Michael Chow, Four seasons, 2018. Acrylic on paper, Polyptych. Framed: 182.88 x 88.2 x 7.62 cm each
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Over his eight decades, Michael Chow, known as ‘M’, has inspired countless paintings by the likes of Andy Warhol, Jean-Michel Basquiat, David Hockney and Ed Ruscha, and now – after a 50-year break – he has taken up painting, returning to his life’s true passion.

M’s solo exhibition at Sotheby’s Dubai comprises two sections. The first floor will present a series of large-scale mixed-media canvases, each created using a wide variety of precious and household materials including gold leaf and silver, paint sheets, acrylic, plastic, and other found items. The second floor will present a series of works on paper. The title for this series, “One Breath”, derives as much from its portrayal of the physical world as it does from an inner space – a quantity that is both abstract and spiritual.


M was born the son of Chinese national treasure and legendary Peking Opera Grand Master, Zhou Xing Fang, and in his youth moved to London to study architecture at Saint Martin School of Design. He opened his first restaurant in Knightsbridge on February 14, 1968 and it became an instant magnet for artists and celebrities alike, with iterations of Mr. Chow fine dining restaurants opening in Beverly Hills, New York, Miami and Las Vegas. The high-end dining spots continue to attract generations of devoted clients from art, fashion and music.

Throughout his life, the octogenarian has participated in so many forms of creativity – from architecture, to food, to installation, to film, to poetry. Even the restaurants were designed by himself with a unique and modern twist, with contemporary artworks by his friends Keith Haring, Jonas Wood and Julian Schnabel hung on the walls, and Lalique glass doors greeting diners. In the 1980s, Giorgio Armani visited at Mr Chow in New York and was so impressed by M’s architectural designs that he sent Armani tuxedos for all of the waiters. In return, Chow designed Armani’s Rodeo Drive boutique in 1987.

Michael Chow, Untitled, 2022. Household paint sheets, acrylic paint, sterling silver, plastic on canvas, 260 x 199 x 17.7 cm
Michael Chow, Untitled, 2022. Household paint sheets, acrylic paint, sterling silver, plastic on canvas, 260 x 199 x 17.7 cm

M’s bold approach to paintings brings together European and American strands of abstraction together with a Chinese conception of space and texture, and an appreciation for the tradition of calligraphy. Having debuted his oeuvre in China, this is the artist’s first exhibition in the Middle East.

The exhibition is on public view at Sotheby’s Dubai, in the heart of the Dubai International Financial District, from 30 May – 1 July, 2022.



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