Beijing – Singapore

Last week I returned from a long awaited visit to Asia. I started in Beijing, the heart of the Chinese art world and the home of many of China’s leading contemporary artists and dealers. I met many of my colleagues whom represent the whole spectrum of the local art industry: artists, dealers, collectors, private consultants and auction executives. I visited galleries like Star Gallery, Platform China, Shanghart, White space, 0110001 and many others to get a sense of current trends and the state of the market.

As ever before, the market’s health is not very clear or easy to understand. Due to the very volatile and rapid development of China’s economy and society in recent years, the contemporary art scene in the mainland is struggling to find a balance. Collectors, buyers and dealers are very cautious and sometimes act nervously, trying to find the right path forward. They spread their interests and targets in different directions whilst trying to hit or create a new trend. Their focus varies from Contemporary painting to classic painting, from Chinese contemporary ink to modern abstract. Their search extends well beyond the mainland, from South East Asian contemporary art to Japanese avant-garde from the 1960’s.  Continue reading

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Bienal de Sao Paulo, 2012

Wondering around such an enormous space with so much information in the form of images, texts, paintings and an endless number of installations placed above, below, to the right and left of you, can be overwhelming. But somehow the curators of the 13th Sao Paolo Biennale, under the leadership of Luis Pérez-Oramas, did a very good job both in terms of the content and the display. Considering its vast size, they managed to keep the excitement, interest and tension, throughout most of the show. Continue reading

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CINDY SHERMAN, MOMA, NEW YORK

First a caveat, I have never really understood the fascination that so many people have with Cindy Sherman’s work, or been able to fully recognise the genius that so many others see. A genius that has elevated her to iconic status and wide recognition as one of the most important contemporary artists.

Perhaps because of the above, I was really looking forward to seeing this major show at MOMA. Perhaps it would help me appreciate what I’ve been missing? I had the privilege of a curatorial tour through a closed MOMA. (If you love MOMA during the day, when it’s bustling and often overcrowded, just think how great it is completely empty. It really is wonderful.) Continue reading

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NY ARMORY SHOW 2012

As I didn’t make it to NY for the preview day I was expecting I would have to fight my way through crowds to see the show. I was wrong. This year the Armory had a VIP hour each day throughout the show period – which was great – when I went I literally had the place to myself. Well done to the Armory for this initiative. I’m sure others will follow. Continue reading

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Swatch Art Peace Hotel, Shanghai

Swatch Hotel, Restored Lobby

I was lucky to be invited to the new artists residency project sponsored by Swatch group and Jin Jiang Hotel group in Shanghai. The project placed within the Swatch Art Peace Hotel, opened for the first time during autumn 2011. This amazing 1909 building, located in the middle of the Bund on the Huangpu river banks, was restored to perfection. Continue reading

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Chinese Artist- Yang Zhichao

This week, the energetic and inspiring Katie and George de Tilly, introduced me to the work of a great Chinese artist Yang Zhichao. His show ‘Chinese Bible’ opened in their gallery Chancery Lane last night. For Chinese Bible, Yang Zhichao spent three years collecting from markets and second – hand shops the personal diaries of overlapping generations. The 3,000 notebooks inscribed with personal writings span 50 years from 1949 to 1999. The show also features 40 pencil drawings the artist made based on pages from the diaries. Two of these drawings will be making their way to the Franks-Suss Collection.

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Visiting SH Contemporary, Shanghai, 2011

Giant Lego cat 'Xiao Sui' by Yan Cong at Star gallery booth

SH Contemporary is alive and kicking. Badly affected by the rise of Hong Kong Art Fair (now Basel), the successful newcomer Art stage Singapore and the market slow down of 2009, SH Contemporary is not giving up. The fair opening evening was crowded, collectors were present and deals were in evidence.  Pace Beijing sold a Li Songsong ‘portrait’ and a Zhang Xiaogang recent painting before the opening. The dominant piece in their booth was an impressive large metallic blue sculpture by Yue Minjun. Continue reading

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Art Taipei

Art Taipei is a good example of how small regionally focused fairs are becoming increasingly more relevant whilst larger fairs continue to lose their way.

It is always good to meet new faces and many of the galleries showing at ArtTaipei art were Taiwanese galleries not previously known to me. They were accompanied by a large number of small Japanese galleries. Continue reading

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Kohei Nawa Exhibition

A few weeks ago I travelled for 48 hours to Tokyo to see one of the best solo museum shows I have ever seen, the current exhibition of Japanese artist Kohei Nawa “SYNTHESIS” at the Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo. The exhibition is a major survey of his work shown across 10 gallery spaces, each featuring a body of work from a different series, created by Nawa over the past 8 years.

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Art Beijing 2011

In recent years due to the exponential growth in the number of art fairs, we have had to become more selective as to which we attend. Its not that we wouldn’t love to visit them all, or most of them, but it has just become physically impossible. And so it happens that I didn’t visit Art Beijing for 2 years, until this month. I went and I was very happy I did!

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