Tag Archives: China

China Rendez-Vous Reboots Pioneering Hainan Boat Show

The forthcoming edition of SO! HAINAN, organized by Asian boating industry veteran China Rendez-Vous, will be one to look out for because it will effectively serve as the relaunch of Hainan Rendez-Vous. This is particularly exciting news for us because we have covered the previous editions of Hainan Rendez-Vous so often in the past that we even have a tag for it (just scroll to bottom of this story). Just to revisit the past for a bit, China Rendez-Vous was founded in 2009 by Delphine Lignieres and is currently known for both SO! DALIAN and SO! HAINAN, along with the Bund Classic and Ski & Style.

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The 2015 edition of Hainan Rendez-Vous will take place between December 3-6 at the Clear Water Bay Marina on Hainan island, China. The organizers have succeeded in signing a long-term partnership with Agile Group, China’s leading integrated real estate developers. According to the organizers, the concept of the event has been dramatically changed to reflect the most recent trends in China and the new dates will coincide with the peak season in Hainan. Leading international yacht and lifestyle brands have already confirmed their presence and the organizers are putting together a dense program of lifestyle activities to cater to the 20,000 expected elite visitors.

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Alan Chan, General Manager of Clear Water Bay (Asia’s largest open-water marina), declared: “We are delighted to partner with China Rendez-Vous and to welcome SO! HAINAN at Clear Water Bay Marina. With a pristine reputation, strong track-record and great professionalism, China Rendez-Vous is the ideal long-term partner for Clear Water Bay. Our world class new coastal holiday resort is the perfect choice for SO! HAINAN and we look forward to welcoming guests from all over China to celebrate the yachting lifestyle”.

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Delphine Lignieres, Founder & CEO of China Rendez-Vous declared: “We are very proud to partner with Agile Group for the incredible show we are re-launching. SO! HAINAN is set to become the biggest and most important yacht show in the region and Clear Water Bay is the perfect venue to ensure its success and growth: huge open water marina, beautiful beach and amazing hotel choices.”

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8 Top Selling Artists 2015

Often anticapitalist by nature and sometimes offering scathing critiques of socio-economic systems, contemporary art is paradoxically highly sought-after for its commercial potential. While classics famously hold their value well enough to be considered an asset class, contemporary art  – where the artist is frequently alive and still working – is required to demonstrate its potential at auction regularly. Of course, the value of most contemporary art is nebulous but therein lies the excitement.

Our friends at Art Republik give us the low-down on eight living artists whose best-selling work combined nets more than USD150 million…

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Jeff Koons

Jeff Koons was born in 1955 in York, Pennsylvania, United States of America. He received his B.F.A. from the Maryland Institute College of Art in 1976. Koons is known for his exploration of contemporary consumer culture in his oeuvre. His series of works include “Equilibrium” (1985), which feature ready-made basketballs floating in distilled water in tanks made of glass and steel,  “Banality” (1988), mostly sculptures of toys and popular icons rendered in porcelain and polychromed wood, and “Made in Heaven” (1989-1991), centered around photorealist paintings and sculptures of the artist engaged in sexual intercourse in varied positions with his ex-wife Ilona Staller, an adult film star.

Koons’ “Balloon Dog” sculptures in five color versions – blue, magenta, yellow, orange and red – are probably among his most well known works. These are from the “Celebration” series, which presents giant mirror-polished stainless steel sculptures with transparent color coating.

The artist has pioneered new techniques for the making of his artworks. For the “Celebration” series, for example, he collaborated with Arnold AG, a metalwork mill in Germany to make the sculptures’ high-shine surface. In addition, he used the CAT scan, typically used in hospitals, to get an all-round imaging of subjects so that the enlarged versions could be reproduced to perfection. He also has a unique way of working. Koons’ works are made in a studio that employs more than 100 assistants who fabricate his work.

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“Balloon Dog (Orange)”

2008 was a particularly productive year for Koons, with solo exhibitions at Château de Versailles, France, Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, and Neue Nationalgalerie, Berlin. More recently, in 2014, “Jeff Koons: A Retrospective”, was held at the Whitney Museum of American Art. It has now traveled to the Centre Pompidou, Paris, and will be at the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao later in the year.

Koons’ first million-dollar work sold was the “Pink Panther” (1988) from the “Banality” series, which transacted at Christie’s in 1999 for USD1.8 million (1988). In 2013, he became the most expensive living artist when “Balloon Dog (Orange)” sold for USD52 million at Christie’s. He holds the title to this date.

Koons lives and works in New York.

In Brief

  • Age: 60
  • Nationality: American
  • Gallery Representation: David Zwirner Gallery, Gagosian Gallery, Galerie Jérôme de Noirmont, Galerie Max Hetzler
  • Big Break: Koons’ “Banality” series (1988), featuring the work, “Michael Jackson and Bubbles”, exhibited at the Sonnabend Gallery in New York City in 1989.
  • Most Expensive Work Sold: “Balloon Dog (Orange)”, 1994-2000, mirror-polished stainless steel with transparent color coating, 307.3 x 363.2 x 114.3cm. Price including buyer’s premium: USD58.4 million. Sold at Christie’s, New York, November 2013

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Zeng Fanzhi, Mask Series No. 5, 1994, oil on canvas, 180 x 150 cm. Sold at Sotheby’s, Hong Kong, October 2010.

Zeng Fanzhi

Zeng Fanzhi was born in Wuhan, China in 1964. He graduated from Hubei Academy of Fine Arts in 1991, where he specialized in oil painting.

Before moving to Beijing in 1993, he began painting the “Hospital” series, showing tableaus from the hospital, and the “Meat” series that contrast human beings with butchered meat, inspired by the hospital and the butcher’s shop he lived next to. From these first works, the characters began to be drawn with disproportionately larger hands, which persisted into his “Mask” series.

Zeng Fanzhi is probably best known for his paintings in this series of figures standing in groups or alone, wearing white masks with big smiles. This was motivated by his interactions with people in the capital of China, whom he thought hid their true identities and feelings from others and perhaps from themselves as well, in a representation of the Chinese people’s feelings of isolation in the decade after the Tiananmen Square protests in 1989.

