HONG KONG—Michael Chow, the famous restaurateur behind ‘Mr Chow’ Chinese restaurants
worldwide, will present his first ever solo exhibition, Recipe for a Painter, opening 13 January
2014 in Hong Kong at Pearl Lam Galleries.
For Chow, who paints under the pseudonym ‘Yinghua’—his Chinese name, the exhibition
represents a return to his cultural heritage after a break of more than 50 years during which he
became a prominent figure within the US art scene, as well as a serious collector of
contemporary art. For Pearl Lam Galleries, Yinghua’s work embodies its continuous desire to
stimulate cross-cultural dialogue and cultural exchange between East and West. Recipe for a Painter will present a series of very large-scale mixed-media canvases, each created using a
wide variety of precious and household materials including gold leaf and silver, trash, acrylic
paint, melted metal, and other found items. Yinghua describes his artistic practice as
intrinsically linked to his cultural heritage and ongoing relationship with China, a country with
which he has a complex history.
As a child Chow was forced to leave the country, sent to the UK for schooling when his parents
preempted the Cultural Revolution under Chairman Mao. During this period, Chow’s father
Zhou Xinfang, to this day considered one of China’s most renowned and beloved Beijing Opera
or ‘Jing Ju’ performers, disappeared. Chow never saw him again, and only saw his mother once
more when she came to visit him at school.
His work is a product of his cross-cultural inheritance and the post-war generation in which he
grew up, his work referencing simultaneously Abstract Expressionism, Colour Field painting
and the associated consistency of form, and the landscape traditions of Chinese ink and
calligraphy. The unique fusions in Yinghua’s work are not restrained to cultural and artistic
influences; the performative and the painterly instincts in the artist combine in the gestures
expressed across his large-scale canvases. Yinghua believes that every detail in his work is its
own universe that in turn filters into a powerful whole. The mature paintings he is exhibiting at
Pearl Lam Galleries are the creative culmination of a lifetime of details.
"I love China. Although it was taken away from me at a very young age, it has remained with
me for my entire life. Everything I have done or accomplished has been an attempt to
reconnect with my culture. My father was a great artist, albeit in a different medium, so it is
particularly humbling and gratifying to return as an artist to the place my heart has always
called home." Mr Chow aka Zhou Yinghua ~O-O~
“I have a long-held respect for Michael Chow in the many roles he holds in the international art
scene. It is rare to find one man with such diverse friendships and multicultural ties across the
world, and I am delighted to be presenting his long-awaited return to painting after 50 years.”
Pearl Lam, Founder of Pearl Lam Galleries
About Mr Chow aka Zhou Yinghua
Zhou Yinghua was born in 1939 into a family of theatre in Shanghai, China. His father Zhou
Xinfang, the grandmaster of Beijing Opera, is regarded as a national treasure to this day. In his
early years, surrounded by a loving family and a famous father, Yinghua developed a passion
for Beijing Opera, particularly the spontaneity and creativity which his father excelled
at. Yinghua dreamed of being a great artist in the opera. This was not his fate.
At the age of 13, he was sent to London, England. He lost everything familiar—his family, his
language, his culture, even his name. Zhou Yinghua was re-branded Michael Chow. Alone and
devastated in an alien world, “Michael” struggled to assimilate but found solace in visual arts.
Art was a language Michael could grasp with ease and Michael’s childhood dream of being an
artist shifted from opera to painting. Michael wanted nothing more than to be an artist,
however, at that time, being a Chinese artist, he was often met with rejection and exclusion.
For over a decade, he scrapped and even starved. While he knew in his soul he had the talent
and drive, he came to the conclusion that it was not enough. The world was not ready. Michael,
sacrificing his art for his survival, decided to take a break, a break that became a long radical
He founded his first restaurant, MR CHOW, in 1968 in Knightsbridge, London. It became an
international success spawning locations around the world. Michael thrived at designing, from
specialty boutiques for Giorgio Armani, to his own restaurants and his home in Los Angeles.
Michael has continued to be involved in all walks of creativity from architecture, theatre and
film. He is an appointed member of the Board of Governors for The Broad Museum.