MathildeHK at Affinity for Art – Sheung Wan

You like South Asian contemporary artists?

You are interested in paintings and visual arts?

You want to discover a Hong Kong based gallery?

Affinity for ART, Gallery Photo 3

Chi Chen, Passing through the garden, 2014, picture@affinityforart

Last Wednesday, I went to Affinity for Art, an art gallery located on Queen’s Road West, in Sheung Wan, next to Hollywood Road. I already noticed some pieces exhibited by the gallery on Art Central.

Kim and her husband, the gallery owners, started the shift from finance to art more than 2 years ago. Kim actually joined her husband after some months. They decided to work with art fairs and art shows before finding the right premises. They both fall in love with the space they occupy now in 2014.



1 Queen Road West, old building, picture@wikipedia

The building was built in 1900. First made of wood, it was built in concrete in 1932. The building was the first store of The Sincere & Co., Ltd. which commenced operation in Hong Kong on 8 January 1900. The Sincere & Co., Ltd. was founded by an Australian Chinese Ma Ying-piu who purchased the building in 1899 for the eventual opening of the store. During the first half of the twentieth century, it was a tea house and then a distillery.

The ID card of the gallery:

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Logo, picture@affinityforart

Affinity for ART represents emerging and established Asian contemporary artists – primarily from Southeast Asia, Taiwan and China. The artists are promoted through exhibitions at the gallery, at local and international art fairs and in commercial projects. Affinity for ART gallery space is housed in a beautiful historical Grade3 listed building conveniently located in the heart of Sheung Wan. By Kim Lam

The current exhibition: Colorful Paintings by Chi Chien

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Chi Chien explores one central theme in all his works: to seek the “Truth of Painting” questioning “What is a painting?”, “What makes a painting, a painting?”, “What makes the subject and the background perceived as such?”.

The “Passing Through the Gardens” series explores the spatial relationship of the subjects through the separations of different dimensional planes on the Chi works over large areas of patterned cloth, usually of floral motifs, and carefully leaves selected parts unpainted. These untouched parts evolve to assume a new spatial dimension on the fabric, transforming the visual appearance of the flower patterns from being flat to spatial and for the overall work to resemble a landscape.

Affinity for ART, Gallery Photo 2

Chi Chen, Passing through the garden, 2014, picture@affinityforart

Painting over the printed fabric also has the interesting effect of interchanging the roles of the supporting canvas and the painted parts. The painted parts become the background while the unpainted parts paradoxically become the subject of the painting. Chi further plays on the visual effect by the inclusion of vintage airplanes in the composition. These planes add yet another dimension as their realistic, three- dimensional rendition contrasts with the printed flowers thereby accentuating the original flatness of the latter. Furthermore, the airplanes bring an additional dimension, an intangible one – that of time or rather – the passage of time.Questioned about the use of flowers as potential feminist, cultural or spiritual symbols, Chi prefers to leave to it to the viewers’ interpretation.

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Chi Chen, Passing through the garden, 2014, picture@affinityforart

“Without clear suggestions from the artist, viewers are free to interpret directly from the canvas and to expand what they see with their feelings and emotions from their own life experience” say Chi. from Press release

Why did I noticed that artist:

I first saw the fabric you can still see on the edges of each paintings. I really like Japanese and Chinese traditional flower cottons and I found quite traditional for an Asian artist to paint on fabrics, such as cotton, although it was on silk in the past.

Then, the motive of WWII planes drew my attention since I am passionate about aviation and history. Planes are depicted with a lot of details and they carry out many symbolic meanings such as heaven, dreams, conscienceless and spirituality.

Finally, I understood that Chi Chen ‘s work has a strong spiritual structure linked to Buddhism, but what I found very seductive were the colors he used, so very relevant in Asia. Indeed, greens, yellows, reds and purples are everywhere in temples, mandalas and Buddhist art pieces.


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