Pete Sweeney (more chengdu)|
Chengdu is an unquestioned arts centre as any quick tour of the city’s numerous art markets will illustrate. However, this same tour reveals that the overwhelming majority of the art market is dominated by reproductions or reinterpretations of Chinese traditional forms: calligraphy, landscapes, ersatz antiques and the like.
Fortunately, the contemporary art scene in Chengdu has finally begun to find worthy sponsors. One particular arrival is the A Thousand Plateaus Art Space, which opened here last September and has begun to market contemporary art by local, national and foreign artists. Thousand Plateaus is just not another Chinese art bazaar. Each artist is selected and qualified by the owner, Liu Jie, (himself hailing from an academic artistic background) who is assisted by a panel of local arts experts. They are able to draw from Sichuan University Fine Arts Institute’s thousands of graduates (and occasionally from their sister gallery in Beijing), as well as from the Blue House Art Space in the south of the city. The result is a coherent series of shows organized thematically and supported by critical essays produced in Chinese and English by the gallery staff. This more academic approach promotes confidence in the purchaser by verifying the provenance of a given work and placing it in its proper context in the breathlessly hyped but poorly understood Chinese contemporary art movement.
Thousand Plateaus is a comfortable white space attractively designed and easily noticed from the street. They offer frequent gallery openings (free wine!), scholar lectures, artistic events, and will consider rentals for appropriate events.