Since 2013, the Daimler Art Collection has strengthened its international profile by adding to it a significant new aspect of global contemporary art – through the acquisition of more than 40 artworks by approximately 20 Chinese artists. In the course of 2015 and 2016 these newly acquired artworks will be shown in a number of exhibitions held in Berlin and Stuttgart.
The Chinese artworks relate to a number of areas of special interest of the Daimler Art Collection, among others especially in terms of abstract and conceptual art tendencies as well as in new media forms. At the same time, these artworks represent an entirely new and distinctive complex within the collection – both culturally and aesthetically. The selected acquisitions of the Daimler Art Collection are centered around artists from the key regions of Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong. A forward-looking acquisition policy was developed that focuses mainly on the youngest generation of artists (those born circa 1980). Additionally, thanks to our collaborations with some major galleries, we were able to acquire significant artworks by artists who have already achieved an international reputation, plus a number of historically significant works. Taken together, these acquisitions provide an insight into a nation that is the subject of fascinating and heated discussion, and a nation that will be of critical and global importance in the 21st century – not only because of its thousands of years of tradition, but also because of its rapid economic and cultural development.
At first the new Chinese acquisitions will be presented in an exhibition series at Daimler Contemporary in Berlin. Both shows will showcase the Chinese artists’ work in the context of the Daimler Art Collection. The exhibition will juxtapose and put the Chinese artists in dialogues with international artists, the show will expand through time and different cultures, and it aims to bring out peculiarities and parallels in the diverse artistic strategies. The first part of the exhibition From a Poem to the Sunset, which will run from May 1 to August 30, 2015, is devoted to conceptual approaches concerned both with the significance of artistic traditions and with the collision of divergent cultural, media and material worlds. Whereas the first part of the exhibition consists primarily of installations, conceptual artworks and videos, works of abstract painting and photography will be in the foreground of the second part of the exhibition On Curbstone Jewels and Cobblestones, from September 11, 2015 to January 17, 2016. With particular reference to their own biographies, the artists seek for individual means of expression, but also seek to incorporate answers to the issues of our time and direct environment. The artist’s responses to these may take the form of constructed parallel realms, documentations or portraits – or make the effort to have an impact on the influencing entity: on society. The displayed artworks reveal fundamental changes within the worlds in which we live. They give visible form to existing stereotypes and judgments (or prejudices) about “the other”, and discuss the social and political consequences of globalization.
The exhibition series on Contemporary Chinese Art at Daimler Contemporary in Berlin, curated by Renate Wiehager and Christian Ganzenberg, is accompanied by an extensive program of supporting events. At the heart of this is a series of talks: an autonomous forum on specifically Chinese themes that will bring together a selection of art protagonists from China, with the hosts acting in the role of moderator. The talks will concern the artistic background and ethos behind the presented artworks, alongside fundamental issues and current themes of cultural and social development in China. The discussions, lectures and performances will give the artists featured in the exhibitions the opportunity to speak. Furthermore it is planed to host a multi-day symposium in Berlin, which will bring together some of the most knowledgeable protagonists on this subject from the international academia. The insights arising out of these events are going to be published online, and in an accompanying publication, which will be released at the beginning of 2016.
Curated by Renate Wiehager and Christian Ganzenberg
Curatorial advisor: Andreas Schmid