Last Friday I was at China Visa Application Service Center to understand if it was possible to have a tourist visa for Shanghai. China Visa Application Service Center in Milan makes you understand why in China some stuff works better. I really suggest you a visit, but don’t forget scarf and pull because the air conditioning is a killer. You talk to a very serious and careful person who explains you everything and solves all your problems.
I was there because I would have liked to go to SH Contemporary, the Shanghai contemporary art fair. I had to bring all documents and passport following Monday within noon to have my visa the day after, take the flight and arrive just in time for the opening. It was foolish, I would have liked but it didn’t happen.
So now I’m writing to you in my room after drinking a pinapple and melon shake and I don’t know what’s going on at the fair. We’ll talk about again next week when I will have some feedbacks. Who knows if the galleries will sell their art works – the only goal in such events – but certainly from September 7th to the 10th every art lover should be in Shanghai.
As you certainly know, we’re speaking about the most important economic, financial, trading, and technology center in China, and also is one of the fastest-growing and most interesting, creative and ambitious cities in the world at the moment. It is open to innovation and emerging cultures. Art there is linked to all the others creative industries.
The 5th edition is directed by a very experienced italian cultural operator called Massimo Torrigiani, who has gathered an unprecedented group of established and emerging galleries. He has build a platform featuring what is the most exciting chinese and asiatic stuff on the art scene. We’ll see a lot of paintings, but also photoghaphy. Thanks to a policy of price cutting, emerging galleries are allowed to take part in. There will be special projects developed by an international curatorial team lead by Arthub Asia (http://arthubasia.org) and a series of satellite events, museum presentations, gallery shows, performances, talks, video screenings and parties. I guess you can feel the energy running through the Chinese and Asian art world.
Is China becoming the first market all over the world?
You’ve probably heard about the Hong Kong art fair taken over by Art Basel. The first edition in this new capacity is in February. It’s a sign of the dynamism and growing of the Chinese market which is open and very fast, weathy and responsive, but pretty hard to decode. It’s not only an art system but a costellation. We have China but also Japan, Taiwan, Indonesia, India and Philippines. Hong Kong is the outpost of Western galleries into Asia. It’s the outpost of a market strategy. SHContemporary is a completely different fair, but they’re a good match. You can find collectors who have bought contemporary chinese art since the Eighties but maybe the new ones have nurtured a different mood for western art contemporary. We’ll see.
There will be also some italian galleries at SHContemporary, among others Galleria Continua from San Gimignano. I would like to write on it because this Saturday 10th there is the opening and we’ll keep on talking about Shanghai. After the first solo exhibition Field of Sinergy, Galleria Continua is pleased to host once again the work of Chen Zhen, one of the most important chinese artist from Shanghai. The exhibition is entitled Les pas silencieux. I will catch the train or maybe my car – definetly more comfortable – to go to San Gimigniano, a tiny and delicous village in the middle of nowhere in Tuscany.
Lots of people have talked to me about the opening, the amazing party and the good food as it could be only in a village festival. Mario, Maurizio and Lorenzo are kings of hospitality.
I have met the recently in Venice, during the Biennal. There was the opening of the Indian-British artist Anish Kapoor in the San Giorgio Maggiore cathedral. The air was rough because the installation didn’t work but then it is solved.
It will be my first time in San Gimignano and I’m looking forward to telling you a new fairytale.