SOMETHING is shifting within the art industry. Over the last decade the world has witnessed an emergence of exceptional contemporary art from China. From Ai WeiWei to Zhou TieHai, the A-to-Z of Chinese artists has stunned audiences with its skill and voice. Celebrated names such as Cai Guoqiang, Fang Lijun and Zhang Xiaogang are gracing the best auction catalogues. Famous art entrepreneurs like Charles Saatchi are filling their galleries with contemporary Chinese art. But if you thought that such activity would be exclusive to the high-end art capitals of the world, you would be mistaken. In fact, Cheshire-based art promoter Catherine Raines' Prestbury Gallery, Li Kailin, showcases Chinese and other Asian contemporary painters, sculptors & photographic artists.
Raines established LiKailin after living for two years in Shanghai with her family, where she fell in love with the intelligence, emotion and energy of Chinese contemporary artistic expression. After returning to Cheshire in 2008, LiKailin quickly established its credentials, placing artworks into prestigious public, private and corporate collections and successfully mounting the first ever solo exhibition outside China for the acclaimed photographic artist Tian Taiquan.
With such rapid success under her belt, it should come as no surprise that Raines opened LiKailin’s Prestbury Gallery so quickly, or that within 6 months LiKailin was selected to curate a solo show for Yang Yongliang as part of “Asian Art in London” later this year. But even Raines is delighted by the remarkable speed with which LiKailin was invited by the Directors to take a stand at the highly prestigious art fair, ArtAsia Basel 09. Arguably the second most significant art fair in the world (after the venice Biennale) this distinction firmly places LiKailin on the map as a destination gallery for art lovers across the UK.
When asked about what underlies the incredible success of LiKailin, Raines just smiles an enigmatic smile and reminds us of the origin of her business's name. It was, in fact, the name given to her by her Chinese colleagues, and means “successful and beautiful lady”. What more do you need to know?