PARIS GOES ASIAN
Asia Now, the only art fair in Europe dedicated to Asian contemporary art, returned for its second edition last October during Paris Art Week.
A lexandra Fain, director and cofounder of Asia Now, fell in love with Asian art in 2010 while travelling in China. When the Eyjafjallajokull volcano in Iceland erupted and all flights to Europe were cancelled, she was obliged to stay in Beijing for two weeks longer than planned. She spent her time visiting galleries and artist studios. Upon her return to France, she noticed that there was a major gap in the European market, especially considering the strong historic ties linking France and Asia. Thereafter, she started touring Asia, fostering relationships with local artists and curators. Through Asia Now, she aims to shed light on the vast range of artists and encourage audiences to rethink Asian contemporary art without the stereotypes usually associated with it.
Its boutique size encourages close communication among artists, galleries and collectors. Asia Now is a showcase of the diversity and vitality of the Asian art scene, from installation, video and photography to sculpture, painting and drawing. Taking place within the intimate setting of a Haussmann building in the eighth arrondissement that allowed over 13,000 visitors to wander from one room to another, the latest edition brought together over 150 well-known and young artists represented by 34 galleries (up from 18 in 2015) from more than 13 countries.
Fain states: “We d idn’t want to present blockbusters, but to push lesser-known young artists and to allow them to meet collectors, with affordable artworks, around €10,000 (S$15,000). In 2015, Li Wei created an installation with 1,000 chicks and
Asia Now is a showcase of the diversity and vitality of the Asian art sc ene.
visitors could buy one for only €200! What is really interesting this year (2016) is the outstanding selection of female artists, who make up almost 30 per cent of our exhibiting artists – something that is quite uncommon for the fair scene. I am particularly excited about our international performances from artists such as Singapore-based Teow Yue Han, Japanese artists Lei Saito and Tsuneko Taniuchi, River Lin from Taiwan and Chi Hongrui from China.”
Two galleries with spaces in Singapore participated in the fair: Yeo Workshop presenting Santi Wangchuan’s works using various forms of textiles, and Sundaram Tagore Gallery featuring Hiroshi Senju, Kamolpan Chotvichai, Miya Ando, Kim Joon, Sohan Qadri and Tayeba Begum Lipi.
A2Z ART GALLERY
Founded in 2009 by Ziwei and Anthony Phuong, A2Z Art Gallery, with spaces in Hong Kong and Paris, acts as a bridge connecting the European and Asian art scenes through its artists – mostly of Asian origin, born or living in France – who reveal the diversity and richness of a globalised
“What is really interesting is that we have an outstanding selection of female artists.”
society. It exhibited four artists representing the current state of Chinese contemporary art – Chen Wei, Ji Jun, Jiang Zhuyun and Zhou Yilun – and its immensely popular 44-year-old French artist of Vietnamese origin, Hom Nguyen, with his monumental charcoal on canvas pieces entitled Inner Cry. Always focusing on the human figure, he offers his reinterpretation of the celebrities of our time like Mick Jagger or Bruce Lee, or raises awareness of issues of immigration and identity through his portraits constructed of what appear to be disordered lines, but in reality are the result of skilled technical control and precision.
Of particular note is his recent series of “masks” portraying the faces o f Asian children devoid o f mouths that represent the plight of Asian immigrants in France who are deprived of the right to speak, which he drew relying solely on his memory and the emotions
of the moment. He says: “It’s not their beauty or reputation that interest me, but their expression. Their physiognomy, feelings and emotions are reflected.”
TANG CONTEMPORARY ART
Established by Chinese artist and businessman Zheng Lin in 1997 in Bangkok, followed by spaces in Beijing and Hong Kong, the gallery aims to initiate dialogue between artists, curators, collectors and institutions locally and internationally. Known for its successful cultivation of young artists and collectors in China, it displayed a selection of recent and new works of sculpture, painting and mixed media installations by up- and- coming Chinese artists Zhao Zhao, Cai Lei and Xu Qu, who have gained worldwide attention for tackling China’s complex socioeconomic dynamics. An eyecatching piece was the Fragments brass installation resembling a cracked mirror by 34-year-old Zhao. He is considered a significant figure among the post-1980s generation of Chinese contemporary artists thanks to his provocative multidisciplinary practice that displays anti-authoritarian or nonconformist tendencies.
Participating f or t he f irst t ime at Asia Now, the Tokyo-based gallery – founded last September by Mutsumi Urano – exhibited Toshiyuki Konishi, Ishu Han and Takahiro Iwasaki. A leading figure of the Japanese contemporary art scene and recently nominated to represent Japan at Venice Biennale 2017, Iwasaki transforms everyday items such as toothbrushes, towels and books into miniature sculptures. Born in Hiroshima in 1975, his fantastical, detailed and delicate landscapes stem from his concern for the fragility of cities. His Tectonic Model depicts a crane made of glued thread attached to a copy of Antoine de Saint-exupery’s Le Petit Prince – it’s so minuscule in size, you wonder how it was created.
Curated by Magda Danysz and commissioned by iconic French
An eye- catching piece was the Fragments brass installation resembling a cracked mirror.
lingerie brand Etam to celebrate its centenary – 100 years during which it has supported women’s emancipation – the exhibition uniting art and philanthropy featured works based on the theme of women’s independence in a wide range of media by 13 male and female artists, which were subsequently sold at a charity auction f or t he Naked Heart Foundation founded by supermodel Natalia Vodianova. Reflecting Etam’s international dimension, participants ranged from Chinese multimedia artist Yi Zhou and Dutch photographer Erwin Olaf to American duo Faile and Colombian rising talent Daniel Otero Torres.
Beijing- based artist Li Hongbo’s piece appeared to be a classical marble sculpture, but is actually formed from thousands of sheets of paper glued together in a honeycomb structure, then sculpted in the shape of a human bust from ancient Greece, which can be lifted up and stretched like a Slinky. Known for his Invisible Man photo-performance where he paints himself into the backdrop so that he practically disappears in an optical illusion, Liu Bolin gathered testimonies and objects from 100 women that he then used to create an installation, posed in front of it, blended in and vanished.
PREVIEW OF DSLCOLLECTION IN VIRTUAL REALITY
An advocate for the use of innovative technologies in art with the first virtual museum created in 2007 on the Web, Dslcollection by Sylvain and Dominique Levy, collectors of Chinese contemporary art for the past 30 years, unveiled its latest project developed in collaboration with Ikonospace: a world-first sneak peek of its collection in virtual reality.
The arrival of virtual reality in addition to the growing efficiency of 3D graphics and mobile technology has profoundly changed the way the art world and market can interact with the public online.
The project marked the introduction of Ikonospace’s flagship product, Ikono Pro, a digital art exhibition software that offers the tools necessary for designing, curating and marketing exhibitions in a 3D virtual universe that closely mirrors actual physical art gallery spaces. It proved to be an exclusive preview of what the future of the art world holds in the digital age. www.asianowparis.com