IT IS hard to picture two places more different than the chrome and concrete madhouse of Central and the windswept expanses of Inner Mongolia. But later this week, the two will sit side by side, in the name of art. Opening on Friday, at the Hotel Furama Kempinski's Tang Room is a three-day exhibition of oil paintings by Chen Jiqun. Hardly your average artist, mainlander Chen chose in 1967 to leave the Academy of Arts in Beijing and journey as a shepherd to Inner Mongolia. Insisting Chen picked up his crook by choice and not through any whim of the Cultural Revolutionaries, the organiser of the exhibition, businesswoman and artist Nancy A. Koh Lee, said Chen stayed in Inner Mongolia for more than a decade and married a native woman. He makes a point of returning to the province at least once a year. Ms Lee said of her motivation for showing his work: ''I thought why not let my Hong Kong friends, who are constantly engaged in business and social activities, share the peace and tranquility of this rural Shangri-La?'' Hence a first Hong Kong exhibition for Chen whose work has been shown in Japan, Toronto, Singapore and Malaysia as well as the mainland. Although the Hong Kong exhibition consists mainly of paintings with the Mongolian landscape as background, there are also nudes, attempts at impressionism, scenes from Beijing and Penang, Malaysia, and a collection of sketches. The paintings sell for up to $60,000.