Art Beijing 2008 opens

By Celine Chen

In a very dark room, an overhead projector presents a birds-eye view of twelve cardboard boxes piled together like eggs in a nest, accompanied by the sound of children giggling, crying, and talking. A hand suddenly reaches out from one of the boxes and then the cover of another one opens. Gradually, twelve naked human beings of different races appear in the fetal position in the twelve boxes, which are filled with paper scraps. They are wriggling in the boxes, as if engaged in a kind of struggle. As the sound increases in volume and frequency, all the boxes open fully and the movements of the twelve people increase.

video artwork, named "TransMigration," was created by Shu-min Lin, an artist of Chen Ling Hui Contemporary Space. It is attracting a lot of attention. Chen explains that the work encapsulates the life of a human being. "A container is a medium of transportation. As human beings, we began life as a single sperm cell squeezing through a barrier into another container. We germinate, grow, and are born; we struggle and eventually return to the earth in a different type of container. While containment in a coffin is our final medium of transport to an unknown next stage, 'containers' -- our bodies, our environment and our understanding - are our hosts throughout this life as well. We are carried from innocence and darkness to some degree of light or awareness, and back again."

"TransMigration" is near the entrance of the Art Beijing 2008, the 3rd annual International Contemporary Art Fair at the National Agricultural Exhibition Center, Beijing. Chen says that she's an old friend of the art fair -- she has taken part in every event since the first one, Art Beijing 2006, and has thereby earned one of the best sites in the exhibition hall.
The Art Beijing 2008 fair held an opening party on September 5, and will be open to public from September 6 until September 9, during the period of the Olympics and Paralympics.
The participating galleries in Art Beijing 2008 come from over 100 organizations in more than 20 countries. The event will continue to develop the concept of "Complete Asia". In addition to galleries representing mainland China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macao, some major galleries from the Republic of Korea, Japan, India and other parts of South-east Asia were also invited to Beijing this year.

Bronwen Buckeridge, who's from London and doing a residence nearby, said excitedly that she's really enjoying the artworks exhibited here.

Shao Dongdao, a local Beijing artwork collector, said, "In recent years, the Chinese contemporary art market has experienced unprecedented prosperity and some artists have gained tremendous recognition in the international art field. I think the art fair is necessary and important to all galleries and collectors. We can broaden our scope here, since all the galleries are showing their best artworks at the fair."

Wang Xinyou, the PIFO New Art Studio which is participating for the second time, said they took part in the fair last year, and their positive feedback encouraged them to enroll in this year's event. He believe good artwork will bring happiness to its audience, and that is his aim – to bring happiness to all those who take pleasure in art.
"The timing of the event has been chosen in the hope that a grand gathering of contemporary art can be part of a greater gathering of people around the other significant events of the moment. Contemporary art pays homage to the spirit of the times, reflects today's society, and is relevant to current affairs. It is the pioneer of the era in cultural exploration. Furthermore, contemporary art is cosmopolitan in putting forward and dealing with issues of relationships between people, between people and culture, and between people and nature or the external world. Art, like sport, is a worldwide language. The Olympic Games 2008 is an opportunity. It is a chance to promote Chinese art, the contemporary art of China, to the whole world," said the spokesman of Beijing Artfair Culture Co, the sponsor of the art fair.
"This is the first time our gallery has taken part in Art Beijing. Because we aim to represent Chinese contemporary artworks abroad, I think our main objective at the event is to attract more domestic artists," says Judy, an employee of China Square Gallery in New York, the United States, which exhibits mainly Chinese contemporary artwork in New York City.
When Dong Mengyang came up with the idea of the First Contemporary Art Expo five years ago, targeting galleries as the main participants, few could have imagined that the event would penetrate so deeply into the Chinese art scene in such a short space of time. Galleries from all over the world are attracted to the fair. Organizing the event around the galleries has pushed forward the development of Chinese contemporary art and influenced a process of change in the Chinese galleries themselves.
In comparison with the previous Art Beijing Fairs, Photo Beijing represents an innovation and an original development. It is Art Beijing 2008's special project, and the first photographic art exhibition in Asia.
Photo Beijing is designed to encourage the development of contemporary photographic art in China and Asia. Photo Beijing 2008 will be held in Hall 5 of the National Agricultural Exhibition Hall. It is a completely new element and has attracted the presence of 20 photo art outlets and galleries.
World famous exhibition planner Wu Chenzu accepted an invitation to design the theme of the contemporary photo art exhibition in this huge hall with its strong influences from the former Soviet Union. Different themes and different backgrounds will intercommunicate on the same free platform.
More information
Venue: National Agricultural Exhibition Center, Beijing
Address: 16, East 3rd Ring Road North Road, Chaoyang District, Beijing, China
Ticket price: Sep. 6 to 8 – 50 yuan (free to children under 1.2m, and the disabled on presentation of their certificate); Sep. 9 is the special open day, Price: 10 yuan/per ticket
Dates: September 5-9, 2008
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