Co-founded in the 1980s by Alice King, Alisan Fine Arts is one of the first professionally run galleries in Hong Kong and has been a pioneer in the field of Chinese contemporary art and New Ink Art. In particular, focusing on promoting mainland Chinese artists as well as established Hong Kong and Chinese diaspora artists. Currently, the gallery manages two premises in Central’s business district and Aberdeen.
Over the years, under the leadership of Alice King, the gallery has organized over 100 exhibitions in Hong Kong and abroad. In 1996 Daphne King Yao joined the gallery and in 2005 was appointed Director, formally taking over operations in 2011. Since then she has continued to showcase works by artists that Alisan has represented over the years as well as a new generation of Chinese artists.
In 1987 the gallery organized one of the first exhibitions in Hong Kong to showcase contemporary mainland Chinese artists. The landmark exhibition “A State of Transition: Contemporary Paintings from Shanghai” included fourteen artists such as Chen Jialing and Li Shan. Subsequently, in 1989 the gallery put together “Modern Chinese Paintings: A Selection from Beijing, Hangzhou, Sichuan” introducing the works of Peng Xiancheng, Zeng Mi, Nie Ou, Jia Youfu and Jiang Baolin to the Hong Kong public. Both were held at the Hong Kong Arts Centre.
The gallery was also the first to organize a commercial exhibition of Zao Wou-ki's works in Hong Kong in 1993 and since then has held five more solo exhibitions for the acclaimed artist. Alisan has also organized solo exhibitions for well-known artists Chu Teh-chun, Lui Shou-kwan, Walasse Ting, and manages the estate of Chao Chung-hsiang.
Conscious of the power of cross-cultural exchange, the gallery has made a concerted effort to introduce contemporary Chinese art to the West as well as staging exhibitions for Western artists in Hong Kong. Alice King was instrumental in bringing the French sculptor Bernar Venet’s exhibition to the Shanghai Museum in 1995. A strong supporter of Le French May in Hong Kong (a festival organized by the Hong Kong French Consulate to introduce French culture to Hong Kong), Alisan Fine Arts has organized numerous exhibitions for French Chinese artists, including Chu Teh-chun, Gao Xingjian, T’ang Haywen, Yang Jiechang, Zao Wou-ki as well as French artists, Marc Chagall in 1994, Jean Degottex in 2005, Richard Texier in 2007 and Fabienne Verdier in 2014 as part of Le French May program. For her efforts Alice King was awarded by the French Government the Chevalier des Arts et Lettres in 1995, Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur in 2000 and Officier de l’Ordre National de la Légion d’Honneur in 2013.
Continued effort has been made for gallery artists to be included in museum collections, these include:
The British Museum, London; The Boston Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago; The Peabody Essex Museum, Massachusetts; The Pacific Asia Museum, Pasadena, California; The Chinese Culture Center of San Francisco, San Francisco; The Jane Voorhees Zimmerli Art Museum of Rutgers University, New Jersey; The Hong Kong Museum of Art; M+ of Visual Culture Collection, West Kowloon Cultural District, Hong Kong; The National Art Museum of China, Beijing; The Shanghai Art Museum; The Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), Shanghai; The China Academy of Art, Hangzhou; The Taiwan Provincial Fine Art Museum, Taichung; The Taipei Fine Arts Museum, Taipei; The Aarhus Kunstmuseum, Aarhus, Denmark; The Malmo Konsthall, Sweden. Alisan Fine Arts’s corporate clients include the Hong Kong MTR, Hong Kong’s Peninsula Hotel, JP Morgan and Beijing’s Oriental Plaza to name a few.
Alisan Fine Arts has organized and co-organized many important exhibitions including:
- 1987 — A State of Transition, Contemporary Paintings from Shanghai, The Hong Kong Arts Centre
- 1989 — Modern Chinese Paintings, a selection from Beijing, Hangzhou, Sichuan, The Hong Kong Art Centre
- 1995 — Wonders of Chinese Abstraction, Alisan Fine Arts
- 1995 — Lui Shou-kwan (1919-1975) and His School, The Hong Kong Arts Centre
- 1997 — Chinese Abstraction and Beyond, The Hong Kong Arts Centre
- 1997 — Chinese Roots (To mark the Handover of Hong Kong to China), The Shanghai Art Museum
- 1998 — Shanghai International Sculpture Symposium ,Mrs. King contributed to the Zao Wou-ki Retrospective exhibitions in China, The Shanghai Art Museum; The Palace of Fine Arts, Beijing; Guangdong Museum of Art, Guangzhou
- 1999 — The Second Year-Long Contemporary Sculpture Exhibition,The He Xiangning Art Gallery, Shenzhen
- 1999 — Chao Chung-hsiang Exhibition and Symposium, The Shanghai Chinese Painting Institute
- 1999 — Chao Chung-hsiang: His Singular Legacy, The Zhejiang West Lake Art Museum, Hangzhou
- 2000 — Oriental Plaza: Selected Contemporary Sculpture from China, The Oriental Plaza, Beijing
- 2001 — John Way: A Retrospective at 80, The Shanghai Art Museum
- 2004 — Chao Chung-hsiang: An Eternal Searcher, The Taipei Museum of History
- 2004 — Love of the Cosmos: The Art of Chao Chung-hsiang, The National Art Museum of China, Beijing; The Shanghai Art Museum; Galerie Adler, Paris & the Hong Kong Arts Centre
- 2007 — Floating Reeds: An Installation by Ming Fay, MOCA, Shanghai
- 2007 — Exploration: New Ink Art Shanghai 2007, The Zhu Qizhan Art Museum, Shanghai
- 2007 — The New Face of Ink Painting: Modern Ink Painting Group Exhibition and Symposium, Central Plaza Lobby & Olympic City 1, Hong Kong
- 2007 — A Lyrical Journey: Chinyee’s 50-Year Retrospective, The Shanghai Art Museum and Alisan Fine Arts
- 2010 — Walasse Ting: I Love Flowers All My Life, The Hong Kong Arts Centre
- 2011 — Selected Asian Cultural Council Fellows: Then and Now, Works by Wei Ligang, Wei Qingji, Zhang Jianqun, Asian Cultural Council Hong Kong and Alisan Fine Arts
- 2015 — Yang Jiechang: Good Morning Hong Kong - Le French May, Hong Kong Central Library and Alisan Fine Arts
- 2015 — A Legacy of Ink: Lui Shou-kwan 40 Years On. An Exhibition of Lui Shou-kwan’s Works, His Students’, and a New Generation of Artists, The Hong Kong Arts Centre and Alisan Fine Arts
- 2016 – Alisan Fine Arts Thirty Five Years, Hong Kong Central Library
Alisan Fine Arts has participated in the following Art Fairs over the years:
Art Basel in Hong Kong 2013-17; Ink Asia in 2015- 16; Fine Art Asia 2009, 2012-15; Masterpiece London 2013; Art HK 10 and 12; Tresors, Singapore 1993-95, 1997; the International Asian Art Fair, New York, 1996; Art Taipei, 1994; Art Asia, Hong Kong 1992.