Mother Show: Beijing International Art Biennale


Dates: Sept. 22, 2015 - Oct. 15, 2015

Beijing International Art Biennale opened on Thursday, drawing artists from China and abroad.

The exhibition Memory and Dream will highlight the sixth Beijing International Art Biennale that began on Thursday.

Among the country’s top cultural events since its inception in 2003, the biennale is held at the National Art Museum of China, displaying more than 700 works of mostly paintings and sculptures. Foreign artists from some 95 countries contribute to nearly three-fourths of the total display at the event.

This year, Canada, South Africa, Chile and three other countries will present their artists’ works in a celebration of historical and cultural diversity.

The Beijing biennale came at a time, when there were just a handful of such events in the country: Shanghai Biennial, Chengdu Biennial and Guangzhou Triennial. But in the past decade, China witnessed a boom in its art market and an increase in art fairs and expos.

Liu Dawei says the trend is such that many art events in China today lack distinguishing features and “have fallen into a rut” as mere copies of overseas fairs, obsessed with so-called avant-garde and conceptual art that the organizers don’t seem to truly understand much. “They are repeating each other. Sometimes they even copy the curatorial ideas of the world’s major exhibitions such as the Venice Biennale,” he adds.

Tao Qin, deputy secretary-general of the China Artists Association, says two works to be shown have enormously overwhelmed her. One is a bronze sculpture titled Ghetto Child by Australian Anastasia Contoguris. It depicts a Jewish boy terrified by war and the winter. Another is an ink painting on silk titled The Soul of the Takla Makan Desert - The Twelve Muqam. Its painter, Liu Xuanrang, pays tribute to the mother of Uygur music with a simple but powerful palette. Tao, who is also the show’s chief curator this year, says both works are blended with the theme for the 2015 Beijing art biennale: Memory and Dream.

Beijing International Art Biennale takes pride in not being a commercial art fair. All pieces are returned to their creators after the show ends. But many have donated their artworks to the organization, totaling 313 so far.

Add: National Art Museum of China, No. 1, Wusi St., Dongcheng District, Beijing (北京市东城区五四大街一号)