In this issue of introducing art galleries that specialize in dealing various Chinese contemporary artworks in London, this article focuses on one gallery run by Olyvia Kwok̶Olyvia Fine Art based in Mayfair, London.
As the prosperous global business centre, London has also been known for its art trading for many centuries. In London, the Chinese antiques trade has been a main business among art dealers since the early 20th century. Recently the business has extended to Chinese contemporary art. The Chinese contemporary art market started to grow rapidly since 1990s. A group of avant-garde artists usually known as ‘post-89’ have become the hit of art market, gradually raising the transaction value of Chinese contemporary art. Since 2000, accompanying with the increase of high-net-worth individuals in China, the Chinese art market has been pushed to a whopping price, becoming an important focus in global art market. We can also see this trend in the art circle in London. Many art dealers have targeted their main deals at Chinese contemporary art for its high reward in trading value.
Olyvia Fine Art, formerly Olyvia Oriental, was founded in 2005. It then quickly established itself as a leading gallery in contemporary Chinese painting in the UK. The gallery has a good connection with some renowned collectors, such as Charles Saatchi, Larry Walsh, Frank Cohen and Herman Heinsbroek. Meanwhile, the gallery has also developed partnerships with corporate institutions and art funds, namely, Coutts & Co., JP Morgan Private Bank, Morgan Stanley Private Wealth Management and The Fine Art Fund Group.
倫敦作為世界市場的核心,也向來是藝術品交易的標地。在倫敦, 中國古董的交易早已盛行百年,然而近年來,一股針對中國當代藝術品的買賣逐漸出現在倫敦的藝術界。中國當代藝術興盛於1990年代以後。一批被稱為“89後”的前衛藝術家作品在2000年後的西方市場大受歡迎,也逐漸托高中國當代藝術的市場價値。近年 來伴隨著中國經濟起飛,不只是中國的經濟體在世界佔有重要地位,中國的藝術市場也連帶著成為世界藝術市場的指標。倫敦作為藝術市場的主要交易場所,越來越多的倫敦畫商將畫廊代理目標轉向中國當代藝術。
奧利維亞美術畫廊致力於推廣東亞當代藝術到英國,是由奧利維亞•郭女士(Olyvia Kwok)在2005年創立,最初命名為奧利維亞東方畫廊(Olyvia Oriental)。郭女士和倫敦著名的收藏家保持著良好的關係,包括查爾斯•薩奇(Charles Saatchi)、萊瑞•華許 (Larry Walsh)、法蘭克•柯涵(Frank Cohen)和赫爾曼•海因斯 貝特(Herman Heinsbroek)等。同時,畫廊也致力於發展與藝術組織和基金的合作夥伴關係,包括庫茨銀行(Coutts & Co), 摩根大通私人銀行(JP Morgan Private Bank), 摩根士丹利私人財富管理(Morgan Stanley Private Wealth Management ) 和美術基金組(Morgan Stanley Private Wealth Management )等等。
The gallery focused primarily on the Chinese contemporary painting, and recently it has expanded its market to Western modern and contemporary art. From the name list of artists, apart from the artworks by those famous Chinese contemporary artists like Fang Lijun and Yue Minjun, the gallery now also accommodates various western artworks, such as Western modern Cubist works by Pablo Picasso, the artworks by Marc Chagall who practiced several major artistic styles, and the surrealist works by Salvador Dali. It also presents the art pieces of American pop artist Andy Warhol, as well as those by contemporary environmental artist Christo, Marc Quinn of the YBAs, and the distinguished photographic artist Adam Fuss.
Obviously from the above list of selected artists, Olyvia Fine Art is now dealing with a hybrid collection of artworks. It is a significant change for the gallery to transform from a gallery that only dealed with oriental artworks to the recent one that collects Western modern and contemporary artworks. One may wonder whether the gallery has faced some difficulties in only specializing in Chinese contemporary painting in UK. Another interesting aspect of the selection of artists is, in regard to the Japanese artists, the gallery only chooses works from Yoshitomo Nara and Yayoi Kusama, two of the most acclaimed contemporary Japanese artists for the Western market. Although the gallery does promote some young Chinese contemporary artists to the West (such as Fan Xiaoyan, Zhang Peng and Han Yajuan), it seems that catering to Western taste is the main concern for Olyvia Fine Art to select artworks from other parts of East Asia.
儘管一開始專注在中國藝術畫作的代理,奧利維亞美術畫廊逐漸將它的市場拓展至西方現代 和當代繪畫作品的交易上。除了中國當代藝術領軍人,方力鈞、岳敏君等,畫廊亦有涉及西方近代立體畫派及超現實畫派畫家巴勃羅•畢加索 (Pablo Picasso)、馬克•夏卡爾(Marc Chagall) 和薩爾瓦多•達利(Salvador Dali)的畫作,以及美國波普藝術家安迪•沃荷(Andy Warhol)、英國當代YBA的馬克•奎恩(Marc Quinn)、著名公共藝術家克里斯多(Christo)和影像藝術家亞當•弗斯(Adam Fuss)的作品。可見奧利維亞美術畫廊所經營的藝術畫作交易跨度之大。
從畫廊代理的藝術家名單可以看到,現在畫廊經營的藝術家作品和時代跨度很大,而更名為奧利維亞美術畫廊後,其經營策略有重大的轉變,讓人不經懷疑是否在英國純粹推廣和經營中國當代藝術畫作遭到了些許困難。除了更改名稱以拓展市場外,另一方面畫廊亦經營其他亞洲藝術家的作品,包括在西方藝術市場最著名的兩位日本當代藝術家奈良美智(Yoshitomo Nara)與草間彌生(Yayoi Kusama)的作品。儘管畫廊仍代理並嘗試推廣一些中國年輕一輩的新興藝術家如韓雅娟、范曉妍、張鵬等到英國市場,但迎合西方觀眾口味似乎是此畫廊經營的重要考量之一。
After a brief interview with the gallery manager Stephen Tribbell, we learn that Ms Kwok, owner of the gallery, is particularly fascinated with the figurative painting. For example, in the current summer exhibition ‘Beauty and Revolution: Contemporary Prints and Painting from Olyvia Fine Art’, most of the artworks are figurative paintings, paintings of people’s portraits, and photography of exaggerative facial expressions. The exhibition’s collections are mainly from Olyvia’s private collections, and some from commissioned artists. In some way, how the owner runs the gallery reflects his/her preference and interpretation of art.
通過與畫廊經理史蒂芬•舒貝(Stephen Tribbell)的對話,不難發現畫廊挑選作品的標準主要以畫廊主郭小姐對具象作品的偏愛。從最新夏日展 覽“美與革命”中看出,多數的畫作為具象畫作,或為人物肖像畫、或為擁 有誇張臉部表情的人物攝影。此次的展覽主要來自畫廊主的私人收藏, 另有少部分為畫家提供。從畫廊的作品中看出,一間畫廊的經營風格往 往反映了畫廊主個人的品味以及其對藝術的見解。
Olyvia Fine Art
17 Ryder Street, St.james’s London SW1Y 6PY
Tel: +44(0) 20 7925 2986