Encountering Taiwan; The Creative Spirit is Alight in the UK.

By Jo Phillips

Cromwell Place is an active London-based established Private Gallery, that has a unique manner that is beyond conventional creations. In the realm of art, Cromwell Place provides a window into the creative souls of artists and a portal for art lovers to experience a myriad of emotions. Small galleries like this are often the lifeblood of communities. Find out more in Encountering Taiwan; The Creative Spirit is Alight in the UK.

Cromwell Place is an active London-based established Private Gallery, it has a unique manner that is beyond conventional creations. In the realm of art, Cromwell Place provides a window into the creative souls of artists and a portal for art lovers to experience a myriad of emotions. Like many a small gallery, it is a powerhouse for bringing less obvious exhibitions to the fore.

It has been shedding light on integration into the world of art. By creating a riveting connection between the audience and the artwork, it frames the experience and sets the tone for what lies ahead.

For example, in December Sculptor, Robyn Neild’s exhibition celebrates the dominance of two iconic designers Elsa Schiaparelli and Coco Chanel from their early rivalry to their legacy today. 40 unique bronzes of celebrated designs from 1926 to the present day will be exhibited within the installation. The Italian & The Milliner: SCHIAPARELLI and CHANEL – Sculpture in Bronze by Robyn Neild

Their last exhibition brought together fashion craft via Grace Han, the celebrated luxury leather bag and accessories designer, whose luxury creations have become synonymous with elegance and exceptional craftsmanship, gaining dedicated customers all over the world.

The event, themed “Metamorphosis,” featured six prominent East Asian contemporary artists who have continuously evolved their artistic expression while never forgetting their roots. Grace Han’s participation in this exhibition coincides with the reopening of her flagship London store for the first time since the COVID-19 lockdowns were lifted.

Grace and her heritage play a massive role in her own creative process. The luxury accessories designer was born in Taiwan, to creative parents who encouraged her on her creative journey. Her mother, Anita Wong, was a celebrated artist herself and taught Grace her various artistic techniques, from painting to calligraphy.

Her works brought together artistic techniques from both the East and the West seamlessly wandering between hardness and softness, elegance and the natural. Still to this day, the Wang Chen Jingwen Charitable Foundation which she founded is still active in supporting the new generation of young artists.

Grace also learned vital skills from her entrepreneurial father, who emphasised discipline, hard work, and attention to detail. But it was Grace’s mother who ultimately led to the establishment of Grace’s internationally acclaimed luxury accessories label.  

A joint and seamless collaboration, the exhibition featured Grace’s leather creations, works of art in their own right alongside her mother Anita Wong’s and Wang Chen Jingwen’s celebrated layered and atmospheric oil paintings, that inspired her new creations

Grace recognised the profound connection between art and fashion.

“We believe that art is a way to express and convey emotions and it has infinite possibilities. It can inspire people’s imagination. Therefore, we decided to present our new collection in the exhibition, in a surprising way, taking the audience to the intersection where fashion meets art.”

Grace Han

The whole exhibition  Asian Art in London is an impressive exploration of how art can influence your visual and perceptual acuities. It was curated by Dr. Ye Guo-Shin, and founded by Mo Hai Lou International Art Research Group, this Asian Art in London exhibition is one of the major annual events in the global art and culture circles.

“ I am deeply honoured and very lucky to have been invited to this exhibition by Mo Hai Lou. I deeply appreciate the opportunity to participate with such talented individual artists.”

Grace Han

The exhibition showcases the story and development of Grace Han, the inspiration drawn from her mother’s artworks, and the symbiotic relationship between art and fashion. After all, historically fashion has been regarded as part of visual culture, a form of wearable art if you like. Here the works bring together parental influence alongside heritage and most of all artistic development.

Already a wardrobe staple for several powerful women from the East such as Akie Abe, former 1st Lady of Japan, Grace’s brand famously gained international recognition when Catherine, Princess of Wales, personally selected and carried her own Grace Han bag to multiple royal engagements.

Grace Han‘s Label has launched its flagship store in Knightsbridge in London. To mark the launch of the store Grace Han also launched five new bag styles.

The signature Love Letter bag is available in sumptuous leather and calfskin, and neutral shade of ‘Clay’. Grace’s Ballet Lesson tote bag is also added to the collection in a useful medium size featuring a combination of canvas and calfskin in Black, Smoke Brown, and Pearl Blue.

If you are interested particularly in work that either comes from or is influenced by Taiwan then why not visit ‘Making New Worlds: Li Yuan-chia & Friends’ exhibition at Kettle’s Yard from 11 November 2023 – 18 February 2024. 

Born in Taiwan, Li made his way to the UK in the 1960s, exhibiting alongside Derek Jarman and Yoko Ono, and becoming good friends with Winifred Nicholson. Between 1972–81, the Chinese artist Li He purchased her old family farmhouse in the village of Banks to start his own artistic space, the LYC Museum & Art Gallery, which became his home whilst hosting more than 300 artists in the short 10 years it was open to the public.  It was here that Yuan-chia ran an experimental art space in a quiet village in Cumbria.

Li Yuan Chia in his studio at the LYC Museum and Art Gallery, Brampton, Cumbria, 1969. Image courtesy of Demarco Digital Archive University of Dundee & Richard Demarco Archive

‘Making New Worlds’ will feature a selection of Li’s own sculptures, installations, and photographs, alongside works by those who came through the LYC: Andy Goldsworthy, David Nash, Lygia Clark, Delia Derbyshire, and many more who used the space for early experiments in kinetic and sound art. 

Charwei Tsai, Circle, 2009, HD color video with sound 40 sec. Image courtesy of Charwei Tsai

The exhibition is at Kettle’s Yard an art gallery and house in Cambridge, England. Both the house and gallery reopened in February 2018 after an expansion of the facilities

Exploring smaller sometimes private galleries allows for lesser obvious work works to be explored. Some of these include the bringing of works from outside of the accepted world of Western art. Giving viewers opportunities to discover works whose seeds are far from their own homelands and home comforts. These two shows allow us into quiet, private worlds that even if you know the names of the artists you will get a sense of the private one too.

To find out more about  Asian Art in London visit here  and CromwellPlace.com visit here

Find out more about Grace and her new store GraceHan.Shop 13 Beauchamp Place, South Kensington.

If you enjoyed Encountering TaiwanThe Creative Spirit is Alight in the UK why not read Suited Not Booted Here

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