An adventurous artist who has experimented with different styles, Zeng began drawing landscapes in 2004, mostly covered with bare intertwining branches, inspired by the unexpected beauty he saw in a pot of Chinese wisteria in his studio. He also painted portraits of luminaries in western culture such as Francis Bacon and Andy Warhol in 2010.

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“The Last Supper”, 2001, oil on canvas, 220 x 395 cm.

Zeng first set a new world auction record for Chinese contemporary art in May 2008, when his diptych Mask Series 1996 No. 6 sold for USD9.7 million at Christie’s in Hong Kong. This featured eight members of the Young Pioneers, the Communist Party’s youth movement, wearing their representative red scarves, and Zeng’s signature masks. In 2013, his painting, “The Last Supper” sold for USD23 million at Sotheby’s. He remains the most expensive living Asian artist.

In the same year, the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris presented the first French retrospective of 40 paintings and sculptures from Zeng made between 1990 and 2012.

Zeng lives and works in Beijing.

In Brief

  • Age: 51
  • Nationality: Chinese
  • Gallery Representation: Gagosian Gallery, Acquavella Galleries, Gallery Hyundai, ShangArt, Hanart TZ Gallery
  • Big Break: Fresh out of art school, paintings from Zeng Fanzhi’s “Hospital” series were selected by Johnson Chang from Hanart TZ Gallery based in Hong Kong to be included in an exhibition at Hong Kong Arts Centre in 1993 titled “China’s New Art, Post-1989”. This introduced the artist to the art community, and at the same time gave Zeng tremendous encouragement to continue pursuing his career as an artist.
  • Most Expensive Work Sold: “The Last Supper”, 2001, oil on canvas, 220 x 395 cm. Price including buyer’s premium: USD23.3 million, Sotheby’s Hong Kong, October 2013

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Installation view, Takashi Murakami’s exhibition, In the Land of the Dead, Stepping on the Tail of a Rainbow, Gagosian Gallery, New York, 10 November – January 17 2015 © 2014 Takashi Murakami/Kaikai Kiki Co., Ltd. All Rights Reserved. Courtesy Gagosian Gallery. Photography by Robert McKeever.

Takashi Murakami

Takashi Murakami was born in 1962 in Tokyo, and received his BFA, MFA and PhD from the Tokyo University of the Arts, formerly the Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music.

A multi-hyphenate, Murakami is involved in many aspects of the art world, and works as an artist, a gallerist, a curator and an art theorist, among others. He founded the Hiropon factory in Tokyo in 1996 for the production of his works, which later evolved into Kaikai Kiki Co., Ltd., an art production and art management corporation. In addition to the production and marketing of Murakami’s art and related work, it manages and promotes emerging artists.

Murakami has organized several influential exhibitions based on the theory of a tradition of a pervasive superflat look in contemporary Japanese visual culture, typified by manga, which refer to comic books, and anime, which refer to animation, that tend towards two-dimensionality. The first exhibition, titled simply “Superflat”, was held at Parco Gallery in Tokyo and Nagoya. It subsequently traveled to MoCA gallery in the Pacific Design Centre in Los Angeles, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, and Henry Art Gallery, Seattle, in 2001. He has followed up with exhibitions such as “Coloriage” at the Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain in Paris in 2002 and “Little Boy: The Art of Japan’s Exploding Subcultures” at the Japan Society in New York in 2005.

A pioneer in art-fashion collaborations, Murakami began working with Louis Vuitton in 2003. He first created the “Monogram Multicolore”, which featured the “LV” monogram in 33 bright colors. Since then, he has made special prints for the luxury fashion house’s leather goods that incorporate motifs such as cherry blossoms and pandas. In 2008, the limited edition “Monogramouflage” collection, for all products from iPhone cases to luggage, featured a juxtaposition of the khaki and beige camouflage print and the Louis Vuitton monogram.

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Takashi Murakami, “Lionel Messi and a Universe of Flowers,” 2014, acrylic and platinum leaf on canvas laid down on board, 70 7/8 x 70 7/8 in

A notable recent exhibition is “Takashi in Superflat Wonderland” at the PLATEAU Samsung Museum of Art in Seoul Korea in late 2013, where some of the artist’s most iconic works were on display, including one of the artist’s “Superflat Flowers” sculptures made in 2010. Also in the exhibition was a fiberglass sculpture of “Miss Ko2”, a buxom character created by Murakami as a commentary on otaku culture, an obsession with anime and manga, and the resultant desire to have these unreal characters come to life.

Not content to rest on his laurels, Murakami is constantly innovating. In 2013, he released his first feature film, “Jellyfish Eyes”, which mixes live action with cartoon characters, with plans for a sequel.

Murakami lives and works in Tokyo.

In Brief

  • Age: 53
  • Nationality: Japanese
  • Gallery Representation: Gagosian Gallery, Blum & Poe, Galerie Perrotin, Kaikai Kiki Gallery
  • Big Break: Murakami had an international traveling retrospective, “©Murakami”, showing over 90 works by the artist that kicked off at The Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), Los Angeles in 2008. In an interview in W Magazine in April 2013, Murakami said that this exhibition was a turning point in his career, stating that he thought the conventional view before the exhibition was that he was merely an artist influenced by Japanese subculture. The exhibition was persuasive of the strength of his artworks to have a place in art history.
  • Most Expensive Work Sold: “My Lonesome Cowboy”, 1998, oil, acrylic, fiberglass, iron, 254 x 116.8 x 91.4cm. Price including buyer’s premium: USD15.1 million, Sotheby’s, New York, May 2008

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Tracey Emin, My Bed, 1998, mattress, linens, pillows, objects, 211 x 234 cm. World auction record for the artist at Christie’s, London, July 2014. Courtesy Christie’s Images Ltd. 2014.

Tracey Emin

Tracey Emin was born in London in 1963, and studied at Maidstone College of Art and the Royal College of Art, London, where she earned her Master’s degree in 1989.

