of ideas, references, and symbols. True to his art of storytelling. The art to write and the billboard for the collection. I like very much his last works, using strong colourful images and words to reinforce the message, his work on ink is really interesting. For the artist who use more words in his works, the less. THE SANYA COLLECTION That’s a story of friendship double. First, the story of the encounter of a generation of contemporary Chinese artists unprecedented group of the first artists who embraced contemporary art in China, a project around one of the most important personalities of Chinese art, Lü Peng. Second, and from the purchase of works of these artists, searching and finding friendship with Lü. I received the Christie’s catalogue for the auction on Nov 25, 2007 and I registered because I wanted a Yue Minjun if the price were to be within my budget. Turning the pages over and over again for several days I realized The Sanya collection and the explanation attached, but I believed this would be very expensive, considering the Christie’s estimated price. The auction confirmed me that Yue was unaffordable, but regarding the Sanya collection… I was surprised there was not a big interest during the auction. Found the full history and material at: ISSUU https://issuu.com/home/published/the_sanya_collection Around 2017, I decided to sell all the collection, tired of trying to promote a wonderful exhibition and tired of the lack of interest about contemporary ink from this greatest artists. Tired as well of Xi Xinping and his regards about art. And finally, need some funds to help the family. At the end I enjoyed them in my walls at Sitges. I sold them well, the first ones better than the latest ones in time. Wu remained unsold a few times and finally in 2022 I decided to recover it from Christies Honk Kong and keep it with me as a memory and recall.

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Bought in 2007 The Sanya Collection. WZ 70x140cm, Ink on xuan paper, 2007, Christies, HK wán quán wù lǐ (completed physics)

Serious things started with The Sanya collection, image below from Christie’s catalogue

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Duan Jianghua 1963, Hunan, China The picture doesn’t reflect the power of the strokes. It is magnificent, a Museum’s work. Not only for the powerful strokes in the second half represented for the contrast of the material between the first and the second half of the work, at the same time the lightness of the strokes representing the structure of “the nest”, moreover than the lightness of the black colour, but also by the size of the work. In reality, the colours and the lines are more defined and the contrast between materials and techniques between first and second half is much more evident. The “rain” doesn’t exist, the brown colour of the Summer Palace are more defined and nor the white points in the laterals of the Stadium. The subject places us in the middle of the debate between how to respect the tradition and the new, represented by the lines of the “Summer’s Palace” in the background and the new Olympic Stadium of Beijing in front of us plenty of crowds to go in. The fine strokes like acrylic for the above Summer Palace reflect a picture of the past, the great strokes of below reflect the today, the movement, adding a new dimension to the work and the today towards the future. Another unknown artist for me, either he was present in the world of the auctions. I bought it without any reference. And I do not like to act like that. Like much the time I fall in him navigating through the internet, regarding the site of Yishu there was a “manchette” of Chinasquare Gallery. January 2008, the works were dark like stock markets and that mood help me to decide to buy it. The artistic reasons were three: first, the technique, that will be my first oil, with strong use of material, adding a dimension to the work that it is impossible to see in the picture but that is very expressive looking at it; secondly, the darkness and consequently the work with the light to discover the forms; third, the use of the new Olympic symbols against the classical images of China, ones in front, the others behind. Altogether suggesting this war between old and new that is so present in China, this war represented by the Olympics against the Chinese Regime, freedom against communism, open mind against closing inside. Yesterday against tomorrow. Will be the Olympic Games this tomorrow and a new era will be open for Chinese people plenty of freedom? Will be the right choice to choose China for the Olympics to provoke in them a change? Until today from the election of China several years ago, the answer is yes, not a plenty yes but in the right way. I hope this painting will represent the change from darkness to lightings for Chinese people. For that, I choose “the nest”, that will be the symbol of the 2008 Olympics. Like investment I have to say that it’s not the best moment to do that, the stocks market trouble and the economy will follow. Moreover, without reference, I do not know if the price I paid it is right. I guess not at all. In any case, this is a technique that I wanted to add to the collection and the subject match perfectly with it. From his Emptiness series.

ENVIRONMENT Duan Jianghua’s expressionist-style paintings struggle with the ramifications of power; power worshipped, pursued, lost, redeemed. Duan’s violent and strong strokes, dark and dense, question the space between man and his surroundings, the present and past, things plundered and revered. Calculated angles and vanishing points placed precisely on the horizon pull the viewer into the subject matter through strong feelings of loneliness and isolation. An overarching eerie metaphysical darkness sheds light on the conundrum of the self. Revisited from Duan’s youth, resurrected from China’s political past, historical sites and monuments now deserted, give way to a heroic yet tragic expression, a fierce contemplative vision of reality. Careful examination reveals an echoing desire for sublimation, one with the intent of redeeming power among the hidden vestiges of history. At here we would like to ask ourselves, is there the eternal value exists? Obviously, we should not view the history and the passage our nation has been followed and walked by through the historical determinism. In the mind of Karl Popper, the human could not foresee the future course of its history. American scholar Francis Fukuyama has once written a book called "The End of the History", indicating that the conflict of ideology will go to the end by the disaggregation of the former USSR. No matter how effective his idea will be, but the conflict of ideology today in the world is actually giving place to the clashes between socio-religious groups and civilizations, the erstwhile memories of revolution have gradually vanished in the crack of time. In Duan Jianghua's work, we could actually feel a sense of the end of history; it has nothing to do with the issue of ideology. It's neither the nostalgic calling of the past nor the shallow irony towards the reality; it's but the sincere reflection upon the history and its relationship with the reality-based on another level of humanistic care, this is something really makes his work powerful and striking. History is not only the history of spectacle, it's but the composition of numerous important as well as trivial events and figures, just like what the French Annales School historian Fernand Braudel has expounded. For Braudel, history has three levels: one is an imperceptible passage of history, it constitutes the background of the entire human history; second is about the slow social changes brought up by the conflicts and interacts between different social groups; the third one is about the individual's life. But in the historical textbook, we could only find out the history of those great humans and significant events, and victories and failures, there is no shadows of the throng, they only form a background. Nevertheless, in Duan Jianghua's painting, we could perceive a manner towards the perception of history, through moving out the human figures from the image, the artist trying to tell us that the history without the populace but only the monuments are desolated and empty.

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Bought in 2008 Pavilion no.2 150x200 cm, oil on canvas, 2007, ChinaSquare Gallery, USA

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Junqin Xing 1960, Shanxi, China I liked two things from him. First, he is a colonel of the red army painting contemporary art. Incredible for an occidental! And second, his rethinking of important artworks or symbols through a war or camouflage style with a small cynic point of view, as the best example the red army soldiers with CocaCola cans. He can paint matters like religion or occidental consumerism without had been censured. I liked so much the cross cube because of his religious significance and the interpretation of the camouflage that seem to talk to us the disasters of the war and the suffering of the humanity, moreover than be from Dalí, one of my most admiralty painters and combine the concept “camouflage” with other of the big like Warhol. At this stage, June 2008, I am not so sure I will maintain it in my collection. True, I like it, I like it, but I bought it because of a matter of price. I found it through the Internet at a very affordable price, a very strange affordable price, and I decided to buy it to resell it and make cash to buy other more known artists. But I am not sure like I am not sure why this little price… because of the matter of the painting, because it remained unsold for two years after the original exhibition… At these days the Chinese market is so strange than is really difficult to follow it. RELIGION Xing Jun Qin is an artist-colonel in the Chinese military. His large-scale, realist paintings portray its activities: manoeuvres, processions and occasionally actual battles. While Xing is an 'insider' within the military his pictures are not as straightforwardly propagandistic as one might expect. A recurring theme is the soldiers' use of the tools of war (guns, Jeeps, tanks etc.), a juxtaposition of the human figure and the machine which is unsettling even as the artist seems to revel in its pictorial potential. Xing's camouflaged soldiers occupy a shallow, stage-like space that lends these paintings a beguiling unreality. Dalí, Crucifixion ('Corpus Hypercubus'), 1954 when disembarking from the steamship America in Le Havre on March 27, 1953, on his return from New York, Dalí announced to the reporters gathered around him that he was going to paint a picture he himself termed as sensational: an exploding Christ, nuclear and hypercubic. He said that it would be the first picture painted with a classical technique and an academic formula but actually composed of cubic elements. To a reporter who asked him why he wanted to depict Christ exploding, he replied, "I don't know yet. First I have ideas, I explain to them later. This picture will be the great metaphysical work of my summer." It was at the end of spring in 1953 in Port Lligat that Dalí began this work, but it is dated 1954, the year in which it was finished and then exhibited in December at the Carstairs Gallery in New York. The painting may be regarded as one of the most significant of his religious oils in the classical style, along with The Madonna of Port Lligat, Christ. I’ve never been a religious man, although my family attended the church on Sundays in a very small village where they originate, but was mostly a social gathering rather than a religious act, been there and been seen very well dressed, was Dictatorship time and the huge power of the Church in Spain. Later all my studies were in a very religious college in Barcelona, La Salle Bonanova, the best time of my life although I was an intern there from Monday to Friday, but already an own room, the freedom of being alone, that was the start of my independence and seek for them in any circumstances. So, although religion was constant, and services as well, I started to be a miscreant and an absolute atheist, only expiring my sins each Friday just after lunch because the intern who did so could go home just finished the Ave Maria and the Paternoster, the others had to wait until late Friday. If you know me you’ll understand for sure that my strength, my character, my ideas come from a long, long time ago. Then, I don’t believe in religion and I hate it, I don’t understand how people can believe in any kind of religion, we are alone and sooner we can assume we are alone and depending on our acts, won’t be excuses not to act correctly. The world will be best without any religion, I’m sure of that. I enjoyed to learn philosophy, read the classics, try to build my own way to think, ask me questions, and the answer it’s always the same, I’m alone, I’m responsible of my acts, I have to act correctly. I don’t need anyone to forgive me, promise something better or restrict my freedom.

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Bought in 2008 Cross Cube 230x170 cm, oil on canvas, 2005, Vecchiato Gallery through Telemarket, IT

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Grace Graupe-Pillard NYC, USA I’ve discovered her work at the Chicago Art Fair 2006 internet site. I was attracted by the subject of her paintings and the way how she painted it. The consequences of the war between human beings: death, refugees, hungry, devastation... I’ve tried to buy a painting what it was at the beginning of my collection and I did not know all the details to be in this art world. The works were really very big and I was scared about transport prices and in the end, I lost the opportunity to buy it. Time to time I check my favourites artists and this time I fall in her photo work. This combination within the technique used in paintings and the scenario from a photo. Her series about the same subjects it is really strong. I’ve bought these two photos because they have the same scenario: the Washington Square Plaza, but with two different consequences: the death of a soldier and the refugees caused by the war. One place, two consequences and the same indifference amongst the people in the scenario. DEATH Grace Graupe-Pillard appropriates photojournalistic imagery from the Internet or the news and repaints the images. By heightening colour to high contrast, and by creating zig-zag fields of linked abstract forms, Graupe-Pillard has dislodged elements of the photos from their context in an event or history and returned them to the stories of individuals. The work is a response to the new world we live in characterized by tribes, raw surfaces, monumentality, meandering abstraction, escapist fantasy, borders, nomads ideas, motifs; symbols of a culture, as they build up, daily, in a milieu. And no doubt Grace Graupe-Pillard’s new work is political. She recaptures the human tragedy that is too often blunted by the mechanics of patriotic or political representation (as in Red Hand, which I do not read as an anarchist cry against a solider with blood on the hands, but a sickening wish to see all bloodshed come to an end). Like an Afghani rug-maker that keeps weaving traditionally, even when a Soviet helicopter happens to wander into the pattern, Graupe-Pillard’s touched-up reality has a sublime artfulness that predicts that long after the dust of history settles the art of humanity will lives’. REFUGEES In 2003, shortly after the onset of the Iraq War, I began working on a series of photographs entitled INTERVENTIONS focusing on the horror and human cost of wars being fought in far-off places. These photographs depict images of soldiers, car-bombings, ruins, explosions, and refugees, which are digitally embedded into the familiar streets and parks of New York City, Baltimore and the New Jersey wetlands... INTERVENTIONS attempts to make visually evident the ongoing tragic repercussions of war in our own backyard, as well as the equally powerful manipulation of the electorate through the “politics of fear.” An ordinary day: February 20th 2020. Refugees News: Dozens of migrants missing off Canary Isles; Greece. Aid workers face growing hostility on Lesbos; Trump's travel ban: Thousands of lives in limbo; 'We don't see our futures': A resurgent refugee crisis in Greece; Bangladesh: Rohingya boat sinks off Bangladesh, at least 15 dead; Up to 20,000 migrants will be locked in overnight at the new camps, due to open by mid-2020; Greece to start setting up closed migrant camps; Greece: Seven arrested for planning to beat migrants; The prevalence of psychological trauma among refugee youth should be an issue of utmost urgency for us all; Tensions mount as asylum seekers living in Moria, a notoriously overcrowded Greek camp, rally against poor conditions; French police clear last refugee camp in Paris; January sees lowest fatalities since 2014 but concerns mount over the situation in Libya, more deaths off Turkish coast; Libya's increase in conflict puts migrants at 'significant risk'; Healthcare out of reach for at least 140 children with complex, life-threatening conditions in notoriously crowded camp; A refugee describes fleeing violence in eastern DRC with her children only to face the fear of more in South Africa; A journey for a better life is 'marred by considerable risk of serious human rights violations and abuses'. Rape, abuse and violence: Female migrants' journey to Libya; Eamonn Harrison is alleged to have driven a container full of people being trafficked to the Belgian port of Zeebrugge.

