In 1994, a group of artists were chased out of Yuanmingyuan, the holy land of Beijing’s moonstruck young artists.
Most were fresh graduates of art academies or young artists from other provinces. Lacking Beijing hukou, they were lumped in with the city’s “floating population” of “undesirables.”
The group, led by such artists as Fang Lijun, Liu Wei, Wang Qiang. Gao Huijun, Yue Minjun, Li Xianting and Zhang Huiping, eventually found a new home in Songzhuang, a dusty village on the outskirts of east Beijing only 7 kilometers from Hebei Province.
Though faced with several land disputes, the artists continued with their mission, drawing more young creatives to the east side and turning Songzhuang into Beijing’s new center of contemporary art.
Twenty years have passed, and hundreds of great artists have found their start in the little village. Their works reflect a new side of society that is wholly different from the peasant-inspired works of the last generation.
This new exhibition, the collective memory of Songzhuang, brings together the creations of 720 artists who have spent time in the village.
“Art history is a history of saying no to the sands and accepting only real gold,” said Li Xianting, a representative of the first group of artist settlers. “Songzhuang is our example of that.”
The exhibition will be open through November 18 in the village art center.
Wang Yiqiong’s work
Qi Zhilong’s work
Songzhuang Art Center
Address: Songzhuang Art Zone, Tongzhou District, Beijing 101118
Telephone: (010) 8957 9897
Open: Tuesday-Sunday, closed Mondays
Take Bus 808 or 809 from Dabeiyao Station (near Guomao) to Songzhuang Art Center.