Collectors as Artists

After almost thirty years as a specialist in an auction house in London and as a Chinese art dealer, I have decided to venture forth and hold my first exhibition, ‘Collectors as Artists’, comprising solely contemporary Chinese art.

My interest in this field has being growing steadily over the years, and I am particularly drawn by ink paintings and scholar’s objects, which so succinctly showcase the influences of nature. This decision has been made easier by my long-standing relationships with the artists in the context of classical Chinese art who are in themselves, renowned collectors.

The Master of Water, Pine and Stone Retreat has left an indelible mark on the world of Chinese antiquities with his way of viewing objects ranging from those that were not appreciated widely to organic materials and thus, has created his own style of connoisseurship. His more recent transition into an artist has been a revelation, not only to others but also to himself as this emphasizes the process rather than the end-result.

Zeng Xiaojun is an established artist who has drawn inspiration for his work from his life as a collector of  highly prized Ming furniture and scholar’s works of art. His paintings speak for themselves in technical mastery and imagination, and the amalgamation of old Chinese furniture with ink painting—such as his creation for the groundbreaking ‘Fresh Ink’ exhibition at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston in 2010—is revolutionary.

It is a privilege to be the first gallery in Asia to represent Daniel Eskenazi—a name that is intricately linked with Chinese art. Daniel—the partner and son of Giuseppe Eskenazi—and his family have been involved in the art market since 1960. While carrying on the great tradition of his family business, he indulges in photography of materials from the natural world. His images, combining beauty with power, are delightful to discover.

Lastly, I am pleased to present the ceramic sculptures of Zhao Meng. He is perhaps not a collector in the sense of the first three artists, but his works show a true understanding of the literati spirit and way of life. I hope that this exhibition will show the unbroken link between classical and modern traditions, both of which highlight the importance of nature, refinement, and connoisseurship.

Nader Rasti