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Bought in 2008 Washington Square Park Funeral 101x152 cm, Archival pigment print, 2007, Direct from the artist, USA

Washington Square Park refugees 101x152 cm, Archival pigment print, 2008, Direct from the artist, USA

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Hua Qing 1962, Anhui, China Remember, all of us at the beginning were apes! The only thing that separates us from apes and others is the capability to learn and think. I think this painting will be the centrepiece of the collection, it reflects really what I want to explain when I say: “To think is contagious. Infect brains”. We, as a human being, are the only animals who had the capability to think and develop fast our brains. We have this unique opportunity, and most of the times we don’t use it or we use it for destructive ways. There is a very thin line between the evolution of ones and others; therefore use our capabilities at our best. This painting has to remember us that. Moreover, this painting has to remember the young generations that they have to pursuit in learning and discovering, that we never have to stop in learning, only learning to make us human beings. Another conclusion is that we have to push our acknowledgement and discover beyond the limits of what understands now or someone wants we believe to. Einstein has been the most important human being and I like to have him in front of me each day as a referent and remember me to go further in anything. Road no. 5 is one of the best works by Hua Qing. It’s very strong. If you see the painting in person, you’ll be impressed by the strength of brushstrokes and the deliberate handling of dripping paint of the gorilla. The animal looks as vivid as if it’s alive. I also like the clean and clear background with a lot of space which makes the gorilla much more outstanding. I decided to take a break to buy more paintings, but I could not stop when I saw this painting, it was too much strong and matched so well in my collection that I could not pass through. True, Hua Qing is an unknown painter despite he was born in 1962 and I do not find so much information on the Internet, but his series with the apes is incredibly strong and smart. What a surprise when I undercover the painting when arrived at home. It supposes to be for me a quite flat painting, but not. My surprise arrived when the strokes hurt me, Osage Gallery staff already advise me about that, but in reality, the strokes are very strong and the colours much more powerful than the picture you can see and which I saw when I decided to buy it. So, it was a big surprise and big satisfaction. See details below, if I could have enough words in English to explain it. The work is like Duan Jianghua strokes, but now in colour, really great; I like these paintings where you can see really the strokes, the work of the artist.

EDUCATION Hua Qing's paintings are very much like the man himself - making silent yet sharp and precise observations about our surroundings. As man loses control over his momentum trying to brace himself to face the fast, rapid changes of the world, Hua Qing has chosen to confront these changes in a calm and unhurried manner, meanwhile encouraging us to do a self-introspection to ponder upon our essential qualities that we are slowly losing. Hua Qing hails from among the pioneer batch of artists to inhabit Yuanmingyuan. Over the past two decades, he has focused on expounding his artistic language and creative thinking. The "Red Ape" has become a representative symbol of his. He has reverted man into the Red Ape - the primitive form of man - to arouse from within us the primitive force residing in our inner soul, to arm us with sufficient sincerity and courage to reflect upon the modern commercial society's so-called civilization of today. The Ape, or the primitive man, is used as a means to highlight the transformation process of today's society in an attempt to seek the Truth. He (it) has transcended the domains of humanities, science and philosophy. Huaqing's creative process, as depicted by the apes in his paintings, is an attempt to seek the Truth. In an increasingly complex society which has deviated from its intrinsic nature, the ape is construed as the primitive form of man, to reveal the evolutionary process of human civilization. The primitive ape in his paintings and the reconnaissance of humanities and philosophical thinking are manifested as images that reveal both past and current dialectic thoughts. At the first instance, Hua Qing's painting of the ape manifests its existence through its intense gaze and primitive passion that overwhelms us, yet upon closer scrutiny, we discover that the ape's gaze has outshone the presence of and broken away from its primitive body. The look is a sharp, pondering and critical examination of the current state of affairs. The various "man-like" positions assumed by the ape: sitting, lying, walking and being deep in thought reveal a state of deep contemplation. The ape's sharp gaze is focused upon the Truth that lies ahead. Its strides follow the path leading towards the Truth. Its fingers are almost pointing out at the Truth. Amidst increasingly.

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Bought in 2008 Allegory of Human Being (road no.5) 162x130 cm, oil on canvas, 2006, Osage Gallery, HK

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Gade 1971, Lhasa, Tibet The first time I noticed the Gade works was in Lhasa in summer 2007. Near the Jokhang on the northeast corner of the Barkhor is the Gedun Cheopel Artist’s Guild, an exhibition hall and coffee shop. A small gallery with a wonderful view of the Barkhor and nice people inside. In a wall, there were works by several artists, and Gade has a wonderful picture there about comic features. I asked for the work, but it was already sold, there was only a wall with works. I keep with me a card and the name of Gade. For a time I forget, but several months after I read an article about Tibetan art in AsianArt News and surfing Internet afterwards I found an exhibition in Plum Blossoms gallery with a selection of Tangkas representing comic features keep my attention. It was a link with the Guernica I had painted by Ron English representing Snoopy and The Simpsons, but with a touch from Tibet. Ron used western icons and Gade used east icons, The Tangka. Unfortunately, all the pieces were sold. For a while, I tried to find a work without success. Contacting the gallery in Lhasa I reached the email of Gade and starts an exchange of emails. He, very kindly, agreed to do a work for me. I asked him a New Tangka, as he wanted to paint. I showed him my collection; I explained to him the issues of my collection and told him about my idea of putting together one of his New Tangkas with an Old Tangka. The contemporary with the traditions, something very related to Tibet, but also the western culture. I had this idea because when I was in Tibet I bought a very nice Tangka, a traditional one representing one of his Budha. The young guide told me about the difficulties to be young and fight with a very though traditions, moreover than fight against the Chinese expansion. And when I saw the Gade the idea came to me naturally, in one hand the traditions, in the other one the new, but integrated in the same way to talk, through a Tangka form, a very Tibetan form. I had not any idea about which kind of feature he could paint: a Mickey, Spiderman, Superman... Probably anyone from a comic’s hero. Any will be ok for me and for the purpose to contrast old against new, tradition against novelty, spiritual against terrestrial...In the meantime, he sent me pictures about his last works for an exhibition in China and they were wonderful, with these comics’ features, so I expected the same for my work a few weeks after. But, which a surprise when he sent me the images. This was my answer to him: “Gade, OOUUAAUUU!!!!! I like it very much, really very much. I do not know how it will look like in live, but these pictures are incredible! I like the argument; I like the different things, the composition. A wonderful complement for a traditional tangka. The past and today, the spirit and the oppression... It's necessary to look at it closely and with time in order to find any idea you had and you painted. One time and another and probably next time you'll discover another thing. You are really great.” I was very excited, really very excited. And I am still very excited. Now, I have to think about how to promote him and especially this work that talks directly to us about the sufferance of the Tibetan people. Maybe I will have a lot of enemies, but this work is really powerful. Thank you very much, Gade, for offering me this work.

OPPRESSION As a young painter in Lhasa at the turn of the 1990s, Gade was set apart from his peers not only for his “more abstract shapes and forms redolent of Picasso but [also]…the use of Chinese mineral colours on cloth as opposed to popular oil paints.” Yet, even with his interest in Western art at that time, one saw in Gade’s painting a clear and subtle marriage of styles. “In Gade’s, there is a distinct juxtaposition of styles: while his paintings are essentially modern in character, he continues to work in a mostly classical Tibetan style. “When I went to Beijing to study at the Central Academy of Fine Arts in 1992, I wanted to show how the traditional and the contemporary could be brought together in my work. But I wasn’t very satisfied with this. I was young then and I didn’t have very much life experience,” says Gade. “When I look back at that time, I see that I was looking at the Tibetan tradition and the contemporary like I was looking at mathematics, as some kind of formula. But since Buddhism and the culture were strongest for me, they dominated the look of my work, which was to represent Tibetan culture. Slowly I learned to see that bringing things together was not like a formula. “I really like traditional Tibetan culture but I found it difficult to understand at times because there was a gap due to the Cultural Revolution. When you want to repeat the tradition I couldn’t because of the changes and my life at that time didn’t allow for it. I thought that depicting tradition wasn’t real for me because when I was young, Chinese and foreign influences had a big impact on me and my memories of childhood. But painting, I saw that a lot of artists were trying to make their tradition mysterious. But I knew that I didn’t want my work to become mere decoration for people’s houses. I felt that I had a responsibility as an artist to my society, its culture, and its traditions.” Forms such as the tangka, the scroll, the sutra, and the mandala are vital to Gade’s expression of traditional culture in his art practice. Now, however, they also serve to emphasize a new vision that incorporates traditional symbolism alongside the contemporary capitalist iconography that has come to permeate Chinese and Tibetan society -- McDonald’s, Mickey Mouse, and Spiderman, for example. These have become commonplace symbols in the art of many young Chinese artists over the past decade or so. But in many ways, the use of capitalist logos among many of China’s Political pop artists were realized in a smooth, sophisticated manner that suggests the graphic art of slick advertising campaigns rather than any meaningful act of protest or cultural criticism. His careful use of dark mineral colours, particularly his brooding reddish browns and ochres, lend his art robustness so different from his earlier paintings of a decade ago. Combining this with the placement of his new iconography within the careful geometry of his forms also lends his art a subtle power that is lacking in a great deal of work that makes up the Political pop genre. Any discussion today about Tibet and its relationship with China is tainted by the opaqueness of emotional argument. For many Tibetan artists, many different realities are tugging at their consciousness. In their art, there is often tension but there is also a clear resolve to hold fast to many of the traditions that are under threat. But there is also a clear dissatisfaction with the outside world that looks in. “Sometimes I really don’t get the ideas expressed by tourists that Tibetans should stick to their own culture and way of living,” says Gade. 37


Commissioned in 2008 New Tanka 116x70 cm, Ground mineral pigments on rough canvas, commissioned Sept 2008, Direct from the artist, Tibet

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Lydia Venieri 1964, Athens, Greece Despite writing these lines just fifteen days after I known the work of Lydia I’m not sure how I’ve become in love with her work. I cannot remember if I saw her in a magazine, I think not, or sailing on the Internet, probably but where? In any case, the eyes of these dolls reflect all the human miseries. I hesitated between Lost Youth and Afghan Woman. My first impression was for Lost Youth, the worst episode of the humanity reflected in the innocence of her eyes, in black and withe, the youngsters that will never become men. I’ve wanted to have a work remembering this period but... I’ve take finally Afghan woman because of two reasons: one about the subject and another about the technique. About the subject, I want to point out the importance of the conflict between religions in the contemporary wars and the weakness of women in these wars, moreover than the classical ideological wars of the XX century. About the technique, Afghan woman is more centred in the eyes than Lost Youth and also the expression of the doll manifesting her scare. I believe I find with this works a new way to collect. I hope one day I could exhibit them altogether.

WOMEN RIGHTS in ARAB COUNTRIES Lydia’s new digital photographic-works on silk question the way that images of war and terror are used by the media to distort reality. Venieri’s images explore the juxtaposition of hyper-realistic photographs of war taken from film-stills and the news media with seemingly naïve images of children’s dolls. Positioned, digitally, to fit within the eyes of children’s dolls, the works disarm viewers at first glance, while delivering a potent punch of terror upon further inspection. The serene dolls volunteer themselves to our gaze, beckoning the viewer to approach in an unguarded and vulnerable state. Images of genocide, suicide bombings, and the devastation caused by the allied bombing of Nagasaki have literally pulled from the headlines of CNN and Fox news. Captured inside the reflections of the haunting gaze of these empty vessels, they create a mysterious relationship between two conspicuously diverse visual worlds. This bold work opens up the possibilities of technology in a way that echoes both modern genetic science and the uncanny effects of the Surrealists. Continuing her search for the human embodiment of social issues within the constructs of a deceivingly simple vehicle, this series offers an in-depth look at human perception and the dissemination of images and information. After the fall of the Taliban in 2001, a phase of reconstruction began in Afghanistan that sparked hope for a better future. Economic problems, the decline in international support and an increase in poverty are a lethal development given the already dangerous situation women and girls are facing. The revitalisation of fundamentalist forces and is jeopardising the achievements made in the field of women’s rights. There are recurrent instances of lynching or stoning, particularly in families and village communities. Women are poisoned, tortured, oppressed. Laws to prevent these kinds of incidents, such as the Elimination of Violence against Women (EVAW) law do exist. But, in practice, the dominance of traditional justice systems often prevents their consistent application. Frequent consequences of the violent repression and disenfranchisement of women in Afghanistan include psychosomatic illnesses, depression and even suicide. Despite their difficult and extremely dangerous situations, more and more women are making their voice heard – against injustice and for political representation in their country. But not only in Afghanistan, but Egypt is also the worst country for women in the Arab world, closely followed by Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Syria and Yemen. In the opposite side, Comoros, Oman, Kuwait, Jordan and Qatar came top of the survey, which assessed 22 Arab states on violence against women, reproductive rights, treatment of women within the family, their integration into society and attitudes towards a woman’s role in politics and the economy. Just now 2019, Saudi Arabia has lifted its restrictions on women travelling abroad, the most notable weakening yet of the country’s notorious guardianship system. It marks another advance for gender equality, more than a year after the kingdom ended the world’s only ban on women driving. But neighbour Iran: before the Iranian Islamic Revolution in 1979, Iranian women were acquiring rights along with women in other parts of the world. Hundreds served on elected local councils and millions were in the workforce, including as judges, civil servants, ambassadors and police officers. The Iranian Islamic Revolution wiped out those gains. Recently, despite some progress in certain areas, such as access to education and health care, the human rights environment for women in Iran continues to be characterized by inequality and exclusion. Iran is one of just six UN member states that have not signed the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women, and its national legislation enshrines many barriers to accessing basic rights in areas such as employment, marriage and citizenship. But just in 2019, the UN has condemned lengthy prison sentences against three Iranian women who are being arbitrarily detained for publicly protesting against the compulsory wearing of veils. Ms Mojgan Keshavarz was sentenced to 23 years and six months’ while Ms Yasaman Aryani and Ms Monireh Arabshahi were each sentenced to 16 years’

