1. Please introduce yourself and the vision and plans of the gallery.
My name is Vivian Leng. The original intention of Leng Fine Arts was actually to sort out my art collection for myself and enjoy a part of my spare time. More importantly, it was a way for me to organise and research. Slowly, I edited the biography of each artist and reached a deeper understanding of my artists' styles, sources of inspiration, personal artistic background and family background. In real life, we also slowly became good friends. So when I told them about my proposal and plan, they all generously supported my move to sell online! My recent plan is to select some of my collections and the works of many artists to promote their ink paintings for the first time in Woodstock in the form of pop-up shop. I am looking forward to it!
2. Where and how do you find new artists to show, what do you look for when you are considering new artists for your gallery?
Generally, I will look for potential young artists at graduate art exhibitions in London-Beijing- Chengdu, such as Royal Academy of London, St Martin and London University of Art. In fact, I am looking for potential artists who could bridge the gap between the East and the West’s artistic culture.
3. What do you think makes the UK art scene unique?
Art is a universal language. What attracts me the most is that London has artists from all over the world and it provides the best exposure for our artists. I firmly believe London is the focal point of the international stage, as well as the interaction between Chinese and Western cultures. Our artists need to stand on this commanding stage to shine.
4. Choose your 3 favourite artworks so far.
The first art piece is from Chen Zizhuang (1913-1976). Mr Michael Sullivan, the leading Western authority on Chinese art, stated in his book on the history of Chinese art "Chen Zizhuang is China's Van Gogh". He is a neglected artist who has never been properly recognised in China or the West. I find the Long Quan landscape paintings to be particularly moving and profound. His influence lives on in the works of his followers and students, most notably the gifted artist Li Huasheng.
The second favourite piece from my collection is from Li Huasheng (1944-2018). He totally transformed the Chinese watercolour painting style to modern art and his paintings became simple and playful, taking joy in colour. From the art piece below you can sense his first steps in moving on from a traditional watercolour style.
In the mid 1990s Li Huasheng made dramatic changes his painting style. Lines of monks turned into symbols in his mind and he found he could describe and express time and existence, both of his subject and himself, using the flow of line upon paper. Line became of utmost importance to him. Its appearance on paper represented his existence, his state of being - emotionally, physically and spiritually. It became the manifestation of his qi or life force. This was the start of Li’s gradual transition into abstraction which completed around 1997.
The very last but not the least one piece from my art collection will be Cai Yinkun (1963). His remarkable expressionist colours in bright, eye catching watercolour is unique. He was born in Chengdu, Sichuan, in 1963. Cai Yinkun is a full-time painter of the Chengdu Academy of Painting, as well as being a member of the China Artists Association. He specialised in freehand flower and bird painting. He describes his freehand painting as, “heavy, clumsy, big, and arrogant” with “heavy colours”. The most enjoyable moment of being with him is watching him using brush painting on the floor. What a extraordinary experience!
5. Can you tell us about your upcoming shows?
There are many artists who I will promote from my collection. Soon I will host pop-up exhibitions in Oxford and London. I am looking forward to that but there are no confirmed dates yet - stay tuned for updates.
6. In the ever-evolving art market, which new trend or development do you anticipate to be the next significant breakthrough?
I am interested in how AI technology will influence the future of the art market, the new forms of art that may be created, new ways of promoting and sharing artworks and the challenges of intellectual property rights.