Liu Jian’s “Art Academy” Selected for the Main Competition Unit of the Berlin Film Festival, Multiple International Auction Houses Announce Latest Appointments in China | Art Moment

In the following keywords, take a look at this week’s “Art Moment”:BlackArtists 60th Venice Architecture Biennale #73rd Berlin Film Festival #95th Academy Awards Best Documentary Facial Recognition Technology #Shanghai Museum #Sotheby’s Auction House #Christie’s Auction House Bonhams Auction House

High-frequency keywords this week:BlackArtists New Appointments in Auction Houses

List of Participating Countries in the National Pavilion of the 2024 Venice Biennale

On January 24th, the British Council announced that artist and filmmaker John Akomfrah will represent the UK at the 60th Venice Biennale, which opens in April 2024. This will be his third time participating in the Biennale. As one of the founders of the Black Audio Film Collective (BAFC) in 1982, Akomfrah’s personal work is linked to the keywords of race, immigration, climate change, and other issues discussed by the BAFC. Skinder Hundal, the global arts director of the British Council, said of the nomination, “John’s inspiring style and his uplifting narrative continue to evolve, revealing many of the issues in the world we live in.”

Another internationally acclaimed emerging artist, Kapwani Kiwanga, will represent Canada. Kiwanga was born in Canada in 1978 and currently lives in Paris. Her artistic creations are presented in a variety of ways, including sculpture, photography, and performance. Her works focus on the marginalized or hidden history in a transatlantic context. At the 59th Venice Biennale in 2022, her painting and glass sculpture work “Terrarium” was exhibited in the main exhibition hall. Gaëtane Verna, the current executive director of the Wexner Center for the Arts, will be responsible for curating Kiwanga’s exhibition. In a related statement, Verna said, “Kiwanga’s art can reveal a unique narrative, and it is about the social and political aspects of history that have been marginalized and often kept silent.” In addition to Akomfrah and Kiwanga, other participating artists and related organizers from other countries are also being announced, such as Edith Karlson, the artist representative from Estonia, Julien Creuzet, the artist representative from France, and Guerreiro do Divino Amor, the artist representative from Switzerland.

Liu Jian directs the Chinese animated feature film “Art College”

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Selected for the Main Competition of the 73rd Berlin International Film Festival

On February 1st, the 73rd Berlin International Film Festival announced that the Chinese animated feature film “Art College 1994,” directed by Liu Jian, was selected for the main competition unit. This is Liu Jian’s second time competing for the Golden Bear Award with his work, following “Have a Nice Day” at the 67th Berlin International Film Festival. It is also the second time a Chinese animated film has been selected for the main competition unit of the Berlin International Film Festival. The film tells the story of youthful events that took place in an art college in the early 1990s in southern China. Against the backdrop of China’s reform and opening up and the global “post-Cold War” era, contemporary art in China experienced a new round of development and innovation. The film focuses on the thinking and path choices of Chinese art youth in this social and ideological environment. Director Liu Jian graduated from the Chinese painting department of Nanjing University of the Arts and is currently the vice dean of the Animation and Game College of China Academy of Art. The film was created by him and his students over five years. The initial inspiration for the creation came from Liu Jian’s return to his alma mater and the emotions and memories it evoked. He wrote: “This is not a nostalgic film. It just wants to share the beauty of life and the beauty of art with every young life and every person who may appear old on the surface but still has a young heart. I hope it is a poem that praises the brave vitality of young people’s hearts with a naive and rough voice.”

New Work by Laura Poitras

Nominated for Best Documentary Feature at the Oscars

640(2)Photo from the documentary, Nan Goldin and her roommate in the bathroom, Courtesy Neon

The documentary “All the Beauty and the Bloodshed” directed by Laura Poitras has been nominated for the Best Documentary Feature at the 95th Academy Awards in 2023. The film tells the story of photographer Nan Goldin’s career and her fight to hold the Sackler family, one of the most powerful families in the United States, accountable for their role in the opioid epidemic. Poitras previously won the Best Documentary Feature at the 87th Academy Awards in 2015 for “Citizenfour”. “All the Beauty and the Bloodshed” also won the Golden Lion at the 2022 Venice International Film Festival. The New York Times described the film and its creator as follows: “Poitras did not follow the usual journalistic norms in directing this documentary. She has a point of view, passion, and politics. In this unvarnished, emotionally charged story, Nan Goldin reshapes the world with her radiance and powerful self-healing abilities.”

