James Elaine

James Elaine


Unlike its neighbors in the red-brick, high-ceiling buildings of Caochangdi, Telescope curates a different kind of collection.

Rather than collecting the art most likely to sell, curator James Elaine uses his non-profit venue to promote the artists least likely to be known. 640-864 dumps

For China’s young creative talents, it’s the opportunity to break out.

Elaine began curating in the late 1980s in a small New York gallery focused on such emerging artists. “Usually they were young – just out of university,” he said.

A decade of hard work helped his New York museum win attention. After that, Elaine moved to Los Angeles to work for another non-profit museum.

The move to China may have been predestined: Elaine’s mother was born in China when her parents were helping to build a hospital in Qingdao, Shandong Province many years ago.

“I came to China because of my mother and it felt like home immediately,” he said.

He began making regular trips to China in 2002 and decided to relocate with his family in 2008.

Since then, Elaine has traveled all over the country to discover artists in need of a chance. His Telescope gallery has curated four exhibitions by the artists Deng Tai, Li Zhenwei, Cheng Qianning and Zhang Xinjun.

While he Elaine was searching for artists and funding, Deng Tai killed himself at the age of 24 without ever having had an exhibition of his own.

The tragedy inspired him to plunge ahead with Telescope, even though his investors never came through with the money.

“Our mission here is to give emerging artists an opportunity and mentor them instead of just using them to make money,” he said.

But the lack of focus on profits means Elaine must find money from other sources: foundations, companies, individuals or grants.

Telescope's entrance

Telescope’s entrance

Telescope’s funding comes from a hodgepodge of US supporters and Chinese philanthropic organizations. A handful of Chinese investors are supporting spaces like Telescope, so Elaine is seeking out individual donors looking to bolster that pool.

Although Telescope does not keep any money from its exhibition sales, Elaine does ask the artists to voluntarily donate a small portion to support their future peers.

“All the artists we’ve exhibited said they want to give back to us a portion of their sales. The spirit is very hopeful and encouraging,” Elaine said.

“This is what I know and what I love to do. It gives my life worth and meaning: I think it’s my calling,” he said. [vc_single_image image=”4935″ image_size=”full” frame=”noframe” full_width=”no” lightbox=”no” link_target=”_self” shadow=”no” width=”1/1″ el_position=”first last”]

Irrational Transcendent by Li Zhenwei

Li Zhenwei, born in northeast China in 1987, was trained from the age of five in traditional Chinese and Western classical drawing and painting.

Born when China was entering the computer age, Li discovered digital technology and access to the outside world through the Internet. Over the years these two worlds collided in his art.

He had already begun to move in this direction, but his years at CAFA he reduced his observations to the simplest of gestures: the dot.

“Everything is made of dots, every line, shape and mass,” Li says. “The dot holds all the possibilities and complexities of life and art.”

(By James Elaine)

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Zhang Xinjun’s Solo Exhibtion

Beijing artist Zhang Xinjun’s work is born out of his relationship with the materials and objects found in everyday life and how they relate to his local surroundings.

His Telescope exhibition collects desks, tables and chairs from his childhood school. In the second gallery space, sleeping bags have been cut up into hundreds of small triangular shapes and stitched together into a womb-like geodesic dome.

(By James Elaine)

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Untitled: Outside by Deng Tai

This solo exhibition focuses on a series of photographs shot in Wangjing Park. Every spring day the parks of Beijing are flooded with soon-to-be newlyweds, camera crews, fake props, flowing gowns and makeup artists who turn the parks into a massive studio set.

Deng Tai placed himself like a lamppost or uninvited guest into the scenery of several couples.

Half naked, solitary, strangely wrapped in a length of cassette tape, often times obscuring his identity, unnoticed and ignored, he calmly stands with a gaze of mysterious longing for some greater meaning to it all.

(By James Elaine)

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Unapproachable Light by Bai Ye and Cheng Qianning

Two artists from Xi’an, Bai Ye and Cheng Qianning, are having their first solo exhibition in Beijing.

The exhibition is inspired by a Biblical verse referring to a place or a state of being that is beyond the abilities and senses of humankind to enter or perceive, but that exists and beckons nonetheless.

Light is essential in the work of Bai and Cheng. One works with light from within to reveal what is hidden in darkness, hoping to find a way out into the day; the other works with light from without surveying from unseen vantage points the lives and remnants of cities and people below.

One is intimate, the other is objective, but both reveal vulnerable states of man.

(By James Elaine)


10 Caochangdi, Chaoyang District
Thursday to Sunday, 11 am – 6 pm
(010) 6433 7031

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