Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Jenny Holzer: Light Stream (19 September 2013 - 2 November 2013)

American artist Jenny Holzer will present Light Stream, a major exhibition of new and vintage work in her first solo exhibition in Hong Kong, at Pearl Lam Galleries, which will open on 18 September, 2013. For this exhibition, Holzer draws upon her text series Truisms (1977–79), Living (1980–82), and Survival (1983–85), presenting Truisms and Survival for the first time in Chinese.

Jenny Holzer is one of the most respected contemporary artists working today, best known for large-scale public projections of text. Influenced by literature, society, and politics, her work explores notions of transparency, sexuality, morality, and power. Her texts take the form of declarations, quotes, and statements from many points of view, often inhabiting complex and controversial subject matter.

For Light Stream, Holzer selected phrases from Truisms, Living, and Survival to present on electronic signs and on stone benches. Truisms comprises over 250 single sentence declarations written by Holzer at the beginning of her career and crafted to resemble existing aphorisms. Originally printed on posters and anonymously pasted on buildings and walls across New York City in the 1970s,Truisms was Holzer's first body of text. Living references everyday, visceral topics, such as the body and personal relationships, to evoke notions of vulnerability within a fast-paced modern environment and the individual grappling with life-altering decisions. Survival, the first text series written specifically for electronic signs, is a cautionary series where each sentence instructs, informs, or questions in a more urgent tone.

The centrepiece of the exhibition is Holzer’s largest LED gallery work to date, which comprises over 25 LED elements. Light Stream (2013), also the title of the exhibition, was born of Holzer’s long-time desire to produce a swarming mass of texts in one work, and is realised for the first time with Pearl Lam Galleries. Using selections from all three series, the result is a pulsating, flashing heap of text with statements layered and wrapped around one another in frenetic light and colour. Chinese and English texts appear alongside each other, reflecting and encouraging dialogue within the exhibition.

Describing the work, Jenny Holzer explains, “Though I rely on minimalist configurations, for decades I have wanted to offer a massive, irrational, unpredictable heap of glittering displays. I am happy about the paradox—what appears wild, chaotic, and spontaneous is a greater technical puzzle and a more difficult challenge to realise. Pearl Lam Galleries and years of building precisely configured LED signs have made this new electronic wilderness possible.”

Holzer’s LED works are individually programmed to pulse at specific rates. By throwing light and colour, the LED pieces map the darkened gallery space.

Alongside the LED works, Holzer will present a selection of white marble benches, which are the first works she has produced in Chinese. With their connotations of monuments or Classical sculpture, the solid and memorial form of the marble works offers a dramatic contrast to the LEDs. Short statements such as “MONEY CREATES TASTE” and “DON’T PLACE TOO MUCH TRUST IN EXPERTS,” chosen for their particular resonance and impact, are carved in Chinese into the bench seats.

Jenny Holzer
For more than thirty years, Jenny Holzer has presented her astringent ideas, arguments, and sorrows in public places and international exhibitions, including 7 World Trade Center, the Reichstag, the Venice Biennale, the Guggenheim Museums in New York and Bilbao, and the Whitney Museum of American Art. Her medium, whether formulated as a T-shirt, a plaque, or an LED sign, is writing, and the public dimension is integral to the delivery of her work. Starting in the 1970s with the New York City posters, and up to her recent light projections on landscape and architecture, her practice has rivaled ignorance and violence with humour, kindness, and moral courage. Holzer received the Leone d'Oro at the Venice Biennale in 1990 and the Crystal Award from the World Economic Forum in 1996. She holds honorary degrees from Ohio University, Williams College, the Rhode Island School of Design, The New School, and Smith College. She received the Barnard Medal of Distinction in 2011. Holzer lives and works in New York.

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Golnaz Fathi: The Living Road(15 September 2013 - 10 November 2013)

SHANGHAI-Pearl Lam Galleries Shanghai will present the first solo exhibition of Golnaz Fathi in China, illustrating the growing interest worldwide in Iranian art, initiated by major exhibitions at the Barbican Gallery, UK; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; LACMA, Los Angeles; and the forthcoming exhibition ‘Iran Modern’ at Asia Society in New York. Fathi is an influential member of a thriving new generation of multi-disciplinary artists born in Tehran since the 1970s. Entitled The Living Roadand opening to the public on 15 September 2013, the exhibition features 21 new works in a variety of media including pen on canvas, acrylic on canvas and LED light worksalongside two historic acrylic on canvas works which have been exhibited at Art Forum in Wiesbaden, Germany in 2011 and Tehran’s pavilion at the Shanghai Biennale in 2012 respectively.

Golnaz Fathi’s work draws on the discipline of Persian calligraphy reinterpreted through an abstract gestural style. Her work is also inspired by Abstract Expressionism and the work of Middle Eastern Modernists from the 50s and 60s who employed the written word as a pictorial element. Fathi’s work has been collected extensively by major public and private collections including the British Museum, London; the Devi Art Foundation, New Delhi, India; The Farjam Collection, Dubai; and Asian Civilisations Museum, Singapore.

