Opening exhibition Encounters in Pace Beijing has its base on the deliberation of this extraordinary cultural city existing in an extraordinary era. In the recent 20 years, Chinese contemporary art and its market have developed rapidly. Chinese art, after a long period of depressing development, has finally won world-renowned achievements. The growth of the economy in the past 30 years has brought back China’s five thousand years of history and culture to the cultural stage of the world. It is as if China and its culture have been reborn, but this time, in an open global cultural context. Beijing, at the forefront of the promotion of Chinese culture, has gained a more and more important role. For the past 10 years, Beijing has been the city that exports Chinese contemporary culture. Today, she becomes the new place where the powers of the cultures from different parts of the world reunite.
Encounters is an assembly of all kinds of cultural power. We start from portraiture because portraits often reflect the most sensitive parts of different cultures in different eras. In the process of learning art, Chinese contemporary artists begin with portraiture. This approach is very different from the Chinese traditional ways of learning art. Since the 90s, when Chinese contemporary art was forming its own cultural identity, portraiture had the highest achievements. This is because portraits can easily illustrate the different levels of relationship between men and the rapidly developing society.
With the above discussion as background, to emphasize Beijing’s role as the center of Asia, we generalize Chinese artists and categorize them into a larger Asian artists group. In the team of Chinese artists, we have also included the portrait works of two outstanding Japanese contemporary artists—Takashi Murakami and Yoshitomo Nara. We interweave Asian and western portraits and explore their mutual relationship and influence. These influences are not direct, but they happened unexpectedly.
“Encounters” is a rich and fruitful exhibition. It marks the birth of a new cultural Beijing and allows us to explore the world through Beijing.