In its first ever edition, Gallery Weekend Beijing 2017 has showcased Beijing’s extraordinary art scene, highlighting the work of the city’s emerging contemporary artists. Bringing together 18 galleries and art institutions, it presented the work of both emerging and established Chinese artists to an international audience of collectors, museum curators, art professionals and art enthusiasts. Drawing from the success of the Gallery Weekend Berlin, the Chinese capital has provided a platform to enhance the visibility of Chinese artists’ work and to support the gallery format. Enabling collectors and art lovers to explore art in a relaxing atmosphere and in rewarding and meaningful ways, it gathered an impressive roster of over 60 artists in well-curated exhibitions. The highlight of the event was the Best Gallery Exhibition Award that was presented on March 14th to Zhuang Hui at Galleria Continua.
The Gallery Weekend Beijing has been created to place the focus on galleries and how their exhibitions provide the best art experience to their visitors. With the Best Gallery Exhibition Award, the event has placed an emphasis on exhibitions as a collaborative effort in which galleries and artists work together, but also as places where one can best experience art. After years of hard work in the studio, exhibitions serve as an emotional highlight for the artist, at the same time providing a unique opportunity for the audience and collectors to understand and enjoy their work. Emphasizing the importance of exhibitions in the process of creating art, the award aims to support galleries in producing truly excellent shows. Putting this experience of art in focus, the award gave equal chance to established and emerging artists, only evaluating their artistic vision and achievement as expressed in their exhibition.
Comprised of art professionals Carol Lu, Yung Ma, Karen Smith, Tang Xin, and Phili Tinari, the jury has decided to present the award to Zhuang Hui and Galleria Continua for the exhibition Qilian Range, curated by Colin Siyuan Chinnery. Working within the rich and enduring tradition of landscape painting in Chinese art and culture, Zhuang has traveled to the mountains he saw growing up in Yumen – Qilian mountain range. For the artist, being in nature means being outside of society and its everyday logistics, allowing him to contemplate something much older and larger than man and connect with something more fundamental than the subject matter he had become known for. Zhuang’s exhibition was chosen for the award for its ability to translate great outdoor experience of the Qilian mountain range into an installation in the gallery space applying minimal strategies and surprising pictorial inventions. The jury also gave a Special Mention to Roman Nomade, a solo project by Pu Yingwei at Hive Art Center for its transformation of the exhibition space.
The Best Gallery Exhibition Award strives to foster the gallery-artist relationship by financing a catalog book about the work of the artist to support the gallery’s promotion of the artist. Additionally, the winning gallery will get the participation fee waived for next year’s gallery weekend. Emphasizing the relationship between artists, collectors, and galleries related to the artworks and surrounding scene, the Gallery Weekend Beijing will certainly become a must-visit destination on the global art world itinerary.
Featured images: GWBJ, Galleria Continua winning the Best Gallery Exhibition Award. All photos by Gregor Koppenburg, courtesy of the Gallery Weekend Beijing.