The Living Road features a series of pen on canvas works inspired by the technique of Shiah Mashgh, which translates literally as ‘black practice’, the calligrapher’s warm-up exercise whereby letters are repeated over and over again until the paper is entirely covered in black ink. Golnaz Fathi sees this process as the most artistic part of traditional calligraphy. She says: “My artistic aim has been to transform calligraphy from words into forms. I treat the letters as a form—I make them float or dance on my canvas. Like a journey of sorts, I take the words up and down, moving to different places that end nowhere. The origin comes from my meditations; perhaps sometimes it ends in stillness, a stillness that talks. They can be read as a visual meditation or a form of prayer. Being restricted by so many rules in traditional calligraphy made me break all the rules and treat the letters just the way I want to. This inspiration comes from my own culture. I am proud of my country’s very rich cultural heritage which in turn has greatly inspired me.” Amongst the other media represented in the exhibition, the light boxes particularly highlight the unique forms in Fathi’s work as the glow of the letters and lines emerge from the bold black boxes.

Born in Tehran in 1972, the Islamic Revolution and the Iran-Iraq war were predominant elements in the background of Fathi’s upbringing. The disturbing effects of these events cannot be dismissed from her work, which asks for pause and contemplation. She studied classical calligraphy at the Iranian Society of Calligraphy in Tehran, practicing writing Persian for up to eight hours a day for six years and is one of a small number of female Iranian artists to have trained at such a high level. She has received a number of awards including the Best Woman Calligraphist in Ketabat Style in 1995 by the Iranian Society of Calligraphy in Tehran, and was chosen by one of the juries at the Sharjah Calligraphy Biennale in 2011. She has also exhibited in museums and galleries in Hong Kong, New York, Paris, Dubai, Korea, Germany and London. In 2012, she was granted a residence permit in France and she currently lives and works in Tehran.

Friday, 23 August 2013

Beyond Black and White (21 July 2013 - 10 September 2013)

SHANGHAIPearl Lam Galleries is pleased to present "Beyond Black and White", an exhibition showcasing 18 works by eight Chinese contemporary ink artists including Feng Mengbo, Lan Zhenghui, Qiu Deshu, Qiu Zhenzhong, Wang Dongling, Wang Tiande, Wei Ligang and Zheng Chongbin. These artists are part of a growing circle in China that draws inspiration from traditional Chinese ink painting and its philosophy as well as Chinese calligraphy. The exhibition opened to the public on 21 July 2013.

The medium and technique of ink and brush plays a significant role for these artists as they seek to display the unique heritage of Chinese artistic culture in a new, contemporary context that reflects today’s globalised world. The philosophy of ink painting also plays a central role among contemporary ink artists whose energy is laid bare in their artistic creations. This energy expresses another realm of beauty that goes beyond the visual quality of the painting. This is known as Qi, or vitality, and is one of the Six Principles of Chinese Painting, established by Xie He in the 5th century. This exhibition aims to address the role of ink and its enduring philosophy in contemporary China and challenge the traditional use of the medium.

The artists in "Beyond Black and White" are all deeply indebted to Chinese culture and art history, using these traditions to guide their work whilst embracing a wide range of sources including Chinese calligraphy, landscape painting and poetry. Whether it manifests itself through the medium, the philosophy or the form, they all draw inspiration from the classical canon.

The exhibition demonstrates that through an exploration of China’s past, contemporary Chinese artists are able to make sense of the present: creating works which are relevant in today’s society as well as being rooted in Chinese culture’s deep appreciation for artistic scholarship. It is this combination that has led to the popularity and re-evaluation of contemporary Chinese ink painting.

Tiger Wind is a monumental cursive calligraphy work by Wang Dongling. The artist’s rapid creative process is filled with uncertainty. The large scale of the piece emphasizes the relationship between the artist’s bodily movements and the finished work of art, while driving the viewer’s own immersive experience of the piece. Wang’s monumental work breaks through the traditional rules of penmanship, form and composition, revealing the artist’s unique and distinctive style and personality.

In Wang Tiande’s installation, Chinese Clothes, he presents a traditional Chinese silk dress (qipao) that he has burned through to reveal glimpses of another layer of silk below covered in calligraphy. The tension between the painted and burned words and the costume is united by the traditional aesthetics of calligraphy, thus creating a deeper meaning beyond the object. Yengisar Knife is from Qiu Zhenzhong’s ‘New Poetry Series’. Qiu uses his unique style and subtle control of space, time and line to combine elements of traditional Chinese ink painting for his modern art. His concern is the aesthetics of the space of calligraphy as well as the brushstrokes. Qiu’s paintings aim to liberate traditional Chinese calligraphy and ink painting from its typical ideology, so as to transform its aesthetic function into something more authentic and absolute.

Monday, 12 August 2013

About Pearl Lam Design

Pearl Lam Design has tirelessly promoted design as an art form in China. Pearl Lam has funded an artist-in-residence programme for artists and designers across the globe. Pearl Lam Design shows works by established and emerging international designers including André Dubreuil, Maarten Baas, Mattia Bonetti, and Studio Makkink & Bey. They are invited to push the boundaries of traditional Chinese art and craft techniques and create new works that reflect their experiences in China.

