Chinese contemporary art is in high demand in the international art scene. Numerous new museums have been opened in the past few years and more than 3,000 museums are planned for the near future. Chinese contemporary art plays an important role on the market as well as at international exhibition venues, and one tends to forget that none of it existed only 20 years ago.

The success originates mainly in the big cities, such as Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, where huge gallery markets that are connected with the international art scene are located. The rest of the country is far behind. Even Hong Kong is not part of the hype, although it plays an interesting role within the Chinese art scene. In smaller cities, except those with art academies (e.g., Hangzhou, Chongqing, Xian), contemporary art is neither shown nor discussed or in any way part of cultural life.

For the last 5 to 10 years there have been attempts from artists and curators to work on alternative art spaces and concepts which leave the commercial path behind. They are searching for new artistic and organisational practises to reflect on the changing society. The following interviews show the different intentions and attitudes, mirroring the growing complexity.

Andreas Schmid