Galleries - May 2015

art scene has remained rather more fragmented, and more expertise is needed here to strengthen the market alongside the higher end galleries. Lisson Gallery has taken up very well- known artists such as Ai Weiwei and Liu Xiaodong at a serious level, two globally renowned artists working at the upper end of the market spectrum. Meanwhile smaller but significant forays into the Chinese art market are being seen with galleries such as Riflemaker, showing the young Chinese oil painter Wen Wu. Another conceptual artist very active on the circuit is Liu Ding, currently showing at MOT International in New Bond Street. Experienced galleries such as the October Gallery specialising in the transnational avant-garde, are also giving space to emergent artists from China, with ‘Unbroken Line’, showing Wang Huangsheng’s dynamic conceptual ink paintings. Wang is an artist and established museum director in China but still unknown in the West. Meanwhile important events such as the Chinese Visual Festival held at King’s College (7 to 22 May) are vital for raising the profile of Chinese culture through its high quality programme of films and video art. Katie Hill China: Ancient & Modern With the rise of the Chinese art market in the global arena and the huge significance of China as the most dynamic and growing art scene in the world, London is well-placed to play a key role in its future development – and there’s still a good deal of room for further expansion. Expertise on Chinese art in London has always been particularly strong on the classical material with the establishment of specialist departments in places like the V&A and the British Museum. Recent high-profile exhibitions such as ‘Ming: 50 Years That Changed China’, at the BM last year, and the V&A’s ‘Masterpieces of Chinese Painting’ exhibition in 2013/14, have boosted public awareness of the riches of these areas, opening them up to much larger Western audiences than ever before. At the same time though there is still huge potential for development in contemporary Chinese art, where representation veers between the high end and marginal, the slick and the amateur. The market for Chinese art in London, both antiquities and contemporary works, is still specialised and spread across the established dealers in Mayfair with a scattering of other offerings in dealerships in other areas of the capital such as Tanya Baxter in Chelsea and Michael Goedhuis in Knightsbridge. At the upper end of the spectrum, the pre-eminent dealer, Eskenazi , with his stunning showcasing of the highest quality works from different periods in Chinese history, is hosting an exhibition on Song Dynasty ceramics (960- 1279 AD), one of the most sought after categories. It is a show which is bound to attract considerable attention in specialist circles. Another established dealer in this same sector is, of course, Priestley & Ferraro in St James’s, who offer a range of stoneware and porcelain from the Tang, Song and Jin dynasties. Meanwhile for 19th C. material such as China trade paintings, Martyn Gregory is still a reliable source as a long- standing dealer in this field. Rossi & Rossi Gallery has been one of the consistently high quality dealers in Himalayan antiques, and they have recently opened a new space in Dover Street. Fabio Rossi has established a solid market in contemporary Tibetan art, also showing a smattering of contemporary Chinese artists, such as painter Liu Dahong and Ma Desheng, a founding member of the Stars Group in the late 1970s. Michael Goedhuis is one of the few dealers focusing on contemporary Chinese ink painting, worth looking out for at fairs such as Masterpiece London. Over the last few years, London’s contemporary Chinese MAY 2015 GALLERIES 13 from left: S poilum (fl. c.1774-1805) ‘Portrait of a Western Merchant in a Chinese Landscape’ at Martyn Gregory. Leaf Bowl Song Dynasty, at Eskenazi. Wang Huangsheng ‘Moving Visions’ series no.83, 2012, at October Gallery CHINA