Asia Art Forum Hong Kong, 2010
The Goethe Institut Hongkong and Ben Brown Fine Arts
Tomorrow to May 23
Beijing-based curator and art historian Karen Smith is among the five speakers who will appear at this year's Asia Art Forum, an event that sets out to promote an appreciation of Asian contemporary art worldwide, especially among collectors.
The author of Nine Lives: The Birth of Avant-Garde Art in New China - which traces the lives and works of nine prominent Chinese contemporary artists: Zhang Xiaogang, Wang Guangyi, Geng Jianyi, Fang Lijun, Gu Dexin, Li Shan, Xu Bing, Zhang Peili and Wang Jianwei - will talk about her latest research exploring the development of contemporary art on the mainland since the 1990s.
Smith (right), 43, says a key question the artists were asking at the time was what the new art for the new China should be.
'The period they covered is [between] 1985, when the avant-garde was emerging, and 1989, which is that heady period of experimentation when China was just beginning to open up before [Tiananmen Square] caused it to close down a bit,' she told Bloomberg.
'Wang Guangyi represented that first generation. Wang Jianwei was a former People's Liberation Army soldier and Gu Dexin was a worker - not an educated person at all. Li Shan graduated before the Cultural Revolution began in 1966, so he had an entirely different experience.
'But all of them belonged to this new outpouring of ideas that began. They tackled subjects that were very close to their hearts and I think that, by tackling these subjects, they became close to the Chinese people's experience.'
Other speakers participating in the forum - the registration for which costs HK$5,200 - include local art critic and curator Valerie Doran, mainland-based critic Philip Tinari and Jeremy Wingfield, an Asian art specialist with the Phillips de Pury auction house. Doran will discuss this city's contemporary art scene that is slowly raising its head on the international stage.
Eric Hotung Studio, Hong Kong Arts Centre, 2 Harbour Road, Wan Chai. Ben Brown Fine Arts, 301, Pedder Building, 12, Pedder Street, Central. Inquiries: www.asiaartforum.com