Emin’s art is inspired by her personal life. Her artworks reflect universal emotions and are both relatable and confrontational. These are created in wide range of mediums, including, painting, photography, textile, video, installation and sculpture.

In 1999, Emin was shortlisted for the Turner Prize, an annual prize awarded to a British visual artist below the age of 50. This was for her provocative work, “My Bed”, an installation of the artist’s bed complete with liquor bottles, cigarette butts, worn underwear, condoms and rumpled stained bedsheets, the scene of a post-breakup breakdown.

Among other works by Emin are her “I’ve Got It All” photograph from 2000 showing the artist seated on the floor with ample cleavage, her legs wide open, bills and coins pressed against her crotch. She is also known for her neon light installations, which she has produced since the 1990s, featuring evocative messages such as “You Forgot to Kiss My Soul” (2001) and “You Loved Me Like a Distant Star” (2012).

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Tracey Emin

Emin has exhibited extensively. In 2007, she represented Britain at the 52nd Venice Biennale. The first major retrospective exhibition of Emin’s work opened at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art in 2008, and traveled to Centro de Arte Contemporáneo de Málaga, Spain and the Kunstmuseum Bern, Switzerland. In May 2011, Emin had a major survey exhibition, “Love is What You Want” at the Hayward Gallery in London.

Emin currently lives and works in London.

In Brief

  • Age 52
  • Nationality British
  • Gallery Representation Lehmann Maupin, White Cube
  • Big Break Charles Saatchi’s “Sensation” exhibition at the Royal Academy, London included Emin’s much-discussed work “Everyone I Have Ever Slept With 1963-1995”, which was a tent embroidered with over 100 names of people she had slept with, including 32 lovers, and 80 people she had only slept next to.
  • Most Expensive Work Sold “My Bed”, 1998, mattress, linens, pillows, objects, 79 x 211 x 234 cm. Price including buyer’s premium: USD4.3 million, Christie’s, London, July 2014

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Gerhard Richter, Abstraktes Bild, 1986, oil on canvas, 300.6 x 250.5 cm. World auction record for the artist at Sotheby’s, London, February 2015. Courtesy Sotheby’s.

Gerhard Richter

Gerhard Richter was born in 1932 in Dresden, Germany. He studied at the Staatliche Kunstakademie, or the State Academy of Art, in Düsseldorf under the eminent German artist Karl Otto Götz from 1961 to 1964.

Richter has had an illustrious career spanning over half a century. Beginning in the 1960s, the author painted, in grey scale, renditions of blown-up blurred black-and-white photographs he had taken of still lifes, portraits and landscapes, such as “Kitchen Chair” (1965), “Helen” (1963) and possibly his most well-known work of the period, “Domplatz, Mailand” (1968), measuring nearly 3 meters by 3 meters, featuring the Cathedral Square in Milan. This iconic work appears to vibrate with Richter’s signature fuzzy blur in his photo-paintings, which had the capacity to soften or destabilize an image.

Beginning in the late 1960s, Richter created his “Colour Chart” and “Grey Paintings” series that were based on his exploration of color. “1024 Colours” was made in four unique editions, and feature neat ovoids of 1024 different colors painted in a grid at random. His “Grey Paintings” were inspired by the use of shades of the color in his photo-based paintings.

In the 1980s, Richter started to apply a squeegee across the canvas to scrape and smear freshly laid paint to create intuitive paintings that revealed hidden layers, and from the 1990s, the tool was applied both horizontally and vertically to create new possibilities in the final works.

Richter has exhibited all over the world. He had a major exhibition, “Abstract Paintings”, in 1978 at the Stedelijk Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, which traveled to the Whitechapel Art Gallery, London. In 1988, the artist was given his first North American retrospective, jointly organized by the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago. The exhibition traveled to Washington and San Francisco. In 2002, a 40-year retrospective of Richter’s work was held at the Museum of Modern Art, New York and in 2011, a major retrospective of the artist’s works opened at the Tate Modern, London and traveled to the Neue Nationalgalerie, Berlin, and the Centre Pompidou, Paris. Richter has also participated in multiple editions of the Venice Biennale and the Documenta in Kassel since 1972.

In 2012, Richter became the most expensive living artist after his work, “Abstraktes Bild (809-4)” (1994), sold for USD33 million in London, a title he held until 2013. Most recently, in February 2015, another “Abstraktes Bild” work, this one painted in 1986, sold for USD37 million, which made him the most expensive living artist
in Europe.

Richter has lived and worked in Cologne since 1983.

In Brief

  • Age: 83
  • Nationality: German
  • Gallery Representation: Marian Goodman Gallery, Scott White Contemporary Art
  • Big Break: In 1968, Richter was commisioned by Siemens AG to make a work to hang in their Milan offices. The result was “Domplatz, Mailand” (1968), at the time the artist’s largest figurative painting, and probably the most accomplished
  • photo-painting by the artist.
  • Most Expensive Work Sold: “Abstraktes Bild”, 1986, oil on canvas, 300.5 x 250.5cm. Price including buyer’s premium: USD46.3 million, Sotheby’s, London, February 2015

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Exhibition view of Yayoi Kusama, Ota Fine Arts, Singapore. Photography by Quek Jia Liang. Image courtesy of Ota Fine Arts

Yayoi Kusama

Yayoi Kusama was born in Matsumoto City, Japan in 1929. She moved to the United States in 1957 before moving back to Japan in 1973. Kusama has had a rich and varied career as an artist for over five decades. Her works are in various mediums, including painting, sculpture, performance and installation. Among her most well known works are the “Infinity Net” paintings she began making in the late 1950s, made by adding white arcs onto a darker background on a large canvas. The “Accumulation” sculptures came after, and feature soft-sculptures she made by stitching cotton-stuffed cloth into phallic shapes to attach to furniture and clothing, as well as her trademark polka dot designs in both two- and three-dimensional works. In her time in New York in the 1960s, she was also a performance artist who staged provocative happenings, such as painting people in the nude in her trademark polka dots.

