The Shanghai Exhibition Center, where one of the most prestigious art fairs in Asia is going on from 7-10 September, is overflowing with visitors. 87 art galleries from around the world are participating in SH Contemporary, including “Galerija 21” from Latvia, which has exhibited the works of two Latvian painters – Anita Arbidāne and Anda Lāce.
The director of SH Contemporary 2011 is Massimo Torrigani, from Italy,who took note of “Galerija 21” at the India Art Summit in Deli in January of this year and invited the gallery to participate in Shanghai. Torrigani's conception is based on the wish to show today's Asia the new creativity that is afoot; to exhibit the world's most interesting experimental and academic phenomenons side by side; to accent the global and local parameters of today's art; to introduce people to both classic methods of expression and to the new media; and to bring attention to established values, in addition to looking for new ones.
Participating in SH Contemporary gives one the opportunity to “diagnose” the working principles of today's art market. Most of the participants from Europe, America and Australia have opened branches in Asia, with some galleries even operating in several Asian countries simultaneously. For instance, galleries such as Other has branches in Seoul, Shanghai, Beijing and Zurich; Art Seasons – in Singapore, Beijing and Jakarta ; White Space – in Hong Kong, Beijing and Bangkok. The famous New York gallery, Pace, has also opened an affiliate in Beijing and is limiting itself to only showing Chinese art at SH Contemporary.
Unlike other years, when art from around the world was equally represented, this year the Asian region is being accented and the leading Chinese galleries have formed a majority. To an outside viewer, Asian contemporary art (mostly paintings) assures itself with its differing views, the completeness of work and the use of new language in even the so-called “traditional” mediums. It's actually quite fascinating to see how very different the various methods of expressing identity and mentality in contemporary art are, and how diverse the themes are, as well.
A new feature this year is a separate zone for photography. The presentable art journal, Asia Pacific Arts, will even be giving out a special award for photography. The jury will select a winner from 36 works submitted by 25 galleries. In addition, a separate room has been set up to display the best projects by new Chinese artists from last year's fair.
Panel discussions organized by SH Contemporary are being led by leading art specialists from around the world. Several presentations from Asian art institutions and publications are scheduled. Programs have been created especially for those interested in art; the public's interest in art processes can be measured in the fact that as of today, there are 28 private contemporary art museums in China.
SH Contemporary is one of the most prestigious art fairs in Asia. It was established in 2007 in answer to both the growing interest of the art market in contemporary Asian art, as well as to the increase of the Asian middle-class's standard of living and purchasing power.