I’m participating in an international artists’ residency program hosted by Red Gate Gallery, and my apartment is in Feijiacun, a growing village of migrant workers and artists, on the outskirts of Beijing.
This is where a nostalgic human-scale China can be found—dusty streets, dumpling restaurants, small shops selling household goods, vegetable stalls, and a casual flow of pedestrians, motorcycles, baby carriages, and trucks. But the place is dynamic, not settled–people move in and out, and buildings come and go. The village has grown from an expanse of fields near the airport to a bustling small marketplace with makeshift shopfronts and temporary homes. What is here today may be gone tomorrow.
There was a slight covering of snow this morning, so winter is on its way to the Boston area. I’m actually looking forward to hunkering down for a few (or several) months to catch up on huge amounts of background reading, on China and contemporary art, and viewing of films that could inform or inspire my project.
Everyone has been so nice to me. I email yesterday: “Can I come over tomorrow? I need to take some photos and record an interview….I need this for a grant application due on Friday.” And voilà, done.
I visited Su Xinping in his studio only a few days after he became vice president of the Central Academy of Fine Arts. I will be interested to learn how he advances his artistic vision, how he advances art education at the academy, and how he manages the demands of a high bureaucratic position.
Below, a few paintings on view in Su Xinping’s studio that day.
I spent a day with Xia Xiaowan, with good conversation time while stuck in traffic on Sixth Ring Road, trying to get to his studio in Songzhuang. An excerpt of that conversation is here. His 3-D glass paintings have caught the art world’s attention. He struggles with juggling the external demands on his time, while pursuing the experiments and explorations of form that are his passion in art. He has been very thoughtful about the cultural icons that have inspired people around the world, and he is interested in creating new forms beyond Eastern and Western ideals.
Below are some of the glass paintings that were in his studio.