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Bought in 2008 Afghan Woman - Woman being executed by Taliban 76x152 cm, Archival Dye-sub on satin, 2/7, 2008, Direct from the artist, USA

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Priscilla Bracks 1973, Northern New South Wales, Australia Only a few words: the first contemporary artist using a photo I’ve ever liked. I noticed her when in 2007 she wins the Australian’s award showing a double image of Jesus and Osama Bin Laden that made the cover around the world. After visiting her site I was really interested in the works executed with her doll Cherry Wang. This mix between innocence and war it seems to me really effective. When I came the first time to her site I did not notice that the works had a double vision, this technique gives them much more interesting. I used to work as Marketing Director in the ’90s and I already used this technique for a campaign. To apply it to art it’s really great. Almost all the works were great. But finally, I decided for it because of this first plane of the doll with the bazooka and the second image with the boom like a cartoon or a Lichtenstein’s work. I hope she will have more opportunities to exhibit abroad in Australia. Making the Empire Cross is a series of lenticular images, which take an irreverent look at contemporary geopolitical figures and events. The images form a loose narrative featuring a motley cohort of plastic toys dressed in custom made costumes and set against illustrated comic backgrounds. They come to life playing out scenarios which are in many ways less ridiculous than the reality of the politics they parody. After the commencement of the Afghanistan war, I was not sure whether I should be more disturbed by the war itself, or the abundance of cheap war toys which seemed to flood the market at that time. My response was to collect them over a period now spanning 4 years. Gradually they formed the basis for this work, the darker side of which ponders the ways in which popular culture and media have been used to make the case for a conflict which is relatively unsupported outside fundamentally conservative communities (of all religious persuasions). Yet despite its black humour, it is my hope that the work is not heavy-handed or angry. The lenticular medium also plays an important part in the visual language employed by this work. The medium is popularly used to create engaging images for children. Here its fun, frivolous and toy-like nature, and a comics aesthetic, is subverted to reveal how even the most unlikely stories can make their way into popular culture and into the realm of ‘truth’, principally through media associated with entertainment. As a medium and a technique, the lenticular process used by Bracks for this project is eerily appropriate to the subject matter, which is not just the war, but also the mass media. Lenticular prints resemble the pixelated pictures on an old-style television set. Laminating two pictures together allows a transformation to occur when the image is viewed from different angles, which underlines the fact that the real picture is not a simple one. RESOURCES The recent rise in tensions over the disputed South China Sea has drawn attention to the possibility that the conflict is really about natural resources located in the islands of the South China Sea. The American Revolution in Europe is seen as a battle between the British and the French for commodities and trade routes. The Battle of Plassey helped establish British control over India and bring it access to the country's commodities and control trading routes. The American Civil War centred on slavery but slavery itself was driven by demand for cotton and other agricultural commodities. The Finnish-Soviet war was prompted by Stalin's quest for Nickel. The Pearl Harbour strike was Japan's effort to knock the U.S. out of the war and get access to commodities in South Asia. The German invasion of Russia was about more than just an ideological battle, it was a battle for commodities. Iraq's invasion of Kuwait was seen as an attempt to gain control of the latter's oil reserves. The ongoing territorial disputes in the South China Sea are really about oil. The tensions around the Falklands are likely motivated by the island nation's oil reserves. Worried about the current state of the global economy... Fossil fuels currently account for about 90 per cent of the world's energy consumption. They provide around 66% of the world's electrical power, and 95% of the world's total energy demands, such as, for heating, transport, electricity generation and so on. Our consumption of fossil fuels has nearly doubled about every 20 years, which is quite an alarming statistic, given that their levels are running dangerously low. On the other hand, renewable sources have the advantage of producing lower emissions of carbon dioxide and reducing reliance on fossil fuels.

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Bought in 2008 Battle for the High Ground 75x75cm, Archival Lenticular Print, 4/8, 2008, Direct from the artist, AUS

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Michael W. Soi 1972, Nairobi, Kenya Michael Soi is a Nairobi based artist whose pieces provide a personal reflection and satirical commentary on contemporary social, economic and political trends in Kenya. The work is the artist's comment on the controversy that accompanied the Kenyan entries to the 2013 and 2015 Venice Biennale. In 2015, the Italian curators of the pavilion selected six Chinese artists, out of a total of eight, to fulfil the commission. A similar situation had occurred in 2013. In response, a petition was circulated entitled 'Renounce Kenya's fraudulent Representation at 56 Venice Biennale'. Kenyan cultural leaders and artists were angry that the government and organisers were not supporting African or local talent, especially in light of Nairobi's burgeoning art scene. Nairobi-based artist Michael Soi has criticised the continued involvement of China in Africa for several years. In particular, Kenya has experienced a wave of Chinese migrants since the boom in Chinese infrastructure projects (estimated to be worth $3.27 billion in 2013). The artist executed a series of paintings between 2012 and 2013 entitled 'China Loves Africa'. The works criticized the Chinese government's increasing socio-economic control over the continent and imagined the repercussions it could have with regards to foreign debt. The current Shame in Venice I continue to scrutinize this relationship, in light of the events at the Venice Biennale. In an interview, Soi said of the work: "The Shame in Venice” is all about misrepresentation and fraud flying the red, green and black of the Kenyan flag in a pavilion full of Chinese artists. For those who don't know, Kenya has a lot of great contemporary artists who can represent Kenya at whatever level. Like artists living in the diaspora and the local gang operating from Nairobi and other towns in Kenya. The likes of Wangechi Mutu, Naomi Wanjiku Gakunga and the local brigade with the likes of Peterson Kamwathi, Paul Onditi, Richard Kimathi, Jimmy Ogonga, Jim Chuchu, Emily, Beatrice, Miriam, Jackie... We can go on and on...that Kenyan pavilion is as phoney as a 3 dollar bill." Bibliography A. Klein, 'The Shame in Venice: Michael Soi responds to the Chinese takeover of Kenya's Art Pavilion' from www.okayafrica.com, (30 March 2015). S. Moses, 'Outrage over Chinese artists chosen to represent Kenya at Venice Biennale' in www.theguardian.com (15 April 2015). Interview, https://www.one.org/international/blog/kenyan-society-through-the-eyes-of-artist-michael-soi/ Video: https://youtu.be/f1W03g1sF5o https://youtu.be/D70CX2hK4a4 Sometime in 2016, I discovered Michael Soi. He represents everything I love about an artist, who is critical of his time and expresses his ideas through art; and also I like it. I knew what happened to the Pavilion of Kenya perfectly because I know who was the curator, and the painting depicts several stories in one space: 1. the rarity of the representation of Chinese painters in the pavilion of Kenya; 2. how to work the Italians, I have worked many years there and for them, able to justify everything and do what they want giving back to things; 3. colonization of China in Africa buying natural resources; 4. corruption of African states, how to explain what happened; and 5. the art world that far from being scandalized likes these debates. I also like the African colour of Michael Soi, the stroke of the drawings of the characters, unfortunately only one of its African women without their hidden exuberance, but it is also the strength of the work. The significance of the underwear is to symbolize shamelessness in which people are willing to go to get what they desire! In conclusion: a great work, which represents a unique moment in the history of art; and a great artist, that if someday Africa gets developed, will be one of the most important, critic and with an extensive quality work. In fact, I had seen the work before to be auctioned, but I completely forgot it. By chance, I saw him again in my Artprice and went to control the price that had been sold. My surprise was that it did not sell, nor had sold a year ago and decided to propose the seller from accepting. How strange is the art world, a published work which had a lot of media attention around the world of art and not, with a reasonable price, one of the few African artists with international projection and the pound at its worst, unsold. So with the chance, I've got a great work, big very big with storage problems. It was at least seven years without adding a work to my collection. Michael Soi has managed to enlighten my curiosity and pique my interest again.

NEW COLONIALISM? China’s new position in the international economy, and especially the rise of Sino-African commercial and financial relations, has contributed strongly to the improvement of macroeconomic conditions in Africa. Export volumes and export profits have increased, while investments and aid have created new opportunities. However, the new relationship has raised once again the fundamental question regarding African countries’ dependence on primary goods exports. “The risk for African borrowers relates to the project’s profitability,” “Will they be able to generate enough economic activity through these projects to repay these loans? Or are the projects seen more as ribbon-cutting opportunities? The Chinese believe that ports and special economic zones are a ‘win-win’ development tool. It’s what they did at home at an earlier stage of their development.” Tensions with newcomers will rise, for sure. 43


Bought in 2015 Shame in Venice I 101x299 cm, Oil on canvas, 2016, Bonhams post auction, UK

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Sheng Qi 1965, Anhui, China The big issue with the current (2017) art Chinese contemporary scene is that the artists have abdicated of one of his goals: to complaint social and political matters. From the fear of the youngsters until the commodity of the biggest names shows today a boring scene plenty of works depicting nature or just strokes in at least the last 20 years. It’s a pity that there is no trace of the originals and two of the most interesting movements in art worldwide like Cynical Realism and Political Pop, when Chinese contemporary art emerged onto the world scene in the 1990s, after the suppression of the 1989 student movement, felt intensely disappointed by the incident, and disappointed by authority figures. They felt it was all a kind of joke, and this changed their attitude. They finished in their self with his painters diving in abundance, Mercedes, wives and big studios. Fortunately, there is still an artist from the origin of contemporary art in China stand-alone and continuing, since the Tiananmen protests, depicting what really happens in China. He’s obscured in China, ignored by their contemporary, but still raising his voice through art. At some point, when democracy will arrive in China because it will arrive someday, I hope he will be recognised as a fighter for that freedom and repaired. Sheng Qi, I following him since the firsts years of my interest in Chinese contemporary art and now I’m glad to add a small but powerful work to my collection which is a scream for hope and freedom. The Umbrella Movement (雨傘運動) is a pro-democracy political movement that was created spontaneously during the Hong Kong protests of 2014. The protests began on September 26th 2014. Its name derives from the recognition of the umbrella as a symbol of defiance and resistance against the Hong Kong Police, and the united grass-roots objection to the decision of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPCSC) of 31 August. Since the start of the 2014 protests, movement activists have complained of harassment from political opponents "alarmingly similar to the way mainland Chinese activists and their families have long been targeted". December 11th 2014 Hong Kong police and protesters brace for the final clearance of the city's main pro-democracy site. In 2017 in London I strength a very good friendship with Sheng Qi and we had spent a few beers talking about art and social matters. HOPE Just a fragile yellow umbrella surfing and avoiding to be dragged by the red waves and a plumbed red sky who covers all, trying at the same time open the sky and see the white and pure light of freedom. Poetic representation homage to the umbrella movement of Hong Kong started in 2014 and still continuing despite the brutal repression of the China authorities. Hope, because freedom starts with the movement of the people, the artists, the workers, the youngsters, the elders, a society which mobilise for freedom of any kind. First, a few, then others join the movement until no Government can face them unless using the violence! But, you know? Not only hope regarding Hong Kong, but any kind of hope can be found in a storm. Like the history of Moria on the hunt for hope. It began with a letter to the Guardian from an aid worker there. He was concerned that the notorious camp’s portrayal in the media was relentlessly negative. But working there, he said, was an amazing experience; every day, he witnessed acts of kindness by extraordinary people. It gave him faith in humanity. You will have heard about the desperate conditions, the overcrowding, the fires, the riots, the unaccompanied minors, the trauma, sexual exploitation, rape and murder. Moria is hell, a stain on 21st-century Europe, where bureaucracy, politics and simply not caring enough have left tens of thousands in limbo – people fleeing war and danger, looking for a future for themselves and their children and not finding it. Moria’s existence is a disgrace, a failure of morality.

