Gallery Weekend Beijing Celebrates Official Opening of 2018 Edition

Beijing - March 24, 2018 – Gallery Weekend Beijing (GWBJ) announces the official opening of the second edition, celebrating contemporary art in China through a series of exciting programmes curated to best represent the cultural evolution in the city and country. From March 23 - 30, visitors, VIPs and art world enthusiasts will experience a judiciously curated showcase of the finest elements of the Beijing art scene featuring emerging and international artists from 22 galleries and institutions throughout the reputable 798 and Caochangdi Art Districts.


With a focus on Beijing’s artistic ecology and technology, GWBJ displays a strong presentation of the quality of art now established in the city. Having continued to develop at an organic pace, audiences can experience first-hand the city’s burgeoning art and culture scene through a diverse number of events and activities, that include new aspects for this year’s edition, such as the Public Art Projects, which feature and introduce over 60 artists across the 22 participating galleries, non-profit and cultural institutions.


“We are pleased to be able to show the art world what Beijing can offer,” says Amber Wang, Director of Gallery Weekend Beijing (GWBJ). “In the next week, Gallery Weekend Beijing will present Chinese artists, galleries and institutions alongside global contemporaries through a programme of talks, tours, exhibitions and new works celebrating contemporary art on the world stage. With a dedicated sector for public art, GWBJ is proud to introduce 9 outdoor large-scale installations and sculptures as part of the Public Art Projects which makes a debut this year, to the local and visiting audiences, and hope that these works together with the programme will continue to entice and engage conversations within and beyond Beijing.”  


This year GWBJ examines methods in which artists in China utilize the use of technology and what influences that has in the creation, discovery and sharing of work with the world. Parts of the programme will investigate how GWBJ is leading the use of digital platforms to champion cultural and creative happenings with the first artist talk in GWBJ’s two-year history, taking place online.


During yesterday’s opening Gala dinner (23 March 2018), GWBJ also presented  the annual ‘Best Gallery Exhibition Award’ to Gallery Yang for Zhang Yue’s solo exhibition If I Could. Ongoing until May 13, and curated by Cui Cancan, the show portrays the artist’s investigation with history of violence and how it’s perception has changed over the years with the introduction of visual technology and games. Founded in 2010 in Beijing’s 798 Arts District, Gallery Yang primarily represents young Chinese artists whose practices are in dialogue within the field of contemporary art. The 2018 jury consists of Lin Han and Wanwan Lei, Founders of M WOODS, Beijing; Hou Hanru, Director of MAXXI, Rome; Carol Yinghua Lu, Director of Inside-out Art Museum, Beijing; Yung Ma, Curator at the Centre Pompidou, Paris; and Tang Xin, Head of Art Collection of Taikang Insurance Group, Director of Taikang Space and Curator.


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Best Gallery Exhibition Award Winner: Zhang Yue Solo Exhibition If I Could Presented by Gallery Yang

Image courtesy of Gallery Weekend Beijing

The Public Art Projects is managed by Gallery Weekend Beijing 2018 with independent curator Jo Wei, and presents in total 9 public sculptures, including 4 sculptural works co-presented by the participating galleries (details below). Recognized as the hub of art in China, the 798 Art District, will showcase works for the GWBJ Public Art Projects for the first time. Participating artists in this section include: Timur Si-Qin, Cai Lei, Zhang Yue and Tong Kunniao as well we Sui Jianguo, Shen Yuan, Zheng Guogu, Liu Wei, and He An whose works displayed as the 798 Art District permanent collection.


“As a world-renowned art district, 798 encompasses a spacious public area and its own public art collection,” says Jo Wei, Curator of the Public Art Projects. “I am pleased to have been provided the opportunity to work with the collection, especially those by young artists providing a platform for them to present their talent to the public and visitors of Gallery Weekend Beijing. For the first Public Art Projects, I have selected 4 works by Timur Si-Qin, Cai Lei, Zhang Yue and Tong Kunniao, all born between the 80s and 90s and whose strong personalities come through in these works.”


Highlights of the Public Art Projects include:

·       Magician Space presents Forgiving Change Series by Timur Si-Qin (b. 1984). The work is inspired by dire climate changes that result in worsening and ever more frequent droughts and deforestations. The artist 3D-scans burnt wood found in northern California after the wildfire, and makes it into an aluminium sculpture. The work pertains to the fleeting present and aims at seeking consolations from within the inescapable framework of reality - to forgive the past, and to remain hopeful regarding the future.

·       Tang Contemporary Art presents Left by Cai Lei (b.1983). Through a brilliant use of the perspective, the work compresses the depth of a space, constantly creating paradoxes and reconciliations between visual illusions and mental perceptions as the audience examines the work from different angles.


·       Gallery Yang presents Untitled by Zhang Yue (b.1985). The work is inspired by the confinement of the prison. After signing an agreement, the viewer will become a participant, and step into the experience completely facing himself, no matter fear or peace.


·       Platform China presents Art Trash by Tong Kunniao (b.1990). The artist creates a massive trash can, and integrates into it his previous works. The work is inspired by a performance piece of himself; and the artist further develops the sarcasm and teases the system of contemporary art, and effectively demonstrates the vitality of a younger generation of artists.

Works on view in the permanent collection of the 798 Art District is:

·       Blind Portrait, by Sui Jianguo (b.1956) in the Bauhaus Square. The sculpture is the artist’s subversion of the mastery of artistic techniques. The artist deliberately avoids visual conventions and works solely on haptic intuitions.


·       Sky Ladder, by Shen Yuan (b.1959), close to the South Gate of 798 Art District. The work is a massive metal spiral staircase which penetrates two buildings; different social statuses embodied by the two buildings, tall and small, and the incomplete conditions onsite speak of the dilemma of life.


·       The Reveal of a Plain Garden, by Zheng Guogu (b.1970), in the Bauhaus Square. The work makes references to entertainment news found in newspapers, creates stone sculptures of words and effectively constructs a garden of words. The lightness of the content, and the weight of the sculptural material and the solemn form bring forth a stark contrast.


·       Porcelain IV, by Liu Wei (b.1972), close to the North Gate of 798 Art District. The artist combines in the work ceramics, a material that symbolises traditional, classical culture, and the form of rocket, a shape that symbolises technological advancements. The contrasts on the visual and the cultural dimensions make the work most impactful.


·       I am Curious Yellow, I am Curious Blue by He An (b.1971), on the Road 797. The artist takes lines from The English Patient and Natural Born Killers, and creates the neon sculptural work that is formed by outlines of the Chinese translations of the famous lines. The physical sentences glow with the urban landscape at night, effectively channeling the poetic sphere to the real.