beijing- july 3, 2016 part 1
like the art districts in south florida, 798 is made up of insanely large spaces as well as smaller galleries and shops. My trip on july 3, 2016, gave me some space to explore, but in truth as it needs repeating, this is not a place you can cover in one day, unless you are merely looking for selfies (ie not very interested in the art).
one cannot hope to pinpoint any one kind of style or medium at 798. artists can be male or female, chinese or foreign. from traditional chinese art to modern chinese art. the zone also hosts many foreign exhibitions and its not unusual to see original picassos, monets, there. ai wei wei is most likely the most internationally famous artist there. though i have not seen him personally, i have been to his gallery several times. on this occasion i did not pay a visit as i have seen the work several times (see past posts).
so, rather than trying to be too wordy, as i probably have been in the past, i will simply lay out the images with some small commentary and captions. enjoy! there are several entrances but if you see the above piece, it means you are at the main entrance. talk about grabbing the bull by its aaah… well, not exactly its horns.
one of the similarities to the sofla districts, is that there are many shops which generally are art or fashion related. these shops are not major stores or chains… more like a mom and pop thing, selling curios, trinkets, incense, books, clothes, perfumes, jewellery. the restaurants are pretty much the same. the largest i think is the at cafe which has been a fixture in the zone for ages. its also where i tend to eat.
this shop specialises in models.
can’t say they are originals or replicas, but i suspect most are replicas.
has some nice stuff though, like these metal pieces, framed in what appears to be portholes.
this was in one of the larger galleries. it seemed a little out of place to me because you would expect to see large artwork of mao zedong in the national museum or government exhibition centre. often times, the pieces in 798 tend to reflect more political satire than fulsome praise, even of revolutionary leaders. there may be hidden meaning however which were not obvious to me. above we see mao with then russian leader, stalin. china’s communism has always been at odds with russian communism.
still am a little curious about that mark in the top right. did someone damage this?
on the left, is mao’s 1972 meeting with richard nixon, and on the right is mao and his successor deng xiaoping, is oversaw china’s move into a kind of market economy. these painting are huge… at least 6 ft in height.
i found these two arresting pieces in one of the smaller galleries, which seemed to feature charcoals. the artist of the immediate above had a series pretty much on the same topic. they were small however, 8-10 inches square. he was/is from an eastern european country i think. 798 is an international artspace.
a poster for one of the shows i missed. this one was sponsored by mercedes-benz and in the bottom right is a logo for mercedes me… a high end cafe attached to the mercedes-benz museum, in sanlitun.
one of the smaller galleries had these 2 pieces that caught my eye.
the below is a detail from above.
End of part 1