Pace Beijing’s opening exhibition Encounters occurs amidst the remarkable cultural evolution Beijing is experiencing. It began on August 2, 2008, with the finest international artists such as Andy Warhol, Alex Katz, Chuck Close, Cindy Sherman, Georg Baselitz, George Condo, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Jeff Koons, Marlene Dumas, Richard Prince, Tim Eitel, Fang Lijun, Li Songsong, Liu Wei, Ma Liuming, Qi Zhilong, Takashi Murakami, Wang Guangyi, Yang Shaobing, Yoshimoto Nara, Yue Minjun, Zhang Huan, and Zhang Xiaogang among others.
In the past 20 years, Chinese contemporary art and its market have developed rapidly. Chinese art, after a long period of limited development, has finally won world-wide recognition for its achievements. The growth of the economy in the past 30 years has also brought China’s long history and culture to the attention of the world. It is as if China and its culture have been reborn, but this time in a global, cultural context. Beijing is at the forefront of the promotion of Chinese culture, and, in turn, has gained a more important and diversified role. For the past 10 years, it has been the city that exports Chinese contemporary culture. Now the city can be a place where the world’s cultures reunite.
Encounters is an assembly of all kinds of cultural power. The exhibition focuses on portraiture as it often reflects the most sensitive parts of various cultures in different eras. In the process of learning art, Chinese contemporary artists began with portraiture. This approach was very different than the traditional Chinese manner of learning art. Since the early 1990s, when Chinese contemporary art was forming its own cultural identity, portraiture has been held in the highest regard because it most easily illustrated the various relationships that exist between man and his rapidly developing society.
With the above discussion as background, to emphasize Beijing’s role as the center of Asia, we have grouped together the Chinese artists and the works of two outstanding, Japanese contemporary artists - Takashi Murakami and Yoshitomo Nara - into a larger Asian artists group. The Asian and Western portraits are then intermixed, allowing us to explore their mutual relationship and influence. These influences are not the result of direct referencing; rather, they occurred unexpectedly. Encounters marks the birth of a new cultural Beijing and allows us to explore the world through this city.