In a sunken pavilion in Amanyangyun, Chinese-American fashion designer Han Feng has opened her Shanghai Art Space. When the property’s chief architect the late Kerry Hill designed Amanyangyun, one of his ideas was to create a ‘sunken pavilion’ filled with natural light in the lower level in Amanyangyun which can be transformed into a gallery, private cinema or tearoom. It is here that Han Feng invites those art connoisseurs to appreciate her private collection of Chinese contemporary art.
Han Feng initially started collecting art with the simplest purpose – she purchased works she loved from her artist friends to help them with their living costs. For her, the friendships have far greater value than any rewards the artworks may bring. Han Feng’s art collection reflects her attitude to life: have fun, no justification needed.
During the past, Han Feng Art Space showcased work by four artists – Tang Yi, He Xi, Gill Button and Lois Conner– covering a range of works that include photography, moving image and painting.
Tang Yi has been using photography as the language to describe her innermost thoughts since 2011, and it is also the way she views the world. “That was the year when I picked up the camera and began to make records, because back then I was spending nearly all my time inside the studio – I rarely stepped beyond its door. I closed myself off from the outside world, and the world inside opened its doors to me. All the images, all the drawings, came gushing forth.”
He Xi is a man of few words, yet through the paintbrush, he has found a way to express his concerns for real world issues using his classical Chinese bird-and-flower painting training. The result? His works cannot be categorised, breaking the rigid rules of traditional Chinese painting. In his ink and brush world, there is no limitation to what can be considered as his landscape, his human figure, or his bird and flower.
Faces, particularly, women’s faces, inspire Gill Button. Snapshots of “new” visages found online, decayed Victorian photographs of long forgotten sitters discovered at flea markets, glorious icons of the silver screen, family photo albums… They all inspire her melancholic and emotive portraiture.
Lois Conner’s work encourages the viewer to explore the similarities and nuances of our world. Though we are shown a moment in time of a specific place, her images invite us to consider the history of that place, its culture and its connection to other places.
Han Feng Art Space hosts two art openings every year. Since November 2019, art works from another two emerging Chinese artists have been on display at the space:
Su Chang – sculptor
His works substantialize the ambivalent segments produced by the human consciousness against reality. Through endless trial-and-error, he manages to land upon a simple and powerful approach to discuss the boundaries between reality and senses. It is his hope to base his works on ordinary visual elements, and create a new language through their deconstruction. He creates his own works of art by studying his inner world.
Dan Qing – painter
Dan Qing graduated from the China Academy of Arts (oil painting department) three years ago. She loves music, and from different musical genres – swing, bossa nova and others – she finds a joyful rhythm and a poetic sentiment. Dan Qing’s art is driven by the will to present her paintings like enjoyable music, enriched by sounds and voices.
More about Han Feng and Han Feng Art Space
Han Feng grew up in Nanjing and Hangzhou, and was educated at the China Academy of Arts. She moved to New York in 1985 and launched her first ready-to-wear collection in 1993. She made her costume-design debut with Anthony Minghella’s Madam Butterfly at the English National Opera and the Metropolitan Opera, New York. Han Feng finds inspiration in her exploration of highly refined textures, materials and craftsmanship. She has long been a champion and collector of contemporary Chinese art, collaborating closely with many artists on exciting discoveries to combine art and design, leading to the opening of Han Feng Art Space in Shanghai at Amanyangyun.
Though best known as a fashion designer, Han Feng has always been an active player in the contemporary Chinese art world. Trained at the China Academy of Fine Art in the 1980s, many of her contemporaries have gone on to become world renowned artists. As one of the first of her peers to move to New York and to establish a successful creative career that transcends cultures and languages, she has used her connections and influence in the US to champion Chinese artists and art school classmates in the Big Apple, especially in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Her studio was a hub where Chinese creatives in New York met and mingled. Fast forward three decades, Han Feng now focuses her energies to support Chinese and international artists, especially those of younger generations, to give them a platform to show their work in her art space in Shanghai, and in New York too in the near future.