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Chambers Fine Art
522 West 19th Street
New York,
NY 10011 USA   map * 
tel: +1 212 414 1169     fax: +1 212 414 1192
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Chambers Fine Art is named after the distinguished 18th century British architect, Sir William Chambers who, in addition to his architectural practice, was a leading exponent of Chinese principles in garden design. Inspired by the example of Chambers, Christophe W. Mao, founder and director of the gallery since 2000, has organized a stimulating series of exhibitions that have introduced the work of some of the best artists active in China today to an American audience.

The gallery program has alternated between monographic exhibitions devoted to the work of established artists and thematic exhibitions organized by recognized scholars in the field. Thus the first exhibition in the gallery, First Encounter, was devoted to the work of the outstanding paper-cut artist Lu Shengzhong who converted the gallery space into a vividly colored “temple” that evoked another aspect of life in China than the contemporary urban culture explored by so many younger artists. 

Two innovative exhibitions explored the relationship between traditional Chinese art forms and the practices of contemporary artists. In Rocks and Art: Nature Found and Made Chinese scholar’s rocks from the Ming and Ching dynasties were juxtaposed with works by contemporary artists including Roy Lichtenstein and Brice Marden. Variations of Ink- Abstract Ink Painting of Five Chinese Artists was conceived of as a series of variations on the theme of “ink,” the fundamental material in the history of Chinese painting and a symbol of traditional values.

Other group exhibitions such as Cement: Marginal Space in Contemporary Art and Too Much Flavor have introduced the work of a younger generation of artists to the American audience. These carefully selected “reports” on the latest developments in China contrast with monographic exhibitions devoted to well-established artists whose work is frequently being shown for the first time in the United States.

Perhaps in reaction against the rapid modernization of China today, many of the most interesting artists find inspiration in the long history of Chinese culture. The conceptual photographer Hong Lei creates new versions of celebrated classical Chinese paintings in contemporary media including photography and installation while Qiu Zhijie’s “calli-photographs” transform traditional practice through the use of flash-lights and photography. In Na Zha Baby Boutique, the talented sculptor Shi Jinsong turned to a celebrated figure from Chinese mythology for inspiration for his series of stainless steel “baby products.”

In complete contrast were two exhibitions held in the first half of 2005, Insight: Paintings by Qiu Shihua and Boxes: Recent Works by Yung Ho Chang.  Qiu’s meditative landscapes, influenced by his Daoist practice, can be related to the western quest for the sublime while Yung Ho Chang’s intricate boxes, containing architectural models and theoretical texts, are the work of a master architect who has recently been appointed Chair of the department of Architecture at MIT.

Most of the exhibitions at Chambers Fine Art are accompanied by catalogues frequently designed by the artists themselves, as is the case with Lu Shengzhong’s First Encounter and The Book of Humanity (2004), and Chopsticks by Song Dong and Yin Xiuzhen.  Working together for the first time in this exhibition, the highly regarded performance and installation artists Song Dong and Yin Xiuzhen used eating utensils as metaphors for the personal bonds that unite them.  Particularly noteworthy is the catalogue of Rong Rong’s East Village, the first extensive survey of the short-lived but influential artists’ community that included Ma Liuming and Zhang Huan.  The exhibition coincided with the publication of a limited-edition portfolio of original photographs housed in an iron box with text by Wu Hung. Two exhibitions held in 2006, The Way of Chopsticks by Song Dong and Yin Xiuzhen and Liu Li Tun by Rong Rong and inri are also accompanied by substantial catalogues.  The most recent publication is New Photo- Ten years, a reprintof the seminal underground magazine published from 1996 to 1998 by Rong Rong and Liu Zheng.  2007 was a particularly eventful year in New York with exhibitions devoted to Qiu Zhijie, Wang Jianwei and He Yunchang.

The opening of Chambers Fine Art Beijing on September 20 greatly expanded our ability to represent the work of influential established artists as well as young emerging talents. The striking new gallery has been designed by Ai Weiwei and is located in the Cao Changdi district which is rapidly becoming one of the major centers of contemporary art in Beijing. The first exhibition held in the new space, Net: Reimagining Space, Time and Culture was organized by Wu Hung and examined relationships between many of the artists associated with the gallery in the last seven years. Blog It: New Wave of New Wave introduced the work of a number of emerging artists who, largely unaffected by the political upheavals that marked the work of earlier generations, are responsive to the free-wheeling culture of the Internet. In April the internationally celebrated composer Tan Dun exhibited a new series of visual works derived from his Organic Music series in the exhibition Tan Dun: Organic Music.  

Continuing our mission to create a broader international understanding of contemporary Chinese art, the establishment of a base in Beijing will facilitate our ability to work with the best emerging talent from China while also enabling us to present exhibitions of work by international contemporary artists in this rapidly developing market.

Opening hours:
Tue - Sat 10am - 6pm

 

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