“What’s going on now? Has he won?” cried gallerist Pearl Lam at West Bund Art & Design, where the early hours of the first public day of fair proceedings on November 9 was overshadowed by Donald Trump’s presidency win in the US. Indeed, the theme of West Bund’s curated section, titled Xiàn Chǎng and curated by Mark Rappolt and Aimee Lin of ArtReview Asia, seemed to take on a new meaning under the sudden turn of events. Translated as “the scene (of a crime, accident),” the theme and presented artists (including Zhang Peili, Imagokinetics, Sean Scully, Haroon Mirza and Laurent Grasso), most of which were placed within a separate tent to the booths of the fair itself, took a stance on the criticality of today’s realities, and how atmosphere, places and other dimensions can often determine an artwork’s significance and relevance.
However, the shocking election results—and the bitterly cold air gushing in from the Huangpu River—did not deter the art milieu from gathering in Shanghai’s so-called “Cultural Corridor” in the second week of November, as this year also saw a pop-up by Timothy Taylor (London) and openings by Qiao Space (Shanghai), ShanghART Gallery (Shanghai/Beijing/Singapore) and the new Edouard Malingue gallery (Hong Kong/Shanghai) to complement the opening of West Bund Art & Design. Having reported a “100% return” in the previous year for international galleries, West Bund’s director Zhou Tiehai mentioned highly anticipated first entries of blue-chip powerhouses Esther Schipper (Berlin), Pilar Corrias (London), Galerie Perrotin (Paris/Hong Kong) and David Zwirner (New York/London), who were among the small number of 30 participating galleries. Meanwhile, over at the impressively grandiose Sino-Soviet landmark, the Shanghai Exhibition Center, ART021 opened to collectors on November 10 with three sections—Approach, Main Galleries and Beyond Public Projects—featuring 84 galleries from 18 countries. Several galleries hedged their bets with booths at both West Bund and Art021 (including Pearl Lam Galleries, David Zwirner, Leo Xu Projects, Hauser & Wirth, Long March Space and Edouard Malingue Gallery), creating friendly competition between the two fairs. Here’s a look around this year’s iterations of West Bund Art & Design and Art021.
Ysabelle Cheung is managing editor at ArtAsiaPacific.
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