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Beijing – AAC – Zao Wou-Ki

[26 May 2016]

Flash News: Beijing and the AAC’s 10th anniversary – Zao Wou-Ki 

Every fortnight, Artprice provides a short round up of art market news: Beijing and the AAC’s 10th anniversary. Zao Wou-Ki retrospective in Switzerland…

Beijing and the AAC’s 10th anniversary
The tenth edition of the influential and important awards ceremony for Chinese artists, the AAC (Award of Art China) selected an exciting shortlist of artists this year, though a professional committee that has chosen Contemporaneity in History as its primary focus this year.
The artists were none other than AI Weiwei, GENG Jianyi, HUANG Yongping, LIU Wei and QIU Zhijie, all well-known signatures with abundant exposure in recent months, both in China and elsewhere. In fact, Ai Weiwei’s exposure in China was so dense last year that the month of June 2015 was described as Ai Weiwei Month in Beijing (a solo exhibition jointly organized by the Continua Gallery and Tang Contemporary, plus three other exhibitions: AB Blood Type at the Magician Space, Tiger, Tiger, Tiger at the Chambre de Beaux-Arts and an exhibition in Zhao Zhao’s studio). Another artist currently enjoying a lot of attention is the Franco-Chinese artist HUANG Yongping with a major show titled Empires in the 13,500m2 of Paris’s Grand Palais (a Monumenta exhibition running from 8 May to 18 June 2016). Eschewing half measures, Huang Yong Ping has installed the metal skeleton of a giant snake measuring 254 metres long and weighing 133 tons. A 12-metre replica of Napoleon’s two-pointed hat has been placed amidst a huge pile of full-size shipping containers. These two artists faced strong competition from Geng Jianyi, a painter born in 1962 and an important figure in the Chinese avant-garde who despite being somewhat rare on the secondary market already fetches high prices in Hong Kong and Beijing (two USD million-plus results since 2011). Then there is Qiu Zhijie who has contributed much to the vitality of Contemporary art in China (he organized the first Video Art exhibition in China in 1986) and is much appreciated in the West and finaly the highly esteemed Liu Wei whose work was exhibited in early 2015 at the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art (Colors) and Hong Kong’s White Cube (Silver), Liu Wei as Winning artist of the year.
The selection of young ‘emerging’ artists follows a certain logic with all having strong links to ‘New Media’ and video: Hu Xiangqian winning Young Artist of the Year (born in 1983, lives and works in Beijing); Cheng Ran (born 1981, lives and works in Hangzhou and Amsterdam) was exhibited two years ago at Palais de Tokyo in Paris; Li Liao (born in 1982, lives and works in Shenzhen); Lu Yang (born in 1984, lives and works in Beijing and Shanghai) whose work was exhibited in the Chinese Pavilion at the last Venice Biennale, and lastly Yan Xing (born in 1986, lives and works in Beijing and Los Angeles). So the AAC’s shortlist clearly adds weight to the careers of young artists who have already been noticed outside China.

Zao Wou-Ki retrospective in Switzerland…
After six months, Switzerland’s first ZAO Wou-Ki retrospective is drawing to a close (open until 12 June 2016 at the Fondation Pierre Gianadda). So there remain less than three weeks to visit this exceptional body of work brought together and presented in collaboration with the Zao Wou-Ki Foundation, with loans from European and Asian private collections. The show has been organized and curated by Daniel Marchesseau, Honorary General Heritage Curator and is a powerful exhibition with approximately fifty paintings (some monumental in size). It is particularly relevant since Switzerland is where the artist chose to spend the last years of his life (he died in 2013 in Nyon in the Vaud canton at the age of 93).
Between now and the end of this exhibition, thirty works by this great Franco-Chinese artist will be offered for sale around the world: France, Taiwan, Germany, Japan, China … a demand that reflects the universal language the artist created by merging Chinese and Western art and which generates intense auction bidding for his best works: in the last ten years, nearly 250 of his works have crossed the million-dollar threshold, including a record at $14.6 million in 2013 for a large oil-on-canvas from 1958 (Sotheby’s Beijing, 1 December 2013). A veritable spearhead of Chinese and French art markets, Zao’s price index has risen by nearly 1000% since the year 2000 reflecting an extraordinary level of demand that began to accelerate in Hong Kong (which accounts for over 60% of his auction turnover) and is today visible on all the major global art marketplaces.

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