How I became a curator
In April last year (2016), the gallery owner of WM Gallery Chengdu asked me to organize a show about the foreign artists that live in Chengdu. I thought that’s an interesting topic and agreed. It gave me the chance to bring together all of the international artists and give them the opportunity to be exhibited at a top location downtown Chengdu. The show opened on May 28 and was very well received.
WM gallery was very happy with the outcome and they asked me to organize another show after the summer break in September. Another venue was also surprised to see 9 international artists combined in a Chengdu gallery, liked the concept and the layout in which I exhibited the artists works and asked me to propose 4 shows for their gallery (IFS L7 Gallery) along the theme of „Light Rose Garden“.
For WM Gallery, I planned an even bigger show that started on September 9 (9.9) and according to a Chinese proverb „99 becomes one“ 九九归一“ I called the show „归意“or freely translated „All is One“.
Because of the „Big“ name, I wanted to show artworks of emerging artists as well as established ones. A great variety of all kind of artworks, realistic, abstract, sculpture, painting, the more varied the better. The concept of „All is One“ was also to make a show that can educate people that might not be familiar with contemporary art or art in general. I was hoping to have one work out of all of them that intrigues one visitor out of all of them. It also needed to fit „All of them intrigue One (me)“. After choosing the first 20 artists, I got the idea to invite 99 artists to the show.
I would have had to ask the shopping mall to provide space in the public area in order to be able to exhibit all the artworks but I was confident that they would agree if I get a strong collection. After seeing some works of younger artists at the Chengdu Huayuan Museum, I asked my artist friend, Peng Changzhen, who is Assistant Dean at the „Chengdu Art Academy“ to help me contact and invite them to the show. We agreed to curate the show together, which was a very good.
Unfortunately, we had to discover that several established artists did not want to show side by side of emerging ones. We also realized that we were running out of time and since we did not want to invite just any artist that wanted to join but according to our taste, we had to reduce the number of artists remarkebly. 99 stayed a dream - in the end, we got 36 artists together, Liaoyuan Xu,Ke Tang, Keran Zhu and many others. It still was a wonderful show and a fantastic opening with an estimated 200+ guests.
I curated some smaller shows in the meantime at WM gallery Chengdu and IFS Chengdu as well as one in 798 Beijing of which I will tell you more another time.
This Valentines day, February 14, opens my next „huge“ show at WM Gallery, featuring 48 artists. They are all from the „Blue Roof Emerging Artist Village“ and will participate with one smaller artwork each. This show will be co-hosted by „World Art Games China“ and my thanks go to its president, Ajiana, for helping me tremendously with preparations.
In my next blog post, I will tell you how the opening went.
Have a wonderful week!