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.

The opening at 3pm was fairly quiet but it became busier by the hour and was packed by late evening. The fair was well attended by many familiar art professionals and sales by the reports I have heard, were solid.

The most interesting booths were the Chinese galleries Platform China, Star Gallery, Yang gallery and Taipei’s gallery Lin Lin. Platform China exhibited a number of works by Song Yuanyuan, Qin Qi and Bi Jianye. Song Yuanyuan had two great works on display and it seems like he is becoming a rising star as there were many buyers waiting for the works and both were reserved and sold at the opening.

Simon Wang from Yang gallery exhibited a number of young artists like Chen Zhuo, Yan Bing and Chen Zhuo, a recent graduate from the oil painting department of the Central Academy. She was a student of Yu Hong, Liu Xiaodong’s wife and a well-respected artist. Chen’s oil canvasses, painted in fine, flat oil brush strokes, featured an imaginative and colorful dream world. Wang Yuyang who brought ‘to life’ a freestanding cash machine that was transformed into a weird looking breathing creature. I saw his works at UCCA Beijing couple of years ago where he exhibited a room full of rubber replicas of home and office appliances all swelling and shrinking in a life like breathing action. The installation looked fantastic with all these ‘creatures’ next to each other. The ‘cash machine’ sold to an Australian collection although I’m not sure if they were aware that it’s not the real thing.

As ever, Star gallery of Beijing presented a strong display of their emerging artists. Works by Chen Fei, Gao Yu, Chen Ke and Star gallery’s rising star Qiu Jiongjiong. Qiu Jiongjiong works on paper attract a lot of interest and attention. From a distance they look like early traditional Chinese ink paintings but the initial appearance is misleading. Although the technique and the overall look is classic Chinese, the subjects are funny/weird looking creatures, hybrids of human figures and animals/monsters that are based on characters from Chinese traditional stories.

Another big success was a video by a Hong Kong based artist Kwan Sheung Chi shown by his HK gallery Exit. The video showed a close up of hands counting money. There were only five notes but the video ran in a continuous loop until counting reached 1Million HKD when it ended. More than 3 editions were sold by Saturday morning.

The most interesting local gallery in my opinion was Lin & Lin gallery. They represent the important Chinese artist Liu Wei (senior) alongside emerging Taiwanese artists like Liu Shi Tung and Lai Chiu-Chen. Liu Shi Tung fixes magazine paper cuts to soft white layered painted backgrounds that create this delicate garden/landscape-like collage. His works combine modern techniques with strong Asian identity and style, which makes them very desirable for Asian collectors. I was delighted to have acquired one of the two pieces the gallery had at the fair for the collection. Well done Art Taipei.

Eli Zagury,Curator
30th August 2011

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