What to see at the inaugural Beijing Gallery Weekend 2017

2017 sees the first edition of the Beijing Gallery Weekend.

The Beijing Gallery Weekend (GWBJ), directed by Germany artist Thomas Eller, spotlights 14 galleries and 4 museums in Beijing between 17 and 19 March 2017.

Li Songsong, 'Historical Materialism', 2014. Oil on canvans. Image courtesy Pace Beijing.

Li Songsong, ‘Historical Materialism’, 2014, oil on canvas. Image courtesy Pace Beijing.

The first gallery weekend in the world opened in 2004 in Berlin, to offer a more intimate space for galleries and collectors in comparison to art fairs, and to attract more international art collectors to the city. The difference with Berlin is that many great young artists emerging in Beijing are not working together with a gallery. This event highlights the reciprocal relationship between galleries, collectors and artists necessary for a sustained long-term development of artists.

Song Peng, 'Perjury & Genesis, Drag and Death' , 2016. Acrylic on canvas. Image courtesy Hive Center

Song Peng, ‘Perjury & Genesis, Drag and Death’, 2016, acrylic on canvas. Image courtesy Hive Center.

Most of the galleries selected for the 2017 GWBJ are located in the 798 Art District, an old decommissioned complex of military factories that has housed a thriving artistic community since the early 1990s. The 14 galleries taking part are Boers-Li Gallery, Galleria Continua, Tang Contemporary Art, Long March Space, Hive Center for Contemporary Art, White Space, Galerie Urs Meile, Magician Space, INK Studio, Pace Beijing, PIFO Gallery, Shangh-ART Gallery, Gallery Yang and Platform China, while participating art institutions include M WOODS, Sishang Art Museum, Taikang Space and Ullens Center for Contemporary Art.

In conversation with Art Radar, Thomas Eller (who is the director of the Temporäre Kunsthalle Beijing) let Art Radar into the selection process for the events listed in Gallery Weekend Beijing:

If you want to create something meaningful for a place like Beijing, you need to be very focused. It was very clear in the beginning that we had to deliver a proposition. Come to Beijing the weekend before Art Basel Hong Kong and you will get to see the best exhibitions in Beijing in the year! The goal was to start with a dozen galleries only to be able to keep the promise of highest quality. We finally put together a list of 14 top galleries and completed that with four excellent private museums/art institutions, because they also play an important role in creating artistic value for the Beijing art world.

Art Radar highlights four must-see events.

Zhuang Hui,' Qilian Range', 2016. Image courtesy the artist.

Zhuang Hui, ‘Qilian Range’, 2016. Image courtesy the artist.

1. Galleria Continua — “Zhuang Hui: Qilian Range”

Galleria Continua Beijing presents a new solo show of Zhuang Hui, “Qilian Range”. Nearly all the works contained in the exhibition resulted from the artist’s trips to the Qilian Mountains. The works displayed in the main exhibition hall at Galleria Continua can be understood as a microcosm of Zhuang’s experiences in the mountains. Curated by Colin Siyuan Chinnery, “Zhuang Hui: Qilian Range” is the first step in a long-term project engaging ideas of landscape. Having spent six years observing and experiencing the Qilian landscape, Zhuang has gradually formed a personal connection with a part of his cultural heritage that has perhaps been lying dormant.

COME INSIDE, Love Spam, 2017, Mobile APP.   Courtesy of the artist

COME INSIDE, ‘Love Spam’, 2017, mobile APP. Image courtesy the artist.

2. Long March Space — “Marching in Circles”

Long March Space’s first exhibition of 2017 in the Year of the Rooster, “Marching in Circles”, featuring new work by Asian Dope Boys, COME INSIDE (Mak Ying-tung & Wong Ka-ying), Liu Wei, Yu Honglei and Zhang Xinjun, among others. The exhibition seeks to offer an imagined alternative to the increasing consumerist culture that exists in the (art) world where the members of the global (art) economy, in one way or another, can be seen as culprits. Particular highlights of the group exhibition are Tianzhuo Chen’s club-night-cum-record-label Asian Dope Boys (established by Tianzhuo Chen and China Yu in 2015), who will provide access to its visual archive by plastering a portion of the exhibition space with posters and photos of nightlife and other events as a testament to what artists can do outside the gallery proper. Hong Kong collective COME INSIDE (formed by Mak Ying-tung and Wong Ka-ying in 2016) also invite visitors into their world, by inviting them to download an app with two important core functions: transferring money to the starving artists behind the project, and receiving push notifications that alternate between life-coach cheerleading and the onset of depression.

Wu Chen, 'Bad Man Can Also End Up in Heaven', 2015. Acrylic on canvas,300×200cm. Image courtesy Magician Space.

Wu Chen, ‘Bad Man Can Also End Up in Heaven’, 2015, acrylic on canvas, 300 x 200 cm. Image courtesy Magician Space.

3. Magician Space — “Wu Chen: Bad Man Can Also End Up in Heaven”

Magician Space presents its second solo show for painter Wu Chen, “Bad Man Can Also End Up in Heaven”. Curator Liu Ye tells Art Radar about the artist:

If you are familiar with art history or the art world, looking at a painting by Wu Chen can be absorbing as it is interesting. He tampers, appropriates and mixes together works and artists found within the annals of art history. The art world is becoming more like an underworld of gangsters. When talking about art, the words of an artist are like ciphers understood only by their inner circle. If however, you happen to be not so conversant with art history, this shouldn’t put you off and turn you away either. A misreading has always been one other way of reading and often leads to the creation of something that can be much more unexpected.

Pu Yingwei, 'Roman Nomade-postercard Roman Nomade and Unknown Travel-A Brief History of a Colonialist', 2016. Image courtesy the artist.

Pu Yingwei, ‘Roman Nomade-postercard Roman Nomade and Unknown Travel-A Brief History of a Colonialist’, 2016. Image courtesy the artist.

4. Hive Center for Contemporary Art — Pu Yingwei

Hive Center for Contemporary Art are holding “Roman Nomade: Pu Yingwei Solo Project”, commissioned by The Hive Becoming project, which present solo exhibitions of young artists who have foreign education background. Pu Yingwei (b.1989) is the first artist to be given the exhibition space. After his graduation from Sichuan Fine Art Institute in 2013, he continued his study at École nationale supérieure des beaux-arts de Lyon. Pu Yingwei’s creation is based on his research of literature; he believes that the individual experience and memory are evidences for one’s existence in the world. In this exhibition, all works and displays are from the artist’s collection on exotic culture and minority races from 2013 since he moved to France. Through different media such as video, installation, photography, painting and text, the artists crosses the boundaries of race, country, religion and language, finally creating his personal history. For this project, all texts provided by the artist are part of the show, as included in his profile and proposal.

Rebecca Close

1598

Related Topics: Chinese artistsinstallationpaintingoillandscapegallery showsevents in Beijing

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