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Bought in 2017 Yellow umbrella on red waves 60x90 cm, acrylic on canvas, 2014, Direct from the artist, UK

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Chen Qiuchi 1959 "I have my own conscience. I cannot but concern myself with the reality, the changes and problems occurring in the process of development of human society". Words by Chen Qiuchi that I can assume myself. I bought one of his works in 2006 and again in 2017 when I met him and build up his website, happy to be his friend. Qiuchi Chen is an artist with a subversive-conceptual personality by nature, reflective and of kind temperament; he deals with strength and determination the necessary topics to let the public reflect on the civil values necessary to safeguard peace and the survival of whole humanity. He is very incisive towards human arrogance, rudeness and technology that in China has already caused a deep environmental crisis and an existential one of the human relationships, the artist asserts that life is the most important and precious right that each of us received, and it must be honoured giving always our best and we must do all our most for the good of humanity. Wars, nuclear, demographic, energetic and environmental crisis are the main denounce because as artist and member of the human community, he deeply feels the duty to get people aware and to discuss these topics with the hope that this can be of help to shake feelings and humans can be able to get through and out from the current avid era and begin again to take care of nature. After so many years, finally, we met in Como in 2017 for his solo exhibition, spending a very good night together with Marsiglione and his wife, moreover than translation adventures and visas. Since 2006 I like this work. STUPIDITY When his criticism is for wars and weapons, his aeroplanes, shotguns and tanks are covered by a lot of “little faces” and are “humanized” till make them loose their own destructive power, whereas other times he simply wants to express his feelings of love towards this world by painting smiling flowers. Most of Qiuchi Chen’s work is visually focused on the human head’s contour to reflect the process of the existential thought which day by day leads all us and which is our world. Qiuchi Chen does this, moving beyond the enlarged faces represented in the paintings by his companions of movement and by the political art of the first half of the last century, he creates more shapes caricatures, understanding and representing society’s complexity and frustration. The basic laws of human stupidity are ancient. Here they are: 1. Always and inevitably, everyone underestimates the number of stupid individuals in circulation. 2. The probability that a certain person be stupid is independent of any other characteristic of that person. 3. A stupid person is a person who causes losses to another person or a group of persons, whiles himself deriving no gain and even possibly incurring losses. 4. Non-stupid people always underestimate the damaging power of stupid individuals. In particular, non-stupid people constantly forget that at all times and places and under any circumstances to deal and/or associate with stupid people always turns out to be a costly mistake. “Never Underestimate Human Stupidity”: The last few decades have been the most peaceful era in human history. Whereas in early agricultural societies human violence caused up to 15 per cent of all human deaths, and in the twentieth century it caused 5 per cent, today it is responsible for only 1 per cent. Yet since the global financial crisis of 2008, the international situation is rapidly deteriorating, warmongering is back in vogue, and military expenditures are ballooning. Both laypeople and experts fear that just as in 1914 the murder of an Austrian archduke sparked the First World War, so in 2018 some incident in the Syrian Desert or an unwise move in the Korean peninsula might ignite a global conflict. So how much should we fear a world war? On one hand, war is definitely not inevitable. On the other hand, it would be naive to assume that war is impossible. Even if war is catastrophic for everyone, no god and no law of nature protect us from human stupidity.

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Bought in 2017 Mushroom cloud II 240x180 cm, oil on canvas, 2004, direct from the artist, CN

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Chen Yu 1969, Anshun, Guizhou, China Trained in the art of engraving and having worked in the publishing industry, Chen Yu chose to become a painter to focus on creating a world of his own and to work by himself among his works, almost like traditional Chinese painters. Influenced by the art of printmaking, Chen Yu differentiates himself with the monotony of his subjects, which are cloned as if they were reproduced by the printing press. Rows of duplicated human heads are a constant symbolic feature in his paintings. Their repetition questions the place given to individuality and its expression. In some series of works, only one protagonist has his/her eyes open. The portraits repeat with boredom, with the figures looking detached from each other and forlorn, while among them one figure looks on. The artist’s sense of humour is perceptible in the way he illustrates individuality. The gestures or expression of the singled out character is most of the time hilarious. Sometimes picking one’s nose, water being poured on one’s bold head, looking at the spectator with a cigarette in one’s mouth, etc. are examples of such attitudes the artist picks to make one person among his created crowds stand out. Above the figures, a single motif absurdly floats in the composition, breaking this monotonous pattern by bringing the attention away from the human subjects. Over the years, his style and technique have matured into more realistic aesthetics, still crisp but with more accomplished renderings and a more subtle colour palette. In recent works, Chen Yu explores individuality in new ways, the difference between the characters are shown in gender, outfits, and facial expressions. The figures appear to be more related, less isolated and if one individual is distinguished, the others seem to interact with him or her - their eyes are open. In this work, is it, in fact, a portrait of his young brother Chen Li! I have to thanks Nicole Schoeni for helping to reach an agreement when you run short of money is not easy to add very good works to your collection. CURIOSITY Curiosity is the first stage of freedom and evolution. Evolution of any kind is driven by someone who looks at something different, who try to look forward to what the others looking at. In Dictatorship countries, people act like sheep until someone says enough and try to look at and think by himself starting a process of contamination to the others who will ask themselves if they are right or not following a leader. That’s why I like the first part of this work and the overall work of Chen Yu. He introduces a dragonfly surrounded by flies. As a creature of the wind, the dragonfly totem represents change. Its iridescent wings are incredibly sensitive to the slightest breeze, and so we are reminded to heed where the proverbial wind blows - lest we run into stormy weather. Dragonflies are also creatures of the water, and any creature whose habitat is in, or around water carries symbolism relative the subconscious, or "dreaming" mind and thoughts. To reinforce the idea, in the second part a new element is introduced, a neonate, in colour, showing us that the hope is in young generations and people not yet polluted, still, half sleeping, but surely one day will wake up and start thinking. He introduces as well another animal, a brown lizard. When I think of lizards on a symbolic level, I can't help but think of Seth Godin. Seth spins the idea that our minds can potentially skitter and scatter as a lizard does. He speaks about how the human mind's proclivity can be primal, raw, and erratic. That's so very true. But lizards do what they do for survival. They may seem speedy and erratic in a willy-nilly way...but that's not the case. They move fast and unpredictably because THEY sense what's going on. THEY know why they must move with expedience. Brown lizards ask us to consider what is grounding. Is your family an anchor? Then seeing a brown lizard in your life might be a sign to focus attention on the family. What about home? Brown lizards encourage us to engage in matters of the home...security, safety, provision. Brown lizards ask us to pay attention to core issues.

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Bought in 2017 Untitled 2008 Series No. 1A+B 180x140 cm (2). Oil on Canvas, 2008, Direct from Nicole Schoeni collection

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Yu Fan 1966, Qingdao city, China In the oeuvre of Beijing-based sculptor Yu Fan—whose recognizable creations are sleek, glossy, and delicate—disparate themes and characters collide. While one body of work is comprised of dainty mythical white horses, another series portrays elongated Chinese everymen. Yu’s work also ventures into more serious dialogues with both the history of Western art and Chinese politics—The Death of Liu Hulan, for example, juxtaposes a disconcertingly slick, Pop-inspired style with subject matter relating to the dramatic 1947 beheading of a young female Communist Party member. Yu renders his sculptures in fibreglass, copper, and bronze, making his shiny polished surfaces by covering these primary elements with bright car varnishes. Liu Hulan (刘胡兰, 1932–1947) was a young female spy during the Chinese Civil War between the Kuomintang and the Communist Party. She was born in Yunzhouxi village, in the Wenshui County of the Shanxi province. She joined the Communist Party in 1946[3] and soon after joined an association of women working in support of the Liberation Army. She was actively involved in organizing the villagers of Yunzhouxi in support of the Communist Party of China. Her contributions involved a wide range of activities, such as supplying food to the Eighth Liberation Army, relaying secret messages, and mending boots and uniforms. On January 12, 1947, the Kuomintang army under Yan Xishan invaded her village in response to the assassination of Shi Peihuai, the village chief of Yunzhouxi, who was known to be loyal to the Kuomintang. Upon entering the village, Kuomintang soldiers rounded up several reputed Communist Party members believed to be involved in the assassination, among them the teenager Liu Hulan. The party members were decapitated in the town square. Before killing Liu Hulan, the executioners paused, giving her one final chance to renounce her allegiance to the Communist Party. She refused and was immediately beheaded. She was 14 years old. The life and death of Liu Hulan have become a symbol of the courage of the Chinese people and is often cited as a homily of their loyalty to Communism. Her story is often told as a homage to the struggles endured, and the sacrifices made, for the cause of liberating China from centuries of rule by foreign powers. In recent history, Chinese political leaders have praised her heroism as the reason why the Chinese Communist Party has risen to take a dominant place in the politics and culture of modern China. It was in her memory that Mao Zedong wrote the famous line, "a great life, a glorious death" ("生的伟 大, 死的光荣"). She is the subject of a 1949 opera, remade in 1954: Liu Hulan. COMMITMENT I confess I’ve been fallen in love as soon as I saw it. Very powerful thinking just seeing at it, and then, when you go deeper in the story, then is still more powerful. Afterwards, you look at the price and then you say why so low, it’s part of a lot of a private collection in the USA then you can expect any kind of valuation, but Christie's put a so low price (?), one work in the famous Stella collection was auctioned for a high price many years ago, in the note about conditions seems normal, less than the cost of production it... I waited to bid and, in fact, there was no interest until the end. People don’t like this kind of works at home, although is a Museum work and could be perfectly in each Museum of China because of the subject and the contemporaneity of the work. My last bids were in the car and after a small fighting the work is mine for what I’d like to spend, in the limit, and dollars helps a bit. This year I’ve already spent too much! And another work to the garage, not enough room at home. Coming back to commitment, if you read above the story there is nothing to add. Just that it’s similar at what our Catalan Government is suffering nowadays: prison and exile inside Europe, because of their commitment.

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Bought in 2017 Liu Hulan 30.5x195.6x73.7cm (12 x77x29in). Signed, numbered, and dated 'yufan 2003. 5/6' (middle). Fibreglass sculpture, in two parts. Executed in 2005. Edition 5/6

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Jerry Ng 1992, Hong Kong Ng Sek Hin, Jerry, graduated from CUHK in Fine Arts. His works mainly are media installations. In early 2015 he did his solo exhibition people missing", assisted preparation of Touch wood in K11 Artspace and participate in yellow whisper Umbrella movement showcase. My work mostly inspired by social issues and injustices. I believe that art has a role in bringing synergy and light to society. In the future, I will seek for the connection and balance between Fine arts and some social situations.

SOCIAL SITUATIONS I discovered Jerry Ng through a beneficial auction in Hong Kong for a Human Rights association. I saw 4 works of his Hong Kong umbrella movement and I tried to bid, but I was unprepared from my phone and with my credit card far from my pocket. Let’s say better! Better, because I tried to find him, Facebook it’s always a good way, and after being in touch with him I proposed to him: “I'm a collector, mainly of Chinese contemporary art and regarding subjects about political and social conflicts. I'm Catalan, probably you have heard about our current fight for freedom. I tried to buy your work in the auction finished à few hours ago. Unfortunately, I was on my mobile, like now, and I didn't have the credit card closest, was not specify to fill it before for bidding. Let me congratulate you for the donation of the work. I didn't see it but it seems really interesting. You're very young and seem to me with great future, although works with high political content are hard to sell. Let me ask if you have others or I can commission one. I like big works.” “May I suggest opening the Hong Kong series to other conflicts clashing people aspirations with politics and police? I attach a few links to what Catalan we're fighting for independence and images of clashes between people ready to vote and Spanish police forbidden them and bitten them as well on October 1st. Currently, two leaders of citizen’s movement are in prison for almost 2 months, all the Government was jailed but 2 members of the Government are still jailed facing 30 years imprisonment for rebellion. The President and 4 members of the Government are in Belgium and if they travel to Spain will be detained. Let me know what you think.” At this time there are only two movements driven by people, peaceful, asking for freedom, the Hong Kong movement and the Catalan one. What I cannot understand is where the European Union in all of that is? Probably Hong Kong is far away, but is it not true that Europe is the champion of Human Rights and freedom with the USA? And Catalan are not European citizens? Where are the rights of Catalans of free speech and democracy? How is possible to have hostages and political prisoners in a European state and other exiled inside the EU? Where is this shit of political UE? Where we are going? The worst movements in Europe started like this, letting the States withdraw rights when the other looking to another side! The ongoing 2019–20 Hong Kong protests were triggered by the introduction of the Fugitive Offenders amendment bill by the Hong Kong government. If enacted, the bill would have allowed extradition to jurisdictions with which Hong Kong does not currently have extradition agreements, including mainland China and Taiwan. This led to concerns that the bill would subject Hong Kong residents and visitors to the legal system of mainland China, thereby undermining Hong Kong's autonomy and infringing civil liberties. And the reaction of the Western Governments was? Business as usual, speak a bit loud and that’s all folks!

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Commissioned December 2017, finished in February 2018 State of Iron Bar (2017) (2) Wood and light installation on Hong Kong protest images State of Iron Bars Catalunya (2018) (2) Wood and light installation on Catalunya referendum 1-O forbidden by Spanish Government 20x30 cm (25x32 cm framed) Note that the lights of the work are power by 2V or less. USB cables will be provided. You may plug them with a USB charger(for example, apple charger) to light them up.