Kusama has exhibited all over the world. In 1993, she represented Japan at the Venice Biennale, for which she created an installation with a mirror room and multiple yellow pumpkin sculptures, the beginnings of similar sculptures covered in uneven black dots. In 1998, a major retrospective of her work made in New York, opened at the Los Angeles County Museum of art before traveling to the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Walker Art Centre in Minneapolis, and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Tokyo.

Notably, from 2011 to 2012, a touring exhibition of her works made its way to Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía in Madrid, the Centre Pompidou in Paris, the Tate Modern in London as well as the Whitney Museum in New York.

In 2012, Kusama collaborated with Louis Vuitton in an ambitious project that saw products such as leather goods and ready-to-wear fashion, in prints featuring Kusama’s signature polka dots – black polka dots against a yellow background, white against black and red against white, which took center stage in window displays of 460 Louis Vuitton stores in 64 countries, as well as seven special concept stores in Paris, London, and Tokyo.

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Yayoi Kusama, Shellfish, 1989, screenprint, 53.5 x 46 cm. Image courtesy of the artist and Ota Fine Arts.

In the past decade, Kusama has created immersive installations of walk-in rooms that create disorienting experiences for the viewer. “Fireflies on the Water” (2002) features 150 lights and a pool of water in the center of a room, whose surfaces are all covered with mirrors that give multiple reflections. “Infinity Mirrored Room – The Souls of Millions of Light Years Away” at the David Zwirner Gallery in late 2013 played on a similar concept with 75 colored LED lights that glimmered and pulsed in a small mirrored room. Another recent installation is “The Obliteration Room”, currently at the Queensland Art Gallery, where children add colorful dot stickers to white furniture, objects and surfaces.

Kusama lives and works in Tokyo.

In Brief

  • Age: 86
  • Nationality: Japanese
  • Gallery Representation: Ota Fine Arts, Victoria Miro, David Zwirner Gallery
  • Big Break: Kusama has had a long and successful career, but probably became a global household name when she collaborated with Louis Vuitton in 2012, which included not only a full range of products carrying her signature polka dots, but also the window displays of the luxury fashion house’s stores in over 60 countries.
  • Most Expensive Work Sold: “White No. 28”, 1960, oil on canvas, 147.6 x 111.1cm. Price including buyer’s premium: USD7.1 million, Christie’s, New York, November 2014

Cindy Sherman

Cindy Sherman, Untitled #463, 2007/2008, chromogenic color print, 174.2 x 182.9 cm, edition of 6. Courtesy of the artist and Metro Pictures.

Cindy Sherman

Cindy Sherman is an American artist born in 1954 in Glen Ridge, New Jersey. She graduated from State University College, Buffalo, New York, in 1976. Her photographs have seen her take on multiple roles since her first series, “Untitled Film Stills” in the late 1970s, and continuing with “Centrefolds” (1981), in which she was photographed in an intimate setting as a vulnerable character, and “Fashion” (1983-84), exploring the objectification of women in the still image. The artist is at the center of each photograph, but in different guises, as she plays with identity through dress, transforming her image through hair, make-up, costumes, props and prosthetics.

Sherman has continued to create chameleon-like transformations in performative photographic works, such as in her humorous interpretations of old master paintings as photographs between 1989 and 1990, where she became the portraits’ subjects. Another series of similar works, this time with society portraits in 2008, saw Sherman dressed as aging socialites against moneyed backgrounds. These works poked fun at the trappings of excessive wealth and the obsession with youth and on-the-surface perfection in contemporary society.

While she is most famous for her more light-hearted self-portraits in different roles, she has created a significant number of works that are darker in nature. Beginning in the mid-1980s, her body of work expanded to include the “Fairy Tales” and Disasters” series that show grotesque scenes from which the artist is mostly absent. Other dark series include “Sex and Death” in the late 19080s, photographed using disfigured mannequins, “Pure Horror” in the mid-1990s and “Clowns” in the mid-2000s.

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Cindy Sherman, “Untitled Film Stills”, gelatin silver print, 25.4 x 20.3 cm. World auction record for the artist at Christie’s, New York, November 2014. Courtesy Christie’s Images Ltd. 2015.

Sherman has had numerous solo exhibitions at home and abroad since the 1980s. Of particular note is a survey at the Museum of Modern Art in New York in 2012, which showcased more than 170 photographs from the artist’s extensive body of work. The exhibition also included the debut of Sherman’s new photographic murals, which saw her image manipulated digitally against a decorative toile background.

Sherman lives and works in New York.

In Brief

  • Age: 61
  • Nationality: American
  • Gallery Representation: Metro Pictures, Galerie Sprüth Magers
  • Big Break: “Untitled Film Stills”, shown at the landmark performance and video space The Kitchen in New York in 1980, was Sherman’s breakthrough. In these black-and-white photos, the artist took on 69 stereotypical female roles in movies such as the housewife and the femme fatale.
  • Most Expensive Work Sold: “Untitled Film Stills”, 1977, gelatin silver print, 25.4 x 20.3cm.
  • Price including buyer’s premium: USD6.8 million, Christie’s, New York, November 2014

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Andreas Gursky, Rhein II, 1999, chromogenic colour print face-mounted to plexiglass, 185.4 x 363.5 cm. World auction record for the artist at Christie’s, New York, November 2011. Courtesy Christie’s Images Ltd. 2015.

Andreas Gursky

Andreas Gursky was born in Leipzig, Germany in 1955. He first studied photography at the Folkwang University of the Arts, formerly Folkwang Academy in Essen. He then attended the Staatliche Kunstakademie, or the State Academy of Art in Düsseldorf and studied under the influential German photographers Hilla and Bernd Becher from 1981 to 1987.

Gursky is known for his large-scale magnified photographs of varied scenes, which can measure up to 2 by 5 meters, reveal the conditions of contemporary times. Usually taken from an elevated vantage point, the artist’s photographic works are known for their stunning and often overwhelming clarity.

