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Art Market

Around the galleries – Asian Art in London, plus other highlights

24 October 2022

From the November 2022 issue of Apollo. Preview and subscribe here.

Asian Art in London

This is the 25th edition of Asian Art in London (AAL), an initiative designed to highlight the riches of this market in the UK capital. It is also the first to which international dealers (and visitors) have been able to travel without restriction since the pandemic. Accordingly, this is something of a bumper edition, with 48 participants, including a number of new exhibitors, and two initiatives intended to pave the ground for the next generation of dealers and collectors in this field: a new category for ‘Emerging Dealers and Galleries’, and a focus on works priced at under £5,000. The event retains its two-part format this year. With the launch events for Islamic and Indian art concluded (20–29 October), the spotlight turns again to art from East and South East Asia (27 October–5 November). 

It is notable how many of the gallery presentations focus on modern and contemporary work – an indication of how this market in London has changed over the past quarter century. Raquelle Azran’s display of Vietnamese art stretches from the 1920s to the present; Alisan Fine Arts presents work by seven contemporary Chinese ink artists, while Michael Goedhuis has a display that shows how the tradition of ink art in China and Japan continues to influence artists from both countries. 

A highlight comes at Kamal Bakhshi Modern Asian Art, with an exhibition of works by the late Toko Shinoda. The boldness and variety of the Japanese master calligrapher’s abstract sumi ink paintings and prints captivated audiences in New York during her two-year stay in the United States in the 1950s, before she returned to find acclaim in her native country. Shinoda died last year at the age of 107 and since then major surveys have been held at the Tokyo Opera City Art Gallery and the Musée Tomo, Tokyo; this is a rare chance to see a wide range of her work in the UK. 

More traditional fare is on offer at Japan House, where ‘The Art of Collecting: Japan’ brings together nine dealers – among them Rosemary Bandini and, from Paris, Tsukimi Gallery – for a group display of Japanese objets d’art. Meanwhile, at Eskenazi, five works from a prominent private collection go on display, including a remarkable blue-and-white porcelain jar made in Yuan dynasty China (1271–1368) and Marchant hosts a show of Chinese ceramics from the Tang and Song dynasties. At Jorge Welsh is a display of 17th–18th century okimono – small, decorative porcelain figures made for the export market, including some rather colourful tigers. 

Beyond the gallery shows, this has always been a moment for the auction houses to bring out the best of their consignments in this field. Sotheby’s offers a pair of exceptionally detailed Qing dynasty lacquer screens, while Bonhams has an appealing set of gold-and-silver inlaid bronze tapirs from the 17th/18th century. Look out, too, for sales at Chiswick Auctions featuring an ornate cloisonné enamel Ming dish, adorned with lotus-pond motifs, and at Lyon & Turnbull, where the highlight is a two-metre-high Qing dynasty ink painting depicting Shoulao, the god of longevity.

Asian Art in London takes place until 5 November at venues around London (asianartinlondon.com).

Gallery highlights

Goyo and His Contemporaries
3 November–22 December
Ronin Gallery, New York 

Goyo Hashiguchi’s career lasted all of 15 years, but in that time he earned fame for the technical accomplishment of his woodblock prints, in step with the Shin Hanga (‘new print’) movement at the turn of the 20th century in Tokyo. He produced only 14 prints before his death at 41; this show includes them all, as well as the work of contemporaries and followers also renowned for the intimacy of their bijin-ga (pictures of beautiful women). 

Woman Applying Powder (1918), Goyo. Ronin Gallery, New York

Woman Applying Powder (1918), Goyo. Ronin Gallery, New York

Alicja Kwade: Petrichor
15 November–17 December
303 Gallery, New York

The Berlin-based artist’s first New York show since her commission in 2019 for the Met’s Roof Garden continues her experiments with the systems we use to categorise time and space – and their inadequacy in the face of experience. This large-scale installation incorporates mobiles made of natural stones, arranged like orbiting planets, and her Schusslöcher (‘bullet holes’) works on cardboard, exploring the tendency of systems towards entropy. 

Hedda Sterne: Metamorphoses
5 November–10 December
Victoria Miro, Venice 

Hedda Sterne was part of Bucharest’s Dada community in the 1920s, she forged links with Surrealists in Vienna and Paris and, after fleeing Romania for the United States in 1941, she became a member of the New York School. Sterne continued to experiment with the material qualities of paint and the expression of nature through abstraction until her death in 2011; this is her first solo show since Victoria Miro took on her estate earlier this year. 

Matthew Krishanu: Playground
10 November–14 January 2023
Niru Ratnam, London 

Krishanu’s parents, a white British father and Bengali Indian mother, moved to Dhaka in 1981, and spent the next 11 years working for the Church of Bangladesh. His paintings, shown to acclaim in the Hayward’s ‘Mixing it Up’ show last year, are mainly based on family photographs from these years – the title image of his second solo show in London, Playground, powerfully represents his ambivalent feelings about his upbringing. 

Playground (2020), Matthew Krishanu. Niru Ratnam, London. Photo: Peter Mallet

Playground (2020), Matthew Krishanu. Niru Ratnam, London. Photo: Peter Mallet

Antica Namur
19–27 November
Namur Expo 

A must for aficionados of Belgian art and antiques, Antica Namur returns this month for its 45th edition at the Namur Expo, on the banks of the Meuse. Among the fine and decorative arts on offer, highlights include a fine genre painting, Opportunity Makes a Thief, by the 19th-century artist Charles Joseph Grips, and a remarkable collection of ornate walking sticks at Antwerp-based dealers Stein & Cedric Moermans. 

Salon Art + Design
10–14 November
Park Avenue Armory, New York

For its 12th edition, this eclectic fair returns to the Park Avenue Armory with 51 exhibitors, who offer a range of antique, modern and contemporary decorative arts from around the world, with a scattering of painting and sculptures. Newcomers include Le LAB, an experimental atelier of six contemporary Egyptian designers. More traditional fare is found at the booth of Throckmorton, which offers Pre-Columbian antiquities. 

From the November 2022 issue of Apollo. Preview and subscribe here.