Photo on the left: 'Bundle' 2009 by James Rigler
Time: 16 May - 2 June 2010
Venue: Pure Space, 20Ku, 798 Art District, No 2 Jiuxiaqiao Road, Chaoyang District, Beijing
CURATOR: Stephen Higginson
ORGANISER: Nancy Kau Hei
Tel: 010-5978 9688
It will be a ‘first’ for Beijing – and China – with the mid-May opening of a show in 798 featuring ‘design art’ by creatives from the UK. Design Art is a name coined in the last few years for a category of work which is not craft – with its basket work and potters wheel image, nor is it fine art – with its astronomical prices. Currently, it is a booming sector in Europe and the U.S., where it has spawned new shows in London, Paris, Basle and New York. The word embraces three dimensional one–off objects from furniture to jewellery, glass and ceramics, .created by a new brand of artists often working in mixed media, and calling themselves ‘designer makers’ to distinguish them from artists in the normal sense of the word - painters and sculptors.'27 Quills' 2009 by Tim Andrews
The Beijing show features ceramics and glass objects from a mix of exciting new talent - recently graduated for British art colleges – and who are already selling all they can produce, together with a handful of well established designer makers who are represented in private and public collections world wide. Pieces range from glass and ceramic abstract sculpture-like objects to more conventional vase and dish forms, but with a contemporary twist.
The presentation is curated by Stephen Higginson, who for many years ran an international London based publishing business, with titles majoring on colour and design trend forecasting, which often featured the work of young artists and designers.
“Working with young talent is very rewarding, and I promised myself that when I had the time and opportunity, I would help promote their work internationally. As my company had a joint venture in China, I knew a little of the market here and had some friends and contacts, so Beijing was a natural starting point” says Stephen Higginson. “I conceived the idea more than four years ago, and during that time the market in design art has grown to be a major sector, with collectors snapping up all the best pieces within hours of a shows opening, and prices are rising fast.”
Prices at the Beijing show range between RMB10,000 and RMB60,000, but some designer makers in Europe and the U.S. can already command well over RMB500,000. and the market has not slowed, in spite of the worlds financial problems.
“All works are one-off or, where appropriate, produced in very limited editions of say five. Galleries now compete to sign up the new talent which emerges every year from Britain’s top art colleges, such as the Royal College of Art in London” explains Stephen Higginson. “Collectors appreciate that they are getting in at the start of a new market, and that they are getting something unique and desirable at a fraction of the prices being demanded for conventional paintings and sculpture. In fact I had a hard job putting this show together; all the participants are selling what they produce within weeks and many are overwhelmed with commissions, from both private and corporate clients. Several I wanted to bring to Beijing just couldn’t make my shipping date!”
If the Chinese market proves to be receptive, Stephen Higginson plans this to be the first of regular presentations of design art in China. “This is just a start” he says, “ I am testing the market. There is a lot of exciting and cutting edge work I want to introduce to China once collectors here get the feel for it”.
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