In the 1990s, Gursky began experimenting with digital manipulation through shooting the images on chromogenic prints, or c-prints using a large-format camera, then scanning the images for reworking on the computer to create his massive and precise photographs. One of the earliest works made this way was “Paris, Montparnasse” (1993), which showed an inhabited apartment building, and highlighted its uniformed structure and crowdedness in a commentary on the cookie-cutter mold of contemporary urban living. In “Rhein II”, Gursky merged photographs of different parts of the river together to exclude industrial activity, creating an imaginary serene landscape.

In 2011, this work became the most expensive photograph sold at auction.

A recurring theme in Gursky’s work is the effects of capitalism and globalization in contemporary society that put in place invisible systems. Perhaps his most recognizable images from the 1990s are of the Chicago Board of Trade from 1990, which, in contrast to “Rhein II”, shows a flurry of activity reflective of the trading floor’s organized chaos, with traders at the pit surrounded by circular rows of computers. In “99 Cent II Diptychon” (2001), which shows the interior of a 99 Cents Only store, the bright colors red, yellow and orange of rows of boxes were edited to jump out from the photograph, aided by the addition of a mirrored ceiling. The visually impressive work provided a stark reflection of an obsessive consumer culture in contemporary society.

From the mid-2000s, Gursky has worked on numerous projects in Asia, including Japan, Thailand, China and North Korea, among others. “Pyongyang”, a series of photographs of the annual Arirang Festival in North Korea in 2007 presented the heavily directed spectacle to the rest of the world. In taking the festival proceedings such as choreographed mass dances from a great distance, the resulting images look like colorful tapestries, and show the insignificance of the individual within the society.

Gursky has exhibited internationally. A 2001 retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art in New York traveled to Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid, Centre Pompidou, Paris, and Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago.

In recent years, Gursky has also exhibited small photographs atypical to the rest of his oeuvre, such as in “Werke-Works 80-08,” which opened in Kunstmuseen Krefeld in Germany in 2008, and toured to Moderna Museet, Stockholm and Vancouver Art Gallery in 2009.

Gursky lives and works in Düsseldorf.

In Brief

  • Age: 60
  • Nationality: German
  • Gallery Representation: Galerie Sprüth Magers, Mai 36 Galerie, Matthew Marks Gallery
  • Big Break: Gursky acquired worldwide fame with his major solo exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York, in 2001.
  • Most Expensive Work Sold: “Rhein II”, 1999, chromogenic print, Plexiglass, 207 x 385.5 x 6.2cm.
  • Price including buyer’s premium: USD4.3 million, Christie’s, New York, November 2011

Story Credits

Text by Nadya Wang

Review: Ferretti Altura 840 Tai He Ban Special Edition

The much-publicized boom in Asian boating is still just on the horizon, but the major European builders and manufacturers realized some time ago that luxury, social, boating has a different function in this part of the world. In the familiar markets of the Mediterranean and the Caribbean, the concept is well understood – owners and friends, or charter guests, take off for a week or more for a spell of sybaritic luxury as far as possible from the madding crowd. In Asia, a boat is most often seen as a business entertainment platform, useful for cocktail receptions, parties, dinners and possibly day-trips, but rarely overnight stays.

This implies a substantially differently genre of boat to those seen moored stern-to in the vieux port at Cannes, or anchored in English Harbour, Antigua. Boats designed specifically for Asia require less outdoor deck space, fewer and less expansive cabins, less galley space, more air-conditioned indoor area, and more space for entertaining.

The people who have taken these new design parameters to heart most enthusiastically are without a doubt the Ferretti Group. Last year they presented Asia with the Ferretti Altura 840 Tai He Ban Special Edition. This year they have taken the re-working of the interior a stage further.

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Step on board the Ferretti Yachts 870 Tai He Ban Special Edition from the stern and enjoy the spacious aft deck. Banquette seating, big table, plenty of room. But it’s sizzling here in the tropics, so let’s go straight into the very welcoming air-conditioned interior. Every boat manufacturer likes to tell you about space and light, but here it is not just brochure talk. The saloon of the 870 is a one-piece affair, from the sliding glass doors aft right through to the bridge. It’s a big space, and brilliantly lit by ceiling-to-sofa windows down the full length. If you are hangin’ out here in a secluded anchorage in Double Haven (Hong Kong) or Phang Nga Bay (Thailand), the view is going to be a big part of the onboard experience.

Long sofa seating travels down both sides of the saloon, leading to a proper bar on starboard (applause, please, for a bar in an entertaining area) and straight through into the dining area which is not huge – deliberately – and is separated from the saloon only by a decorative screen feature. And there’s a day head, right there.

The pilot house is ever-so-slightly raised, giving the helmsman an excellent level of visibility, but we are heading down below. Here there are two double cabins, one in the bow and the other to port. Both feature walk-around beds and en suite bathrooms, and in terms of actual measured size, they are almost identical. Which one is the Master and which the Guest is anyone’s guess. There’s also a twin-berth tucked neatly into a remaining corner, with over-and-under bunk beds at right angles to each other. It’s a delightfully quirky arrangement, and definitely a place for the kids, young or old.

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The lower deck also features the canapé-sized galley. The description is intentional – this is not a unit designed to turn out 12-course banquets. If you want one of those, you need the 870 ‘standard version’. This is the support base for the bar upstairs, big enough for a fridge full of champagne and a chef turning out the amuse bouches non-stop.

And then, just where you expected to find the full-beam owner’s suite, there is the playroom. Call it a karaoke lounge if you like, call it a cinema, call it a mahjong room. It is designed to be all of the above. The leather paneled walls, along with the striking and thoroughly tasteful Fendi upholstery, exude richness and warmth, making this a very unique sea-going ‘den’. The high end video and AV systems are complemented by the color-pulsed lighting system to make this a perfect party pad. Plus, of course, you can switch off all the fun stuff if you must, and this becomes a meeting room or conference center, or anything else serious that you might have in mind.

Lastly, head all the way upstairs to the flybridge. ‘Top decks’ are popular in Asia. This is where you get best view when cruising the coast on a glorious summer’s day, and where you get the wind-in-the-hair look (just like in the brochure). There’s also plenty of room for lounging up here, as well as storage space for the tender. Best of all, to beat the searing rays of the midday sun, is the retractable sunroof; now you see it, now you don’t.

