Tag Archives: hong kong

Ame gallery

I told you in my post “reflective thinking” that I will write something about Ame Gallery, Hong Kong.  Open in September 2011, the gallery is curated, and own by Anna Cheng.  Ame Gallery is a high trend of luxurious contemporary jewellery. Materials use there are mostly precious metal: gold, platinum; diamonds and gemstones!

Graduated in interior design in Australia, Anna Cheng spent many years working with luxury brands in the interior design field. Coming from a family working into jewellery business, she got already the knowledge to make contacts between customers and designers! The Ame Gallery is the right middle between her family heritage into jewellery business, and the creation of a space dedicated to it!

Anna Cheng also got the idea to put pieces in auction on the gallery’s website to raise money for charity! Call “Jewels 4 Good“, the charity project has been launch in january 2012. Each designer choose to support a charity, then a minimum of 50% of the final price goes to the organisation. Last time, a necklace created by Tobias Birgersson was in auction and 100% of te money raised was given to charity. Every month, new jewellery from the gallery collection are placed into auctions. I found the idea pretty good! A good way to spend money for customers, encouraging jewellery designers, and, at the same time, they participate to charity!

The designers showcase at Ame Gallery are all from different countries arround the globe! They all got a different style but sharing the same idea: create finest luxurious contemporary jewellery! The fact that the gallery is featuring people outside China is a good way to show to customers other styles and other way to design jewellery. All the jewellers from and working in China who I have discovered during my research, are all very influenced by their culture and by their traditional skills and beliefs. Chinese people really appreciate western luxury brands, and are attracted by finest goods from Europe (especially in fashion). Anna Cheng found the great idea to interest local people in Hong Kong by working with foreigners who’s got a different artistic approach!

The last exhibition organised by the Gallery featured a group of Scandinavian contemporary jewellers and silversmith. That remember me the Ubi Gallery, own by a Swedish jeweller. I don’t know if that is related, but artists from the North of Europe seem to be quite liked over China. I would say, as a jeweller, the style from the countries such Norway, Deutschland and mostly Sweden is very particular and easy to recognise (and I love it)! But that is not the point. Anyway, I am very pleased as usual to see cultures melting and to see people sharing about a same passion! Globalisation has also good sides! And sharing faster and quicker love for a same thing is one of them!

” ‘AME’ came from the Latin word which means love and soul.”

The website: Ame Gallery

The auction space: Jewels 4 Good

Antonio bernardo_ Brazil Emanuela Duca_usa Moya-Netherlands Karolina Bik- Poland Gemma Lopez_ Spain Cardillac_ Netherlands Ali Limb- Australia Salima Thakker- Belgium

Soonhyangkang - Japan

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Asian obsession

I might be a bit outside my topic, but doesn’t matter. Zara Collins is Australian, living in Sydney, where she has also been graduated in 2001 with a bachelor of visual art. You’ll ask then: what the point? If she’s not working in China… Well, since a trip at 14 years old in Japan, she’s obsessed with Asian culture. Recently, she traveled during two month in China, Hong Kong, Macao and India. After this trip, she made new work based on her memories and discoveries from her journey! Zara Collins is not only a jeweller, she’s also the curator of many exhibitions and events which make relations between China and Australia.

In her work she uses chopstick! With her “ChopSuey Stretch Bracelets” she won the Talente Award & Exhibition in Munich, Germany, in 2004, by giving new life to common chopsticks! She also makes earring by using those famous asian tableware, by silverplated them and transforming them into jewellery! Once again, I very appreciate work with ready made objects! I like how designers, jewellers, can see the potential of every day objects in order to make something different, unusual! Because it is jewellery with an artistic approach behind, artists make the everyday object precious! Her latest work is made with ceramic, glaze and chinese caracteres.

In 2004, Zara was an artist in residence in Beijing. Her trip was supported by the “Australia-China Council”. An organisation which permit to people to going in China for difference purposes (business, studies, research…).If you want to know more, you can go on the Autralian gouvernment’s website.

