Driven by intuition and curiosity, Cherry Xu established Gallery Func in Shanghai last year with the view of bringing emerging Chinese artists to international audiences.
Since its opening, the gallery has hosted exhibitions spanning painting to digital media, including an 'emotional autonomous region' created by Shi Ruini and curated by Miao Zijin that invites participants to attend digital funerals and weddings as part of a blockchain reward system.
The gallery arose from Xu's focus on young and emerging artists within her own collection, which also includes a few established names. Among these is a painting by Ayako Rokkaku—the first work that Xu collected—that radiates a 'child-like carelessness and innocence' that has a 'special sense of vitality'.
Another favourite is Gregor Hildebrandt's D.O.LO.R.E.S. (2022), which features American actress Dolores Costello, known as 'the Goddess of the silent screen', during the era of silent movies. Hildebrandt uses pop music cassette tapes to render her collage portrait, which 'teems with his signature sensitivity and romance,' says Xu.
Other artists that Xu is keeping her eye on include Louise Giovanelli, Mehdi Ghadyanloo, and Su Yu-Xin, but she asserts that the key is to keep an open mind. 'The magic of art lies in all the surprises it constantly brings. Good art often pops up when you least expect it.'
This sense of surprise translates to her vision for Gallery Func, and the desire to provide audiences in Shanghai with unexpected experiences, bringing forward new perspectives and ways of understanding the world. Through the gallery platform, she hopes to build an ecology of art, comprising young and aspiring artists, as well as gallery owners, artists, curators and collectors.
Below, Xu selects a few of her favourite works on view on Ocula.