Fuelling Beijing's art scene, this year's Gallery Weekend Beijing brings together the best of contemporary art from 37 exhibitors from 26 May to 4 June 2023.
Ahead of the opening, Ocula Advisors select five artworks, including Minjung Kim's delicate, burnt-paper work at Almine Rech, Zhang Xuerui's smooth still-life painting at Galerie Urs Meile, and Chris Martin's vast acrylic sunrise at Timothy Taylor.
Minjung Kim's intricate body of work first piqued our interest at the Gwangju Biennale in April 2023, where we saw her ink on mulberry hanji paper work Mountain (2022).
The Street (2023) is composed of flattened discs of mulberry hanji paper in pastel hues. The work, which suggests fallen flower petals or colourful leaves, cunningly conceals the labour-intensive process behind its creation.
For Gallery Weekend Beijing, Almine Rech features a solo presentation of Minjung Kim's compositions—her second solo exhibition with the gallery since joining in April 2022.
Zhang Xuerui's soft palette and seamless tonal variations feature in Galerie Urs Meile's presentation at Gallery Weekend Beijing.
In Still Life · Chest XL1 (2023), the Chinese artist barely insinuates an open chest. A hazy, smooth finish in pastel hues gives the work an iridescent, almost translucent feel.
While the chest is open, Zhang keeps us curious about its contents by ensuring we can't quite see inside.
According to the artist, 'the chest is a repository for emotions.' By manifesting an imaginary space, Zhang views the chest as a container for personal histories, memories, and experiences while attempting to eternalise the immaterial.
3. Chris Martin's Good Morning ! Good Morning ! (2023) at Timothy Taylor
New York-based artist Chris Martin debuts a series of new paintings at Timothy Taylor's Gallery Weekend Beijing presentation.
Returning to the primary colours that shaped his works from the 1980s, Martin's painting Good Morning ! Good Morning ! (2023) is rendered in a vivid palette of cadmium yellow, cerulean blue, and ebony.
Streaks of sunshine cross a snaking blue and white sky inspired by the scenery of his home in the Catskill Mountains. The bright sky is rendered against a black ground, which could suggest storm clouds or the depths of space beyond Earth's atmosphere.
In Dan Zhu's paintings, undulating forms and hints of figuration create unusual scenes imbued with spirituality.
Zhu cited Hilma af Klint as an inspiration during her studies at Offenbach University of Art and Design in Germany.
On the Way to the One Ear Church (2023) beautifully blends the abstract with the figurative in a rich palette dominated by pink and purple tones. Zhu paints wavering lines resembling ripples on water, fern fronds, or the ribs of a skeleton. Beneath the ripples are deep purple forms shaped like headstones.
In the top left corner of the painting, Zhu seems to confirm our suspicions; two tiny skeleton hands hang down, their wrists limp like a zombie's.
The painting features imagery that feels both botanical and otherworldly, a characteristic reminiscent of af Klint's oeuvre.
Zhu's presentation at Gallery Weekend Beijing is her second solo exhibition with Tabula Rasa Gallery.
German painter and sculptor Thomas Scheibitz brings cool tones and complex architectural forms to Gallery Weekend Beijing in his exhibition at Sprüth Magers.
In Labyrinth (2022), Scheibitz depicts a maze-like structure with twists and turns revealing otherwise grey walls marked with red, perhaps signalling a dangerous route. Interested in how mazes embody a sense of disorientation and confusion, Scheibitz's painting toys with our perception of depth.
Labyrinth combines flat planes of dense colour with moments of more expressive brushwork and sharp black outlines. Neither abstract nor figurative, Scheibitz's works are intriguingly conceptual and symbolic.
Main image: Minjung Kim, The Street (2023) (detail). Mixed media on mulberry hanji paper. 140 x 200 cm. © Minjung Kim. Courtesy the artist and Almine Rech, Brussels/London/NewYork/Paris/Shanghai/Venice. Photo: Studio Minjung Kim.