Here her website: Zara Collins, and she also has a blog for people intesrested by Asia!

necklace earrings silverplated chopstick earrings lost in translation stud earrings Chong_long_pendant Chop_Suey_Silver_sml ChopSueystretch chop suey bracelets

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reflective thinking

At the beginning, when I’ve picked up the topic of “How is to be a contemporary jeweller in/from China” for my final year research I thought that I’ll have an overdose of contemporary jewellery. I thought that galleries, schools, and artists were probably a lot hidden in the middle empire! I thought that a huge country like China would obviously got a lot of people working into the field of “contemporary jewellery”. Well, actually not really!

China is the most populated country in the world, but quite far behind western countries (however much smaller) when is time to talk about contemporary art in a wide way. When I say contemporary art, I’m talking about reflective thinking, philosophic and artistic approach. There is a difference between mastering skills and making things by questioning the world arround us and ourself in order to create something with a meaning, a message behind.

During a conversation with my friend Patricia, from Hong Kong, she told me that: “Chinese people are reserved. It’s difficult for them to think in a conceptual way and to have a critical thinking. Contemporary art is not something really appreciate, you have to follow many rules and to stay in a right way. (eg: Ai Weiwei) . Nowadays, philosophy thinking is not something usual in art, Chinese likes pretty things with values, financial and social values!  Chinese are hard workers, they appreciate skills based work but most of them don’t understand what an artistic and philosophic approach is. Now things are changing a bit, people want to open their mind”.

So,  I’m not saying there is nothing, but in proportion of the population and the size of the country, contemporary art is something not widespread. During my research, I found out that new jewellers from China spent few years abroad to learn not at the first place skills, but learn to think! Creative and reflective thinking. Contemporary jewellery department in Chinese art schools are new ; and because being chinese involved that you’ve got a really strong history and cultural identity (even if teachers nowadays are trying to push new students to think by their own), it’s still difficult to going away from all the traditions. Also because some schools abroad China are well knowing internationally, Chinese jeweller students want to move away from the past to face new cultures and new ideas! Which I think, is good, even if students are not many staying in Chinese art schools (probably one of the reason why contemporary jewellery is starting slowly). Most of the time, once the students are abroad, they stay in the new country. That is because during your studies you start making contacts, connections, links with the people arround you. Your new country is now your working and social network! (And this is for all the foreign students, not only Chinese). So, it’s mush easier to start your own business in the country where you’ve been developing “a name”, knows as a contemporary jeweller. I think the number of jewellers working in China will not only pair with the number of schools and their reputation but also the international reputation of foreign schools (such as Birmingham). Also because Chinese have been stuck with the same art traditions since centuries and centuries, new artists want to go ahead in order to  create new things. I think mixing culture, traveling, is always a good way to bring new ideas into your mind.

About galleries; well, the few I found (hardly found with a lot of help I should say) are not properly in China! The first in China (not Hong Kong or Taiwan) has open 4 month ago and runs by a Swedish woman! To be honest, I was surprised, a bit disappointed and glad by that. I thought galleries will be many and that will be helpful for me to find new artists on their website. And I also thought it will be an interesting way for myself to make contact and connection for my future. This is for the disappointing point. At the opposite, I was glad to see a western person running a gallery specialised in contemporary jewellery in China. Which means there is a big potential for European people to share and build something over there! This fact show us actually, how contemporary jewellery is new! Except Ubi Gallery in Beijing and Twocities in Shanghai, the two others, Hammer gallery,  and Ame gallery (I’ll post an article later about Ame Gallery) are in Hong Kong!

I’ve also been confronted with the difference between China, Republic of China and People’s Republic of China. I’ve been asking arround me a simple basic explanation, and , it seems to be hard to obtain. Chinese from China told me that Taiwan is Chinese. Taiwanese told me they are not Chinese, and Hong Konger told me that it’s an intricate topic, not easy to understand especially for a foreigner who have no clue about asian politics like me! So, to be sure I’m not offending anybody, I’m talking about People’s Republic of China, not only China. Which means I’m including Hong Kong and Taiwan. Both of the two islands are nowadays connected strongly with China (without talking about politics), but many differences remain between them.

