Asian Art in London 2017: highlights

Presenting a range of Asian art dealers, auction houses and leading museums, Asian Art in London (AAL) returns on Thursday 2 November. 

From antique to contemporary, the annual 10-day event is made up of a host of satellite events and exhibitions promoting London as a centre of expertise for Asian art. 

Kazuyuki Ohtsu, 'Kyoto Ryoanji Stone Garden'. Hanga Ten Gallery. Image courtesy Asian Art in London.

Kazuyuki Ohtsu, ‘Kyoto Ryoanji Stone Garden’, 2016. Hanga Ten Gallery. Image courtesy Asian Art in London.

Made up of exhibitions, auctions, symposia and lectures, Asian Art London (AAL) is a global event taking place for over the last twenty years. This year’s highlights include “East Meets West”, an exhibition during AAL at the Design Centre, Chelsea Harbour, which will include all AAL participants across all genres, whilst providing workshops and displays of interior Asian-influenced designs.

Bengal Sepoy', Grosvenor Gallery', c.1793. Image courtesy Asian Art in London.

‘Bengal Sepoy’, c. 1793, pencil and watercolour on paper, various sizes. Grosvenor Gallery. Image courtesy Asian Art in London.

This year edition’s AAL annual lecture is entitled “Modern and Contemporary Asian Art: Can London Become a Global Hhub ?” wil be held on Thursday, 2 November at Sotheby’s Institute of Art, with panelists including The Art Newspaper Editor Melanie Gerlis and Daniel Komala, the co-founder and CEO of Larasati Auctioneers, Jakarta.

Malcolm Fairley. Image courtesy Asian Art in London.

Malcolm Fairley. Image courtesy Asian Art in London.

The AAL Art Award, which this year consists of two new categories – award for an outstanding work of art from a dealer and an award for an outstanding work of art from an auction house – will be judged by museum curators from the Oxford’s Ashmolean Museum, Cambridge-based Fitzwilliam Museum and London’s Victoria and Albert Museum, a contemporary expert and a leading arts journalist, together with representatives from sponsors Apollo magazine and Antiques Trade Gazette.

For the 2017 edition, Art Radar picks a few of this year’s highlights from galleries around the capital.

'Two caparisoned elephants, in a hilly landscape. It is possible that the 'B' might refer to Judge Edward Eyre Burgess who was appointed judge at the Murshidabad adaulat in 1772', Murshidabad, 1795-1807, watercolour & gouache on paper, 47.4 x 60 cm. Art dealer Francesca Galloway. Image courtesy Asian Art in London.

‘Two Caparisoned Elephants, in a Hilly Landscape. It is possible that the ‘B’ might refer to Judge Edward Eyre Burgess who was appointed judge at the Murshidabad adaulat in 1772′, Murshidabad, 1795-1807, watercolour & gouache on paper, 47.4 x 60 cm. Art dealer Francesca Galloway. Image courtesy Asian Art in London.

'View of Rio de Janeiro', oil on canvas, c. 1825-1840, China – Qing dynasty, Daoguang period, 70 cm x 136.5. Image courtesy Jorge Welsh Gallery.

‘View of Rio de Janeiro’, oil on canvas, c. 1825-1840, China – Qing dynasty, Daoguang period, 70 cm x 136.5. Image courtesy Jorge Welsh Gallery.

1. “Turn of the Sea: Art from the Eastern Trade Routes” — Jorge Welsh Gallery

Based at Jorge Welsh gallery in Kensington, this exhibition focuses on objects from the 16th to the 19th century that contributed to the creation of global connections in the modern era via maritime trade routes. With over 100 pieces from Africa, India, Sri Lanka, China and Japan, the selection ranges from brass works from the Kingdom of Benin to Indian silver filigree, Sinhalese ivory furniture, Chinese porcelain and Japanese lacquer. Encompassing new symbols, decorative patterns, as well as varied techniques, these works of art help to document the social transformations that arose from the opening of direct channels of trade. At the same time, all of these works of art embody the theme of intercultural exchange, which led to the creation of new traditions and forms of art that resonate in our ever-more international cultures of today, and are echoed in contemporary art practices.

