Mianyang Subway Map

China on the Move: Art in transit

Chinese art and artists increasingly transit the urban world through exhibitions and collections. One such collection is White Rabbit (co-curators Judith and Paris Neilson, curatorial consultant Wang Zhiyuan). This collection and regularly-changing displays of Chinese art from 2000 was launched in Sydney in 2008. Located in a renovated warehouse, it is estimated to have cost some ten million AUS dollars. Collections and major survey exhibitions of contemporary Chinese art in galleries outside of China followed China’s own recognition of the potential of the avant-garde with the staging of the 1989 exhibition, China/ Avant-Garde (National Art Gallery, Beijing, curator Gao Minglu). The 1979 Stars and the more radical 85 Art New Wave played a significant role leading up to the China/Avant-Garde exhibition and the Chinese Government’s softening of its tolerance of contemporary art. This hardened again in the Chinese Government’s heavy handed response to the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests, but as a No U-Turn’ traffic sign placed outside the China/Avant-Garde exhibition flagged, there is no turning back. Following soon after the Beijing exhibition and spreading its influence internationally was Les magiciens de la terre 1989 (Georges Pompidou Centre and the Grande Halle at the Parc de la Villette, Paris, curated by Jean-Hubert Martin). In 1986, curator Fei Dawei took a collection of 1,200 slides of contemporary Chinese art to Paris instigating this exhibition that featured 50 Asian, African, Oceanic artists with 50 western artists. This Paris exhibition was the first time that Chinese contemporary art had been shown in a western public gallery. Many others followed including China’s New Art, Post-1989 (Hanart T Z Gallery, Hong Kong, curator Chang Tsongzung) that travelled to Australia and the USA in 1993. Others include Inside Out: New Chinese Art 1998 (Asia Society Galleries and P.S.1 Contemporary Art Centre, New York and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and other galleries in the USA, Mexico and the Asian region, curated by Gao Minglu); Transience: Chinese Experimental Art at the End ofthe Twentieth Century 1999 (The David and Alfred Smart Museum of Art, University of Chicago, curated by Wu Hung); Alors la Chine 2003 (Georges Pompidou Centre, Paris, curated by Fan Di’an); China Now 2006 (Sammlung Essl, Vienna, curated by Feng Boyi); China Power Station 2006 to 2008 (Serpentine Gallery and Battersea Power Station, London and Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art, Oslo and Beijing, curator Hans Ulrich Obrist); The Real Thing 2007 (Tate Liverpool UK, curated by Simon Groom and Karen Smith.); and Body Language 2008 (NGV International, Melbourne, curated by Dr Isabel Crombie).

The 1993 Venice Biennale was the first to include Chinese artists. The number of artists participating in biennales has continued to increase and their impact has grown. Chinese artist Cai Guo Qiang for example has exhibited in more biennales than any other artist from the East or the West. Many galleries from other parts of Asia and from the West have moved to China, in particular to Beijing and Shanghai. In 1991, Australian-born Brian Wallace set up Red Gate Gallery in Beijing and Swiss born, Lorenz Helbling set up ShanghART in 1996 in Shanghai. These are both now well-established China-based galleries. The establishment of the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art in 2007 in the 798 Art District in Beijing by Belgian collectors Guy and Myriam Ullens, with its emphasis on archiving and research, marks a significant point in the internal and interurban recognition of Chinese contemporary art. The opening exhibition of UCCA was titled 85 New Wave Art: The Birth of Chinese Contemporary Art, curated by Fei Dawei.

Ah well, you can’t win them all, ‘ I Mianyang Subway Map thought and plodded onward. Finally a man on a bicycle came past and without being asked Mianyang Subway Map he stopped. We walked and talked for a while before he suggested that I sit on the back carrier and let him pedal me’ back to Yinchuan, where he was going anyway. Twelve miles seemed too far to allow someone to pedal carrying me but I agreed to take up his offer until I could stop a truck or something faster. He was already carrying his three-year-old son on the crossbar, and a basket containing eggs on the handlebars. I hoped that his kindness wouldn’t be his downfall.

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