Zhong Gallery Founded By Beijing Art Collector Zhu Gaowen
Opening its doors just in time for Chinese New Year celebrations, this week Zhong Gallery — the first Chinese owned and operated gallery space in Europe — made its debut in Berlin. Unlike other collector markets like the US, Europe has so far been without a Chinese contemporary art gallery displaying works hand-picked from a native collector, and as Blouin Artinfo Germany notes, Beijing collector and Zhong Gallery owner Zhu Gaowen (朱高文) looks to fix that. Run by Wang Jiangnan (王江楠), a veteran of the European and Chinese art worlds, Zhong Gallery Berlin looks to bring Chinese art to a wider audience while engaging in artistic exchange with its China outpost. As Zhu told Artinfo, “Though Chinese contemporary art and the Chinese art market have already gained attention from all over the world, there are still sometimes quite stereotypical opinions outside China. Art is art.”
From Blouin Artinfo:
[Zhu] Gaowen says that he also hopes to introduce young German artists to China through Zhong’s sister gallery in Beijing. “We would like to play the role of a bridge between Beijing and Berlin, so more young German contemporary artists will get much better known and vice versa,” he says. An immediate comparison could be made to Alexander Ochs, a German dealer with galleries in Berlin and Beijing. Ochs too has been invaluable in opening up the Berlin scene to myriad new artists and artistic practices from china. However, Gaowen stresses that Zhong’s “base and origin in China itself, where we meet all the artists, gallerists, and collectors personally and are very involved in the art scene,” will help it to open up new and different kinds of channels for cultural exchange.
For their first exhibition, “Dawn: New Art from China,” Zhong has brought together a promising group of emerging Chinese artists, all born after 1970: Chen Yujun, Li Jikai, Li Qing, Wang Guangle, Wang Yabin, Wu Di, Yuan Yuan, and UNMASK. “They are energetic and promising,” says Gaowen of the group. “The styles of there art seem to have very few similarities, but the essence of the work has many things in common, which is stamped by their upbringing.” The show features a full range of painting, collage, and sculpture, and will be on view through March 31.
In recent years, Chinese artists and writers in particular — lured by the city’s culture, openness, and affordable studios and work facilities — have flocked to Berlin in record numbers. Though Zhong Gallery Berlin should become a magnet for locals interested in new art from China, it may also find a receptive and active audience in the ever-increasing number of Chinese students, artists and professionals living and working in the German capital.