Part 2: Increasing art prices

Photo by Lisa Moravec
Gordon Cheung in his studio, London Nov 2013 (Courtesy of Lisa Moravec)

When Gordon Cheung, 38, started to show his work with leading international galleries the prices for his works started to increase. However, his perception of art has not changed since then.

“I will finish work until late. If I have an idea, I will work as long on it as long until I feel like that it is done. Art is an ongoing thing.”

His attitude towards arts stands in contrast to some artists who have changed their focus to make more money, and to have a more luxurious lifestyle.

“They have become detached to what it means to make art,” says Gordon.

And still after more than 23 years of creating art Gordon finds pure pleasure in this process; partly because he has never wanted to think of his work as a product, which is offered for sale in the global market space, and neither does he get excited by auction prices “because I do not think that it has anything to do with art, or with our expression of humanity. I get most excited when I think about my new work.

“Everything is part of an ongoing progress, therefore there can be no final end to anything…”

But thinking and talking about his new artworks are two different pairs of shoes. While Gordon’s most recent artwork addresses constructed cities by property speculation in Mongolia, leading to further urbanisation in an attempt to stimulate the economy, he finds it rather difficult to articulate what his latest work expresses. On a sallied ground there are two rising and fighting glittering horses in the foreground, and austere buildings behind them in the middle of nowhere.

“How do you build a city for a million people with world-class architecture and only tens of thousands end up there? It is a modern day monumental failure,” says Gordon.

“Something has gone absolutely wrong, it is the speculative market, a property bubble.” The cities, currently under construction in Mongolia, have been planned inside out – but so far, they have no function as no one lives there. The only living beings out are the workers.

Even though Gordon Cheung’s latest painting primarily depicts the absurdity of the financial system and its most recent excrescence, there is no doubt that there is a strong connection between the art world and the horse world: How much are we willing to pay for a horse or for a piece of art?

Valuing artists’ and horse addicts’ passion and devotion is impossible as one cannot objectively measure the transformation from one’s fervour into an object they have shaped with their own hands.

“Artists will put everything into creating art. They will sacrifice a things like a meal or two in a day in order to afford making art. They do not think: It is six o’clock now, I will go home. They will  push more because they feel it is necessary and compelling to make art. This is their calling,” says Gordon.



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