AbonnéArt & Design

China ushers in a new era for contemporary art

Bettina Bush Mignanego

By Bettina Bush Mignanego31 octobre 2023

The success of Antony Gormley's current exhibition "Living Time" at the TAG Art Museum in China reflects the country's ambition to see contemporary art emerge as a new cultural vector, with avenues of expression emancipated from official lines.

Until December 10, China's TAG Art Museum in Qingdao is exhibiting 'Living Time', a major retrospective of the celebrated British sculptor Antony Gormley, highlighting the relationship between body and space (Huang Shaoli)

How important is contemporary Chinese art for the country that will become the world's leading power by 2028? Even if it is impossible to respond to this question with an economic value, let’s look at some examples, such as the Chinese TAG Museum, to get an idea. Founded in 2019 in Qingdao and measuring a total of 17 thousand square meters, 12 rooms built along the coast bring together interiors and exteriors between sea and mountains, the result of a very ambitious project. Its aim is to present and transmit a particularly open vision, to combine the local and the global, to usher in a new era of contemporary art, and to engage in a dialogue with design and fashion while constantly considering the spectacular natural context of the area. The building was designed and created by the French architect Jean Nouvel and the landscape designer Gilles Clément with the goal of respecting natural ecology in order to become a new model of architecture that interacts with ecology and culture.

Winner of the prestigious Turner Prize in 1994, Antony Gormley has created monumental public works and large-scale installations throughout the world (Chao Qixuan).

Franco Amadei, former director of the Italian Cultural Institute in Beijing for four years and currently based in China, explains: "In China, there has been significant investment in museum infrastructure, leading to the creation and construction of the TAG Art Museum. This investment in infrastructure is a phenomenon that began with the new millennium." How is contemporary art developing in the country today? According to Vincenzo Sanfo, curator and expert in Chinese contemporary art, "Contemporary art is a vehicle for promoting culture. In China and within its government, we see two lines, one official and one less official. On the other hand, an increasingly assertive generation of young collectors is emerging, buying 90% of the works in China. They will undoubtedly contribute to changing the overall perception of contemporary art. I have noticed that British artist Antony Gormley is very popular with this generation, in part due to his visual codes closely aligned with Chinese philosophy. These are clear signs that contemporary art is becoming increasingly independent."

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