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Big 10 at 798 Art Zone

By Xu Ming (Global Times)

10:21, October 16, 2012

Posters from 798 events from the last 10 years on display at a recent exhibition (Photo:Xu Ming/GT)

It's not an overstatement to say that 798 Art Zone, an abandoned factory that comprises a variety of galleries, design studios and art exhibition spaces, is a cradle of Chinese contemporary art.

"The Ten Years Poster Exhibition of 798 Art Zone," which opened on September 28 as part of the ongoing 2012 Beijing 798 Art Festival, focused on the exhibition history of 798 and showcases the importance of the art zone in the development of contemporary art in China.

"As the most influential center for displaying and marketing contemporary art in China over the last decade, 798 Art Zone has prompted and witnessed the process of popularizing and commercializing Chinese contemporary art," said Zhu Qi, curator of the exhibition.

Shaping a movement

By the end of 2011, Beijing 798 Art Zone was home to over 450 galleries, art studios, workshops and organizations engaged in all kinds of activities. The space has become a center of Chinese culture and art as well a leading international platform for Chinese contemporary art.

"Over the past 10 years, 798 Art Zone has held a great number of important exhibitions that have been invaluable in terms of art history," Zhu told the Global Times.

The curator explained that these exhibitions contributed to not only 798's growth but also an important time in the history of Chinese contemporary art. "It is important to tell this story," he said.

Over 1,000 posters from past events were submitted by both galleries and artists for the exhibition, and Zhu selected about 230 for the show, which closed yesterday. The posters were divided into four sections: The Pioneering Period (2002-04), Avant-garde Art (2005-09), Internationalization and Symbiosis.

The Pioneering Period segment focused on experimentalism within contemporary art and early efforts to protect the area as an art zone.

The Avant-garde Art section mainly featured posters from exhibitions of domestic avant-garde contemporary art, which is believed to have been born at 798 Art Zone.

Visitors viewed posters from exhibitions imported from overseas in the show's Internationalization segment. Finally, through the Symbiosis arm of the show, viewers experienced a tour of the diversity of exhibitions under the influence of avant-garde contemporary and international art.

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