The new 3,000-square-foot gallery in The Hennessy is working with up-and-coming artists from around the world—and launching with an exhibition by young Mainland Chinese artist Zhang Zipiao

This year, the week of Art Basel Hong Kong features more than the usual round of exhibition openings, champagne brunches and cocktail parties—it marks the opening of a brand-new gallery space in Hong Kong.

Titled Mine Project, the gallery is the brainchild of Winnie Yau, a Hongkonger who worked for many years in finance, including at BlackRock in New York, before leaving the industry last year to pursue a burgeoning interest in art.

Mine Project

Mine Project is located in a 3,000-square-foot space inside The Hennessy. Notably, the space has nearly four-metre-high ceilings.

“That was so important,” says Winnie. “The main condition when I started looking for a space was that it had really high ceilings, so that we could easily show all kinds of work. The Hennessy is also just a short walk from the Convention and Exhibition Centre, so is easy to reach for collectors who are going to Art Basel.”

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Above Winnie Yau, founder of Mine Project

Up-and-coming talent

Winnie plans to differentiate Mine Project from existing galleries in the city by representing up-and-coming talents from around the world, rather than working with established, big-name artists.

“It was really important to me that we offered something totally different to international galleries like Gagosian and Pace,” says Winnie. “There are so many great young artists around the world who don’t have representation in Hong Kong yet. We’ve already signed 10 artists.”

Many of these artists were identified with the help of Michael Xufu Huang, a collector, curator and arts patron who is the co-founder of the M Woods museum in Beijing and an old friend of Winnie’s.

See also: 6 Hong Kong Artists On The Rise

Curated by Michael Xufu Huang

“I’ve always collected younger artists, emerging artists, artists who grew up in the same age as me,” reveals Michael. “That’s my main focus in terms of collecting and curating, so when Winnie explained what she wanted to do with Mine Project, I thought it was perfect."

"Some of the young Mainland Chinese artists I love don’t have representation in Hong Kong and have never had exposure abroad, and some of the Western artists I love have never had exposure in China. With a gallery like Mine Project in Hong Kong, you can support both those groups of artists.”

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Above Michael Xufu Huang

At Winnie’s invitation, Michael has curated the inaugural show at Mine Project—a solo exhibition of new paintings by Mainland Chinese artist Zhang Zipiao, who’s only in her mid-20s but is already making waves in Beijing and Shanghai.

Zhang Zipiao

“As it’s Art Basel in Hong Kong time, I really wanted to show a Chinese artist, so that more of my Western friends and collectors and curators can see the new talent coming out of China,” explains Michael.

The exhibition is titled Cutthroat Kitchen and features new still life paintings of fruit and vegetables that have been chopped, sliced and diced.

“The texture of her work is amazing. You have to see it in person because the texture can’t be conveyed in a photo,” says Michael. “And I think this new series she’s making is really fantastic. Conceptually it’s very strong—it’s about rawness and exposure and taking risks.”

See also: Asia's 50 Biggest Art Collectors: 2019 Edition

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Above Zhang Zipiao, Grapefruit (2019). (Courtesy of the artist and Mine Project)

And this is just the start for Mine Project. “Our programming is actually planned until Art Basel in Hong Kong in 2020,” admits Winnie.

Upcoming exhibitions

The second show is going to be by Dario Guccio, who is best known for his figurative works featuring human silhouettes cut out of leather, paper and other materials. Other artists confirmed to be collaborating with Mine Project include Sarah Meyohas, Alex Gardner, Bodu Yang, George Rouy and Max Hooper Schneider, who won a BMW Art Journey Award in 2016.

Winnie believes that major collectors will be interested in discovering these new talents and hopes that budding art lovers may get a taste for collecting by discovering these up-and-coming artists at Mine Project. But more important than simply selling art, Winnie thinks, is contributing to the arts ecosystem in Hong Kong.

“We don’t want to purely sell art,” says Winnie. “With Mine Project, we want to build relationships and contribute to the art scene in Hong Kong and help it grow even more.”

Mine Project opens on March 26, 2019

Zhang Zipiao: Cutthroat Kit