Artists under 30


Every fortnight Artprice provides you with a new or updated ranking in its Alternate-Friday Top Series. The theme of today’s TOP article is the top ten auction results for artists under 30, so far this year

Contemporary art is no longer a domain of activity limited to well-established artists. At the end of the first half of 2010, a number of young artists around the world (aged less than 30) have managed to sign auction results in excess of $20,000. And yet their auction careers began less than five years ago.

Top 10 : best auctions results in 2010 by artists under 30

Rank Artist Hammer Price Artwork Sale
1 Dash SNOW (1981-2009) $78 369 Untitled (07) 06/30/2010 (Phillips de Pury & Co London)
2 PENG Si (1980) $51 359 Portrait of a man in red (06) 05/30/2010 (Christie’s Hong Kong)
3 PENG Si (1980) $48 791 Portrait of a man in yellow (06) 05/30/2010 (Christie’s Hong Kong)
4 Erinç SEYMEN (1980) $32 306 Untitled (10) 04/15/2010 (Sotheby’s London)
5 YANG Na (1982) $31 381 Gold-Coined Hibernation (08) 05/02/2010 (33 Auction Ltd Singapore)
6 KAO Yu (1981) $30 217 Love tear gas (04) 06/27/2010 (Shanghai Hosane Auction Co.)
7 Zakaria RAMHANI (1983) $30 000 Faces Of The Other (08) 04/27/2010 (Christie’s Dubai)
8 Noriko YAMAGUCHI (1983) $25 679 Keitai girl suit 3… 05/30/2010 (Christie’s Hong Kong)
9 KAO Yu (1981) $23 038 « Ultimate Taste of Capitalism » (09) 04/24/2010 (Phillips de Pury & Co London)
10 Ariadhitya PRAMUHENDRA (1984) $21 827 Memorable 2 (08) 05/30/2010 (Christie’s Hong Kong)

In first place, Dash SNOW is today the best known artist in our ranking both for his atypical life (born into a dynasty of collectors, he decided to live in the street when he was 15) and for his death in circumstances similar to Jean-Michel BASQUIAT’s. At 27 years old, Snow Dash had become a New York icon.
Acquired by major collectors and exhibited at the Whitney Biennale in 2006, the work of the American artist has been climbing in value ever since its appearance on the secondary market. His best auction result so far was generated at Phillips de Pury in London last June by his Untitled (2007). This composition photograph using 140 Polaroids, fetched $78,369$ (£52,000) versus a pre-sale estimate of £20,000 – £30,000.

Presented in the collections of the major Chinese galleries and adored by the critics for his technical expertise using colour pigments, PENG Si is both second and third in our ranking for his Portrait of a man in red (2006) and Portrait of a man in yellow (2006) which sold for respectively $51,359 and $48,791 at Christie’s May sales in Hong Kong (Asian contemporary art).
In 2008, these two portraits, both melancholic and yet strangely modern at the same time, fetched $56,238 and $62,000 respectively at Poly International Auction Co.
Another emerging Chinese artist is YANG Na who holds fifth place in this ranking for his Gold-Coined Hibernation that fetched $31,381$ at 33 Auction Pte Ltd in Singapore. This acrylic painting shows the face of “Nana”, a kind of avatar created by the artist, whose contradictions and metaphors are very popular with both Chinese and non-Chinese collectors. Aged just 28, this young Chinese artist already has an impressive list of exhibitions to her name (Peking, Shanghai, Zurich, etc.)
The best result so far this year for KAO Yu (whose auction record of $81,704 was set in June 2008) has been $30,217 for his Love tear gas (2004) at the Shanghai Hosane Auction Co. in June 2010, two months earlier, « Ultimate Taste of Capitalism » (2009) fetched $23,038 at Phillips de Pury in London (the artists first work to be sold in London).
These two paintings are characteristic of Kao Yu’s provocative and blood-stained “cartoon” drawings that represent a panda bear (a key figure in his work and a strong symbol of traditional China). Since 2004, Kao Yu has been invited to exhibit his work in numerous exhibitions.

The Japanese artist Noriko YAMAGUCHI holds the eighth place in this ranking for his three telephone girls Keitai girl suit 3 (old model)/Keitai girl suit 4 (silver)/Keitai girl suit 5 (white and red) which fetched $25,679 at Christie’s in Hong Kong. The work is from his most well-known “Keitai Girl” series that proscribes our society’s obsession with technology and communication.
The last Asian artist in our ranking (and last in this Top10) is Ariadhitya PRAMUHENDRA whose Memorable 2 (2008) fetched his latest auction record of $21,827 at Christie’s in Hong Kong last May. Using charcoal and large format canvasses, this young Indonesian has managed to attract attention by creating self-portraits in which the “I” becomes simultaneously a subject and an object for observation.
He recently participated in the Art Hong Kong 2010 international Art Fair with a special project entitled “Ashes to Ashes”.

Two other emerging artists – both marked by their cultures and religions – denounce the wrongs of our society: The Turk Erinç SEYMEN and the Moroccan Zakaria RAMHANI.
Erinç Seymen holds the 4th place in this ranking for his Untitled (2010) which fetched $32,306 (nearly double its low estimate) at Sotheby’s in London. Like the rest of his work, this sculpture uses genre-mixity to elicit reaction from his audience: Painted pink, the work represents a butterfly with a body is in the form of a grenade.
Zakaria RAMHANI and his work Faces Of The Other (2008) (ranked 7th) fetched $30,000 at Christie’s in Dubaï. The artist tries to convey a message by constructing the pose and the expressions of his characters using Arabic writing. His work reflects our fear of others, because for him, the history of humanity is the history of mistrust between civilisations. In this way, he shows that painting has a role in society and that it can elicit new questions.

What do these artists from such different backgrounds and cultures have in common? They have all managed to carve a place in the art market before reaching their thirtieth year, have all exhibited their work in numerous exhibitions… and all have plenty of potential to continue their artistic careers.