Shi's the one

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 26 April, 1994, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 26 April, 1994, 12:00am

AN exhibition of paintings and calligraphy - Collectors' Choice: the Genius of Shi Lu - on loan from private collections from around the world is on show at the Cat Street Galleries, Sheung Wan.

Born into affluence and privilege in 1919, Shi renounced his heritage and fervently embraced the Communist cause. But his unorthodox style was castigated as ''crude, weird, undisciplined and black'' and during the Cultural Revolution he was so severely ''criticised'' he became schizophrenic.

Now his work has been re-assessed, and he is recognised as one of the masters of 20th-century Chinese art.

There is no doubt about the authenticity of any of the pieces on show, but - caveat emptor (let the buyer beware) - there now exists a thriving trade in fake Shi works, because his calligraphy is so idiosyncratic that even experts have been fooled. The show runs until May 31.

SOTHEBY'S spring sale at the Hotel Furama from May 3-5 will include an exceptionally strong representation of Chinese art, as well as an inaugural sale of postage stamps.

Among the highlights will be the auction of 35 Chinese lacquer items belonging to Edward Chow, the fabled collector or Chinese porcelain.

They include a circular cinnabar box of the Yongle period with an estimated value of $1.2 million, and a massive Qing dynasty screen. Elaborately carved, lacquered and encrusted with jade, ivory and cloisonne, it too is expected to fetch up to $1.2 million.

The star of the show however will probably be the only complete set of 12 blue and white ''month cups'' to appear at Sotheby's. Dating from the Kangxi period of the Qing dynasty (1662-1722) each tiny cup is decorated with a flower and poem appropriate to each month. The sale price is expected to reach $2.5 million. Previews from April 29. DESIGNED as a tribute to one of the most distinguished interpreters of Buddhism through art, The Dharma World of Kwok Hon Sum, illustrates the freshness and vitality of his work. The works, on display at the Pao Galleries in the Arts Centre from tomorrow until May 2, have been borrowed from collectors in the United States, Europe and Asia.

To complement the exhibition art historian Catherine Maudsley will present three illustrated talks to show how Buddhist beliefs, symbols and traditions are conveyed through artistic works. The lectures are free and will take place at the same venue on Wednesday and Friday at 6.30pm, and on Saturday at 2.30pm.

CHRISTIAN Ecker, the young Austrian artist is staging his first solo exhibition in Hong Kong at Gallery 7, in Glenealy, from May 3 to May 14.

Signs of the Times includes colourful, uplifting works from his native Salzburg, and darker landscapes - from a six-month tour of Latin America - depicting the encroachment of urban development on farmland.

INNOVATIVE, but careful, experimentation is the hallmark of Do Do Jin Ming's striking exhibition at the Pao Sui Loong Galleries in the Arts Centre, from May 3-12.

Behind My Eyes, includes photographic impressions from Europe that have been transformed into cathartic and thought-provoking juxtapositions by the use of toning and overlapping formats.