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When it comes to designing for the Asia market, Ferretti seem to try harder than most. We like people that listen: if they don’t, we might as well be writing in the dark. Ferretti are listening to the market, to the owners and prospective owners, to the weather forecast and even to the media! Maybe being owned by Weichai Holdings has something to do with it. The 870 Tai He Ban is a class act; handsomely designed to purpose, and delivered with proper Italian style, quality and panache. It is a boat that deserves to be a real winner in Asia.

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New-Ferretti-870-motor-yacht-Credit-Ferretti-Group-1a

Story Credits

Text and Photography By Guy Nowell

Jack Ma

China now has more billionaires than US

Jack Ma

The number of billionaires in China has overtaken that of the United States for the first time, an annual survey said Thursday, despite slowing growth in the world’s second-largest economy.

Communist-ruled China now has 596 billionaires, up a “staggering” 242 over the last year, Shanghai-based luxury magazine publisher Hurun Report said, surpassing the 537 Americans.

“Despite the slowdown in the economy, China’s richest have defied gravity, recording their best year ever,” Hurun Report Chairman Rupert Hoogewerf said in a statement.

Real estate and entertainment magnate Wang Jianlin dethroned founder of e-commerce giant Alibaba Jack Ma as the country’s richest person, Hurun’s annual wealth ranking showed.

Wang Jianlin

Wang, who founded conglomerate Wanda, saw his fortune jump more than 50% to $34.4 billion, helped by a surge in the stock price of a listed unit.

Wang is known outside China for a string of overseas acquisitions including the organiser of Ironman extreme endurance contests, Swiss sports marketing group Infront, and a stake in football club Atletico Madrid.

He burst into the spotlight in 2012 by buying US cinema chain AMC Entertainment for $2.6 billion.

Zong Qinghou

Wang took the top spot back from Ma, executive chairman of Alibaba, because of a collapse in the Internet company’s New York-quoted shares, which were the world’s biggest initial public offering when it listed last year. Ma’s wealth still stands at $22.7 billion.

Beverage tycoon Zong Qinghou of Wahaha remained in third place with just over $21 billion while Pony Ma, founder of Internet giant Tencent which operates popular messaging app WeChat, took fourth place with a little under $19 billion.

Lei Jun

Lei Jun of smartphone maker Xiaomi, which is seeking to challenge Apple, jumped 5 places to fifth by doubling his wealth to more $14 billion.

Yan Hao of road builder China Pacific Construction was sixth while the founder of search engine giant Baidu, Robin Li, dropped to seventh amid worries over his company’s huge spending to expand its business.

Baidu CEO Robin Li

Sheraton Chuzhou Hotel

First Sheraton Hotel opens for business in Chuzhou

Sheraton Chuzhou Hotel

Starwood Hotels & Resorts recently announced its debut in Chuzhou, a city in Anhui Province, China, with the opening of Sheraton Chuzhou Hotel.

The hotel features 348 contemporary rooms and suites, featuring all of the brand’s signature amenities and a wide range of on-property facilities.

Chuzhou

Chuzhou is situated in the east of China in the Anhui Province and the site for the new hotel was selected to ensure that visitors, whether traveling for business or pleasure are close to both the central business district and to historic sites such as Zhu Yuanzhang’s imperial tomb.

The Sheraton Chuzhou Hotel

“The opening of the first Sheraton hotel in Chuzhou underscores Starwood’s continued commitment to aggressively expanding its footprint in the region and builds on the Sheraton brand’s long legacy as a first-mover in markets across China and Asia Pacific,” said Vincent Ong, Senior Brand Director, Asia Pacific Brand Management, Starwood Hotels & Resorts.

Sheraton Chuzhou Hotel Shine Spa

As well as a fitness center, the hotel offers an indoor pool, spa and two restaurants.

Norwegian Cruise Line cruise ship

Norwegian Cruise Line designs Chinese ship

Norwegian Cruise Line cruise ship

 is building its first ship completely customized for the Chinese market.

The ship will feature accommodations, cuisine and onboard experiences that cater to the unique vacation preferences of Chinese guests, CEO Frank Del Rio announced yesterday during the CruiseWorld China summit.

The vessel will be the second of Norwegian Cruise Line’s Breakaway Plus class and will have a capacity of 4,200 guests. Chinese guests will be able to experience fine Mandarin, Cantonese and Continental dining and various entertainment options.

Additional details, including the ship’s name, homeport, accommodations, dining and entertainment will be shared in the coming months.

brave men bridge

China’s new glass bridge tests courage of tourists

brave men bridge

China’s first glass suspension bridge, which dangles 180 metres (594 feet) over a canyon in the central Hunan province, has terrified thousands of visitors since opening two weeks ago.

“I’m afraid to look down. I can only look straight ahead,” said one young woman crossing the 300-metre long structure.

Visitors were apparently not put off the experience despite news this week of cracks appearing on a glass walkway over a canyon in nearby Henan province, reportedly because someone dropped a stainless steel cup on it. Authorities insisted it was still safe.

China new glass bridge

Visitors flocked to the Hunan glass bridge, in a scenic area of Pingjiang county, where officials were forced to impose a cap of 10,000 people a day during recent holidays.

The glass-bottomed bridge, which replaced a wooden walkway, opened on September 24 — just in time for China’s week-long National Day holiday.

China first glass suspension bridge

As dozens of people trudged across the bridge it shook underfoot and photos posted online showed some visitors kneeling or crouching on the transparent surface, too scared to move.

The structure is made from two layers of hardened glass with a total thickness of 24 millimetres (0.9 inches), according to state media.

1921 gucci menu

Gucci Restaurant Opens in Shanghai

1921 gucci menu

Gucci recently opened its first full-service restaurant in Shanghai, China.

With this new culinary destination, called the “1921 Gucci Café,” Gucci is paying tribute to its history, referencing the year of the label’s foundation.

