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New UK gallery draws attention to modern ink art

By Bo Leung in London | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2019-02-14 00:55

A Chinese contemporary art gallery has settled into its first international base, in London's St James's district, close to Christie's auction house and top classical art galleries.

First established in Hong Kong, 3812 Gallery was founded by Calvin Hui and Mark Peaker and specializes in contemporary Chinese art with a focus on ink work.

For the gallery owners, London was an obvious choice for their first international space.

"People here have a passion for art," Peaker said. "We are contemporary, settled in nicely among the classical environment, so I think that juxtaposition suits our art and gallery."

Hui and Peaker are committed to fostering cultural dialogue between China and the West, as well as introducing contemporary Chinese artists and contemporary ink artist to a new audience.

One of their aims is to promote cultural understanding through academic programs, collectors' engagement, and communication, in order to "give a refreshing voice to this market".

Hui said he hopes to give collectors and art enthusiasts a unique perspective into Chinese contemporary art, and says the gallery has a lot to offer "in terms of knowledge, perception, and selection of art".

3812 Gallery, which is named after a French ski resort that has a sharp mountain ridge of 3,812 meters, was created in 2011. 3812 London Gallery is currently showing the works of Qu Leilei in a solo exhibition named Echos.

Hui is a cultural entrepreneur and avid art collector in Hong Kong. He is held in high regard in his field and, between2011 and 2017, was co-chairman and director of one of Hong Kong's leading international art fairs, Fine Art Asia.

Hui launched Ink Asia in December 2015, which he says was the first international art fair to specialize in contemporary ink art. He now hopes to bring another event Ink Now fair to London.

The gallery owners say they want to show the world that China is developing its "own voice" in the contemporary art scene, rather than one that imitates Western artists.

"There is a resurgence of pride in China in the younger generation of Chinese artist who are standing, both domestically in China and around the world, saying I am proud of my cultural heritage," Peaker said.

The gallery owners also want to offer a new perspective into Chinese contemporary art, and help shake off stereotypes perceived by the non-Chinese audience, while also exploring the contrast between modern ideas and traditional Chinese techniques, such as the use of water and ink.

"We are not just a gallery that follows the trends, such as which auction or artist is popular at the moment or reaching the highest price on the market," Hui said. "Market trends, especially the commercial market, are actually very short-term."

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