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Courtesy of M Woods
Courtesy of M Woods

What to Expect from the First Gallery Weekend Beijing

Picture of Freire Barnes
Freire Barnes
Art & Design Editor
Updated: 17 March 2017

Gallery Weekend has been running in Berlin since 2005, bringing together the best galleries to showcase extraordinary exhibitions in an effort to support the gallery system that nurtures artistic talent.  Now, for the first time, the initiative invites an international audience to explore contemporary art in Beijing.

‘Beijing has some of the best galleries China has to offer and the aim of Gallery Weekend Beijing (GWBJ) is to provide a platform to enhance the visibility of their work and to support the gallery format,’ said Thomas Eller, CEO of GWBJ. And the three-day event certainly promises to engage a native and international audience with the work of Beijing-based artists including Ai Weiwei, Asian Dope Boys and He Xiangyu at 18 participating galleries and museums.

He Xiangyu, 131 Lemons, 2016 | Courtesy of White Space

He Xiangyu, 131 Lemons, 2016 | Courtesy of White Space

Home to the largest community of artists in China, Beijing has a rich and distinct art scene, predominantly based in the northern art districts of 798 Art Zone and Caochangdi. Here, artists challenge the conventions of art and the boundaries of what is acceptable. GWBJ will offer the opportunity to explore a range of artistic practices from analogue photography and oil painting, to ink wash animation and performance.

Portrait of Li Songsong in his studio | Courtesy of Pace Beijing

Portrait of Li Songsong in his studio | Courtesy of Pace Beijing

Qiu Anxiong, New Classics of Mountains and Seas 1, Video Animation, 2013-2017 | Courtesy of Boers-Li

Qiu Anxiong, New Classics of Mountains and Seas 1, Video Animation, 2013-2017 | Courtesy of Boers-Li

Wanting to create ‘a more intimate alternative to the art fair’, GWBJ gives collectors and art lovers the opportunity to experience art ‘in rewarding and meaningful ways’ over three days which are divided into collector’s day (March 17), gallery day (March 18) and museum day (March 19), the latter two of which are open to the public.

Courtesy of UCCA

Courtesy of UCCA

At the four institutions taking part, you can see a combination of shows, including recent acquisitions of international and Chinese artists at Sishang Art Museum, a solo presentation of French artist Cristof Yvoré at M WOODS and Chinese portrait photography over the centuries at Taikang Space. Ullens Center for Contemporary Art will also present a survey of art in China today.

Shen Xin, Nightingale Provocation, 2016-2017 | Courtesy of UCCA

Shen Xin, Nightingale Provocation, 2016-2017 | Courtesy of UCCA

While at the 14 galleries taking part in the weekend, you can visit solo presentations like Ink Studio’s focus on Tai Ziangzhou or Song Peng at Hive Center for Contemporary Art. Boers Li Gallery will be showing the ink-wash animation work of Qiu Anxiong and Galleria Continua will present Zhuang Hui’s work, which responds to the restrictions of an authoritarian political system.

Zhuang Hui, Qilian Range 14, 2016 | Courtesy of Gallerie Continua

Zhuang Hui, Qilian Range 14, 2016 | Courtesy of Gallerie Continua

GWBJ is set to be an engaging weekend that will be accompanied by a programme of events including talks and guided walk throughs of some of the exhibitions. Also the best exhibition will be awarded to the show that illustrates the ‘the importance of exhibitions in the process of creating art.’


Gallery Weekend Beijing is on at various galleries and museum, March 17 (Collector’s Day), 18-19 (Public days), 2017.