Jean-Michel Basquiat -

Self Portrait, 1984
Acrylic and oilstick on paper mounted on canvas
38 7/8 x 28 inches  (98.7 x 71.1 cm)
© The Estate of Jean-Michel Basquiat/ADAGP, Paris, ARS, New York 2013

Download Press Release PDF (48 Kb)
Chinese Version PDF (194 Kb)

[Scroll down for Chinese version / 向下滾動的中文版本]

Opening reception: Tuesday, May 21st, from 5:00 to 8:00pm

I don't think about art while I work. I try to think about life.
—Jean-Michel Basquiat

Gagosian Gallery is pleased to announce the first exhibition in Hong Kong of paintings by Jean-Michel Basquiat. An acclaimed exhibition at Gagosian New York earlier this year drew tens of thousands of visitors, attesting to Basquiat’s acute relevance twenty-five years after his untimely death.

Born to a Haitian father and a Puerto-Rican mother, Basquiat left his family home in Brooklyn, New York at the age of fifteen and took to the streets. A voracious autodidact, he quickly became a denizen of the explosive and decadent New York underground scene—a noise musician who loved jazz, and a street poet who scrawled his sophisticated aphorisms in Magic Marker across the walls of downtown Manhattan, copyrighting them under the name SAMO. In 1981, he killed off this alter ego and began painting and drawing, first on salvaged materials then later on canvas and paper, and making bricolage with materials scavenged from the urban environment. From the outset he worked compulsively; his passion for words and music, his intense yet fluid energy, and the heterogeneous materials that he employed so freely imbued his work with urgency and excitement. He sold his first painting in 1981, and by 1982, spurred by the Neo-Expressionist art boom, his work was in great demand. In 1985, he was featured on the cover of The New York Times Magazine in connection with an article on the newly exuberant international art market. In that photograph, Basquiat is a vision of cool, sprawled in a chair in an elegant three-piece suit and tie, with bunched dreadlocks and bare feet, in front of a large, bold painting—a supernova in the making.

Charismatic image aside, Basquiat was a prodigious young talent, fusing drawing and painting with history and poetry to produce an unprecedented artistic language and content that bridged cultures and enunciated alternative histories. Combining materials and techniques with uninhibited yet knowing and precise intent, his paintings maintain a powerful tension between opposing aesthetic forces—expression and knowledge, control and spontaneity, savagery and wit, urbanity and primitivism—while providing acerbic commentary on the harsh realities of race, culture, and society.

In explosively colored compositions, forceful, schematic figures and menacing mask-like faces are inscribed against fields jostling with images, signs, and symbols. The Thinker (1986), a wry, unsettled riposte perhaps to Rodin's famous subject, depicts a strange, zombie-like figure surrounded by forms evoking clouds, birds, and musical instruments. The canvas appears to have been primed and used as a drawing board for this ambiguous imagery then mostly blacked-out, leaving few windows onto the subject's thoughts. Whether the blank white space near the top of the composition represents a future idea, mental clarity, or the sub-conscious is left to speculation. A double-portrait incorporating tribal markings, and strong, dark reds and blues, and an afflictive, red-eyed self-portrait with delicate graphic detailing painted in 1984, are further examples of this charged shorthand approach, which Basquiat continued to develop and diversify until his tragic premature death in 1988 at the age of twenty-seven—doubtlessly spurred by the alienating effects of fame and addiction.

Jean-Michel Basquiat was born in New York City in 1960, where he died in 1988. Major exhibitions include “Jean-Michel Basquiat: Paintings 1981–1984,” Fruitmarket Gallery, Edinburgh (1984; traveled to Institute of Contemporary Arts, London; and Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam, through 1985); Kestnergesellschaft, Hannover (1987, 1989); Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (1993; traveled to Menil Collection, Houston; Des Moines Art Center, Iowa; and Montgomery Museum of Fine Art, Alabama, through 1994); “Basquiat,” Brooklyn Museum of Art, New York (2005; traveled to Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; and Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, through 2006); and Fondation Beyeler, Basel, Switzerland (2010; traveled to Musée d’art Moderne de la Ville de Paris). Basquiat starred in “Downtown 81,” a verité movie that was written by Glenn O’Brien, shot by Edo Bertoglio, and produced by Maripol in 1981, but not released until 2000.

For further information please contact the gallery at [email protected] or at +852.2151.0555.

