Permanent gallery at Four Seasons continues Sands’ long-time support of art and culture

Artist Xu Lei leads guests of honour on a tour of his exhibition

Sands China Ltd. has long pledged to invest more resources into inviting renowned local and international artists of different art forms in order to enrich the cultural experience of Macau residents and visitors.

Echoing the government’s policy of Tourism+, which pushes forward diversification in the city, Sands China has officially launched the new Sands Gallery and unveiled its debut exhibition, The Innovation of Ink: Transformation and Reinvention of Oriental Aesthetics – Featured Exhibition of Wang Dongling & Xu Lei.

Curated by Julia F. Andrews, a specialist in Chinese art, The Innovation of Ink features over 30 imaginative works of world-renowned Chinese artists Wang Dongling and Xu Lei, and runs from February 24 to March 20, 2022.

Guests of honour at the ceremony for the official launch of Sands Gallery

As a large integrated resort operator, the company has been supportive of the development of art and culture in Macau. The company therefore opened Sands Gallery: a permanent art space on the 6th floor of The Grand Suites at Four Seasons, which provides an opportunity for guests to explore an ever-changing variety of art exhibitions. 

The gallery was born out of Sands China’s desire to help cultivate an environment that nurtures creativity and art appreciation in Macau. It also aims to support the development of art and culture and bring a greater diversity of experiences to the city, while promoting and encouraging professional artists in Macau and across the region.

“In opening Sands Gallery, Sands China’s ultimate objective has always been to help Macau establish itself as a multicultural exchange and cooperation base with an emphasis on Chinese culture,” said Dr. Wilfred Wong, president of Sands China Ltd., at the gallery’s opening ceremony on February 23.

“We are truly convinced that a permanent and high-class exhibition space – equipped with advanced software and hardware resources, and targeting international audiences – will, through regularly introducing high-level art exhibitions, play an active role not only in enriching the city’s art and cultural activities and propelling artistic diversity, but also in promoting the extensive exchange and cooperation among artistic groups from Macau, mainland China and other countries.”

Just as Macau represents the fusion of Chinese and Western cultures, the exhibition features the works of two artists whose styles are striking examples of East meets West. Each artist has developed an undisputed mastery of traditional Chinese ink techniques – calligraphy in Wang’s case and painting in Xu’s – and then expertly applied them in ways that are original, inventive and contemporary. 

For Dr. Wong, the East meets West notion of the exhibition, which fits well with Macau’s character, is what the firm is trying to promote in the future. 

“We are hoping to organize four to five major or significant exhibitions annually. When the border opens, we hope to invite international artists to come,” said the president.

The imagery in Xu Lei’s artwork at the exhibition presented his demonstration of the correlation between Western and Chinese culture, and how they affect and penetrate each other.

“It’s my pleasure to be partnered with master Wang to showcase both of our works in a city that combines Chinese and Western cultures with a rich art atmosphere. I felt impressed when I saw my works displayed in an art space with sophisticated and subtle details. It is my hope that viewers can travel on a journey during their visits and emotionally interact with my works,” said Xu Lei.

One of his pieces at the exhibition is related to Matteo Ricci, who tried to promote the West’s relationship with China.

In a visit to the Macao Museum of Art, Xu Lei commented, “Macau has borrowed some masterpieces from mainland China and its authorities have been rendering full support to the development of a culture of art in Macau.”

For Xu Lei, the current exhibition at Sands Gallery contains “academic value that has a meaningful collaboration with an important academic in art history.”

Wang Dongling, meanwhile, said in a pre-recorded video message: “I would like to express my appreciation to Sands China for inviting me to exhibit my works together with Xu Lei in an exhibition curated by Julia F. Andrews at Sands Gallery. The important element of Chinese calligraphy lies within the refinement of lines, as every brush expresses the feeling, aesthetics, and spirit of an artist. As a calligrapher, it is my hope that calligraphy will evolve from its traditional roots into a modern art form that fits in today’s world.”

Wang, Xu and Andrews have collaborated with some of the most well-known art institutions in the world, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Guggenheim Museum, the National Art Museum of China in Beijing, and the British Museum in London.

Message from the curator

It is of great significance that we are exhibiting the work of both artists, Wang Dongling and Xu Lei, for the official launch of Sands Gallery, as it demonstrates Sands China’s continued commitment to art and culture.

The theme of this exhibition can be portrayed in two aspects: ‘Ink’ emphasises the importance of Chinese ink painting, and ‘Innovation’ implies that Chinese calligraphy will be transformed from its traditional roots into a modern art form. Chinese calligraphy has undergone the processes of deliberation, revolution and innovation over the past century. Both of these artists have devoted their careers to investigating and expanding the language of ink, in the hope of presenting to audiences that modern Chinese calligraphy is an art form targeted to the world and created for the future. It is also an important expression of sharing the value of Chinese culture to the world and an artistic way of expressing the confidence of Chinese culture.

Julia F. Andrews

Specialist in Chinese art, professor at Ohio State University 

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