Video of other works to understand the movement of lights: https://youtu.be/Sl3AbDGqgSY

Catalunya forbidden Independence referendum 1st October 2017

Hong Kong protesters yellow umbrella movement

Installation proposal:

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Xiao Hong 1966, Huhehaote, Mongolia, China The art of Xiao Hong is a journey to genetics and heredity’s relation to our appearance. Everybody’s face is an unread book, hiding a huge number of secrets. The artist tries to make us open our eyes to what should be the necessary basics in human relations, to push Humanity to the next level of evolution. Every face is a hidden treasure of forgotten roots, made of traditions of the past combined with reality fragments. Xiao Hong’s works on Intellectual Youth Series combines the elements of contemporary and tradition onto one canvas. With the portrait of an Intellectual Youth as the main subject of his painting, one can immediately identify with his subject – how China is now full of young, talented and capable youth to bring it to the next level of development. However, it is his use of scenes and fragments of reality from the past which is rather unique. He turns these scenes and fragments of reality into marks on the skin of a human face, treating them like moles or freckles in a portrait, moulding them to the undulating contours of facial structure. Now, the combination of the two implores upon us a message that one should always have a root in traditions and the past. Fascinated by the murals of Dunhuang, the artist merges images from the murals with portraits. He then moved on to integrating scenes from the Cultural Revolution and scenes from everyday life into his portraits, exploring people's fragmented memories of history and life and the feeling of being unable to dismiss certain scenes. IDEALISM What’s not in the head of a youngster? Or in the one of an elder? Pieces of memories, ideals, thoughts, realities, dreams, scares, bad things, others, friends, girlfriends, political aspirations, bad things, past, present, future… The battle between idealism and realism. Idealism is when you envision or see things in an ideal or perfect manner. Realism, on the other hand, tends toward a more pragmatic and actual view of a situation; it deals with the fact that reality has an absolute existence independent from our thoughts, ideas and even consciousness. I guess it’s just a matter to experience and become older. In fact, when one is youngster the world it’s at your feet, all to life, all to discover. When you start to collect experiences, mistakes, success, deceptions, victories, defeats… your own vision changes, your thoughts change and become more realistic. However, your expectative of life has been reduced and the time left is shorter. I have always liked a point of madness, a point of idealism, to be able to do whatever I would like or wish. Never easy, because you are not anymore alone probably, but I have always tried to keep in me and my actions a big point of idealism. If not, which sense has to build this collection, without any place to exhibit it, neither to hold a few works in the walls! However, even before Kant, idea, ideal and politics are structurally connected. 'Everyone gets an idea sometimes' and 'most people generally have no idea of what life is all about'. Without intending to, these statements indicate the crux of what is involved in having ideas: ideas suddenly reveal an insight by creating coherence between feelings, thoughts and experiences. An Idea seems only a synthesizing imagination of thoughts and images, but already in Plato, the Idea as a mixture of concepts and perceptions influences practical behaviour: 'knowledge is virtue', Socrates, his spokesman, concludes. 'Eidos', as 'that which is seen', is the source of all knowledge and actions. Insight into truth demands the contemplation (literally: 'theoria') of Ideas. Although Plato exiles artists from his kingdom of truth, after all, they reduplicate the illusionary appearances and falsify reality the Idea is nevertheless an imagination connecting theoretical knowledge and moral actions. Collective actions politics: the activities of the Greek city-state or 'polis' also are guided by Ideas. In Politeia (The Republic) Plato describes how society embodies the qualities of the Ideas: it becomes literally 'ideal'. Western culture with its orientation towards rationality dates to this Platonism which influenced Christianity, Cartesian rationalism and our current technological rationality. And even nowadays rationality is still embedded in a visual culture. It is outlined against a ground of images which are for the most part meaningless or selfevident. However, some images give pause for thought, while others give viewers ideas by suggesting coherence where it is not expected. Occasionally these images even incite to action. How individuals and groups allow themselves to be led by this combination of sensory images and conceptual rationality is the secret which has always been sought by artists, as well as politicians and philosophers. This secret is the heart of idealism .

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Bought in 2018 Intellectual Youth, 2006 170x150 cm. Oil on Canvas, 2006, unsold Leslie Hindman auctioneers, Chicago, USA

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Patrick Bongoy 1980, Kinshasa. The Democratic Republic of Congo, living in South Africa “Hi, Patrick, Thanks for your reply through Facebook. I loved your work at auction because fitted perfectly in my collection and my idea to help artists to do political and social works. That's why I bought another African artist like Michael S.Soi. Works those normally are not commercial for the big public, but a must for a good collector. This series of Revenants (talking about Revenant III) is really wonderful, very powerful with big content. I really don't understand what happens at Bonhams, I wrote Eliza that told me was in contact with you as well regarding if stands or not the work. I wrote them as well after the auction, it's not normal to offer 10.000GBP without waiting for the opening bids with an estimate of 4.000 and one of your works auctioned in February in SA for 3700GBP. It could be really nice if the price was achieved through a war of bids, but not something like this. Probably for you is good at short term because your price rise, but I'm concern at midterm, because was not tested if it was a few collectors interested or not. There were also other incidents in this auction, well... the art market is like this... and then after the Bansky self-destructed on Friday... well... no comment. Coming back to my commission. I'd like a work in the Revenants series, of course, you're the artists and your creativity it's fully free. I commissioned works before and always very happy with the results”. Although he now lives in South Africa, Bongoy's work remains deeply informed by the socio-economic context of his home country. Born in Kinshasa in 1980, the artist was raised in a climate of fear and persistent violent conflict. As the Cold War waned in the early 1990s. The use of rubber references the exploitative practices of the country's European colonisers before independence in 1960. The wealth of natural resources was the primary reason for Belgium's annexing of the Congo and rubber was the main export. Bongoy's subject matter and medium tell the story of his people's suffering – a narrative of depleted natural resources – but they also speak of survival and defiance. The discarded rubber may have lost its original use, but through the artist's creativity, it has been recycled into something new; there is hope even in destruction. “I’m not telling people what they know; I’m offering them my world of possibilities and the way I’m seeing life through death, the process of transformation,” Bongoy says. The Revenants. These works speak to the movement of displaced peoples, forced into ongoing migration, evicted from the space of belonging by war, depletion, corruption or erosion of various resources. The human vulnerability and fragility as a result of this expulsion are worsened by the physical impact of long, difficult paths of navigation, the literal exposure to the elements, no shelter from harsh weather or dangers of the natural environment. The instability this creates is also psychological as the upheaval and being bereft of home, brings extended grief and uncertainty as to whether you will ever return, to the life or home you once knew. Women have the added threat of sexual exploitation and violation along the way. Her children, sometimes still in utero, also experience the trauma, whether by witnessing it, the overwhelming sense of helplessness or death as a result of this. This precocity of existence is that the shift from a known environment also affects the generations ahead, as well as the country, the population left behind. Their exodus is a loss, to the ones who will be born far from home, who will struggle to make a new site home. It is a drain on the human resources of the original country over generations. There are visible and many more invisible losses and trauma as the reluctant travellers are transformed into outsiders, aliens who carry as much as they can bear on their bodies but also this substantial internal damage. Being deprived of the opportunity to feed and protect themselves or loved ones, the entire sense of self, dignity, ownership of property and personal agency, is abruptly lost or stripped away gradually as migration continues. And what kind of returnees will they be...even if that were possible? Damaged, polluted, reshaped and forced to remake or hold oneself together – this journey and its hostile environments transform a person, Their being. Will your own people even recognise you after this profound change? The compromise or loss of indigenous language etc. becomes further barriers to their return. “About this particular piece, it's reflecting the vulnerability and ashame of women in this hostile environment of war, patriarchy etc. The work explores also the none-belonging of women in our society where mostly we do not consider or give them space to speak among men. She's wearing a veil, a sign of shame. Covered by her own anguish.” PB.

SLAVERY, COLONIALISM, DISPLACEMENT, ABUSE WOMEN Nothing else to add to the words of Patrick about the work. I wanted a work about one of the darkest periods of mankind, the slave. How was possible that same human being slaves other ones? How many business empires still survive thanks to the slave? And woman double punished used to satisfy the men and reproduction and servitude. Did mankind leave that behind? Don’t think so. Women are still slaves of other humans.

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Commissioned in 2018 The Revenant IV, 2019 176x70x45 cm. 25kg. Sculpture recycled rubber tubes on fibreglass cast rubbed, commissioned directly to the artist. SA

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Willie Bester 1956, Montagu, Cape, South Africa Willie Bester is regarded as one of South Africa's most important resistance artists. He incorporates recycled material into his paintings, assemblages and sculpture, usually commenting on political injustices and human rights issues of the day. Born in the small town of Montagu, South Africa in 1956, Willie Bester’s creative genius was apparent from a young age. Making toy cars from recycled wire just like the other kids, Willie’s draadkars would stand out from the rest with elaborate decoration and metalwork. Willie’s passion for political and social issues was ignited when he had to leave school at 10 to help the family financially due to the forced removal from their home under the Group Areas Act. With a Xhosa father and coloured mother, Willie was classified ‘other coloured’ under the Apartheid laws, which meant their mixed-race family was not allowed to live in a “coloured” area. As a migrant worker, the only lodgings available to his father were single-sex hostels in large fenced-off compounds. The only option for the family to live together was in informal housing in other people’s backyards. Bester’s first works consisted of paintings in oil and enamel in bright colours displaying life in the black townships. These pieces also incorporated cardboard, photographs, and debris collected from local trash dumps, often embedded with descriptive words about daily life or text from newspapers and legislation, all in response to the racism and discrimination that was, and still is, rampant in South Africa. Often comprising a plethora of recovered objects, these works reflect the waste of consumer society, and the excesses that sometimes remain beyond the reach of black and minority township residents, yet which are often deposited in facilities near these very townships: Coke cans, war toys, scraps from electrical appliances, shovels and paddles, automobile parts and license plates, parts of weapons, and other salvaged objects. This work is just before becoming a professional artist in 1991 and the same year Nelson Mandela was released from prison. "We were naïve about the state of things in South Africa; we thought things would be different. We wanted to believe that our culture had changed because we so badly wanted things to be different so that we could move forward. But it’s impossible to forget the past because it influences our future. This is why I document these events so that we do not forget." "I am sometimes tempted to go to the seaside and to paint beautiful things from nature. But I do not do it because my art has to be taken as a nasty tasting medicine for awakening consciences." Bester emerged as one of South Africa's most important resistance artists. He is recognised internationally for his ground-breaking anti-apartheid work. In more recent years, Bester has explored contemporary themes arising from the challenges of post-apartheid South Africa such as crime, greed, poverty and corruption. For him, resistance to apartheid was fundamentally about humanity and human rights, which he continues to be vigilant about. Willie Bester’s organic, gritty and tangible art speaks, unmediated, from his heart and soul. While his inspiration no doubt arises from the life experiences that have forged him, it stands as a metaphor for the life experiences of all South Africans. His art is a vital part of our national consciousness. Arte Povera in South Africa? maybe Germano Celant (1940-2020) will agree with me. WAR SIRS, CORRUPTION, INSPIRATIONAL as well

BLIND

FOLLOWERS,

HUMAN

STUPIDITY

and

I liked the theme at the first glace, but I liked as well the connection with Arte Povera. Don’t need to have an expensive crazy white canvas to express your feelings and transmit a strong message to the audiences. But as well the fight for freedom inside the apartheid, one of the most terrible regimes humanity has been able to create. The peaceful fight by Mandela, the war inside and outside the ANC, the developments and fight for power inside the ANC... A dark period of mankind. But a so inspirational man like Nelson Mandela. I’m sorry, it’s not comparable, but currently, Catalan politicians are facing a trial or/and exile because they organised a legal referendum for the independence of Catalonia in October 1st 2017. Already held more than one year in jail before the trial started in March 2019. Condemned in 2020 at 12 years in prison. 59


Bought in 2019 ANC Lives 155x37x7 cm (61x14 9/16 x 2 3/4in), aluminium cans, acrylic, barbed wire and wood, 1990, unsold at Bonhams LND, UK

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Gianfranco Gentile Verona, 1949 From the mid-1990s he began his journey into the pictorial art that leads him to the present day, using mainly pastels and mixed techniques, with particular attention to the everyday common visual reality that the frenetic and inattentive contemporary life tends to make meaningless. For some years, through the use of recycled pastel dry cardboard packaging and the invention of a technique based on an accurate removal of the unpainted surface, Gentile proposes an operation of memory, industrial archaeology that reflects aesthetically on human invention and its passing, on the rusty myths of positivist thought and on the second beauty of the object, no longer functional, created by the flow of time with its oxidations and corrosions of matter. “The work is handmade with dry pastels on the surface of 6 recycled and assembled packaging cardboards. The dramatic and often tragic events of recent years, linked to the escape of thousands of refugees from wars and hunger, have led me to reflect on the "historical" link between this material and poverty. In my mind are words of my childhood, memories of a country that seems to have lost memory, our migrants leaving with cardboard suitcases, so it was said, and in the end, this poor material has always been the last precious home of those who live on the margins of society. In these my recent works, cardboard takes on the sense of the fragility of those people suspended between life and death.” HUMAN CRISIS, POVERTY, IMMIGRATION, OPEN ARMS, BUSINESS I spend a lot of time thinking to add this work, at some point I have to stop. I’m not a collector with huge resources. But I couldn’t resist buying it. Reflects where Europe is right now in 2019, poverty, and immigration, around us without almost take care of. People escaping from Africa for a better future in an old Europe, tired, without economical growing, the opposite of the anti-immigration parties which growth. People who end up living on the street in cardboard. Citizens between citizens, cities between cities. The Italian and other governments against the humanitarian boats in between Libya and Lampedusa. Right or not this boats are safe ones or just a necessary tool for mafias who commerce with desperate human beings? Humanitarian crises can emerge from a range of events, spanning conflicts, natural disasters, and even infectious disease outbreaks. Man-made crises: including armed conflict and train and plane crashes; Natural disasters: including geophysical (e.g. earthquakes, tsunamis and volcanic eruptions), hydrological (e.g. floods, avalanches), climatological (e.g. droughts), meteorological (e.g. storms, cyclones), or biological (e.g. epidemics, plagues); Complex emergencies: generally a combination of both man-made crises and natural disasters. We’re seeing increasing linkages between the effects of man-made climate change and the longevity and complexity of humanitarian crises. From Madagascar to Lake Chad to North Korea, the majority of crises are partly a consequence of declining natural resources, increasing extreme weather events and global warming more broadly. Today, more people are impacted by humanitarian crises than at any point in recorded history. One in six children lives close to a conflict zone1 while 70.8 million people have been forced to flee from their homes—the highest number since World War II. Natural disasters, on average, affect roughly 200 million people each year. The 2014–2016 Ebola outbreaks in West Africa demonstrated how an infectious disease outbreak can become an international humanitarian crisis. In recent years, humanitarian crises have become more frequent, more protracted, more complex and more costly, stretching an underfunded humanitarian response community to its limits. Update 2020: Prophecy words, the biggest outbreak from covid19 spread death around the world, mainly elders who died alone. In this case not in the form of immigration because of the lockdown established by all the countries, but in death of the nationals in rich countries. Will fear stop immigration to rich countries? Will come back from shadows after lockdown the poor immigrants in the rich countries?

