Founded by Siu Fai Lung in 1978, Chelesa Art specialises in the promotion of the deep cultural lineage of Chinese ink art and the continuation of this invaluable tradition for over 40 years. In 2000, Chelesa Art opened its second location in Wukang Mansion, a heritage building in the former French Concession area of Shanghai, in an effort to increase the presence and reach of the ink discipline in Chinese art.
A trailblazer in the 1970s, Chelesa Art was one of the rare few galleries in Hong Kong that focused on ink art practices. Chiefly representing artists from the Shanghai School, the gallery collaborated with giants of the 20th century art world such as Lu Yanshao, Chen Peiqiu, Zhu Qizhan, Liu Haisu, Cheng Shifa, and Xie Zhiguang. Moreover, the gallery team’s intimate knowledge of the secondary market enables them to incisively analyse market trends and provide collectors with personalised collection strategies. Servicing both seasoned and young collectors, Chelesa Art offers insightful consultations for auctions and private sales that are tailored to the clients’ individual needs. Numerous works by masters such as Bada Shanren, Zhang Daqian, Qi Baishi, Wu Guanzhong, Huang Binhong, Pan Tianshou, Lin Fengmian, Li Keran, Fu Baoshi and Wu Changshuo have been successfully acquired for collectors through the expert advice of Chelesa Art.
Director Angel Siu formally joined the Chelesa Art team in 2012. Not only does she continue to uphold the founding principles and mission of the gallery, she also infuses Chelesa Art with new blood — Siu vigorously participates in art fairs both locally and internationally. She is frequently seen in media coverages and academic discussion forums furthering the understanding of Chinese ink art. In addition, as one of the founding members, Siu also prolifically hosts education programmes such as talks and panel discussions in partnership with Hong Kong Antique and Art Galleries Association in order to increase the public’s interest in traditional Chinese ink art.
In recent years, Chelesa Art collaborates extensively with a new generation of ink artists in preparation for a series of exhibitions in both China and overseas to explore the boundless possibilities of contemporary ink art.
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Born in Shanghai in 1967 to a family of Chaoyang, Guangdong descent, Hong Jian graduated from the Advance Masterclass in Chinese Painting of Shanghai University Fine Arts College in the inaugural year of the programme. He is currently the deputy director of exhibitions at the Shanghai Chinese Painting Academy.
As an artist who practices in the Shanghai academic style, he is at the prime of his career. His ability to deftly captures the delicacy, nostalgia, and leisurely aesthetics of old Shanghai is nothing short of breathtaking. Primarily using architecture from Shanghai and Europe as his subject matter, Hong Jian renders the historical and cultural sensibilities of these ancient cities in the style of landscape ink painting. In terms of technique, the artist has adopted the diverse directions and aesthetics of contemporary ink art while executing these elements in a traditional gongbi fashion — an artisanal style of representation that champions the technical precision of the brush. In addition, his use of colours as well as the juxtaposition between light and shadow are appropriately moderated by Western painting techniques. These influences are evident in the myriad textures found in his depictions of weather-beaten walls, rusted window frames, decrepit roof tiles, and the gently swaying shadows filtered by foliage. When the traditional ink format is infused with contemporary ways of seeing, the expressive power of contemporary Chinese painting is heightened exponentially.
One of the most unforgettable collective memories shared by the residents of Shanghai is the architecture of the city. This distinctive school of architecture is the amalgamation of the cultural exchange between the Eastern and Western civilisations — it is one of the most iconic images of the metropolis. Nevertheless, Chinese ink painters still hold a particular reverence for landscapes. This sense of ritual for the environment stems from the contemplation of how an individual should position himself or herself in relation to nature. It is a philosophy developed during the agricultural era in Chinese culture. Taking this worldview and applying it to the urban environment in the modern era, Hong Jian’s works is a meditation on the how one shall position himself or herself in the contemporary space. Through the artist’s eyes, viewers can experience the familiarity that he feels when he gazes upon the intricate architecture of the former colonial concession district in Shanghai. The vividness of his expressions are so emotive that viewers can almost smell the parasol trees that line the streets of Shanghai. Hong Jian’s works have the power to convey an intimate sense of nostalgia that transports viewers back to the idyllic moments in colonial Shanghai.
His works are collected by influential institutions such as the National Art Museum of China, Shanghai Art Museum, Shanghai China Art Academy and Zhu Qizhan Art Museum.