Chinese artist-run spaces rise up again?

ARTIST RUN SPACES BEIJING CHINA

Eflux writer Carol Linghua Yu has written an interesting piece on the recent sprouting of independent artist-run spaces ‘born as a response to a specific situation in China’.

Event flyer - Small Productions

Event flyer - Small Productions

Obsessed with constructing physical infrastructure and state-of-the-art facilities she notes that ‘there is a staggering shortage of context-specific artistic experiments at all levels’.

The fundamental drives to make and work with art have somehow become lost in the glamour and power bestowed by the market on its active players. Such a loss has become especially glaring amidst the recent collapse of the art market. The market has stopped providing artists with a constant affirmation of their success. It’s real: it has become harder to sell work and the number of studio visits has dropped significantly; many are confused and anxious. What now?

She takes a  look at the response by artists who have developed  HomeShop in Beijing, Small Productions in Hangzhou, and the Observers’ Association in Guangzhou which are all self-sufficient, independent, conceptually ambitious, low-budget, and flexible. ‘They are immune to the commercial uncertainty of the art system and empowered by new artistic visions and achievements.’

Home Shop street party celebrating Olympic losers

Home Shop street party celebrating Olympic losers

She cautions that:

The market remains very much the primary site for the production and contemplation of art in China at the moment, and this obscures initiatives that fail to generate any immediate commercial activity or profit.

Most curators and critics here are unable to engage with such practices, and tend to dismiss them as too marginalized and vernacular for their rejection of mainstream forms.

but ends with optimism.  Passionate artist-initiated endeavours are not new in China and were particularly evident before the famed 1989 China Avant Garde exhibtion which brought Chinese art to the attention of the international art scene. She looks forward to their re-emergence:

After all, this is only the beginning. We hope that it doesn’t stop here.

Take a look at the full piece Doing art potluck style – Eflux – Carol Linghua Yu

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