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Art trading frames picture of growth

Updated: 2023-10-20 08:09 ( China Daily Global )
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West Bund Art & Design, a flagship fair of the Shanghai International Artwork Trade Week, has hosted leading galleries, auction houses and art institutions over the past 10 years. CHINA DAILY

The busy season for Shanghai's art market will begin next month, with around 100 art fairs and 30 auctions expected to take place around the city during the Fifth Shanghai International Artwork Trade Week, which runs from Nov 9 to 13, local officials announced on Monday.

The event will gather some 250 esteemed domestic and international institutions, and the value of the art on show is estimated to be in excess of 10 billion yuan ($1.37 billion).

"We are aiming to accelerate Shanghai's emergence as a premier global trading venue and propel the scale of its art industry to new heights," says Fang Shizhong, director of the Shanghai Administration of Culture and Tourism.

The transaction volume of Shanghai's market for antiques and arts rose 44 percent from 8.9 billion yuan in 2019 to 12.85 billion yuan last year. The value of the city's imports and exports of art also increased 61 percent during the same period to 10.28 billion yuan, according to Fang.

He says that the Shanghai International Artwork Trade Week can now be considered a major event on the global art trading calendar, as the fair has facilitated over 10 billion yuan in transactions.

Two flagship programs, the 10th West Bund Art & Design and 11th ART021 Shanghai Contemporary Art Fair, are expecting record participation. About 125 galleries and institutions, 50 percent of which are from overseas, will feature at West Bund, while ART021 will host 161 participants, with 30 percent from outside China.

Renowned galleries from G20 countries, BRICS nations, SCO members and 19 Belt and Road Initiative partner countries will also be present. Over 6,000 pieces of contemporary art will be presented by leading international galleries including Gagosian, White Cube, Hauser & Wirth, David Zwirner and Thaddaeus Ropac.

Hauser & Wirth, a leading player in the global modern and contemporary art scene, has been a regular participant since West Bund Art & Design was conceived 10 years ago.

"West Bund has always focused on the curatorial aspects, and this is consistent with our direction," says Elaine Kwok, managing partner in Asia of the Switzerland-based gallery.

During previous editions, Hauser & Wirth participated with well-planned booths, such as the Gunther Forg show last year, and the Maria Lassnig solo exhibition a few years ago, Kwok says. This year, the gallery will present a solo exhibition of American artist Gary Simmons at West Bund, displaying his latest pieces, as well as early paintings from the 1990s.

Meanwhile, the 6th China International Import Expo, which will take place from Nov 5 to 10, will increase the size of its cultural objects and antiques section to nearly 3,000 square meters. A record-breaking number of 19 companies — including nine top international galleries like Levy Gorvy and Pace Gallery — are expected to participate. Three of the leading global auction houses — Christie's, Sotheby's and Phillips — will also hold shows at the expo.

The Shanghai municipality has pledged to facilitate fast, convenient and secure trading for galleries and art collectors. To do so, it has already introduced new management measures, administrative regulations and service centers for international art trading.

During the Fifth Shanghai International Artwork Trade Week, around 200 exhibitions and 1,000 activities hosted by 100 art galleries and 15 pioneering creative art spaces are also expected to take place.

Zheng Zheng contributed to this story.

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