Through 150 pieces of jewellery, together with six titanium sculptures, some of which have never before been seen publicly, Chan considers the act of creation, looking back on major moments in his continuing career across five decades.
Free and open to the public, The Wheel of Time premieres at Christie’s King Street headquarters in London, where it will be on view from September 4-10. This exhibition is the fifth that Christie’s has presented in collaboration with Wallace Chan, following previous shows in Hong Kong (2015, 2019) and Shanghai (2020, 2021). The majority of pieces on display, created during the past half-century, are generously on loan from many of Chan’s major international collectors.
The Wheel of Time serves as a metaphor for Chan’s labour-intensive working process, requiring meticulous attention to detail. His art embraces traditional aspects of Chinese aesthetics, combined with respect for the intrinsic qualities of his working materials, the unique skill employed in carving them, and the element of time involved in their creation.
A highlight of the exhibition will be Legend of the Colour Black, a remarkable black diamond shoulder brooch sculpture. The impressive centre stone of the piece, one of the largest known cut black diamonds in the world, weighs 312.24 carats, alongside silver grey diamonds, crystal sapphire, black agate, titanium and the Wallace Chan Porcelain, a material Chan has spent years developing which is five times stronger than steel.
Another notable piece is The Joy of Life brooch, featuring one of Chan’s most important motifs—a mesmerising butterfly—comprised of pink sapphire, sapphire, tsavorite garnet, diamond, yellow diamond, pearl and titanium.
Commenting on the exhibition, Wallace Chan said: “In the blink of an eye, half a century has flown by. I am humbled by the opportunity to present my largest exhibition in Europe at Christie’s in London. My heartfelt thanks go to Christie’s for supporting my creative journey throughout the years and across the globe. I am also grateful to my long term collectors for loaning the pieces, without their friendship the exhibition would not be possible. Time is an eternal wheel that rotates for infinity with neither beginning nor end. In the creative process, time is a theme so intangible, yet omnificent.”
Mei Y Giam, Christie’s Private Sales Director, Jewellery, commented: “We are delighted to bring Wallace Chan’s imagination to London and present this unique exhibition celebrating five decades of artistic excellence. Our fifth collaboration with Chan reaffirms Christie’s longstanding relationship with the artist, and we look forward to welcoming visitors to the exhibition.”
François Curiel, Chairman, Christie’s Europe, said: “A deeply philosophical man, Wallace infuses his jewels with Oriental spiritualism. This is the motif which he spends his entire creative life interpreting and reinterpreting, experimenting with endless combinations of gemstones, mediums, styles, aesthetics, and executed in his world-renowned techniques.”
Guillaume Cerutti, CEO, Christie’s, commented: “Christie’s is committed to supporting great artists and the evolution of their work. We hope collectors and art enthusiasts around the world will be enriched by this rare retrospective of Wallace Chan.”