The 10 Best Booths at Art021
Art021 is a real success story, a Shanghai art fair that’s a hit with young Chinese collectors, because it was started by young Chinese collectors. Now in its sixth edition, which runs from November 8th through 11th, it has grown to accommodate 103 galleries—but David Chau, who co-founded the fair with Kelly Ying and Bao Yifeng, said Art021 isn’t trying to be another Basel or Frieze. The goal is to be the right fit for China—where collectors skew younger and trendier—and to help both domestic and emerging international galleries become global leaders in the next decade or so.
“Some people have criticized us, saying that we have a mixture of the top galleries from around the world with some not-so-great galleries,” Chau explained. “But that’s our point, and we want to help these local galleries to become better!”
This year, the standard across the fair was higher than ever, not only because local participants are improving, but also because global heavyweights have entered the ring. Below are 10 of the best booths, comprising both emerging and blue-chip galleries, arranged in alphabetical order.
“It seems this year galleries are bringing a lot of media other than paintings,” Chau said, “which, to me, is exciting, because I am probably one of the largest collectors of installation and video works in China.” AIKE (previously Aike Dellarco) delivered with two peculiar little screens by Chinese artists Wang Changchun and Untitled-0(2015). The booth, which boasts its own exhibition-style title—“The Far East Circus”—also houses peppy paintings by
Arario Gallery’s booth stands out with a strong monochrome selection: a large organic-yet-alien urethane-coated steel sculpture Beautiful Replication S95VP1D35T6 (2017), and installation Homo Sacer (2018). Gao’s work consists of an aluminium ladder, worn fluorescent tubes, and nets used to suspend pieces of toy human anatomy. The work takes its name from a text by Italian philosopher Giorgio Agamben, known for his thoughts on biopolitics and the reduction of people to “bare life” by authoritarian regimes that alienate them of their human rights. Gao’s use of forms found in plastic toy-model kits is reminiscent of the Gunpla robot parts used, incidentally, to create colorful surfaces by Yokohama artist
Beijing Art Now Gallery
One of the more peculiar collections of curios at Art021 comes from Beijing Art Now Gallery (BANG) and its Los Angeles sister space, Make Room. With its spring mounted gold “大”(“big”) character, Zhou Tong’s Great leap (跳大神) (2017) is a wooden shrine cabinet for the worship of growth. That theme is twisted in a more absurdist way with Wooden Sandals (5 feet long, and rising over 2 feet off the ground.) Other disparate works here include Howler (lunar rabbit mask) (2018), Intimate Corpse No. 2 (2018)—which looks like a broken version of Dance (1910) embedded in astroturf—and a little oil-on-plexiglass painting by Andrew Sendor, Casparina on December 2 (2018), that’s as cinematic as the raising of a velvet curtain.
Another one of the 18 galleries participating in the fair’s Approach section, Blindspot Gallery presents a new solo project by Hong Kong artist West Bund Art & Design, it’s worth mentioning, David Zwirner devoted its whole booth to a
For his work Young people perspectives (2018),
Galerie nächst St. Stephan Rosemarie Schwarzwälder
A mammoth Suret (2015), a unicorn-hued vertical wipe on canvas; a gorgeous oil-on-canvas bear by Depression Elevations (Net-Well-Around) (2018), which consists of brightly pigmented polyurethane casts of Los Angeles potholes.
Crammed with 21 works by eight artists, Lin & Lin’s booth is devoted to painting. The biggest single work is acrylic-on-canvas Desolate Octopod (2018), which seems to be engaged in the same gambit as Gagosian’s booth) in trying to maximize the complexity of color and form, while hooking viewers in with the last remnants of something recognizable. Other works were simpler—such as the cartoonish, graphic works by thrumming, energetic abstracts in colored pen, lead, and butterfly powder.
A large lenticular by Julian Opie, Maria Teresa with red shawl (2008),may have brought guests into the Maho Kubota booth, but it was works by “Brushstrokes” series (1965). Though it was the gallery’s first time showing Takeda outside Japan, both of his acrylic-and-oil-on-panel paintings, Painting of Painting 015 (2018) and Painting of Painting 017 (2018), sold on the opening day. This was Maho Kubota’s second time participating in Art021, and the gallery’s first time in the main galleries section, having joined the Approach section last year.
Zhou Chong was only 20 years old when he began collecting contemporary art, but he has since amassed works by
Pilar Corrias had one of the standout booths this year, with works by Sifang Art Museum in Nanjing. Other standout pieces include an entire horror movie, of sorts, that plays out across a trio of paintings by Yuz Museum.