Sotheby’s Asia Announces Major Personnel Appointments

640 (1)(2)Left: Wendy Lin, Right: Jen Hua

Sotheby’s announced senior appointments on January 30th, with Wendy Lin appointed as Chairman of the Asia region and Jen Hua as Vice Chairman of the Asia region and Chairman of the China region, reporting directly to Nathan Drahi, Managing Director of Sotheby’s Asia. Lin is an industry expert with top-notch professional knowledge and extensive management experience. She first joined Sotheby’s in 1997 and served as Vice Chairman of the Asia region in 2018. Hua, as Vice Chairman of Sotheby’s China region from 2016 to 2019, represented important Asian clients in Sotheby’s global and private auctions. These two appointments were made to celebrate Sotheby’s 50th anniversary in the Asia region and will help further expand Sotheby’s business in Asia. In 2022, Sotheby’s Asia achieved sales of $1.1 billion in its Hong Kong auctions. To celebrate the new year, Sotheby’s will also hold a series of touring exhibitions and events in Asia to give back to the enthusiastic market.

Poly Auction Appoints Qing Shen as Senior Advisor for China Region

As the new headquarters of Christie’s in Asia is set to open in the West Kowloon Cultural District of Hong Kong in March this year, Christie’s has announced new personnel appointments. Shen Qing has been appointed as Senior Advisor for the China region, based in Shanghai, representing Christie’s business in mainland China. Shen Qing was previously an advisor to the R.G.R.T Group and served as Managing Director of Tatler China from 2019 to 2021. She has also served as President of Beijing Qihao Art Museum and held senior leadership positions in luxury reporting at mainstream media groups such as the Financial Times, Modern Media Group, and Target Magazine. Zhang Wenjia, former Director of Christie’s China, has been transferred to Paris to serve as Director of Private Client Relations for Asia, focusing on private client relations in Asia and establishing partnerships with Asian collectors, dealers, curators, and other contemporary art market insiders. Christie’s Hong Kong team has added 27 new members since 2022 and made a series of important personnel appointments to strengthen its business development in the region, including the appointment of Robert Sleigh as Managing Director for the Asia region, based in Hong Kong.

Bonhams Appoints Blair Zhang as Head of Business Development (Asia) and Vice President

Bonhams auction house has announced the appointment of Blair Zhang as Head of Business Development (Asia) and Vice President, responsible for expanding the Asian client network and auction and private client relations in the region, as well as working with Bonhams’ global departments to assist in the development of the company’s global business. Prior to joining Bonhams, Zhang was Chief Representative of Poly Auction in Hong Kong and was also involved in business development at Artron Culture Group, as well as planning affairs for three art fairs: ART021 in Shanghai, JINGART in Beijing, and DnASHENZHEN in Shenzhen. Hu Weiran, Managing Director of Bonhams Asia, said, “The Asian market is crucial to Bonhams: nearly one-third of our global auction turnover comes from Asian clients, and most of the top ten lots sold in 2022 were also purchased by Asian collectors. I warmly welcome Mr. Zhang’s joining and firmly believe that he will play a key role in expanding Bonhams’ vast potential in the Asian market.”

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Shanghai Museum Presents “From Botticelli to Van Gogh: Treasures from the National Gallery, London”

On January 17, 2023, the Shanghai Museum kicked off the exhibition “From Botticelli to Van Gogh: Treasures from the National Gallery, London” in collaboration with the National Gallery, London. Founded in 1824, the National Gallery has witnessed numerous brilliant treasures spanning the art galaxy across centuries. This exhibition marks the National Gallery’s debut in mainland China, narrating 400 years of art history from the Renaissance to Impressionism. The exhibition features 52 art treasures from nearly 50 artistic giants, including Raphael’s portrayal of the Madonna, Manet’s glimpse of a café corner, and Van Gogh’s vibrant garden. In addition, the Shanghai Museum has created a digital exhibition space called “NG Treasures Reimagined: Masters of Light and Shadow,” which incorporates National Gallery masterpieces that are not physically displayed in this exhibition into this artistic journey.