One difference is the internet. Nowadays in China you still can’t access to social networks. And nowadays, facebook and twitter are really useful to share instantly everything. Many jewellers and galleries create a facebook and a twitter account to stay connected with their “fans”, followers, customers, and people from the same field as well. The lack of such sharing platforms are also responsible of the slowness of the contemporary jewellery development. In a wide country like China, social networks would be a good way to share faster and to promote new designers! It’s a reason why Hong Kong and Taiwan are different from China. Internet in the two islands is not  censored. Western people can access to website over there and Hong Konger and Taiwanese can also see through internet what happening on the other side of the globe. I think, today, being on the web is one of the key to stay in people’s mind and also to stay aware of everything. Especially in the art/fashion field.

Another difference: Honk Kong used to be English during a  long time. And Taiwan used to be Japanese. The fact that they were owned by different countries give to the citizen a different way to think. Mainly for Hong Kong. Often described as the “East meets West”, Hong Kong has been  influenced a lot by the british culture, and Hong Konger are now very tempted by Western luxury goods. Many luxury brands such Cartier, Vuitton, Dior, etc, found a way to attract new customers in Asia! Because Hong Kong used to belong to the United Kingdom and got that “double culture”, it’s easier now to make relations and contacts over there, than anywhere else in China!

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The Hammer Gallery / Hong Kong

During the week my friend Patricia, who’s from Hong Kong gave me the link of a gallery specialised in contemporary jewellery. The Hammer gallery. The place featured a lot of jewellers, not only from Hong Kong but also from Europe! I like that kind of art place mixing different nationalities! Again, it’s a great way to share between cultures and ideas!  Have a look at some of the Hong Konger designers exhibited in the gallery:

I haven’t found all the websites for each artist, but some of the photos are linked to their blog/website.

If you are in Hong Kong during the month, you must go at the current exhibition featured two artists/jewellers, one from Korea and the  other from Japan! I wish I could travel as fast and often as I want!

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between identity and culture

I been surfing on the internet quite late last night, stuck on Chinese design blogs and artists’ websites! Some of them make really unusual pieces! I was very pleased to see how the young generation is trying to go ahead to all the traditional craft skills and cultural/religious beliefs by trying new techniques and materials. After spending time on the website “cast from different moulds”, reading and watching the interviews, I found a new artist. The first thing I thought about her work was: “well, no mistake about where she’s from, she’s obviously Chinese!” And yes, I didn’t make any mistake, she’s from Hong Kong. Yes she’s using jade. Yes she’s using red colour. Yes she using material used often in Chinese art… But; in a new way!

The thing which is interesting to see it’s how after years, she’s finally back on the traditions. She has been studying jewellery in Australia first then, back in China, she did a Master at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (more information if you click on the name). She’s now based in Hong Kong as well. Through her work, we can see she has been influenced by her own life experiences, since her studies in Australia, to her return at home few years ago. In her last collection (2012), she finally mixes her life journey with her past and her family, cultural background! New and old are well blended together to make unique pieces, but with a deep Chinese identity! That’s the thing I would like to see mor often: How the new generation can go ahead but without forgetting where they’re from? And I’m not talking only about Chinese here, but about all the different civilisations with a strong art history and culture. Also the name of each piece is interesting to figure out the link between her past and her present.

You want more? Go on her website: Tricia Tang

Another thing to tell you: I’ve just discovered a new material, used since centuries mostly by the Chinese to color their lacquer: the cinnabar. You’ve probably already seen some bright red lacquer vessel! The pigment for the red is actually cinnabar! it’s not used anymore because of its toxicity. Cinnabar was extracted mostly in America for its high rate in mercury. Now real cinnabar lacquer pieces can only be purchased in auction. Because of its harmful effects, the pigment have been replaced by fake chemical one. The cinnabar was also used to make seal. A stamp used as a signature. The ink to print the stamp was made with cinnabar as well! (fair enough, that was for the intellectual/discovery part of the day)

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