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Bought in 2019 Vite di cartone (cardboard’s lives) 230x300 cm, Crayons on assembly of packing cartons, 2016, Artantide Verona, IT

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Chen Qiuchi 1959 He’s a friend, well has become a friend because he is a wonderful human being. Unfortunately, his works are not appreciated in China because any political or social reference is banned and against the theories f the great leader and dictator Xi Jinping. But as he told me once, it’s what I want to paint. Middle 2019 he was not in his best economical moment and asked me to support buying any work almost at any price, he was desperate and in the edge to be spit out from his studio and without any alternative to going. Me neither economically but I did my best, probably not enough and I have to supply that at any moment in the future. I asked him to sell me the work below, I was attracted to it before too but the cloud mushroom, but was so big and the price so high that finally, I bought the cloud mushrooms, but plum blossom has been always in my shopping list. We agreed. CLIMATE CHANGE This will be the issue of 2019 and years ahead for new generations. The population is growing, need of rough materials at the same pace, dictatorships like China or Russia not aware, by the way like the United States to maintain his industrial and military supremacy over the planet. The work is not only aesthetically awesome, the contrast grey and red, the dessert in grey, the red flowers of the plum blossom the heads laughing, the plum blossom branches in grey as well like death… It’s a powerful message. I don’t know if I’ll have the possibility to see it hold, I don’t have space. Let’s see. The Earth's climate has changed throughout history. Just in the last 650,000 years, there have been seven cycles of glacial advance and retreat, with the abrupt end of the last ice age about 11,700 years ago marking the beginning of the modern climate era — and human civilization. Most of these climate changes are attributed to very small variations in Earth’s orbit that changing the amount of solar energy our planet receives. The current warming trend is of particular significance because most of it is extremely likely (greater than 95 per cent probability) to be the result of human activity since the mid-20th century and proceeding at a rate that is unprecedented over decades to millennia. The evidence for rapid climate change is compelling: Global Temperature Rise. The planet's average surface temperature has risen about 1.62 degrees Fahrenheit (0.9 degrees Celsius) since the late 19th century, a change driven largely by increased carbon dioxide and other human-made emissions into the atmosphere. Most of the warming occurred in the past 35 years, with the five warmest years on record taking place since 2010. Warming Oceans. The oceans have absorbed much of this increased heat, with the top 700 meters (about 2,300 feet) of ocean showing warming of more than 0.4 degrees Fahrenheit since 1969. The oceans have absorbed much of this increased heat, with the top 700 meters (about 2,300 feet) of ocean showing warming of more than 0.4 degrees Fahrenheit since 1969. Shrinking Ice Sheets. The Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets have decreased in mass. Data from NASA's Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment show Greenland lost an average of 286 billion tons of ice per year between 1993 and 2016, while Antarctica lost about 127 billion tons of ice per year during the same period. The rate of Antarctica ice mass loss has tripled in the last decade. Glacial Retreat. Glaciers are retreating almost everywhere around the world — including in the Alps, Himalayas, Andes, Rockies, Alaska and Africa. Decreased Snow Cover. Satellite observations reveal that the amount of spring snow cover in the Northern Hemisphere has decreased over the past five decades and that the snow is melting earlier. Sea Level Rise. Global sea level rose about 8 inches in the last century. The rate in the last two decades, however, is nearly double that of the last century and is accelerating slightly every year. Declining Arctic Sea Ice. Both the extent and thickness of Arctic sea ice has declined rapidly over the last several decades. Extreme Events. The number of records high-temperature events in the United States has been increasing, while the number of record low-temperature events has been decreasing, since 1950. The U.S. has also witnessed increasing numbers of intense rainfall events. Ocean Acidification. Since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, the acidity of surface ocean waters has increased by about 30 per cent. This increase is the result of humans emitting more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and hence more being absorbed into the oceans. The amount of carbon dioxide absorbed by the upper layer of the oceans is increasing by about 2 billion tons per year. In any case, I intend to beat my grandfather and arrive at 100years old. Let’s see what will remain of our world.

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Bought in 2019 Plum Blossom desert 200x400 cm, oil on canvas, 2010, directly from the artist, CN

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Dale Lewis 1980, London, UK “I hope you are well? Dale Lewis forwarded me your enquiry about his work and asked me to reach out to you. I see from your email that you are specifically interested in work dealing with issues of transgender. As it happens we have one painting in London that may be of interest. Princes was completed this summer whilst Dale was on a residency in Athens. Appropriating the compositional framework from Botticelli's painting of the three graces, Dale has depicted a scene he observed in one of the city's most notorious transvestite clubs. The central figure has the head and torso of a woman but as the viewer pans the figures physiology contorts and evolves into that of a man. Dale describes the figure as 'ejaculating their male self' as though ridding themselves of this part of their person. Like the best of Dale's work, the painting is infused with satire and anecdotal references. Dale’s work presents a collective portrait of urban society from the high street to its fringes: 9-5 jobs, consumerism, multiculturalism, gay culture, class divides, drug addiction and hooligan violence. Whilst the unsettling, parodic works inherit their scale and compositional inspiration from canonical art historical painting, Lewis’ lyrical style of painting leaves the works in suspension, underdone rather than overworked. His oeuvre is furnished by a spectrum of contrasting imagery – the collision of ancient with new, abject poverty alongside grotesque displays of wealth, sacrilege taking the place of religious symbolism.” That’s how all starts. Like many graduates, Dale Lewis began his art career on the lowest rung, as an assistant first to Damien Hirst, then Raqid Shaw. Two and a half years with Damien were spent on kaleidoscope paintings, which meant placing thousands of butterfly wings in patterns onto the paint, while his four and a half years with Raqid were spent working in minute detail on photorealist paintings. It was when he became involved in the year-long Turps Banana painting programme that Dale’s style moved away from the labour-intensive processes he’d learnt under Damien and Raqid.

TRANSGENDER and HUMAN CONDITION I saw his works at Saatchi one or two years ago, fascinating, big, clever, strong, realistic, not politically correct, a fist in the face, new, fresh, unconventional, disturbing, nude, sex, violence, drugs, delirium, hallucinatory yet convincing stories of the young, multicultural, gender-ambivalent, debauched and a class-divided society.... depicting the life as it is, you like or not like. To see him there make me consider his work was unaffordable, a mistake. A few months ago I saw one work at auction and withdraw it immediately, a very low offensive price and I liked that someone, the gallery, took control of these things. I wanted to know more, contacted galleries and tried to contact Dale as well and see if he had something about transgender. Why transgender? It’s a subject that fascinates me in the last years. Hidden, persecuted, prostitution pushed, a sexual object... just because nature is like it is and the humans decided that had to be binary, one way or another. This work goes beyond, not only transsexualism but other hidden humans sex behaviours, hidden mostly. Mixing addictions to tobacco, drugs, sex, transsexuals, travesties, closed dresser, BDSM, power exchange, master/mistress, submissive/slave, hidden in the bed or clubs, hidden lives, hidden faces, darkness world, underworld, unconventional, the only exit for most trans the prostitution and the addictions, the use and abuse, blue instead of red, perils to be as, poor health, mental issues, trafficking, murdered, pursued, discrimination job... Probably what it’s behind the image like a mirror reflects for a lot of people. That’s why I like Dale’s words: “I hope people can identify with the work and see beyond the surface. Read the paintings in a more formal way instead of just identifying the narrative on the surface that informs them, but it doesn’t really matter if they do or don’t.” 65


Bought in 2019 Princes 200x170 cm, Oil, acrylic and spray on canvas, 2019, Edel Assanti Gallery in London, UK

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Sheng Qi 1965, Anhui, China It’s a lot of time since I was searching for a painting about Tiananmen; I was behind a Hsiao Chin but didn’t make a deal. I’ve always liked this work of Sheng Qi, was first in an auction in Belgium unsold a few years before, I tried to make a deal but not accepted, and now in Paris the same history, but the deal has been successful. There are a lot of works in the history of contemporary art or art in general, but only a few can be considered historic. This one is a historic piece. Very few Chinese artists had and have what is needed to paint or talk about Tiananmen. The risk is to be completely banned and worst risk jail and maybe disappearance in an educational camp, which obviously doesn’t exist. That’s why I say that’s a historical work, one day if China becomes a democratic country, the true history of the Country has to emerge, and with this history Tiananmen and the youngest murdered or executed by the Government. 5 angels will be finally remembered. Any exhibition about Tiananmen or human rights or freedom will have or would have to have, this work in their walls. In a country of more than one billion people, there are just a few that confront the State and fight for democracy with the arms they have, mostly speech, a lot could do it, as well as artists, but they prefer the comfort of the yuan/dollar rather than incommode the Party. And who does pay a huge price, or prison inside China or exile. Sheng Qi, who was in Tiananmen and cut his finger in protest, went to exile. And create a historical work to denounce the massacre of Tiananmen.

FIGHT FOR FREEDOM, DEATH FOR? FORGETFULNESS One of the biggest and dramatic moments in contemporary history and silenced by action and by default. And that shame extends after more than 30 years of the events. By action because of the Chinese Government apply an absolute silence and repression about any reference about Tiananmen. The great wall avoids access to any reference close or far about what happened in Tiananmen. By default, because after the first protests of the Western Governments and a few boycotts to China and asking for the respect of Human Rights, because of the growth and China, the factory and the consumer market of the world, they decided to look to another direction. No one has the balls today to say anything about it. Shame on Europe and USA who always talk about Human Rights but only regarding small communities of weak countries. Never about China. Tiananmen Square incident or Massacre, also called June Fourth incident or 6/4, series of protests and demonstrations in China in the spring of 1989 that culminated on the night of June 3–4 with a government crackdown on the demonstrators in Tiananmen Square in Beijing. Although the demonstrations and their subsequent repression occurred in cities throughout the country, the events in Beijing—and especially in Tiananmen Square, historically linked to such other protests as the May Fourth Movement (1919)—came to symbolize the entire incident. By the beginning of June, the government was ready to act again. On the night of June 3–4, tanks and heavily armed troops advanced toward Tiananmen Square, opening fire on or crushing those who again tried to block their way. Once the soldiers reached the square, a number of the few thousand remaining demonstrators there chose to leave rather than face a continuation of the confrontation. June 3–4 a “massacre.” The Chinese government arrested thousands of suspected dissidents; many of them received prison sentences of varying lengths of time, and a number were executed. However, several dissident leaders managed to escape from China and sought refuge in the West. From the outset of the incident, the Chinese government’s official stance was to downplay its significance, labelling the protesters “counterrevolutionaries” and minimizing the extent of the military’s actions on June 3–4. The government’s count of those killed was 241 (including soldiers), with some 7,000 wounded; most other estimates have put the death toll much higher. In the years since the incident, the government generally has attempted to suppress references to it. Public commemoration of the incident is officially banned. However, the residents of Hong Kong have held an annual vigil on the anniversary of the crackdown, even after Hong Kong reverted to Chinese administration. In our Young stages we embrace idealism, we feel that our mission is to fight for ideals, and we do it generation after generation. And, I guess we have to do it. But, what happens when these ideals are crashed by the State and trying to cover it under tones and tones of lies and worst forbidden after forbidden until denying the existence of it. Tiananmen is this case, forbidden in China, very low speaking for in the West. People disappear, was murdered in situ or executed afterwards. No one knows how many and only a few names are known. Of course, all surrounding the massacre of Tiananmen is covered in China, you cannot talk or write about and neither exhibit any reference to that “incident”. The words are blocked on the Internet and you cannot access to the information if you are in China, so people, young people after now more than 30 years remains to ignore what happens there. This is my small contribution to avoid history been lost and small homage to people who died and their names cannot be named in China. 67


Bought in 2020 5 angels 200x150 cm, acrylic on canvas, 2006, unsold Drouot auctions Kohn, FR

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Gao Brothers 1956-1962, China I’ve always liked the work of Gao Brothers because of your use of the brands and the colourful of their works in the beginning of the Chinese contemporary art, later stopped by the Dictatorship of Xi Jinping. The Gao Brothers are two Chinese artists named Zhen (born 1956) and Qiang Gao (born 1962) from Jinan, in the province of Shandong (located in the north east of China). Their works tend to be charged with political and social nuances, including their recurring use of Mao's image. Gao Zhen, the elder of the brothers, explained through an interpreter that "1968 was a crucial moment in the Cultural revolution, where political 'cleaning' took place. Our father, a simple laborer was thrown into jail. We still don’t know if he actually committed suicide as the authorities told us or if he was killed during his incarceration". At that time, Gao Zhen was 12 years old and Gao Qiang was 6. In recent years they have been very involved in to sustain the Hong Kong free movement, an exception between Chinese artists who prefer to be lower profile and live a comfortable life. Through Instagram I contacted them and explain about the Catalan independence movement and they accepted to make this contribution. From the exchange of emails: “Thank you for your email. It seems you know China and Chinese people well. Conscience is the most dangerous thing people possess within the harsh political reality in China. It has destroyed too many people who waked it up. That's why most people are used to being silent regarding social issue... We admire your great enthusiasm on Chinese contemporary art and human rights issues... We were aware about the situation in Catalonia...We are sorry we didn't do any works for Catalonia, hope you would inspire us...We will do it as soon as we get an inspiration. We are happy you are interested in our new work on Hong Kong protest movement. Thanks and hugs” Later on “We think Catalonia revolution is as heroic and moving as the umbrella revolution in Hong Kong. Inspired by Catalonia flag and the idea Be Water of Hong Kong protesters,we just did the work MAY GLORY BE TO CATALUNYIA. We see this work as the symbol of the process of achieving freedom and hardship and glory of the process, hope you like it.” And in another mail they suggested to change the title to May God Bless Catalonia. FREEDOM, AGAIN And again

