2023 Art Basel, Hong Kong
The Portrait series is Michael Lau’s latest practice in 2022, in which the artist fused personal stylized elements with the art historical pioneers on intimate canvases, paying tribute to those masters who have expanded the possibilities in art in their respective fields while incorporating his distinctive painting styles and motifs – elements of flowers, slogans, post-it notes, and price tags – a further development from those masters’ contributions. Unlike traditional portraitures, works in the Portrait series deliberately avoid the delicate depiction of the figure's features, relying instead on stylized contours and visual symbols related to the subject of the painting to reveal its identity. In this work, the imagery on the post-it note under the collar of the figure is taken from Dali's masterpiece The Persistence of Memory. Dali's iconic beard is replaced by embroidered flower stems, at the end of which the flower spits its tongue wittily, giving the painting a new surreal meaning with Lau’s “secret codes” in paintings.