Gucci has chosen one of Shanghai’s most popular commercial avenues for its first restaurant. Located on the fourth floor of the IAPM luxury shopping mall on Huaihai Lu, the 1921 Gucci Café took two years to complete and is accessible by means of an elevator from the Gucci store in the mall.

Epicureans will step into a décor that perfectly reflects the iconic brand’s style. With elegantly done-up interiors in gold shades and full of velvet, every inch of the place radiates Gucci style; the 1921 Gucci logo is stamped on everything from menus to cutlery to napkins.

Thousands of miles from its native land, Gucci is nonetheless sticking to its roots when it comes to the food. The menu is high on Italian cuisine but the restaurant offers a wide range of options to satiate foodie cravings.

Chinese gourmands will thus have the chance to experience authentic bruschetta, made with marinated tomatoes, garlic and basil.

The pasta options are an obvious highlight, especially the spaghetti with mussels, urchins and calamari. Prices start at 150 yuan for a two-course lunch, 300 yuan at dinner (just under $50).

Although 1921 Gucci Café is the brand’s first full-service restaurant, there is a Gucci-themed cafe in Florence attached to the Gucci museum, which opened in 2011 to celebrate the label’s 90th anniversary. 

Gucci Museo Caffe Restaurant

First Six Senses resort opens in Chengdu, China

Six Senses Qing Cheng Mountain

Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas, has opened a new property in the Qing Cheng Mountains in Chengdu province, China.

Six Senses Qing Cheng Mountain spa

Set at the gateway to the UNESCO World Heritage & Natural Cultural site at Dujiangyan, the Six Senses Qing Cheng Mountain offers 113 guest rooms and suites ranging from semi-detached suites in duplex villas with balconies and verandas, to courtyard suites, and garden and pool villas.

Six Senses Qing Cheng Mountain bedroom

A collection of four suites may open on to a central courtyard, enabling them to be individually occupied or grouped into a private community compound for friends and family.

Read More @ adelto.co.uk

Six Senses Qing Cheng Mountain bathroomSix Senses Qing Cheng Mountain suite Six Senses Qing Cheng Mountain bar  Six Senses Qing Cheng Mountain bridge

Remy Martin Connected Bottle

Remy Martin to export ‘smart’ cognac to China

Remy Martin Connected Bottle

Chinese consumers concerned about counterfeit cognac will soon be able to verify the authenticity of a bottle of Remy Martin via their cellphone.

The “smart” bottle of Remy Martin Club Connected Cognac, sold only in China, will be available in the coming months in “nightclubs in three big Chinese cities”, said Florence Puech, a spokeswoman for the firm.

DON’T MISS: THE WORLD’S BEST COGNAC BARS

Consumers can download a special app onto their smartphones, developed in partnership with Selinko — a technology company — which will communicate with a chip in the bottle cap.

The technology will allow them to ensure the bottle has never been opened as well as other information about its content.

It also has a marketing component, allowing cognac connoisseurs to join a fidelity programme.

China is one of Remy Martin’s key markets, along with the United States. French people do not consume a lot of cognac and most of the liquor produced in the country is exported.

Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift creating fashion line for Chinese market

Taylor Swift

JD.com has announced that it will soon be offering a new fashion line that US singer Taylor Swift has designed especially for the Chinese market.

The line will include dresses, sweatshirts and tops that the company says will be high-quality and will be available next month on JD.com.

Created by Swift with Heritage66 Company, which focuses specifically on US artists looking to expand their reach in China, it will be an exclusive to the Chinese market and was designed with local consumers in mind.

JD.com is to be the first authorized seller of Taylor Swift merchandise in China via its new platform “U.S. Mall,” through which Chinese consumers wil be able to buy goods from US brands.

shanghai tower China

Shanghai Tower nears completion

shanghai tower China

The Shanghai Tower, the tallest building in China and the second tallest in the world, is nearing completion.

Located in the Pudong financial district, the 632m tower composed of 128 floors is a striking addition to the Shanghai landscape.

CHINA’S SKYSCRAPERS TO OFFER LUXURY HOTELS

Composed of a tapering outer skin of glass and steel that wraps itself around the building’s circular core, Gensler, the American firm behind the design, claims this twisting shape reduces wind load on the building by 24%, thus saving approximately $58 million in steel and structure costs.

While still dwarfed by the 829.2m Burj Khalifa in Dubai, Shanghai Tower is now Asia’s tallest skyscraper and a bold statement about the country’s economic prosperity going forward in the 21st century.

A soft opening of Shanghai Tower has seen some tenants allowed into the building to conduct interior construction. An official public opening has yet to be announced but is expected sometime this autumn.

bordeaux wine

China recognises ‘Bordeaux’

bordeaux wine

After a four-year struggle, France has convinced China to recognise “Bordeaux” as a brand in a bid to combat counterfeit wines.

France has been in talks with China since 2011 to recognise the Bordeaux “appellation” — a legally defined and protected geographical marker used to identify where grapes are grown.

BOOMING CHINA IS NUMBER ONE BORDEAUX IMPORTER

China’s recognition, announced Tuesday on the first of a three-day visit by Prime Minister Li Keqiang — was a “historic advance” in the battle to stop fake Bordeaux wines being sold in Asia.

The appellations system “promotes quality productions rooted in our territory,” the agricultural ministry said in a statement.

The two countries are discussing around 100 geographical labels from both countries as part of wide-ranging trade talks.

bordeaux wine map

Armani Casa project Beijing

Armani to design luxury residences in Beijing

Armani Casa project Beijing

Armani Casa has signed a deal with the Smart Hero Group to develop a residential project in Beijing, Women’s Wear Daily (WWD) reports.

Architect Ma Yansong has been signed up to design an eco building comprising several apartments, with Armani creating the amenities and common areas.

Armani Casa project Beijing China

“I’m very happy to collaborate on the development of this complex in Beijing, one of the most charming cities in the world,” Giorgio Armani told the publication. “The Chinese concept of ‘Union of Nature and Man’ perfectly fits the aesthetic I developed for Armani/Casa, which constantly aspires at creating a sense of harmony inside the indoor spaces while respecting their natural context.”

