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Thursday, June 17, 2021 - 19:00

Chinese Contemporary Art - Past, Present, and Future

Xin Dong Cheng and Caroline Puel

Embassy of Poland
1 Ritan Lu 100600 Beijing

建国门外 日坛路 1号 光华路口 波兰大使馆

The history of contemporary Chinese art begins three decades ago, with the opening of China to the world and to numerous influences. With Chinese painters travelling to Europe, Japan, and the United States, there was a tremendous evolution of millennium traditional culture. The Soviet influence introduced “social realism” in the Fine Arts Institutes, which while previously used as a tool for propaganda, began to be used with modern techniques to revitalise art. In the 1980s, a radical, avant-garde contemporary art movement appeared in China.

In many ways, China’s artists help translate, for a wider global audience, the country’s immense social and economic transformation, and the art scene has been growing, with massive interest even outside China, as evidenced by the warm reception received by Chinese artists during their first appearance at the VeniceBiennale in 1999.

The 2008 financial crisis saw a dampening of Western interest; however, since then, several important collections have emerged and contemporary Chinese art, once more, has the limelight in the international artlandscape. Join our speakers, Xin Dong Cheng and Caroline Puel, as they reveal the major themes and trends in contemporary Chinese art.


Xin Dong Cheng

Born in China, Cheng was educated in France where he specialized in art history and curating. He spent many years working at Gallery de France, one of the first to introduce Chinese contemporary art to Europe. He brought his knowledge and passion for collecting back to Beijing and in the year 2000, he opened his first gallery here - Xin Dong Cheng Space for Contemporary Art. Cheng’s aim is to establish a cultural bridge between China and the rest of the world by exhibiting Chinese and international artists. As an independent curator, he has also organised more than 100 exhibitions around the world. He is known as China’s “ultimate curator” who has helped develop local artists and shape international perception of Chinese art.


Caroline Puel

French journalist and writer, Puel has been living in China for 35 years. An art critic, and author of fifteen books on contemporary Chinese artists, she was awarded the Albert Londres Prize in 1997 (the equivalent of the French Pulitzer) for her coverage of China. In 2011, she published a book entitled “Les 30 ans qui ont changé la Chine'' (The 30 years that transformed China), which is a bestseller and has been translated into multiple languages. She is a graduate of the Institut d'Etudes Politiques de Paris (Sciences-Po), the French Institute of Oriental Languages and a former student of the Beijing Diplomacy Institute.


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