So I can finally claim that I am now really in Beijing and immersing in the pinnacle of an empire of enigma called China. Well, instead of treading from its roots with its 3,000 year old history, I did exactly the reverse. My first day in Beijing started with the modern beat of its humanity as a misunderstood nation – through modern art.
And by modern art, it doesn’t get more monumentally on the edge of our age than this.
I visited the 798 Art Center with very little expectations. For one, the international media has been inaccurate in its reporting – I always thought that this was one giant gallery made from a former ammunition factory. Little did I know that this place is an entire ART CITY by itself! It wasn’t made up of one but a whole lot of communist-style buildings and structures that used to make weapons of mass destruction for Russia and China during the years of the cold war.
Now, these factories and ammunitions depot as well as its supporting quarters have been given new lease of life as cutting edge art galleries, auditoriums, theatres, art cafes, conceptual restaurants, bookstores, shops, and almost anything that has art on its core.
A photo gallery with a collage of portraits of former workers in the factories
The Ullens Center for Contemporary Art (UCCA), one of the biggest and most exciting art complexes in the area, was founded by collectors Guy and Myriam Ullens and houses perhaps the most groundbreaking exhibitions in Asia. Over 60 artists are represented in its ongoing exhibition called Our Future – an open dialogue between what will come together to Chinese creators and the other communities around the globe.
One of the most breathtaking concepts is by an artist named Yin Xiuzhen with her exhibition called Introspective Cavity – a cavernous tent made of pinkish / flesh colored used (ukay ukay) clothing that she stitched together. She is known to use her own clothes in past exhibitions as medium for her art.
Inside the cavity...
I walked into another "cavity" this time its a tunnel with television screens beaming on you on four sides. The concept feels like being eaten and driven into a digestive system of mass media...
The tunnel leads you to the end where you have to slide down. Once out, you are on the main exhibition hall already....
This dragon is trying to get itself out of the wall
These ones are screen captures of famous Nintendo and PS2 games
the cafe is absolutely cool!
caged red dinosaurs installation outside
Another cool exhibition is by a South Korean artist who seems to be too passionate about Louis Vuitto Speedy bags and its fake counterparts...
hmmm... my wife would have definitely loved this show.