Beijing – 4 June 2020 – On 31 May, Gallery Weekend Beijing (GWBJ) successfully closed its fourth edition, which brought together 22 leading galleries and institutions for the Main Sector, with emerging Chinese talent showcased as part of the Up&Coming Sector, curated this year by Hanlu Zhang, and large-scale public art in the Public Sector directed by You Yang. The 2020 program attracted many local visitors to Beijing’s 798 Art Zone, with impressive online engagement and evidence of a healthy art market.
Due to domestic and international travel restrictions brought on by the outbreak of COVID-19, this year’s program creatively extended into the digital realm to engage with audiences all over the world. Events on the popular Chinese live-streaming channel Kuaishou received over 160,000 views per event (a total of over 300m daily users), with accumulative viewership of live-streamed and pre-recorded videos across all social channels, including WeChat and Weibo, reaching over 1.5m. Notably, GWBJ’s first-ever lecture performances held during its VIP Days attracted over 30,000 views across various platforms. The GWBJ app, which was developed specifically to ensure the 2020 program could reach broader audiences, has received over 11,000 downloads with over 1.7m views. Follower numbers across all of GWBJ’s social channels have also increased significantly with growth 2.6 times greater than last year.
Physical engagement was equally impressive despite restrictions barring international visitors and various social distancing measures. GWBJ 2020 received a strong turnout of domestic visitors, with 1,200 registered guests for various VIP events, 80 journalists registering onsite and over 20 tuning in for a virtual press conference.
GWBJ 2020 marked the first arts event to take place in China following the outbreak of COVID-19 and the first gallery weekend to be held internationally. It signaled the reopening of important institutions in Beijing, such as UCCA Center for Contemporary Art, and sparked a revival of the local art market, with strong interest expressed from local and international collectors. 2020 also marked the first time the anticipated ‘Best Exhibition Award’ was split into two categories, with Ge Yulu at Beijing Commune receiving the ‘Innovation Prize’ and the ‘Master Prize’ unprecedently given to two winners: Zhu Yu at Long March Space and Duan Jianwei at Hive Center of Contemporary Art.
“Despite the enormous challenges we faced this year, our 2020 edition, in many ways, can be considered our most successful and ambitious yet, with strong local attendance and record-breaking digital engagement. We are delighted to see that GWBJ has become a major event for residents of the city, as well a milestone event for the international art world. Considering the travel limitations for international audiences, we have made our best efforts to develop a variety of digital initiatives, and we were delighted to receive wide attention and positive feedback. We remain strongly committed to Beijing’s art community,” says Amber Yifei Wang, Director of Gallery Weekend Beijing.
“2020 was a very special year, when we and our artist wore masks to the podium to accept GWBJ’s ‘Best Exhibition Award.’ As an art institution, we hope to use art to respond to the unusual state of emergency we are facing. Ge Yulu’s work has not only made us reconsider the fundamental questions of art but also presents the artist’s response to the situation under these dangerous circumstances. We are grateful to the juries of GWBJ for affirming the efforts of our artist and us,” says Lu Jingjing, Director of Beijing Commune, winner of the GWBJ 2020 ‘Best Exhibition Award - Innovation Prize’ for its exhibition with young Chinese artist Ge Yulu.
“The exhibition of Zhu Yu is not only the outcome of five years’ worth of dedication by the artist but also the first exhibition following the recent renovations of Long March Space, as well as the extensive efforts and actions by our entire team in response to the global pandemic and quarantine. It has been so encouraging that this exhibition was selected by Gallery Weekend Beijing for its 2020 ‘Master Prize.’ We will continuously support Gallery Weekend Beijing by undertaking our responsibilities to Chinese contemporary art and the 798 Art Zone,” says Lu Jie, Founder of Long March Space, winner of the GWBJ 2020 ‘Best Exhibition Award - Master Prize’ for Zhu Yu.
“It is a great honor and big surprise for us to win GWBJ’s ‘Best Exhibition Award - Master Prize’ with Duan Jianwei’s solo show Life. From my point of view, this is such a peaceful exhibition, with peaceful paintings and a peaceful layout, as the curator intends to plan the space with the same aura as the artworks. In the hustle and bustle of our present-day life, an exhibition like this is likely to be neglected, but it turns out to be unexpectedly well-received, having attracted extensive attention since its opening. Therefore, we really appreciate the understanding and acknowledgement of the committee and jury of GWBJ 2020 on contemporary art practices with rather prudent and constant quality. The prize marks the confirmation on our long-term endeavor as an institution as well as encouragement for the artist to keep a consistent creative attitude. We shall keep going right along,” says Xia Jifeng, Director of Hive Center of Contemporary Art, winner of the GWBJ 2020 ‘Best Exhibition Award - Master Prize’ for Duan Jianwei.
Notes to Editors:
List of Participants
Main Sector Galleries Main Sector Non-Profit Institutions
ASIA ART CENTER M WOODS
Beijing Commune UCCA Center for Contemporary Art
CLC Gallery Venture
Galerie Urs Meile
Hive Center for Contemporary Art
Long March Space
N3 Contemporary Art
Platform China Contemporary Art Institute
Tang Contemporary Art
TOKYO GALLERY + BTAP
Wind H Art Center
About Gallery Weekend Beijing
Gallery Weekend Beijing is a culturally cohesive platform - initiated and managed by art market professionals - that seeks to bundle and share cutting-edge contemporary art in Beijing. During GWBJ, galleries and institutions work closely alongside each other to present the most striking exhibitions of the year to a national and international audience. On a global level where boundaries increasingly blur into new fields of opportunities, this exciting venture seeks to eliminate creative limits and to connect Beijing’s artistic potential to the global contemporary art hubs. An attractive framework programme, including relevant talks, panel discussions and workshops, and much more, will accompany the week-long event.
About I Do - Chief Sponsor of Gallery Weekend Beijing 2020
Originated from wedding vows, I Do symbolises the utmost respect and commitment to love. Once the oath is made and the rings are exchanged, the couple is forever bound together in the name of love. Founded in 2006, I Do, with its appealing brand name and products designed specifically for love and marriage, soon became the one of the most favored brands in China. Today, I Do has over 700 stores, located in over 230 cities in China, witnessing the marriage of millions of happy couples. At the same time, in the field of public welfare, Mr. Li Houlin, the founder of I Do, founded the I Do Foundation in 2008. In recent years, adhering to the concept of ‘For love, I Do’, the foundation has further expanded the artistic dream plan, with the theme ‘Lighting up dreams with art’, and has continued to offer artist supportive education for special children in Tibet and hold public welfare exhibitions. So that art may empower the public welfare, and the latter may make good for art conversely.
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