15 March–10 April, 2013
Opening reception on Thursday, 14 March, 2013, 6–8pm
Pearl Lam Galleries, 6/F, Pedder Building, 12 Pedder Street, Central, Hong Kong
HONG KONG—Pearl Lam Galleries is pleased to present internationally renowned British
artist Jason Martin’s first solo exhibition in Hong Kong: Sacred Masters, Sacred Monsters:
Denizens of the Demonic Demagogue, opening to the public 15 March 2013. In this
important exhibition, Martin presents a new body of work where each painting has been
named after one of the world’s most notorious or tyrannical dictators. Each has been
composed in his signature style, using heavy impasto layers of oil paint tinted with vivid pure
Jason Martin exploded onto the global visual arts scene in the late 1990s in London as an
active member of the ‘Young British Artist’ generation, who came to the world’s attention in
the ground-breaking show Sensation: Young British Artists from the Saatchi Collection,
exhibiting alongside fellow ‘YBAs’ Damien Hirst and Tracey Emin.
Jason Martin pushes the boundaries of paint beyond the two-dimensional. Working on large
surfaces of aluminium, the artist moulds, scrapes and gouges oils to create turbulent, worked
surfaces, where the paint gains an almost sculptural quality in thickness and weight. The gesture
of the artist is made visible with paint smoothed into tumultuous waves or sliced to reveal the
shine of the metal beneath. The artist intensifies each work by using just one colour—rich
purple, electric blues and lime green. Martin allows the material itself to become the subject of
the work, the colour and the texture of the paint dominating the viewer’s experience.
The names used as titles for these works span across time and space, from ancient history to
the Second World War, across Guatemala, Peru, Costa Rica, Japan, Turkey and Vietnam.
Franco, the historic military leader of Spain who still remains Europe’s longest running political
dictator, is here represented by one of the largest works in the show. At almost two metres
wide, its bright blue dominates the room, drawing the viewer in to reveal its moulded surface.
Further works have been titled after Tojo, the Japanese Prime Minister responsible for the
attack on Pearl Harbour during the Second World War; Ataturk, the revolutionary statesman
credited as the first President of Turkey; and Obregon, the Mexican President known for
assassinating his predecessor. In the exhibition, Jezebel (2012) stands out as the only canvas
to stray from the rectangular format with its curved shape representing the only female
historical figure on display. Rather than being reduced by its more feminine form, Jezebel is
the tallest work in the show, its deep magenta hue and sensual curves enticing the viewer.
These names gain a mystical quality in their association with Martin’s work. The heavily
worked surfaces are suggestive of emotion—in some comparable to scarring, yet in others the
smooth texture soothing.
'Whether by democratic election or cultural reverie, nothing will stop us giving power to those
ideologies that champion figureheads and appeal en masse. Our choices, or what we feel as
our given rights, our liberty or freedom to pursue our own ideals, are key to a modern life in a
very uncivilised world. And by those choices we empower leaders that appeal to our emotions,
yet more significantly to our very concentrated prejudices.' Jason Martin, March 2013
Sacred Masters, Sacred Monsters: Denizens of the Demonic Demagogue will be the first solo
exhibition by a European artist at Pearl Lam Galleries Hong Kong since it opened in May 2012.
The exhibition represents the gallery’s mission to encourage cultural exchange between the
East and West, bringing important Western artists to a new audience in Asia.
'We are delighted to have Jason Martin’s solo exhibition in Hong Kong as our first by an
international artist since we opened last May. I have always been attracted to abstract
painting—especially those that are physical and sculptural, and first discovered Martin’s work
over 12 years ago. Following last year’s inaugural Chinese contemporary abstract show, it is
natural for us to feature an abstract artist for our first Western artist solo exhibition who is
representative of our gallery’s mission of nurturing cultural exchange.' Pearl Lam, founder of
Pearl Lam Galleries, March 2013
About Jason Martin
Martin, who was born in Jersey in the Channel Islands, takes inspiration from both Minimalism
and Abstract Expressionism and the Western tradition of gestural painting. He studied at
Chelsea School of Art and Goldsmiths College in London between 1989 and 1993. His distinct
style received early recognition, exhibiting in London, Japan and Germany. In 1997, he was
catapulted into the global visual arts scene through his participation in the groundbreaking
exhibition Sensation: Young British Artists from the Saatchi Collection. His works have been
widely seen in the USA and Europe in the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice, in 2009 and
Centro de Arte Contemporáneo de Málaga in 2008. Martin’s works are in numerous private
and public collections worldwide, such as the Government Art Collection, Great Britain; FNAC,
France; the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY; the Denver Art Museum; and Hirshhorn
Museum, Washington D.C.
About Pearl Lam Galleries
Founded by Pearl Lam, the Galleries' mission is to stimulate cross-cultural dialogue and
cultural exchange between the East and West by establishing distinct and rigorous
programming in each of its gallery spaces in Hong Kong, Shanghai and the forthcoming
Singapore gallery. Through this programming, the Galleries seeks to engage the local
community whilst bringing an international audience closer to home.
Pearl Lam Galleries is dedicated to championing Chinese artists who re-evaluate the
philosophy and perception of Chinese contemporary art, whilst also committed to presenting
major solo exhibitions by international artists including Jim Lambie, Jenny Holzer and Yinka