Visiting China after three long years
Until 2020 my life and artistic career was mainly centered in China. Then, the unbelievable happened and I could not return to my home and studio for over three years. At the beginning of April 2023, I finally had the chance to go back to China, reconnect with my past and reactivate my artistic connections in Shanghai, Chengdu and Chongqing. While I met my key contacts and friends, I discussed the possibility of new exhibitions and events. Some will happen in September 2023, some could be organized on short notice and happened on April 19 and 23, 2023.
On April 19, I had an opening in Chongqing, on the second floor of the old site of the China-UK Liaison Office in which VA gallery has an art gallery space since 2021. It is a beautiful century old building right in the heart of Chongqing, near Jiefangbei, World Finance Center and the Chongqing Guotai Art Center.
On display in home like settings were a selection of my artworks from 2014 to 2019 with two master pieces of my Centrifugal series that have a 120cm diameter each.
On April 23, VA gallery organized a gathering reception for the opening of “Antonio Wehrli Chengdu Exhibition” at Liucunhou Mansion. This 19th century building features two long hallways, a lobby, a conservatory and other rooms, all of which were used to display a selection of smaller artworks, prints and three major works that I created between 2011 and 2020.
At the studio of Xu Liaoyuan, I created four new artworks between April 12 and 18. Two of them will be exhibited at the XLY MoMA Biennale in September 2023. On this occasion, I was very happy that famous artist and designer Xu Liaoyuan and I painted on our individual artworks at the same time and inspired each other in the creation process.
On various days and evenings I had the opportunity to meet longtime friends from the Bajiu production. Baijiu is a high-proof Chinese grain liquor. I was able to taste some of the lesser-known high-end brands like "Di Chau Tian" or get to know my friends Li and Fu's new brand, "Yan Huan Wu Shu". This liquor is produced in collaboration with "San Shi Liu Fang", a beautiful Baijiu Castle in Qionglai region, for which I created a special artwork series in 2019.
On April 15, I attended the opening ceremony for the inauguration of the Olympic Torch for the “Chengdu 2021 Fisu World University Games” which will take place in July 2023. The torch was designed by my friend Xu Liaoyuan.
During my trip to China, I met twins, Eddie and Ethan, who together have over 50 million followers on their social media channels. They have started a company to help upcoming influencers with their content creations. They shoot around 5 hours of material to create a one minute clip. As an “old” guy from the 80s, I was ignorant of this new form of social interaction, was not aware of high quality content and had decided to stay away from those platforms. Meeting the twins gave me new insights and I am considering to learn more about Tiktok and Co. Having more than half of my life in front of me and with the world spinning faster than ever in achieving new technical milestones, every new development should be taken serious. Concerns of data privacy are a big topic, but maybe chances should be considered and dangers embraced.
Besides those aspects of busy artist life, I went for an overnight stay to the village “Tianfu Honggu”, where I am an honorary citizen, to enjoy the bamboo forest and its wildlife and reconnected with my friends. Two times I went to Pidu District for lunch and dinner, where I am honorary citizen of the Pidu Ancient Town and of the district itself. Many of my other friends and family I met for tea or dinners but unfortunately, for many I didn’t have enough time.
Now, I am back in Switzerland and happy to announce that the next show at Antonio Wehrli Art Space in Schwanden will start on May 27. The Solo Show “ “ of Swiss artist Rudolf Butz.
All the best,
Turn your life colorful!