The brand has previously worked on projects including the Century Spire complex in Makati, Philippines and the World Towers in Mumbai.

Alibaba.com advertising

China’s Alibaba launches Internet bank

Alibaba.com advertising

Chinese e-commerce behemoth Alibaba on Thursday launched an Internet bank aimed at serving small businesses which often struggle to obtain credit from large banks.

MYbank, which is 30% owned by Alibaba-linked Ant Financial Services Group, will offer loans of up to 5 million yuan ($800,000).

The bank, based in Hangzhou where Alibaba is headquartered, added it will serve “small businesses, individual consumers and rural users.”

Alibaba completed the world’s biggest IPO last September with a listing on the New York Stock Exchange that raked in $25 billion and made founder Jack Ma one of China’s richest men.

The new Mercedes-Maybach S-Class

Mercedes-Maybach rolling out the door in China

The new Mercedes-Maybach S-Class

Mercedes-Benz is selling almost as many Maybach cars in China each month as it used to sell worldwide in a year, when it targeted the super-rich with a stand-alone model.

Chinese buyers are snapping up about 500 a month of the ultra-luxury variant of the Mercedes S-Class, which starts at about 1.44 million yuan ($230,000) in China. That compares to a peak of 600 Maybach cars in 2003, which at the time cost more than $350,000.

Daimler revived Maybach as a Mercedes sub-brand this year to chase the wealthiest buyers, people who otherwise might have considered a Rolls-Royce or a Bentley.

The Mercedes-Maybach adds legroom and opulent options such as hand-made silver-plated champagne goblets to the standard S-Class.

The effort appears to be working. Mercedes started selling Maybach in China in February as part of a push to catch up with BMW and Audi in the world’s largest auto market, which is suffering a slowdown.

Mercedes sales rose 20 percent last month, driven not just by Maybach but also by its compact cars and sport utility vehicles.

Read the rest of the story  @ Bloomberg

Carina Lau

Carina Lau launches online wine, champagne brand

Carina Lau

Hong Kong movie star Carina Lau (刘嘉玲) on Wednesday launched her own online wine and champagne brand at the world’s biggest wine and spirits fair Vinexpo in southern France.

Going on sale in China on the Alibaba website under the name of the Chinese-born actress are six top-end Bordeaux and four other wines from the region as well as two Moutard champagnes and a sparkling wine.

“It’s an important day for me and my company Carina international e-commerce limited,” said the actress who married movie star Tony Leung in 2008. “My first products are red wine and champagne but it will be introducing many more other products under my brand.”

280,000 bottles of the top-end Bordeaux wines will be offered in a pre-sale launch with the four vintages from the Haut-Medoc, Margaux and Saint Emilion available later following the official launch of sales in Shanghai.

Carina Lau, 49, already has cosmetics, fashion and jewellery brands and owns 17 nightclubs.

Since about 2008, wealthy Chinese investors have snapped up more than 20 chateaux in the Bordeaux region.

Download the Epicurio app on iTunes or Google Play now, to learn more about wines and purchase your very own bottle, today

OPUS HONG KONG

Most expensive flat in Asia sold in Hong Kong: Report

OPUS HONG KONG

Swire Properties has sold a duplex apartment at Opus Hong Kong in Mid-Levels for HK$497 million, setting a record as Asia’s most expensive flat. [Update: A new record holder has emerged]

The 5,188 sq ft duplex flat A, on the ground and first floors of Opus Hong Kong at 53 Stubbs Road and including two car parking spaces, was sold yesterday at HK$95,971 per square foot.

Interior of Opus Hong Kong

That breaks the previous record for price per square foot, set in April, when Wang Shuang, paid HK$93,000 per square foot for a HK$433.8 million home on the 45th floor of 39 Conduit Road.

Opus Hong Kong

The Opus duplex has 5,188 sq ft of saleable area and a 3,245 sq ft garden which is not included in the saleable area. It has a 36 sq ft balcony and 113 sq ft of verandah.

Opus Hong Kong apartment

Opus, a 12-storey super- deluxe property completed in 2012, is dubbed Hong Kong’s most expensive apartment block.

Opus Hong Kong view

It is Frank Gehry’s first residential building in Asia and features an unusual twisted shape. Each unit has floor-to-ceiling windows and commands 360-degree views of Victoria Harbour and Mount Cameron.

Opus Hong Kong exterior

Source: PropGOluxury via SCMP

tripadvisor china

TripAdvisor launches rebrand of Chinese site

tripadvisor china

To cater to the world’s fastest growing tourism market, TripAdvisor has launched a new global brand for Chinese-speaking travelers.

From now on, Chinese users will know TripAdvisor as Mao Tu Ying, which means ‘owl’ and ‘journey’ in English, as part of the company’s aim to unify its three Chinese language sites under a single global brand.

Currently, TripAdvisor operates three separate sites: one for users in Taiwan, one for residents in mainland China (daodao.com), as well as a recently launched site written in international simplified Chinese for the benefit of the Chinese diaspora living outside mainland China.

TripAdvisor’s new Chinese name is phonetic word play that combines the Chinese characters for owl and journey. The literal translation, however, can be interpreted as “Experience the world through different perspectives.”

The move comes amid travel forecasts predicting that mainland Chinese travelers will grow from 110 million to a staggering 230 million by 2020.

NetDragon headquarters

VIDEO: Chinese millionaire builds Star Trek office

NetDragon headquarters

China’s online gaming operator NetDragon has its headquarters modeled after the Star Trek’s Starship Enterprise, new reports have confirmed.

The Y600m ($97m USD), six-floor building near Changle, southeast China, was made with the agreement of US rights holder CBS, reports the Wall Street Journal; NetDragon founder Liu Dejian is a big fan of the series.

NetDragon headquarters China

Construction started in 2010, with the building opening in May 2014; also contained within its halls is a full-size replica of a Tyrannosaurus rex.

The company runs a number of MMOs, including “Disney Fantasy Online,” as well as mobile apps that cover enterprise productivity, 3D home remodeling and weather reports.