The China Information Company

December 21, 2013
by admin

798 and beyond

Most of us know the 798 Dashanzi art district in Beijing – once hosting a thriving awakening art scene, now being a still interesting but far more commercial place.
798798_street view
And then there´s of course Beijing´s Caochangdi quarter, rougher and less accessible as 798. My personal favourite there being the Three Shadows Photography Art Centre run by RongRong & inri.
CaoCD3Sh_10But what else is there?
One of the most important and artistically significant spaces is Songzhuang Town near Beijing, a real community and artist village.

Art Radar Asia has taken a look at some further art districts – the most prominent being the city of Chengdu with its New Century City Art Centre (work in progress) designed by Zaha Hadid Architects, comprising of three auditoria, an art museum, an exhibition centre, a conference centre, shops, and a 30,000 square-metre space for contemporary art.

Another example is Datong´s (Shanxi Province) New City cultural plaza with its Museum of the 21st Century, designed by London-based Foster + Partners.

Of course there are many more spaces, especially cutting-edge museum buildings or gallery spaces, some of them are being featured at xinhuanet – but most of them are no quarters or communities.

It is obvious that China has the willing and the capacity to enable cutting-edge architecture within almost no time, so the “hardware” (so to say) is guaranteed. One of the most important points concerning a potential sustainable development in this field will be the ability to ensure and provide alongside expertise and know-how, i.e. art historians, curators, develop collections or cooperation, select relevant exhibition pieces etc. – the necessary “software” to run these spaces and entrench them within the art landscape.

Further bits:
43,000 more museums (previous blog post).
Boooom Museums (previous blog post).
New City Art Centre Images (arch20 blog).
Songzhuang (artspeakchina).
Top Ten Art Places (art radar asia).

December 3, 2013
by admin

It is he who drinks tea that will truly find greatness

Remember my previous posts on tea?
Yellow cup open
In Two Leaves and a Bud I talked about some basics
and in Poetically Tea I featured a wonderful poem by Huang Fuzeng:
Saw Lù Yǔ off to Pick Tea.

Tea bags

To continue with info on my favourite drink:
The World of Chinese hast posted information on some of the ost known tea specialities:
Chinese Tea: 10 of the Best

Iron Goddess, Silver Needles, Pu Erh, Lapsang Souchong – you will find it all there!
Together with some short notes on health effects and hints for preparation.

Further bits:

Two Leaves and a Bud.
Poetically Tea.
The World of Chinese.
Tea (wiki, a quite comprehensive introduction).

November 12, 2013
by admin

TOP 10!

Are there Chinese artists represented in international auction sales? Of course! How many of them are among the Top Ten? You won´t believe it: 5 out of 10! And you may be staggered by the names…



The most recent ranking by according to auction sales in 2012:

1)    Andy Warhol, € 239.000.000
2)    Zhang Daqian, € 207.900.000
3)    Pablo Picasso, € 207.200.000
4)    Qi Baishi, € 195.600.000

6)    Xu Beihong, € 127.500.000
7)    Li Keran, € 121.000.000

10) Fu Baoshi, € 110.100.000

Art Market 2012_enArtprice´ report “The Art market in 2012 – A Dialogue between East and West” focusing on China´s art market, describing China´s specific collection culture, shows numbers for Chinese auction houses, gives details in Chinese Top Ten painters in 2012 (all of them already deceased!) und last not least features an interesting interview addressing questions such as “How does the Western art market view the development of Contemporary Chinese works in ink and wash?” , “Can you help Westerners better understand how and artwork and its financial value are related in China” or “What is the Chinese market’s best asset?“

Further bits:
Previous blog-post on rankings “Who´s the best?“.
Report “the_art_market2012_online_en” (pdf).
atprice: art market insight.

October 16, 2013
by admin

The Global & The Arts

Discussion with the curator of the Chinese pavilion, Wang Chunchen, during the preview of the Venice Biennial: Does globalisation – which began as a merely economic development – have an impact upon the various spheres of artistic production and reception?

Curator Wang Chunchen; photo: Hu Zhiheng 2013

Do we see the beginning of a mainstreaming in art production, the emergence of a global iconography? Does this development on the other hand imply an equal participation of artists around the world in the processes and structures of the art market and raise the visibility of non-Western art? If one takes a closer look at the predominant structures of the art market, galleries or big exhibitions: still, most of the international key players are from a Western background. This becomes relevant when thinking about the (already vanishing?) “curatoriat” (John Clark), a term describing the power of selecting contemporary artworks and thus determining access and establishing international canons. Could the visibility of any non-Western art depend upon the artists ability to speak a visual language that is easily understood in a global context.

Entrance to the China Pavilion, Venice Biennial 2013

The Global and the Contemporary
Artists work in a local context while at the same time longing for international reputation. To be outstanding within the global art world one may need to take recourse to the regional culture, to the local iconography as a space of authenticity. Artworks are not global themselves, but stem from a location, travel the world and create local reactions. It should be emphasized that The Global is not a style rather it is a condition. These trends on a global scale require new approaches of being analysed, conceptualized, presented, valued – be it in academia, in art projects, in exhibitions etc.

Wang_Chunchen_Yishu2013 (pdf, download) published in Yishu. Journal of Contemporary Chinese Art, September 2013

October 6, 2013
by admin

Exhibitions Everywhere!

