The Pace Gallery made its mark in New York City, where luminaries such as Josef Albers, Willem de Kooning and Picasso have been represented. In Beijing just before the 2008 Olympics, Pace opened its 798 art district gallery in order to be a part of China’s booming art scene.
The 2500 square meter space was designed by Richard Gluckman, a New York architect who designed Pittsburgh’s Andy Warhol Museum. With all day access to natural light, and large enough to house almost any work of art, the space poses both freedoms and challenges to artists. Artists and curators reconceive every exhibition to maximize the impact of the work. Sometimes doing so requires building and painting walls, or creating tailored lighting systems.
The professional atmosphere has helped Pace Beijing make its impact on the art scene in China. It has exhibited an impressive collection of artists, including some of the most celebrated figures of China’s modern art movement.
The ubiquitous smiling faces by Yue Minjun are part of the Pace Beijing collection as well as the emotionally-stifled portaits of Zhang Xiaogang. Artists such as these may represent the crest of the Chinese wave, but Pace Beijing is equally interested in showcasing lesser known upcoming talent, such as female artist Yin Xiuzhen, helping them gain deserved recognition.
In addition to a top roster of Chinese artists, Pace Beijing also has had unique opportunities to showcase international artists such as Sterling Ruby. Julie Bills, associate director at Pace Beijing explained, “Pace international is one of the oldest galleries that exists so we have incredible artists to draw from and this fantastic platform to show work that hasn’t been seen in China yet. A lot of mainland collectors and critics are interested in seeing works that you wouldn’t usually see in China, and we have the ability to showcase them.
Art lovers in China may be very well-informed and educated about artists and their work, the fact is that the number of high reputation works viewable in person thus far has been limited. The challenges continue, though clearly the situation today is drastically improved from times past.
Many people have seen and studied art in books, but Bills clarified why seeing art in person is important. “When you actually see the oil paint on the canvas and get a sense of the texture and a sense of the technique… it’s usually transformative. And for us to have a platform from which to showcase the transformative nature of art for people is pretty profound. And we’re uniquely positioned in China to get to do that, to get to educate audiences in China on work happening in China as well as work happening in other places in the world.”
At present, Pace Beijing is exhibiting two artists. Japanese photographer Hiroshi Sugimoto is renowned for the perfection of his black, white and grey photographs. The simplicity and grace of his seascapes are so sensually rendered that they come across as emotionally charged while simultaneously instilling zen-like calm. Also notable is his Lightning Fields series, which Sugimoto produced by applying electrical charges directly onto camera film. The forms created are elusively strange yet familiar. Sugimoto’s work is on display until July 7, 2012.
Lee Tzu-hsun’s work is a playful exploration of man’s relationship with the machines he creates. Themes of technology, balance, and perfection are evident in these motorized machines. Viewers may gawk at the precision of the machinery while noting its ironic purposelessness. Lee’s work is on display until July 7, 2012.
July 21st will see two new solo shows in the gallery. Hai Bo will be presenting new photography, and installation art by Liu Jianhua will be on display.
Address: No. 2 Jiuxinqiao Road, 798 Art District, Chaoyang District,Beijing.