Witness Marc Newson’s “Chinese Cloisonné” in Paris

In Paris, you can witness Marc Newson’s “Chinese Cloisonné.”
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Renowned designer Marc Newson will showcase his limited edition furniture pieces at the Gagosian in Paris from January 25th to March 18th. Among the works on display are a series of cloisonné enamel pieces, including the blue and white leisure chair. The streamlined shape and intricate enamel inlay showcase the designer’s exceptional use of materials, with a perfect balance between blue and white. Newson established a factory in Beijing to fully immerse himself in his design work. In a conversation with Artnet, Newson expressed his dedication to the revival of Chinese cloisonné enamel art: “Cloisonné enamel art was perfected in Beijing, China, five or six centuries ago. However, people can only make small pieces now, not large ones. Therefore, we must recruit personnel who are willing to devote themselves to training.” This exhibition is full of experimental vocabulary, with traditional and innovative elements, past and future, and the continuous collision and integration of inherited skills and practical needs.

TANK Shanghai to Launch New Exhibition “Land of No Doubt”

TANK Shanghai will present a group exhibition titled “Land of No Doubt” from February 8th to May 7th, 2023. The exhibition is curated by four international curators who have won the “TANK Curator Award”: Mirela Baciak from Poland, Irene Campolmi from Italy, Helena Lugo from Mexico, and Daniela Ruiz Moreno from Argentina. The exhibition brings together new and representative works by seven artists: Lea Guldditte Hestelund from Denmark, Ursula Mayer from Austria, Agnes Meyer-Brandis from Germany, Florencia Rodríguez Giles from Argentina, Tai Shani from the UK, Himali Singh Soin from India, and Nora Turato from the Netherlands. Each artist has created their own cosmology, drawing the audience into a world of language, time, identity flow, equal coexistence with other species, and learning from other species. “No doubt” involves self-awareness. This is a moment of “poetic faith” – in such a moment, we know that we are facing an illusion, but we willingly surrender to.

Over 500 Museums Launch Art Projects to Address Massive Biodiversity Loss Across the UK

More than 500 museums from across the UK have come together for an artist-led initiative called “The Wild Escape” to highlight the drastic loss of biodiversity in the country. This is one of the largest museum projects ever funded by the Arts Council England, and features original works by renowned British artists such as Mark Wallinger, Yinka Shonibare, and Es Devlin. The project was inspired by a 2021 biodiversity report from the Natural History Museum, which revealed that nearly 47% of wild animal and plant species have been lost in the UK since the 1970s due to human activity and land development. Another report published by the Environment Agency in July 2022 also highlighted that the UK is one of the world’s most resource-depleted countries

The Statue of a Female Legislator on Top of a New York Courthouse

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The photo is provided by Vincent Tullo of The New York Times.

Shahzia Sikander, a Pakistani-American artist born in 1969, is known for her feminist and post-colonial perspectives in art. In January 2023, she installed her sculpture “Now” (2023) on the rooftop of the Court House on Madison Avenue and 25th Street in New York. The glittering sculpture depicts an eight-foot-tall woman standing in a blooming red lotus. This is one of her outdoor sculptures in the 2023 solo exhibition “Havah.” She carved a lace judicial collar reminiscent of the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the neck of each sculpture. The artist explained, “This is a shout-out for women, a form of rebellion in a space that has been dominated by patriarchal representation throughout history.”

Art Discovery Discovered by Facial Recognition Technology

A research team from the University of Nottingham and the University of Bradford used facial recognition technology to examine the previously unnamed painting “de Brécy Tondo” and found that it is highly likely a masterpiece by Raphael (Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino). Through the analysis and discussion of the research group, the many faces depicted in the painting are extremely similar to the facial features of the characters in Raphael’s altarpieces. Dr. Christopher Brooke, honorary research fellow at the University of Nottingham, said in an interview with the BBC, “The match rate of the facial features of the two paintings is 97%, and they use the same model, which means they are likely from the same artist’s hand.” Today, with facial recognition and other forms of machine learning being widely used, the stylized traces hidden in paintings have become recognizable information.

The Oldest Mummy in Egypt Discovered?

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The term “mummy” may become history in museums

Egyptian archaeologists have reportedly discovered the oldest and most complete mummy ever excavated in Egypt in a pharaoh’s tomb near Cairo. According to The Guardian, the archaeological statement describes other objects and statues found in the tomb, including one statue representing a man, his wife, and several servants. Interestingly, in some British museums, new vocabulary has been used to rewrite the labels of “mummies” on display. For example, the British Museum’s new exhibition uses the term “mummified person” instead of “mummy” to emphasize the fact that they were once living humans with vibrant lives.640 (7)