José Maria Gonsalves (attrib.), 'Two Views of Goa', 1830s, oil on canvas, 64 x 50 cm. Image courtesy Jorge Welsh Gallery.

José Maria Gonsalves (attrib.), ‘Two Views of Goa’, 1830s, oil on canvas, 64 x 50 cm. Image courtesy Jorge Welsh Gallery.

2. Zao Wou-Ki — Aktis Gallery

Aktis Gallery holds an exhibition for the renowned Zao Wou-Ki, the greatest Chinese artist of the Paris lyrical abstraction movement. A selection of the artist’s inks, watercolours and gouaches on paper, and oils on canvas, with works ranging from 1949 until 2000 will be showcased, providing a fascinating insight into the span of Zao’s artistic practice.

Zao Wou-Ki, Untitled, 1981, Ink on paper, 67.5 x 131.5 cm. Image courtesy Aktis Gallery

Zao Wou-Ki, ‘Untitled’, 1981, ink on paper, 67.5 x 131.5 cm. Image courtesy Aktis Gallery.

Leaving his homeland for Paris in 1948, Zao Wou-Ki has been described by art historian Michael Sullivan as “the Abstract Expressionist element in his own tradition”. Recently, his works was showcased at New York’s Asia Society in “Zao Wou-Ki: No Limits” (2016), which focused on the artist’s adaption of the visual poetry of Chinese art through the medium of oil painting. In 2019 the artist will be star of the Musée D’Art Moderne de La Ville de Paris “L’espace est Silence”, an exhibition of Zao’s large scale pieces. In May 2017, Zao set a new world auction record in a Christie’s lot in Hong Kong.

Zao Wou-Ki, Untitled, detail, 1954, Watercolour on paper, 32 x 38.5 cm. Image courtesy Aktis Gallery

Zao Wou-Ki, ‘Untitled’ (detail), 1954, watercolour on paper, 32 x 38.5 cm. Image courtesy Aktis Gallery.

3. James Stanford — “Shimmering Zen”

Originally from Las Vegas, American artist James Stanford is part of AAL’s official programming at 99 Kensington Church Street. Blending modern technology with ancient traditions of Buddhism,  his works take the form of contemporary Buddhist mandalas. Mixing the contemporary with the traditional, he digitally reinvents motifs to create these vibrant, patterned works, at once decorative and contemplative. 

James Stanford, 'Skrolls'. Image courtesy Asian Art in London.

James Stanford, ‘Skrolls’. Image courtesy Asian Art in London.

Drawing on the rich mediation of Buddhist imagery, Stanford states:

The vibrant images are reminiscent of physics-like models of space, but also have an immaterial, spiritual quality, evoking the artist’s strong connection to Zen Buddhism.

His monograph of the same title will also be launched during AAL at the London Library.

Man Ray, ‘The Maharaja of Indore, c. 1930’, vintage gelatin silver print, 28.5 x 23 cm. Prahlad Bubbar. Image courtesy Asian Art in London.

Man Ray, ‘The Maharaja of Indore’, c. 1930, vintage gelatin silver print, 28.5 x 23 cm. Prahlad Bubbar. Image courtesy Asian Art in London.

4. “Artists and Patrons” — Prahlad Bubbar

Prahlad Bubbar’s theme this year is Artists and Patrons: India 1600-1935″and this broad time period allows for a vast array of objects, ranging from photographs to Bidri trays, paintings from Mughal India and photographs of Indian interiors. One particular highlight is a stunning photographic portrait c.1930 – The Maharaja of Indore by Surrealist artist Man Ray.

A dealer and consultant of Indian and Islamic art, Prahlad Bubbar recently showed at Frieze Masters, and was selected as one of the key highlights in 2017.

Anna Jamieson

1927

Related Topics: Asian artists, collectors, art fairs, business of art, market watchevents in London

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