Asia's new role
Booming cities like Shanghai or Beijing are urban metaphors for truly tectonic shifts in the broader cultural, economic and political landscape. But China is only the peak of the iceberg. Asia includes over 50 countries, from the Middle East to the Pacific islands. There are vast differences and a richness of variety that are harbored within the borders of each country. Asia holds three quarters of the world's population, several races, a myriad of languages, all four of the world's major religions, and countless local faiths. Although the countries in Asia have different cultures, political climates and religions, they all have strongly expanding economies … as well as good and interesting contemporary artists. Only 10 years ago many Asian artists had to emigrate in the West because of the strict political and cultural restrictions in their own countries. Due to the social liberalization that can be found in large sections of Asia today, very active and exciting art scenes have developed all over the place: art academies, biennials, contemporary art museums, art centres and, last but not least, art galleries emerge everywhere in Asia. And the new art scenes, in combination with the explosive growth among the wealthy local upper and middle classes, also produce new collectors and new demands. Even more, countries like China or India are establishing their own scenes where global taste is being forged.
"ShContemporary is international and offers a privileged viewpoint of the contemporary art sector in Asia. Of the 101 exhibitors selected for the quality of their projects, the half comes from the West and the other half from various Asian countries. The involvement of so many different nationalities means that artists benefit from a concrete opportunity to present their work to professionals from every continent, while collectors and gallery-owners in turn can find out about different situations and markets, or discover new talents." This statement by Pierre Huber relates to the decision to include two "invitation-only" sections in ShContemporary: "Best of Artists" and "Best of Discovery".
"Best of Artists"
This first section will premiere the work of 15 emerging Asian artists on the international scene - as such uninfluenced by Western markets, fashions or mainstream "moral values", and considered in their respective home countries to have great talent. "ShContemporary will in this way revitalise the market and the tools for getting to know and analysing today's Art, on a global scale and not anymore only in the Western world," said Pierre Huber. "'Best of Artists' presents artists whose vision and the content of their works, in my opinion, has a 'historic' impact, even though their work occupies a dimension that is very different from that of current best-sellers." Bologna Fiere engaged Pierre Huber to travel for months in India, Japan, Korea, China and Pakistan to find especially interesting artists and gallery-owners.
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