Pearl Lam Design aim to illustrate the absence of segregation between fine art and design in traditional Chinese culture, where decorative art assimilates into fine art, modernity merges with traditions, and traditional values are still revered. The Gallery seeks to cultivate the philosophy and aesthetics of Chinese craftsmanship while simultaneously exploring Western perspectives of these techniques.

Pearl Lam Design will open a new gallery space in Shanghai in 2013.

Featuring works by herself, French designer André Dubreuil and Pearl Lam's own collective XYZ Design, the exhibition embraces traditional Chinese arts and craft techniques such as cloisonné, woodwork and porcelain.

The event aims to redefine the relevance of China’s craft in the context of twenty-first century as design art, Chinese artist Danful Yang told ARTINFO. “China has no design history. We only have craftsmen – the word ‘designer’ didn't emerge until the 1970s, when Western design influenced China,” she explained.

The exhibition also unveils new designs for Yang's Packing Me Softly series, which was first shown at PAD London earlier in October last year. Painstakingly sewn to imitate scribbled-on packaging cartons, the fine silk embroidery is so lifelike that visitors to PAD didn’t recognise them as art, kicking the pieces out of the way when visiting the booth. One of the pieces in this collection — modelled after the box Yang used for packing when she moved house — has also been donated to the Hong Kong Ambassadors of Design for auction.

Friday, 2 August 2013

Pearl Lam Fine Art Galleries Shanghai

Pearl Lam Fine Art focuses on nurturing and promoting a stable of cross-cultural and cross-discipline Chinese artists with a select handful of international artists. These artists draw inspiration from their traditional values and Western influences, which in turn allow them to create a new aesthetic or visual language. As part of this mission, Pearl Lam Fine Art collaborates with renowned curators who present influential and groundbreaking shows that question perceptions of Chinese contemporary art and explore the crossing of cultures, East and West.

 Current Exhibition: Beyond Black and White

Pearl Lam Galleries is pleased to present Beyond Black and White, an exhibition showcasing works by eight Chinese contemporary ink artists. These artists are part of a growing circle in China that draws inspiration from traditional Chinese ink painting and its philosophy as well as Chinese calligraphy.

The artists in Beyond Black and White are all deeply indebted to Chinese culture and art history, using these traditions to guide their work and embracing a wide range of sources including Chinese calligraphy, landscape painting and poetry.  This illustrates the combination that has led to the popularity and re-evaluation of contemporary Chinese ink painting.
We will be introducing this Exhibition in greater detail soon!
Pearl Lam Galleries
181 Middle Jiangxi Road, G/F, 
Shanghai, China 

Friday, 19 July 2013


Pearl Lam started exhibiting and promoting Chinese contemporary art and design in 1993 in Hong Kong under the name Contrasts Gallery. The name Contrasts was initially chosen to be reflective of her taste for exploring and celebrating difference – ‘I enjoy lots of different things and I’ve always liked contradiction. I do appreciate things that are quite different’.

In 2011, Contrasts Gallery changed to the name Pearl Lam Galleries to reflect the evolution of the gallery’s artistic activities and multidisciplinary expansion. The Galleries now encompasses Pearl Lam Fine Art and Pearl Lam Design in Shanghai and Pearl Lam Galleries in Hong Kong. The new name reflects the evolution of the gallery’s artistic activities and multidisciplinary expansion. The Galleries will preserve its unique philosophy advocating the revaluation of Chinese aesthetics while working in divergent traditions and across disciplines.

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Pearl Lam Galleries Ideology

Pearl Lam Fine Art


Pearl Lam Galleries is owned and directed by Pearl Lam. It was initially founded as Contrasts Galleries in Hong Kong in 1992. There are currently three different galleries spaces: two spaces in Shanghai: A Fine Art Galleries and special projects space; and the recently launched galleries in Hong Kong. Pearl Lam Galleries will also open a new Design galleries in Shanghai and a major space at Gillman Barracks in Singapore in 2013.


Founded by Pearl Lam, the Galleries' mission is to stimulate cross-cultural dialogue and cultural exchange between East and West by establishing distinct and rigorous programming in each of its galleries spaces in Hong Kong, Shanghai and the forthcoming Singapore galleries.

Pearl Lam Galleries has evolved from the philosophy of Chinese literati to advocate the revaluation of Chinese aesthetics while working in divergent traditions and across multiple disciplines. It is dedicated to championing Chinese artists who re-evaluate the philosophy and perception of Chinese contemporary art, whilst also committed to presenting major exhibitions by international artists. The galleries have shown Jim Lambie, Zhu Jinshi and Entang Wiharso so far; with Jenny Holzer and Yinka Shonibare soon to be exhibited later in 2013.

Pearl Lam Design shows works by established and emerging international designers including André Dubreuil, Maarten Baas, Mattia Bonetti, and Studio Makkink & Bey. They are invited to push the boundaries of traditional Chinese art and craft techniques and create new works that reflect their experiences in China.

Press Enquiries

Cher Zhou / Pearl Lam Galleries / +8621 6323 1989
Erica Siu and Veronica Chu / Sutton PR Asia /, +852 2528 0792