On the eve of the 2016 Shanghai Biennale, two art fairs will bring together over 100 galleries over the weekend.
Art Radar takes a look at some of the highlights from both the art fairs in the city.
November is a big month for Shanghai. From 10 to 13 November 2016, ART021 Shanghai Contemporary Art Fair will open its doors at the Shanghai Exhibition Center. Now in its fourth year, the fair is an officially sanctioned project of the 18th China Shanghai International Arts Festival and includes the participation of 84 galleries from 18 countries from around the world.
Meanwhile, from 9 to 13 November West Bund Art and Design will be held at West Bund Art Center. This year nearly 31 contemporary art galleries will participate from China and abroad.
Art Radar takes a look at some of the highlights from each of the fairs.
ART021 Shanghai Contemporary Art Fair
1. Pearl Lam Galleries
Pearl Lam Galleries has been operating for over 20 years and has galleries in Hong Kong, Shanghai and Singapore. The gallery explains their driving philosophy:
Based on the philosophy of Chinese Literati where art forms have no hierarchy, Pearl Lam Galleries is dedicated to breaking down boundaries between different disciplines, with a unique gallery model committed to encouraging cross-cultural exchange
At ART021, Pearl Lam will present an ambitious list of artists, including Chinese artists Qiu Deshu, Qin Yufen, Ren Ri, Su Dong Ping, Su Xiaobai, Yang Yongliang, Zhang Jianjun, Zhu Jinshi and Zhou Yangming as well as Indonesian artist Gatot Pujiarto. Each of the artists chosen focus on engaging in cross-cultural dialogue on contemporary art between China, the rest of Asia and the West, reflecting the mission of Pearl Lam Galleries.
2. OTA Fine Arts
OTA Fine Arts Gallery has been based in Tokyo for the past 16 years. Their stable of artists is diverse, with work ranging from painting to video art and crafts. The gallery has become increasingly regional in its focus and has recently had exhibitions with Korean, Chinese and Iranian artists. At ART021 they are bringing work from artists Takao Minami, Hiraki Sawa, Yayoi Kusama, Tsuyoshi Hisakado, Masanori Handa and Tomoko Kashiki.
Hiraki Sawa first came to international attention in 2002 with his work dwelling (2002), which displayed model airplanes flying around in the room, while monochrome screen images projected unusual events and perspectives of reality. He has since experimented with the moving image form and his recent works explore the possibilities and effects of screen images located in real-life exhibition spaces.
3. LEO XU PROJECTS
Founded in 2011 by curator and writer Leo Xu, LEO XU PROJECTS is a continuation of Xu’s curatorial experiments, featuring a young generation of artists from or living in China who work in a variety of media. The gallery also collaborates with international artists on occasion. With a presence at both ART021 Shanghai Contemporary Art Fair and West Bund Art and Design, Leo Xu Projects is presenting a range of artists including aaajiao, Chen Wei, Li Qing, Liu Shiyuan and Pixy Liao.
Chen Wei’s photographs of meticulously staged mise-en-scène blur the boundary between reality and dreamscapes, and for ART021 LEO XU PROJECTS brings the haunting work Statue (2015). For aaajiao, the virtual persona of Shanghai-based artist Xu Wenkai, this is another exhibition in a particularly busy year, with extensive exhibitions nationally and overseas, such as CFCCA in Manchester.
4. Tina Keng Gallery
Tina Keng Gallery is based in Taipei and Beijing and grew out of the Lin and Keng Gallery (1998-2009). They promote Asian artists, while building connections with international institutions and collections. For ART021 Tina Keng Gallery is bringing a broad spectrum of modern and contemporary Chinese artists: Sanyu, Wang Huaiqing, Su Xiaobai, Peng Wei, Su Meng-hung and Hou I-ting. Hou I-ting presents her latest pieces Li̍k-sú tsiam-tsílâng and Kiànn tsí No.1. Through embroidery, the artist examines current issues in a historical context, where she questions social phenomena from the female point of view.
West Bund Art and Design
Founded in 2013, BANK is the studio of MABSOCIETY, an international curatorial consultancy based out of Shanghai. It has an internationally focused exhibition programme and conducts research projects that investigate issues of cultural histories, particularly in the context of 21st century China. It was founded by curator, critic and artist Mathieu Borysevicz.
BANK is showing a number of artists at West Bund Art and Design, including Austin Lee, Wang Jiaxue and Jin Shan. Wang Jiaxue creates haunting and realistic oil paintings drawing inspirations from mannerism, El Greco and modern horror culture.
6. Beijing Art Now Gallery
Founded in 2004, Beijing Art Now Gallery’s mission is to support Chinese contemporary art in China and to archive Chinese contemporary art in the world art history. At West Bund Art and Design, Beijing Art Now Gallery will bring artists such as PARKER ITO, Zheng Wei and Yao Peng.
Yao Peng explores the exchange between art and propaganda, such as in What (2011), which mocks the Chinese government’s use of stamps as a propaganda tool. In this work he creates stamps that portray his own perspectives. He explains on White Rabbit Gallery that “some books can influence people’s thoughts for generations […]. What these books say eventually becomes the truth people worship.” In his work Yao Peng aims to present another storyline.
7. BOERS-LI GALLERY
Founded in 2005, BOERS-LI GALLERY represents contemporary Chinese artists working in a range of media, with a particular interest in the generation of “pre 85 – unofficial” artists in the 1970s and 1980s. The Gallery is bringing artists such as Zhang Wei, Tie Ying and Qiu Anxiong to West Bund Art and Design. Tie Ying produces work in a range of media, including photography and painting through which he often expresses his concerns with the changes in Chinese society. He explains his concerns with the changing media landscape in an interview with Asia Art Archive, saying that “the media are supposed to inform us, but I believe in fact they restrain our vision and close us within invisible fences.”
8. INK Studio
INK Studio is a Beijing-based gallery and international exhibition programme that focuses on documenting and responding to new developments in the media of ink painting currently emerging from China. At West Bund Art and Design, the gallery is bringing the immersive installation of Bingyi’s Wanwu, two land-scaled scrolls that index the climatological and topological conditions of a sacred Chinese site. They will also display two large paintings by Zheng Chongbin, who uses the interactions of ink, acrylic, paper and light to evoke nature’s structures. Inside the booth, two partially enclosed rooms showcase respectively Bingyi’s Fairies, a painting series that evokes the infinite variety of organismic life through microscopically detailed brushwork, and the sublime and meditative grids of Li Huasheng, who has turned away from a career as China’s preeminent landscapist to render the unfolding of life in the line.
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