The first Jingart fair aims to enrich Beijing's art scene with a lineup of diverse, international galleries. (Photo provided to China Daily)
The inaugural fair showcasing high-end works from local and international galleries proves an instant hit with the capital's art lovers.
Faced with a local audience who is used to large expositions held at expansive venues, the inaugural Jingart art fair instead offered up a small and delicate art fair, in the hope that its diverse style and international vision would help enrich the capital's art scene and cultivate the next generation of collectors.
The high-end fair, which ran from Thursday to Sunday, took place at Beijing Quanyechang, a three-story former department store constructed in the early 1900s in the capital's historic Qianmen commercial area.
The baroque building is infused with the ornamental art nouveau touches, the architectural movement that flourished in Europe at the turn of the 20th century. Opening in 1905, the building operated as a department store until the mid-1970s, and is now a protected historical and cultural site.
The first edition of Jingart Beijing 2018 presents a similar classic, crossover style. Some 30 galleries and institutions showed a wide range of works - from fine art and furniture to works of design - at partially opened sections of the building, sparsely arranged over three floors.
It didn't quite feel like a typical contemporary art fair where booths extend as far as the eye can see, occupying a big space. It was more like a salon, and it reminded some visitors of a similar feeling to the first edition of the annual Shanghai fair Art021 in 2013.
While Bao Yifeng was one of the three co-founders of Art021 and also helped set up Jingart, he says it was never the intention to set up a Beijing edition of the Shanghai fair. Instead, Bao says, Jingart was envisaged as a completely different brand tailored specifically to the cultural interests of art buyers in Beijing and its neighboring regions.
Organizing similar art shows in a variety of locations is common occurrence for international fairs such as Art Basel (which takes place in Basel, Hong Kong and Miami) and Frieze (in London and New York). Bao says, however, that this business model does not fit with a local exhibition like Art021 which is primarily rooted in the tastes of local Chinese art lovers. They tend to differ from place to place.
Bao Yifeng, Ying Qinglan and Zhou Dawei (from left) co-found Art021 and Jingart. [Photo provided to China Daily]