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Made in 2019 May God Bless Catalonia Digital, 2019,directly from the artist, HK

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Joe Doe I’ve been touched by this photo since the moment I saw it. A beautiful body, naked, immersed in nature. Weak, strong, beautiful, sensual, erotic, sensible, feminine… Just a human body referred to an individual. Later I saw the exhibition “Kiss my genders” at the Hayward Gallery in Southbank. Spanning the past 50 years, Kiss My Genders brought together over 100 artworks by artists from around the world who employ a wide range of approaches to articulate and engage with gender fluidity, as well as with non-binary, trans and intersex identities. With photography for example by Catherine Opie depicting bodies, but I found them completely boring or just a picture of a human being. In this case, the body is transcending itself, because surrounded by virgin nature, isolated from society conventionalisms, pure but strong of reaffirming his identity and proud to be of. A completely spontaneous photo can contain much more significance rather than a prepared one in a studio for days. GENDER BEAUTY There’s a lot more to being male, female, or any gender than the sex assigned at birth. Your biological or assigned sex does not always tell your complete story. It’s common for people to confuse sex, gender, and gender identity. But they’re actually all different things: Sex is a label — male or female — that you’re assigned by a doctor at birth based on the genitals you’re born with and the chromosomes you have, it goes on your birth certificate. Gender is much more complex, it’s a social and legal status, and set of expectations from society, about behaviours, characteristics, and thoughts, each culture has standards about the way that people should behave based on their gender, this is also generally male or female, but instead of being about body parts, it’s more about how you’re expected to act, because of your sex. Gender identity is how you feel inside and how you express your gender through clothing, behaviour, and personal appearance, it’s a feeling that begins very early in life. Even as the LGBT community has seen social and legal progress, transgender people still face pervasive discrimination in many areas of life, including work, school, housing, and public accommodations. Transgender people are individuals whose genders differ from the genders they were assigned at birth. A person transcending gender may have two aspects to the variation: the person’s gender identity—a feeling of being “born in the wrong body”—and the person’s gender expression—dress or behaviour not typically associated with the genetic gender. Some transgender people undergo gender reassignment surgery, while others don’t seek surgery or don’t have that option. People should be protected based on both the gender they identify with and the way they express their gender. Transgender references reach back into antiquity. Plato’s text Symposium mentions a myth of third sex. Some translations of the Kamasutra include references to the behaviour of such a sex. In the Indian subcontinent, a long tradition persists to this day of hijras, male to female transgender people, who are recognized by law as a third sex. From so remote and we do not yet assume that nature is complex and is not binary? And the enjoyment of our bodies neither? In too many countries, being lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or intersex (LGBTI) means living with daily discrimination. In all too many cases, LGBTI people are harassed in the streets, beaten up and sometimes killed, simply because of who they are. Many intersex people around the world are forced to undergo dangerous, invasive and completely unnecessary surgeries that can cause life-long physical and psychological side effects. By the way, until now I wrote anything about her sex? Who matters, isn’t it?

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Authorised use, 2020 Loch Ness Enchantress 100x80 cm, photography, 2019, piece unique, UK

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Patrizio Vanessi 1953, Legnano, Italia “Caro amico”, it can be the start of a letter or as it’s a statement. Starting from a business relationship between the client (Marketing Director me) and provider (Creative agency him) that became a friendship during the time. In 1998 we organized the Premio Koiné/Seat award for art in the spaces of Palazzo Forti when I was finding new ways to position the automotive brand Seat like appealing and better recognition. The legacy survived four years, although I couldn’t see one, been transferred to Paris from Verona. We kept the contact and asked him to perform the “cutwork” in Paris as well in a dealers meeting. I have always researched things out of the box in my work to stand out between other more powerful brands, looking back there is a similitude between my work in marketing and the work of Vanessi, always thinking ahead, finding new ways, experimenting, trying, analysing, didn’t matter if approved by standards or not. In the province of Verona, since he was 14 he attended the artists’ studios of different backgrounds and was immersed in art: from the figurative to the abstract, from Arte Povera to the Transavanguardia. In all cases, he has always had a rebellion against the teachings and always suffered the technical/didactic part and breaking with the Academy of Fine Arts. Despite having succeeded experiences in the world of communication and creating events from scratch innovating new forms and rules, he always worked in the art of researching artistic languages and techniques outside the box. His first exhibition in the 1970s collided with an art market that required him to replicate his personal “style” over and over again. Other local exhibitions left him struck by the rules that the Art Market imposed. From 1995 to 1998, he performed the “cutwork” performances. In the 2000s, he began his experience with the digital world in computer-processed photography printed on Ciba, developing up to the manipulation of plastics, plexiglass and PVC. Leaping between interdisciplinary and profound concepts such as past/future, reason/instinct, irony/ philosophy, the specificities of languages has claimed a new vision of creative autonomy. Summarising, if it’s possible for a so complex and creative artist, Vanessi is an artistic personality who, with his continuous research, works the IM-PERFECT side of his identity, in a scenario where many artists usually replicate their style endlessly as a guarantee of recognition. For Vanessi, movement and change are life, the embodiment of perception and confirmation that it is in synchrony with everything that exists and transcends. Rather than embrace the illusion of stillness, he explores the movement of discovery with enthusiasm to experiment: for example with a sheet of 16-meter-long plastic, covered in random acrylic colours, and then placed over with another sheet, squashed by walking on it and lying down, using hands, feet, knees, legs. After that, this “coloured snake” like flowers that bloom like a river of colours, transcending its contact with nature, becoming a cruel criticism on the edge of humanity in the management of its resources. I have other works from him like two cuts from his performances, the original drawing of the Paris one, several “portraits of live” works made by “impression” with natural gradual saturation of colour and a “divisioni” from the 90s, a new “catrame” (tar) but although I liked them very much didn’t fit in the concept of the collection (like others from other artists by the way). NATURE and HUMAN FOOTPRINT In his words: Starting in 2013, the awareness of plastic materials that have now become the “problem” of the whole world began. The interpretation, however, is changed by offering a new analysis on the subject. Plastic and Nature live together in a mutual exchange to the point that this simple strip of PVC becomes the last defence of a fantastic garden in the artist’s residence. Hence the transformation of plastic, becoming light and amorphous, encouraged by creativity and colour, into a giant dragon threatens anyone who wants to damage the environment that surrounds it. The title “NATURALWORK” tells how passionately this material can perform its function as “DEFENDER” of our future. In fact, the enemy is precisely human beings who do not know how to use and “recycle” a material so present in our everyday life. PORTRAIT OF TOMORROW is an installation I liked; it expresses all that Vanessi is as an artist: provocative, sensual, beauty, imperfection, advanced, concerned, conceptual, mixing media, pushing the boundaries, creating new ways of art. It’s an Installation with the presence of a seated model to bring to light a 16 meter “plastic river”. A vision that represents the drama of the presence of PLASTIC on the planet. This presence is “born” of human foolishness incapable of USING and RECYCLING plastic, which is useful and decisive material and product for the evolution of man. A cruel criticism on the limit of humanity in the management of its resources. The used plastic is biodegradable and used in agriculture. Acrylic colour tracks crumble over time and are part of the whole, which are signs that existence is slowly consumed. https://youtu.be/pfwzO8BYgmE

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Yield in 2020 by the artist PORTRAIT OF TOMORROW 2 x 16 meters, acrylic paint, coloured polyethylene sheets. 2019, 12th April, live performance in Verona.

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Pak Unknown Yes, a NFT. I don’t believe at them, but I could not resist having one and I took the opportunity in the first auction by Sotheby’s. I understand it’s a way for other artists that until now couldn’t reach the masses to go through. It has been the boom in 2021, if art will be remembered in 2021 will be because of the fever of NFT, related to cryptocurrencies. For how long? NFTs and cryptocurrencies are making headlines across the art world. Recent news about Beeple auctioning the first NFT ever at Christie’s has opened up the gates to crypto art and NFTs. Investors and art collectors are rushing into the crypto art market and buying anything they can. Beeple is the top-selling artist in the NFT space who is dominating headlines worldwide, a feat which has been well-deserved due to his years of hard work. The 2nd top-selling artist is Pak. Who is Pak? Pak is an artist who is pushing the limits of this new art medium. Pak is controversial, and a mystery since nobody knows who Pak is. Some people from the crypto community have even labeled Pak as the “Satoshi of crypto art” due to Pak’s hidden identity. Satoshi Nakamoto is the unknown creator of Bitcoin. The Fungible started on April 12 and ended on April 14th. It was released in collaboration with Sotheby’s exclusively on Nifty Gateway, a marketplace specializing in the sale and auction of non-fungible tokens. The sale yielded a total of $16,825,999 USD between April 12 and April 14.

NFT Digital art captures numerous forms of creative media constantly in a state of evolution, redefinition, and novelty. Since its nascence in the 1960s, it has grown into a pervasive mode of artistic expression. Digital Art has flexed, expanded, and evolved limitations of our human creativity, using technology as an augmentative tool to create new mediums and styles for consumption. In collaboration with technology, artists have not only unlocked their own creativity, but found new ways to engage viewers and collectors by leveraging the capabilities of technology. As technology evolves, so does digital art, providing an ever-expanding opportunity for experimentation and exploration on the part of both artist and observer.

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Bought in 2021 A cube NFT, 2021, Sothebys/Niftygateway, USA

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Siddhesk Katkar, @sidomatic 1996 (probably), Maharashtra, India “Hi, welcome to my profile, I'm sid, Indian based Digital Artist, Basically in love with digital art.” That was his presentation in the platform and I guess in Instagram. I’ve seen his work a few of weeks ago in Instagram and I was attracted by the subject he Works with. The nature and the footprint of our espice, the humans, well the stupid humans. And one of the works about Halloween, a grape with eyes was what took my attention and I used it to tweet against the Catalan police @mossos and their boss Trapero who asked for respect when they are responsible of and cover of a few incidents that cost an eye to a few people in different times. That make me check in his profile and rediscover the turtle. Moreover, and although I said I didn’t believe in NFT, it’s difficult to substrate from this golden rush. And I was curious how really works all the ecosystem of NFT and blockchain. The cube was a normal credit card transaction. But this one it was all about blockchain. He, the artists, spend two hours or so chatting with me in Instagram in order to do all the process, mint the image, transfer funds to a wallet, pay, receive the NFT, the gas fees, curious about opensea platform… It has been all in trust because has been a transfer, not a payment through the website to try to avoid gas fees and so on, although at the end he had to afford them. What was interesting as well it was his let’s say ok do whatever you want with it. I suppose he was more interested in the transaction rather than the NFT. The important thing is that we agree he will transfer me the original digital copy, so I can `print it in a canvas and become a “natural” piece of art, easy to show and delight. Then, if all that thing of NFT is a “foc d’encenalls” at least I will have my print, a unique copy. In any case, it’s more to help a young artist rather than the real value. He’s really out of the circuit, but less see.

NATURE Not new as subject in my collection, but a turtle always keep my intention, moreover if I show it with the carapace of turtle bought in 1991 in Angola, I was young and a young manager in career.

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Bought in 2021 IT'S ONLY ONE STRAW said 8 billion people (1/1) NFT, 2021, directly to the artist. Digital original file to print (1/1).

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Ron English 1966, Dallas, USA One of the greatest American artists by quality, but due to his subjects without the right value in the market. People prefers Rothko colourful paintings rather than a very well executed punching in your face painting. Anyway. A new project in the NFT era or bubble or clever times. Who knows, art is like this. A very low entry point so I jumped in, and at the same time trying this new technology not easy to “maîtriser” for a not anymore fast brain.

IDEA Let’s see if my asking mails have been succeed and they send me the one I like. Although it’s a world of friends playing, like the Currency by Damien Hirst. NO WAY, NOT LUCKY.

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Bought in 2021 Light bubble #1567 NFT, 2021, lccc

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Exhibition Summary When I was young and I had my first salaries I started to collect old art books and comic portfolios. My really first investment was an Erro, I didn’t sleep for nights because of the amount, then. It was not until I left work that I started to collect more serious paintings, starting with pop-surrealism from the USA. I liked very much their colours, their cartoon style and the issues they paint. At that moment, I did not have the idea to create a collection, only to buy some works I liked with social/politic content. It was at that time, regarding the magazine Juxtapoz that I adapted a concept: “To think is contagious. Infect brains”. Later, going forward researching works matching this concept I discovered a mine in the early Chinese contemporary works, although I already was a fan of Wang Guangyi works since the Fiac in 1999. You can find the same worries across the planet. I always liked the works of art as a tool for thinking about the different issues surrounding us. Beginning by the Guernica and following with others. Art as a tool to grow as human beings. And consequently, more you will contagious other people to think by themselves, more the society will be free. Therefore: infect brains! Unfortunately, Chinese artists are not anymore able to express themselves about political or social issues. Their government will censor them and they neither try to push boundaries. That’s why when I find a young artist who tries to challenge the system I try to help him ordering a work, like GaDe or recently Jerry Ng. We could think that the situation in the west is better, far away. Of course, artists can express themselves about any concept like religion, sex, politics, and social matters. But the lack of interest of buyers and collectors makes them decide for more commercial works. So it’s hard to find and collect. I’m not a fan of photography, but it’s probably the media used in our current lives to express, denounce and view the injustices of the world. I added three artists with a strong visual message each. It’s also curious that the three are women. It seems that women are more sensitive to these issues than men. The exhibition wants to be an open window to help people to think about any subject for a while, sharing the background of the artist, what she/he transmits to me to buy the work and the personal thoughts of the viewer. He has to walk away with a sense of something new has been awake in her/his brain and the need to share with others these thoughts. Of course, it’s not a complete wisdom of the world, but all the subjects shown are still part of the mankind; let me say the stupidity of the mankind: war, freedom or religion are still subjects of discussion and fight between human beings.

