Between 22 and 31 May, Gallery Weekend Beijing returns for its fourth edition across 798 Art District. This lowdown provides a sample of exhibitions to catch as spring turns to summer in the capital.
15 Artists x 15 Years in China
Galleria Continua, #8503, No.2 Jiuxianqiao Road
25 October 2019–30 August 2020
Galleria Continua celebrate 15 years in their fifth location, having originated in the small Tuscan hill town of San Gimignano in Italy in 1990, becoming the first major gallery to open in Beijing's 798 Art District in 2004. Sixteen artists are included in the presentation, with works by the likes of Ai Weiwei, Daniel Buren, Kader Attia, and Kan Xuan put in dialogue with one another, reflecting the three founders'—Lorenzo Fiaschi, Mario Cristiani, and Maurizio Rigillo—belief that 'culture is a meeting'.
Becoming John McLean: 1939-2019
PIFO Gallery, B-11, No.2 Jiuxianqiao Road
22 May–22 June 2020
PIFO Gallery marks the anniversary of the death of Scottish artist John McLean with an exhibition of paintings created since the 1970s. A master colourist, McLean took inspiration from painters such as Matisse and Miró through balanced yet high-spirited compositions that reflect the artist's interest in music and language. British curator Philip Dodd brought McLean's works to China in 2016 where they were met with critical acclaim in a retrospective at Beijing's Central Academy of Fine Arts, Like Singing and Dancing.
AES+F: What Came to Pass
Tang Contemporary Art, Beijing 1st Space, D06, No.2 Jiuxianqiao Road
20 May–30 June 2020
Russian artist group AES+F present their first exhibition in China for more than a decade, with two large-scale video installations and digital collages that 'reveal the vices and conflicts of the post-globalised world.' AES+F work between traditional media and new technologies, employing the format of history painting to create provocative imagery of contemporary culture.
Zhao Zhao: White
Tang Contemporary Art, Beijing 2nd Space, B01, No.2 Jiuxianqiao Road
20 May–30 June 2020
Curated by Cui Cancan, this exhibition is a continuation of Zhao Zhao's solo exhibition Green held at Song Art Museum in 2019. The artist—who is also a documentary filmmaker, ancient art researcher, and has founded his own fashion brand—returns to his experience working as a cotton picker throughout middle school. Cotton blooms in the summertime, and through this exhibition, Zhao Zhao looks at its influence on human life, amassing the heads of the flowers into a labyrinthine Chinese garden.
Qiu Shihua: Empty / Not Empty
Galerie Urs Meile, D10, 798 East Street, No. 2 Jiuxianqiao Road
28 March–31 May 2020
Oil on canvas and paper works by Qiu Shihua are on view for the artist's fourth exhibition at the gallery, spanning 25 years of his work. Originating in traditional Chinese landscape painting, Qiu's paintings appear empty from afar, but upon closer inspection they hint to vast open or misty backdrops. The exhibition will travel to the gallery's space in Lucerne, Switzerland, between September and November 2020.
Li Yushuang Solo Exhibition
Asia Art Center Beijing, No.2, Jiuxianqiao Road
16 May–5 July 2020
Spanning 60 years of the artist's practice, this exhibition presents oil and ink paintings, sketches, and manuscripts by Li Yushuang curated by Fang Zhiling. Li takes nature as his subject throughout his practice, for which sketching en plein air plays an integral part. Through this, Li has developed unique observation methods and painting systems, namely the 'light coding method', which places emphasis on light to create abstract forms.
Meditations in an Emergency
UCCA Center for Contemporary Art, 4 Jiuxianqiao Road
21 May–30 August 2020
Meditations in an Emergency reflects on the 'amorphous suspension' that the world has been thrown into as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. The exhibition is divided between five sections questioning the everyday, mortality, animality, globalisation, and information, through works by over 20 international artists, including Foreign Architecture, Christopher K. Ho, Lu Lei, and Robert Zhao Renhui.
Tang Yongxiang: Shape
Magician Space, 798 East Road, No.2 Jiuxianqiao Road
15 May–27 June 2020
Eleven new paintings by Tang Yongxiang make up Shape, continuing the artist's exploration of painting's materiality. Photographs pulled from Tang's daily life are used as references, painted in their totality before layers of paint are applied to the canvas, thus changing the relationship between different objects in his compositions.
SPURS Gallery, D-06, 798 Art Zone, No.2 Jiuxianqiao Road
22 May–21 June 2020
This exhibition celebrates the life and work of Wei Hai, who was a member of the Wuming Painting Collective, later known as the 'No Name Group'. The group placed an emphasis on a return to nature in painting, using it as a pure medium to confront the politicisation of art. SPURS Gallery will host two further exhibitions during this time, including a solo show of work by Wang Jiajia, along with Zhou Yilun.
Zhu Yu: Mute
Long March Space, No.4 Jiuxianqiao Road
21 May–12 July 2020
Created over the past five years, Zhu Yu's 20 works on view at Long March Space reflect on the act of painting, rather than painting as an image or concept, to explore the state of silence. Composed of still lifes, a self-portrait, and collection of paintings of posed figures, Zhu's paintings have an ephemeral quality, with each work hinged to a specific moments of individual experience.
We will meet again: TOKYO GALLERY + BTAP 70th Anniversary Special Exhibition
TOKYO GALLERY + BTAP, No.4 Jiuxianqiao Road
18 May–8 August 2020
TOKYO GALLERY + BTAP celebrate their 70-year legacy as the first gallery in Japan and Asia to dedicate their programme to contemporary art. The exhibition presents works by artists who have been part of this journey, including Song Dong, Ding Yi, Liu Xiaodong, and Huang Rui, to name a few, amounting to over 80 works on display, ranging from painting and sculpture to installation and video.
Beijing Commune, No. 4 Jiuxianqiao Road
22 May–4 July 2020
Ge Yulu explores the relationship between the body and the exhibition space in a new installation, titled Emergency Power System. The artist has transformed a bicycle into a generator, producing electrical energy each time he cycles to the gallery throughout the duration of the exhibition. The elements in the exhibition are dependent on Ge Yulu's energy, succumbing to darkness if not powered to their fullest.—[O]