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A woman looks at the artist Damien Hirst's artwork "The Importance of Elsewhere-The Kingdom of Heaven". (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

HONG KONG.- Seoul Auction, Korea’s leading auction house, held its Modern and Contemporary Art sale in Hong Kong on October 7, 2009, and achieved a total of HK$53.1 million (US$6.9 million). "The Importance of Elsewhere –The Kingdom of Heaven" from the renowned British artist Damien Hirst’s celebrated Butterfly Series achieved HK$17,222,000 (US$2,236,623), establishing a record as the most expensive work by Damien Hirst ever sold at auction in Asia.

Ms. Misung Shim, Managing Director, Seoul Auction Hong Kong Ltd, said, “We are delighted with the results of today’s sale, which saw Damien Hirst’s monumental work "The Importance of Elsewhere – the Kingdom of Heaven" set a new record for the most expensive work by Damien Hirst at auction in Asia. The price achieved beat the record that we set in our May 2009 sale in Hong Kong. The highlight of our Chinese section, Flowers in a White Vase by Sanyu, also realized an impressive price; while works in the Korean section performed particularly strongly today.”

“The results validate our strategy to present a carefully curated selection of high quality works by Western masters as well as exceptional works by Asian artists. Since Seoul Auction became the first auction house to offer Western masterpieces in Hong Kong in its debut sale in October 2008, interest and awareness in Western contemporary art has grown significantly in Hong Kong and among collectors from Hong Kong, Taiwan, China and Southeast Asia. We have confidence in the market and are expanding our business in Asia. We are fully committed to establishing Hong Kong as a truly international art hub and serving our clients throughout the Asian region.”


"The Importance of Elsewhere –The Kingdom of Heaven," by the famous artist Damien Hirst from his highly acclaimed Butterfly Series, was the most spectacular and largest work by Damien Hirst ever to appear at auction in Asia. It was sold to an Asian collector today.

The butterfly is a symbol of eternity and resurrection in both Western and Oriental cultures. Damien Hirst applies live butterflies to the canvas to present his ideas of life and death, a key theme in his oeuvre. This beautiful ‘window’, with thousands of vivid blue, yellow and green butterflies on a dark blue background, demonstrates Hirst’s awe before God in mathematical, geometric form, and refers to his own intricate, spiritual world and his feelings about life and death.

Another highlight, Untitled by the renowned UK-based Indian sculptor Anish Kapoor realized HK$6,508,000 (US$845,195). This was the first time a work by Kapoor had been offered in the Asian auction market. With his surfaces of impeccably polished stainless steel, Kapoor explores the relationship between the form and the void; the temporary and the permanent; the tension between the material and the ethereal.

Leading the Chinese section was Flowers in a White Vase by the master Sanyu which fetched HK$16,947,000 (US$2,200,909) after competitive bidding. This beautiful painting, with its use of soft powder white, and the pink flowers and green leaves in strong juxtaposition, expresses the artist’s longing for his hometown in Sichuan. By pouring his feelings of solitude and melancholy into the imagery of flowers, Sanyu imbued his work with an intoxicating and poetic lyricism.

Works in the Korean section performed particularly well today. The highlight was From Point by Lee U Fan which achieved HK$1,468,000 (US$190,649). Lee U Fan has acted as a mediator between the East and West through his theories on art that embrace Western thought and logic and interpret them through Eastern ideas and sensibilities.

In the Japanese section, White Pumpkin by Yayoi Kusama realized HK$818,400 (US$106,286) after spirited bidding.

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A woman walks by artist Damien Hirst's artwork "The Importance of Elsewhere-The Kingdom of Heaven" which used butterflies as material at the Seoul Auction 2009 Hong Kong Autumn Sale Modern and Contemporary Art in Hong Kong Tuesday, October 6, 2009. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)