開幕酒會: 5月21日(星期二)晚上5時到8時


高古軒畫廊榮幸呈獻香港首個尚米榭‧巴斯奇亞 (Jean-Michel Basquiat) 畫作展覽。 紐約高古軒畫廊於年初舉行此展覽,好評如潮,吸引數萬人入場參觀,證明這位藝術家雖然英年離世已25年,但作品依然切合時宜。

巴斯奇亞的父親是海地人,母親為波多黎各人,他15歲離開位於布魯克林的家後,正式展開街頭藝術創作生涯。自學能力和求知欲都極強的巴斯奇亞旋即成為紐約80年代初多姿多采的地下文化界中赫赫有名的人物,不但是熱愛爵士樂的音樂家,也是一位街頭詩人,常以SAMO之名在曼哈頓市區的建築物外牆以箱頭筆寫下精警的字句。他於1981年全心投身油畫創作,最初在廢棄物料上作畫,其後改用畫布,並利用從城市裏拾獲的各種物料進行拼裝創作。他從一開始便忘我地創作,對文字及音樂的熱愛、澎湃的力量與信手拈來的各種材料,令作品呈現一份緊迫感並激動人心。他於1981年賣出第一幅油畫,隨著新表現主義藝術興起,他的作品自1982年起便成為收藏家求之若渴的藝術品。1985年,《紐約時代雜誌》刊登一篇關於國際藝術市場蓬勃發展的報導,而巴斯奇亞則成為該封面人物。相片中的他穿著優雅的三件式西裝,結著領帶,頭髮束成辮子,赤著腳慵懶地坐在一幅巨型油畫前 –盡現大師之作的風範。

除了獨具魅力的外表,巴斯奇亞這位天賦過人的年輕藝術家,擅長把繪圖及油畫揉合歷史及詩歌,創出獨特的藝術語言及內容,跨越文化界限,探索不同的歷史。他以自由隨意的手法結合各種材料及技巧,保持表現與認知、控制與隨性、野性與機智、現代與原始等對立美學力量之間的張力,並對種族、文化及社會的殘酷現實作出尖刻的評論。巴斯奇亞的作品色彩豐富,矚目而線條粗略的人物,以及令人生畏、如面具般的面孔,刻畫在滿佈圖像、標誌及符號的背景上。《沉思者》(The Thinker, 1986年) 媲美羅丹(Auguste Rodin)的 雕塑,巴斯奇亞獨特的風格呈獻出扭曲且出人意表的效果。畫中怪異如喪屍的人物側身而坐,四周滿佈令人想起雲、鳥及樂器的圖案。巴斯奇亞似乎預先在畫布塗上底色,將之當作畫板繪畫這個意義含糊的圖像。畫布大部分位置也塗成黑色,只靠幾個圖案表達畫中人物的思想。觀者不禁猜想到底上方的空白位置代表一個未來的意念、清晰的思維,還是潛意識。揉合部族祭典圖案、深紅色及藍色的神秘雙肖像畫,以及於1984年創作、雙眼通紅且表情痛苦的自畫像,皆展示巴斯奇亞獨有且一直沿用的天才速繪技法。不幸地,名氣所帶來的負累令巴斯奇亞變得與世隔絕,他最終於1988年英年早逝,終年27歲。

尚-米榭‧巴斯奇亞 1960於生於紐約市,1988年在當地身故。他的主要展覽包括愛丁堡 Fruitmarket Gallery舉辦的「Jean-Michel Basquiat: Paintings 1981–1984」(1984年,其後 轉至倫敦當代藝術學院(Institute of Contemporary Arts),再於鹿特丹 Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen 巡展至1985年);漢諾威凱斯特納協會畫廊 (Kestnergesellschaft) (1987年及1989年);紐約惠特尼美國藝術博物館(Whitney Museum of American Art) (1993年,其後轉至休斯頓梅尼爾收藏博物館(Menil Collection)、愛荷華州狄蒙藝術中心 (Des Moines Art Center)及阿拉巴馬州蒙哥馬利美術館(Montgomery Museum of Fine Art) 巡展至1994年);紐約布魯克林美術館舉辦的「Basquiat」 (2005年,其後轉至洛杉磯 當代美術館(Museum of Contemporary Art)及休斯頓美術館(Museum of Fine Arts)巡展 至2006年);瑞士巴塞爾貝樂基金會(Fondation Beyeler) (2010年,並巡展至巴黎現代藝術 博物館(Musée d’art moderne de la ville de Paris));以及紐約高古軒畫廊(2013年)。 巴斯奇亞曾演出紀實電影《Downtown 81》,該片由Glenn O’Brien編劇,由Edo Bertoglio 攝像,由Maripol監製,雖然於1981年拍攝,但直至2000年才首映。

如有查詢,請電郵至[email protected]或致電+852.2151.0555與高古軒畫廊聯絡




Gagosian Gallery was established in 1980 by Larry Gagosian.