Cover Adrian Cheng and John Dodelande's New Book, "Chinese Art: The Impossible Collection" will highlight Chinese contemporary art (Photo: Olivier Yoan/Tatler Hong Kong)

The book will offer an art-led insight into contemporary China and introduce works that Cheng and Dodelande love and admire

Adrian Cheng wears a lot of hats. He's the CEO of New World Development, founder of K11 Group and K11 Craft Guild Foundation, a dedicated collector of contemporary Chinese art, a powerful force on the global art scene, Tatler's Most Influential 2020 honouree and also now an author. For his latest venture, Cheng joins forces with John Dodelande, an entrepreneur and also a prolific collector of contemporary Chinese art, to release a new book, Chinese Art: The Impossible Collection.

The authors describe the book as "an exhibition curated on the printed page", describing it as a personal anthology of works that both Cheng and Dodelande love and admire rather than an encyclopedia of contemporary Chinese art. The oversized volume is part of Assouline's Ultimate Collection and pays homage to the art of luxury bookmaking by using traditional techniques to bind the book—several of the plates are hand-tipped on art-quality paper.

It is then housed in a luxury clamshell, to respectfully showcase the works of art featured in the best, most elevated form, making it a collectible piece in its own right. With such enormous care and craftsmanship dedicated to making it, the book is priced at US$895.

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Chinese Art: The Impossible Collection will offer its readers an art-led insight into the new China through its choice of artworks, allowing further exploration of artists' key roles as observers, participants and commentators. Also featured in the book are scholarly introductions and captions by art historians and critics including Philip Tinari, Alexandra Munroe and Karen Smith.

Furthermore, some of the artists featured in the book will be invited to paint a single clamshell for the tome later this year. The cases and the book inside will become one-off artworks and the unique copies will be auctioned off to the highest bidder.

At the book's launch in mid-May at the K11 Art & Cultural Centre of K11 Musea, Cheng and Dodelande will be present to sign copies of the book.

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Adrian Cheng and John Dodelande

Praise is already flooding in for the book, with Hans Ulrich Obrist, director of the Serpentine Galleries saying, "Adrian Cheng’s exciting new publication Chinese Art: the Impossible Collection is urgent. It is wonderful to see this polyphonic volume of creativity by Cheng, who for many years has championed and supported the voices of a new generation of artists in China through the unique programme of K11 Art Foundation, ensuring their work reaches both local and global audiences."

Leading Chinese artist Wang Guangle says the book, "encapsulates the continuity between pre-1970s Chinese art and the contemporary art circle. This is something not widely understood. But John Dodelande, on his many journeys through China over the years, has grasped the inner connection between these two phases: he clearly apprehends the unfolding of modern Chinese art."

Details of the official book launch in mid-May will be announced shortly. The date of the auction of the hand-painted clamshell editions will be announced later this year. 

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