As I continue to bring you the energetic art scene in China through my Canon lenses, I wanted to make sure that I write a little about the 798 Art District in Beijing. This perfect mix of galleries, exhibitions, shops, cafes, and restaurants made it one of my favorite and least favorite destination in China. It was my favorite because I didn’t want to leave, but it was also my least favorite because I didn’t want to leave.
First, the rebuilding and makeover of this large military factory complex by a group of architects and artists is delightfully unique and visually pleasing in that many of the Maoist slogans and iconic industrial machinery, as well as the large-scale buildings have been preserved. Second, an eclectic mix of cute, avant-garde, modern, post-modern, and traditional Chinese art can be found as you walk from one stop to another. Third, there is art everywhere: outside, inside, on the walls, on the floor, on top of the buildings… Yes, there is a physical limitation to how much art you can absorb in a day.
Both my friend and I ended up getting a headache after seeing a piece that was so powerful to the point where we couldn’t avert our eyes. We felt like our bodies, along with our psyches, started to collapse after staring at the details of the painting for so long. The painting drew us in so deeply that we felt dazed and confused by the time we left the building. So beware when you visit — make sure to get a healthy dose of food, drinks, and air before you get lost in this amazing place.
Posted by Connie