Wherever you are going in Europe there may be some Chinese artists on display at the moment…


Yu Likwai – Opening on Oct 10, Gmunden/Austria

Yu Likwai, High Shine 2, 2012-13, pigment print mounted on aluminium

Shuffling the Cards – the 5th Round by Alexandra Grimmer featuring inter alia Hong Kong artist Yu Likwai who so far has been especially known for being a cinematographer.
October 9, 2013 – November 9, 2013
Hipp Halle Gmunden, Theresientalstraße 68, 4810 Gmunden
Previous blog post: Shuffling The Cards

Frieze Art Fair – Until Oct 20, London/UK
On display inter alia HU Xiangqian, XU ZHEN by MadeIn Company, XU Zhen, GUO Fengyi, YANG Shaobin, ZHAN Wang, LIU Wei, ZHU Yu, WANG Sishun.

Yang Shaobin, Blue Room 21, 2010, oil on canvas.

Oct 17, 2013 – Oct 20, 2013
Frieze Art Fair, Regent’s Park, London

Istanbul Biennial – Until Oct 20, Istanbul/Turkey
Unfortunately, there is only one Chinese artists featured there: the famous Wang Qingsong.

Wang Qingsong, Follow You, 2013.

13th Istanbul Biennial


Zhao Zhao – Until Oct 27, Berlin/Germany
Game Of Thrones features the mise-en-scène of a Chinese Emperor’s Throne from the collection of the Museum für Asiatische Kunst (Kangxi Period, 1662-1722). Konstantin Grcic, Kirstine Roepstorff, Simon Starling, and Zhao Zhao present different contexts for an exhibition arranged into a seemingly absurd juxtaposition of four throne rooms.
Humboldt Lab Dahlem, Museum für Asiatische Kunst, Berlin

Momentum – Until Oct 27, Berlin/Germany

Miao Xiaochun, Restart, 2008-10, 3D computer animation.

The Best of Times, The Worst of Times Revisited: Selected Videos From The 1st Kiev Biennale, group exhibition featuring inter alia Miao Xiaochun with Restart and Yang Fudong´s Yejiang/The Nightman Cometh.
Kunstquartier Bethanien, Berlin

Wang Haiyang – Until Nov 2nd, Paris/France

Wang Haiyang, Freud Fish and Butterfly, Video.

Press Release: “Wang Haiyang is far removed from the dominant currents of contemporary Chinese art, which are often characterized by social content and political metaphors. His work explores the various states of the subconscious and our twisted relationships with our desires. Faced with his canvases and videos, we are moved not so much to understand or explain them as to let ourselves be carried away by the unbridled imagination of the artist: the bodies transform and metamorphose, while enigmatic images put us face to face with disturbing emotions.”
Galerie Paris Beijing, Paris

September 29, 2013
by admin


Vorarlberg, the most Western province of Austria, is quite famous for its architecture, especially for its alliance between tradition and innovation, between timber constructions and contemporary design.

festspiel kongresshaus bregenz, marco-mathis-archiv-vorarlberg-tourismus. source:

This spring they have started another astonishing initiative: people on the countryside waiting for the public bus touring through Bregenzerwald – a small region in Vorarlberg especially known for its regional cheese making dairies – do not have to wait just at the roadside.

In cooperation with local architects and craftsmen, a range of seven international architects is going to design the bus shelters for this public transportation – amongst them Wang Shu, Chinese Pritzker Laureat 2012, and Japanese Sou Fujimoto.

How can the province afford this construction project? According to official news the fee for each of this reknown architects is…. – a free week of holiday in Vorarlberg.

Wang Shu is in rather great demand: he is also jury member for the Aga Khan Award Architecture as well as for the Austrian Wienerberger Brick Award.


Further bits:
Previous blog post on Wang Shu: And the Winner is…
Bus::Stop Project Info.
BUS::Stop, official newsticker (only in German language).
Wang Shu (wiki).
Wang Shu´s studio.
Suo Fujimoto (wiki).
Architecture in Vorarlberg (only in German language).
Aga Khan Award Architecture.
Wienerberger Brick Award.

September 19, 2013
by admin

Shanghai Cinema

In the West, when it comes to Chinese films or movies we typically think about martial art cinema (Wuxia) and movies such as Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon by Ang Lee with their fantastical fighting scenes. Also, Shanghai-born Wong Kar-Wei and his films are very well known.
Shanghai has always been the gateway for any kind of Western influence. Accordingly, in China motion pictures were firstly introduced in Shanghai by the end of the 19th century, beginning of the 20th century respectively. To further build on this tradition and to re-energise the city’s contemporary film programming the Shanghai Film Museum recently opened its doors. “According to the museum spokeswoman, the new museum is part of the Chinese government’a efforts to encourage more museums as well as the film industry; “ further details in Lisa Movius´article for The Art Newpaper.

Further bits:
The Art Newspaper, Shanghai Film Museum.
Shanghai Film Museum.
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon Official Trailer (YouTube).
Chinese Cinema (wiki).
The Chinese Mirror. A Journal of Chinese Film History.

September 10, 2013
by admin

Huang Yi & KUKA

Experienced a fantastic performance at this year´s Ars Electronica Festival!

An incredible poetically duet between Huang Yi and an industrial robot – to the strains of Arvo Pärt and Johann Sebastian Bach respectively.

Watch a piece of the performance here (2min 34s) or performance & artist talk in Chinese (15min).

Further bits:
Huang Yi.
Huang Yi at Ars Electronica.
Arvo Pärt.