Seemingly unfazed by the protests and fears related to the coronavirus outbreak in Hong Kong, former French prime minister Dominique de Villepin and his son Arthur are moving forward with their plans to establish an ambitious new gallery in Hong Kong this March. The father and son duo say that they will be establishing their business with a new business model that is based on their close relations with their respective artists.
The opening show in the new three-storey space located on Hollywood Road, will appropriately focus on the late Chinese-French painter Zao Wou-Ki. Titled Friendship and Reconciliation, it will include oils, watercolours and ink works ranging in price between €60,000 and €10m.
“Our relationship with Zao Wou-Ki was based on friendship. We have put real soul behind the idea [of basing the gallery on strong friendships],” commented Arthur de Villepin. “Perhaps the truth is we will do this a little more naively and in a less business-like way. Our approach will not just be commercial. The exhibitions will run for six months with three months devoted to creating salons [in the style of the early 20th century European salons]”.
The duo will be certainly be leveraging their vast networks in the region. “I had the chance to travel and became friends with many artists. We have created strong roots in Asia since 2007, and have a strong network here,” commented Dominique de Villepin, who was prime minister from 2005 to 2007 under president Jacques Chirac.
They have also positioned their new venture as a gallery built by collectors for collectors, stressing their vast experience in the space. They famously hold works by artists such as Miquel Barceló, Yan Pei Ming, and of course: Zao Wou-Ki. Despite the fraught political situation and health crisis crippling Hong Kong, they seem to be bullish about the region.
Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam recently announced that it will stop all cross-border transportation between mainland China and Hong Kong, building on escalating worries regarding the future of the region.
Speaking to the Art Newspaper, de Villepin said: “We are following news of the situation closely but do not expect it to impact our opening in Hong Kong this March,” Their next show at Villepin will be dedicated to the second School of Paris artists, coming from both Asia and Europe, who worked in the French capital after the second world war.