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It could look like this

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Others Josep Soler i Casanellas. ESCACS1714 I had the idea, searched inside the history, designed the figures, directed the production and commercialise it, unsuccessfully. The chess game in several versions (PU painted by hand, PU to paint and a unique version on metal) to show and explain the two forces involved in the Spanish Succession war where as a result the Catalans lost their freedom. Specially thought for schools to explain the facts and develop the kids’ capabilities through chess games. Catalans commemorate the September 11th 1714, day of their defeat, as their National day. These facts have been covered by years of dictatorship in Spain, and still now are not well explained in the schools. We still fight democratic for a referendum to decide if we want or not to leave Spain. It’s an act of passion about who I am. Updated 2019: our President is in exile inside Europe, a freedom citizen to move around the world except in Spain where he will be jailed. Other politicians are facing a trial in Spain because they are proindependence and asked people to vote, in Europe, yes, in 2019, yes, in democracy, yes or maybe not? In 2020 condemned to 12 years in prison. Then in 2021 partially absolved by Spanish government, they sold their soul. I promise myself never again I’ll be betrayed by a political. They betray us. Regarding the games, I decided at the end of 2021 to gift all the remaining to be painted and the paints (around 350=them to the program Escacs l’escola, by Catalan chess federation and Departament Ensenyament de la Generalitat de Catalunya. HISTORY The War of the Spanish Succession (1701–1714) was a major European conflict of the early 18th century, triggered by the death in 1700 of the last Habsburg King of Spain, the infirm and childless Charles II. He had reigned over a vast global empire, and the question of who would succeed him had long troubled ministers in capitals throughout Europe. Attempts to solve the problem by partitioning the empire between the eligible candidates from the Royal Houses of France (Bourbon), Austria (Habsburg), and Bavaria (Wittelsbach) ultimately failed, and on his deathbed, Charles II fixed the entire Spanish inheritance on Philip, Duke of Anjou, the second-eldest grandson of King Louis XIV of France. With Philip ruling in Spain, Louis XIV would secure great advantages for his dynasty, but some statesmen regarded a dominant House of Bourbon as a threat to European stability, jeopardising the balance of power. There remained the struggle in Catalonia. At no stage in the war had there been a unanimous or even majority support for Archduke Charles (Charles III) in the principality, but the existence of a rebel group inside the province, together with a superior Allied military and naval presence in Barcelona, forced many towns to decide – often reluctantly – for the Archduke's cause. Nevertheless, those who wished to continue fighting could point to the fact that the Kingdoms of Aragon and Valencia, as well as those in Castile, were subject to a regime that had forced them to change their laws and historic constitutions, and at no stage since his victory at Almansa and the subsequent abolition of the “fueros” (laws) in Aragon and Valencia in 1707, had Philip V shown any intention of respecting Catalonia's privileges. In consequence, Barcelona decided to resist, but there would be no Allied help. After the peace agreements between the major powers, neither Austria nor Great Britain could return to a war footing. To compound the issue, Tory diplomatic efforts with Philip V to secure Catalan liberties were half-hearted, and Bolingbroke made no protest when in early July 1714 – after a year of guerrilla warfare in the region – Berwick returned to Catalonia to formally besiege Barcelona. Antoni de Villarroel put up a stout defence of the city, but with little hope of relief, the Catalan capital surrendered on 11 September. Cardona soon followed. Mallorca held out for nine months until its surrender in July 1715.

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Produced in 2013 escacs1714 (chess1714) From 42mm to 73mm, metal, hand-painted, and mahogany board. Piece unique. http://tofeedbrains.com/escacs1714.html

Two commercial versions: one with hand-painted figures in PU at another one with PU figures to be painted and colours.

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Josep Soler i Casanellas. Aigua de Vida (WHISKY) The years before 2014 and afterwards had been very active in Catalonia, mainly regarding the growth of the movement for Independence, so many years waiting for and it seemed we were very close, but… we are people that never go until the end of the things and to scare to lose the crumbs that the Spaniards spread to us from time to time. In the middle of this enthusiasm, yes in past (writing in 2020 and explanation below), the enthusiasm in the UK for whisky and small distilleries of any kind and a trip to Scotland, well, try to find the own whisky was the right path although not easy at all. In the beginning, new distilleries started to offer casks to anticipate cash revenues and stat the business, but on one hand, they reduced this strategy with the flow of cash at low-interest rates and on the other hand the offer was restricted to casks of 200l, to big for a one. I searched in 2015 but finally when I decided to apply the number of casks available was nil. I started again in 2016 and as well due to the weak Pound, I decided to ask again. The Glasgow distillery1770 Club was a really new one in Glasgow, just started and offering small cask as well of 50l, the right quantity for me. The idea behind was not only to have my own whisky because you can choose the characteristics of it but not to do the things easy I thought I’ll bottle it to celebrate our independence, I thought I’ll be sooner than later. I was so wrong; again, when talking about Catalonia I’m too optimistic, after so many years… I’m including it here because it’s an art as well. Make whisky it’s art, changing different characteristics you can tailor and creating something unique, and bottling it, well not as much as different than a print. I’ll try to be as purist as I can: single cask (bourbon), maximum strength (no water added), not chillfiltered, and years (?) well I hope not to be too old to wait to bottle it and I probably will do it in any case for my 60th birthday. In any case, Brexit is in between as well, so let’s see what will happens with taxes, customs and so on, probably I’ll need to bottle it right now before the Brexit arrives at the end of 2020. It’s funny to taste it every year and see the evolution of colour, aroma and taste, but bottling at natural strength there is a second personalisation because you should add a few drops of water to adapt it to your taste. I wanted to share a few bottles with friends, let’s see. INDEPENDENCE Right now (2020) our politicians are in prison, exile and/or surrendered, a few remaining but all scare of jail and the powerful Spanish power without mercy and completely corrupted, abandoned by the EU, the movement is still there but without leaders, it’s difficult to drive us. Betrayed by friends of the early fighting now accommodate in public positions, that in that times spoke louder although it was clear they ideas were not so strong like their voices. And curiously the ones that were dedicated only to political positions today are the less interested, now with her bellies full. Spit on all of them and all the others like them then sell their ideas just for a lentil’s dish. In any case, since very young the feeling and the fight of independence has been always a driver in my life. Not intention to come back to Catalonia if it’s not to fight for it, no intention to live in a Catalonia not free as an independent State.

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Produced in 2016, bottling (forecast 2022) Aigua de Vida (Whisky) 60 bottles?

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Juan Ramón At that time (1975) just Franco died and in theory the Dictatorship, so Catalan was almost forbidden and our names were in Spanish. Unknown, Catalunya I still remember very well that day. Probably an autumn day in the school, grey, in a class lower terrain, besides under a small hill of pines, were we always jumped to when classes stop to play and talk. A mixed class, girls started to be women meanwhile we remained kids but with our eyes on them without knowing why. I always was the youngest and the smaller, born late December. He was a young teacher, very handsome, tall, long hair probably Beatles influenced. The class was dark, normally was it like this until fluorescents switch on, but not improved too much a very cold ambience, and the absence of artificial light probably was the reason because the class was not running, just waiting for. We did some work by ourselves probably and at some point, he asked me to sit on the table and start drawing me, never had that before and never does it later. Could it be as well because of my anniversary, that details I don’t remember it. It took time but there was no curiosity in the class. He finished, probably was the first time I saw a real drawing, he offered it to me. I was looking at it, and without time, an elder, el P…, took it and scrawny it and through it out. The teacher was more disappointed than me; I’ve just thought another show of power from an elder, routinely business.

KIDS Not yet youth the males, already the females, what a horrendous name, in between ages although each one reaches maturity in very different times. Still playing with balls, football, talking about football, just upset because Franco died the day before we had to go in an exciting excursion for an “escalivada” (bring mainly lamb to cook in the fire). Still remembering watching tv in grandfather house and saw the old man with big ears, crying announcing Franco was death, November 20 th 1975. Finally! But at house never, rarely talked about politics at that time, neither later when I was involved in them, although I tried it wasn’t possible with my father, not interested in them. He had others plus. Kids just thinking to be like our fathers or mothers probably, the only referents we had. No internet, not cellular phones, expensive newspapers, only a few channels of television and a lot of radio mainly music and football. Not different to others kids, a few friends, attired by the girls of the class, playing football, relatively small (be the youngest not helped), slim, already quite a “figlio di puttana”, never forgotten, normal student, not excellent and rarely suspend, sometimes abused by elders, but always find the way to return to them sooner or later, probably liking to be an astronaut or a race pilot, not other interest really, to be like my father and run the automotive workshop, not for nothing in the small town of Vilafranca del Penedès and the smaller of Moja where my family originated, all people called me “el Jordi petit” not Josep; usually male kids were named to their father, but a loss of a young uncle in a bike accident they have given me his name. That’s why I never make attention to how people pronounced my name, except José, all pronunciation in any language is correct. Although named originally José because Catalan names went forbidden during the 40 years of the dictatorship of Franco with the tolerance of Europe and USA, the first day of the law authorising the change of name was published I went with my father to the courts to change my name, with my father very friend of the still Spanish fascists' workers there, saying, well it’s a caprice of my son. May 12th 1977 I became officially Josep. Anyway, kids, living in a small town, a normal family, in a dictatorship, who will say I worked and lived in several countries and starting a collection of art.

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During a class in 1975, art’s teacher at Montagut school 8º EGB, Vilafranca del Penedès Portrait Josep Soler i Casanellas A4, pencil on paper, 1975

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We are as we have grown in our lifetime

Bateig (Baptism)

Comunió (Communion)

1973 José until 12/5/1977

1974? Paris

1980 first meeting

1980 La Salle Bonanova

Segur de Calafell summertime

1984 Eleccions al Parlament

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1986 last meeting

1989 Benestar Social. Generalitat C

1991 Seat visit Angola

1993 Seat Italia

1994 Autogerma Verona

1998 Seat France

1999 Fiat France

2002 Fiat France

2005 Torino

2005 Paris

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2008 Sitges

2008 Amsterdam with Lu Peng

2009 Venice

2009 Venice with Wang Guangyi

2009 Cai Guo-Qiang Guggenheim Bilbao

2010 Madrid Ecocarnet

2011 Chengdu Zhou Chunya studio

2013 Barcelona Rain and Peng

2013 Arts Santa Mònica Barcelona

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2013 Barcelona Pure Views in ESADE

2014 Galeria Dolors Junyent

2014 Yoda and Frida

2017 London (parking)

2017 Chen Qiuchi in Como

2018 Prague

2018 Weyfarers Rowing club dinner

2019 Amsterdam (recreation)

2019 London

2020 Vanessi in Amsterdam

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My websites    

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ISSUU art2feedbrains book https://issuu.com/home/published/art2feedbrains_collection_2019_v_issuu The exhibition at Arts Santa Mònica in Barcelona 2013: Video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fptY1fhZZA0 Catalogues Arts Santa Mònica: https://issuu.com/artantide_esp/docs/pure_views_chinese : https://issuu.com/artantide_esp/docs/pure_views_english September 2014 I organised a commercial show in Dolors Junyent Galeria d'Art in Barcelona with 13 artists and 28 works. Catalogue: http://issuu.com/artantide_esp/docs/140811___________________________?utm_source=conversion_success&utm_campaign=Transactional&utm_medium =email My private collection http://www.tofeedbrains.com/index5.htm Web Art Projects: http://tofeedbrains.com/artprojects.html Company website: www.tofeedbrains.com ISSUU publications: http://issuu.com/artantide_esp ISSUU management book: http://issuu.com/art2feedbrains/docs/how__not__to_send_to_hell_a_multinational my CV: http://tofeedbrains.com/aboutme.html LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/profile/edit?trk=nav_responsive_sub_nav_edit_profile Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/user/Josepsolercasanellas?feature=mhee Works for sale: http://tofeedbrains.com/onsale.html Chess http://www.tofeedbrains.com/index3.html Websites I made for artists: www.artistshengqi.com and www.chenqiuchi.com

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To think is contagious. Infect brains! Do you have a really strange collection, on one hand, you have works from USA artists and on the other hand Chinese contemporary, is there a link? Of course, there is a link; despite now is changing a bit. I seriously started with pop-surrealism from the USA; I liked very much their colours, their cartoon style and the issues they paint. Then, I did not have the idea to create a collection; only buying some works I liked. It was at that time, regarding the magazine Juxtapoz that I adapted a concept I read in to: “To think is contagious. Infect brains”. Going forward researching works matching this concept around 2005 I discovered a mine in the first Chinese contemporary works that I already noticed around 2000 but never bought, then the next step was to start to buy Chinese contemporary and it was easy. You can find the same worries across the planet. Recently, from 2008 I started again after a big stop to buy new works from artists around the world and not younger Chinese ones because they became boring to me due to the censorship there. Tell us something more about this concept? I always liked the works of art as a tool for thinking about the different issues than surrounded us. Beginning by the Guernica and following with others. The art as a way to personal growth inspires me. And more you growth thinking by yourself; much more the society will be free. And consequently, more you will contagious other people to think by themselves, more the society will be free. Therefore: infect brains! The collection is moving at the same time I become older and new subjects attract my attention, as well the need sometimes to sell some works  to add others or mostly cash in to survive and follow this passion. And if it’s true that sometimes I look at the past and to the works once held in the walls I feel certain nostalgia, but… look forward.

November 2021