China's continued border restrictions have not stopped Shanghai's two biggest art fairs, West Bund Art & Design and ART021 from opening and hosting both local and international galleries to showcase some exceptional art.
We've combined our favourite selection of artworks from across the two fairs to offer an insight into the array of art on display in Shanghai, with both fairs opening on 10 November.
You'll come across striking paintings by Günther Förg showing at Hauser & Wirth, expressive works on paper by Rebecca Horn at Galerie Thomas Schulte, and a number of vivid Zhao Zhao paintings offered by Lin & Lin Gallery.
Brussels-born artist Renato Nicolodi imagines spaces that depict empty passageways, intended to evoke a sense of reflection in the viewer.
Made of acrylic on wood, Umbraculum (2021) conjures a spectrum of light and dark shading in a grand architectural space. Encapsulating a moment of emptiness, Nicolodi's stark painting represents a space removed from the physical rush of reality, where the viewer can engage a moment of meditation.
Axel Vervoordt Gallery's booth will display work by artists interested in the experience of space and time. Nicolodi's painting will be shown alongside work by Jaffa Lam Lamm, Bosco Sodi, Tsuyoshi Maekawa, Yuko Nasaka, Norio Imai, Chung Chang-Sup, Michel Mouffe, and Otto Boll.
Hauser & Wirth are presenting a solo booth of the legendary Günther Förg. Comprising over 30 works, the booth has been curated by Michael Neff who was a long-time assistant of the German artist.
Förg's practice covered a variety of disciplines—painting, sculpture, photography—all sharing the primary goal of critiquing 20th-century intellectualism, and Modernist tropes as a whole. Untitled (2005) is an apt example of the reductive colour and elemental compositional devices Förg employed to strip his painting practice down to pure essence.
This is only the second solo presentation of Förg's work in Asia, and with just a handful of his works in public collections in Asia, West Bund will be a great chance to view his work in this context.
Around 20 years ago, Horn began working with large paper formats with which she could use her entire body in the drawing process. For this reason, this group of work was initially referred to by the artist as Bodylandscapes. The majority of the works in this series were created in Spain, and it is this series to which Der Blutbaum (2011), translating as 'The Blood Tree', belongs.
Galerie Thomas Schulte brings a composition by Horn which blends acrylic paint and pencil on paper. Comprising red and yellow markings, Horn's painting visualises a tree-like structure unfurling from the centre of the paper.
A tangled membrane of visceral brushstrokes and drippings of paint, Horn builds on her painting through expressive techniques. The German artist's abstract composition radiates intense emotion, and is a beautiful example of the importance of movement and sensory awareness in her creative process.
Graduating with a BFA in Oil Painting from Xinjiang Institute of Arts in 2003, Zhao Zhao worked as an assistant for Ai Weiwei before pursuing his career as an artist.
The Chinese artist works across a variety of media to make paintings of semi-abstract landscapes that depict vivid, colourful scenes from nature.
In Landscape (2022), Zhao transforms a landscape into abstract forms. Using oil on canvas, Zhao's composition depicts a horizon lined with a crowded woodland of purple trees. The artist's presentation of natural beauty draws on contemporary influences, using non-naturalistic colours and expressive painting methods.
What initially caught our eye in Lu Chao's large-scale black-and-white oil painting was the stark contrast between the disco ball-like floor pattern, and the loose, watered-down brushstrokes of the tree foliage.
A young Chinese artist, Lu Chao attended the Central Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing, before receiving his MA in Painting from London's Royal College of Art.
Look closely and you will see crowds of tiny figures resembling a toy army or a small colony of ants. These crowds are a repeated motif throughout Lu Chao's works, and may touch on the fear surrounding the extreme surveillance present in our increasingly governed societies.
Lu Chao's paintings, which pay tribute to the economy of means developed in traditional Chinese ink painting, can be found in the collections of major Chinese institutions including the Museum of Contemporary Art Shanghai and the Museum of Contemporary Art Chengdu.
Main image: Günther Förg, Untitled (1995) (detail). Acrylic on canvas. 120.5 x 106 x 3 cm. © Estate Günther Förg, Suisse/VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2022. Courtesy the Estate Günther Förg, Suisse. Photo: Bernhard Strauss.