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Katie De Tilly, Gallerist


Katie De Tilly, Gallerist
Wang Keping, Works at 10 Chancery Lane (image courtesy of Artshare).

Katie de Tilly arrived in Hong Kong in 1994 when Chinese contemporary art was yet to come into international focus.  

With a particular interest in the rich historical, social and cultural context in China and the development in Asia of its contemporary art scene, she founded 10 Chancery Lane Gallery in 2001, expanding it in 2006 and 2008 with warehouse project spaces in Chai Wan.  Recently, Katie and her husband Georges began H-KAGE FOUNDATION to create a platform to link independent not-for-profit art institutions across Asia as well as create educational development in Hong Kong by providing a curator mentoring program.  

Katie holds degrees in Science and Literature from the US as well as a diploma in Acupuncture from Hong Kong University.  She contributes a monthly column called Artspy for Baccarat Magazine.  She sits on the board of the Tate APAC committee, Program Advisory Committee (PAC) of RMIT University and is Co-President of the Hong Kong Art Gallery Association.  

Left: Wang Keping, and Right: Katie de Tilly. (image courtesy of Artshare)

Name one of your favourite artists and tell us why. Can you share with us a work by that artist that you particularly like?

Chinese sculptor Wang Keping is an artist I truly admire. His conviction as an artist and his unique sculptural language are forever inspiring. He is able to turn a knotted chunk of wood into an erotic female form with such intensity and perceptive feeling. His knowledge and understanding of woods allow for diverse forms. Some sinuous and flowing, others gnarled and organic. The cracks, the grain, the knots, the density all lend different characteristics to his works, each unique. He has no assistant and never has, some works weighing a ton. He rigs a chain and pulley to move them from here to there. His work is deeply meditative and at the same time brute. They are inspired from the past perhaps ancient Chinese Han yet they are his own creation with a notable outlook on natural forces, and Zen Buddhism, which invites direct experience of the infinite.

What is the unmissable art event that you go to every year? Tell us why it is that great.

The Venice Biennale combines everything from the old masters to the present. The city's beauty is a backdrop to the contemporary art exhibitions that span the entire city. Art everywhere and in just a few days, it is never enough time to see it. Yet what you do take in, remains with you like a blanket of beauty that has enriched and elevated you forever more. The churches with Titians, Tintoretto or Veronese frescoes abound. The contemporary exhibitions in the Giardini and the Arsenale bring together the entire world of contemporary art in an arena of viewing. Overwhelming, yes, but always inspiring. And the food ain’t bad either.


Huang Rui works at Art Basel HK (Image courtesy of Artshare)

Describe one of your best art experiences. It could be visiting an artist studio, going to a fabulous art exhibition opening or talking to a great artist in a private gathering, etc...

Being an art dealer allows for a very special relationship with artists. Conversations are deep and soul searching. There is a dialogue that transcends the everyday combining dream, intellect, emotion and fervour. Huang Rui is an artist I truly enjoy spending time with when I am in Beijing. His home is a modern brick courtyard-inspired house. A Ming dynasty veranda gives shade to a table next to a swimming pool adorned with trees and his sculptural work. Huang Rui, an artist since the 70s is a true intellect and everything he does is thoughtful and with a strict amount of refinement and detail. Yet, like himself not leaving out warmth and a welcoming presence. The home is filled with his works from the 70s to today. The smell of turpentine from wet paint laces the air. He brings together artists such as musicians and dancers who all gather for evenings of food and drink and performances. His conversations alternate between confucianism, Chinese history old and new, the I Qing, etc. He is knowledgeable and passionate and never stops working. It is a pleasure to know him deeply.

Huang Rui at home. (Image courtesy of Artshare) 

Art is important in your life, because... It is my life

Art goes best with... Passion, love, curiosity

Art is valuable, because... It documents our time and opens our eyes, inspiring us to look further.

The three words that first come to your mind when you think about art... Awful, mediocre or genius!

The best museum show/ exhibition you saw in 2014... The Matisse Exhibition at The Tate, Modern

Your favourite museum in the world...The Getty in Los Angeles

Huang Rui, Black and White Cats 49, Then?, 2014. (Image courtesy of Artshare)

The best city to go for art... Venice

An artist (dead or alive) you would like to have lunch with... Leonardo da Vinci

The artwork you would like to hang in your living room...That answer would change everyday depending on my mood. Today, I'd like Les Demoiselles d'Avignon by Picasso.

If you were an artist, who would it be? Katie de Tilly!

Katie de Tilly, Gallerist. (Image courtesy of Artshare)


  • Saw a space on Chancery Lane after a dinner party at friends, called the agent the next morning, the 10 Chancery Lane Gallery was born with a good 12 hour gestation and planning period. Our quickest baby!
  • Graduated with a Masters in Acupuncture from Hong Kong University in 1999 and worked with Medecins San Frontieres HK before that.
  • Co-President and one of the founders of the Hong Kong Art Gallery Association.
  • Speaks Polish and has 4 children who speak French.
  • Known to be high-spirited and for throwing the best Mexican and art parties.

Any views or opinions in the post are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the company or contributors.

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