Whitehot Magazine

Lí Wei at Klein Sun Gallery and the Zurich Roots of the Worldwide Chinese Art Phenomenon

Lí Wei, A Satisfactory Room, 2017, Installation, Variable dimensions. © Lí Wei, Courtesy Klein Sun Gallery. Photo by Xiao Yun.

, AUG 2017

Decades after the Chinese Contemporary art market began and after many instances of far-reaching philanthropy and press, the young New York gallery Klein Sun Gallery has also championed and developed Chinese contemporary artists.

It was a group of Zurich based collectors who practiced magic by starting the Chinese art market. Uli Sigg (born 1946), a Swiss businessman, diplomat and art collector, was a primary member of this group. Sigg began collecting Chinese contemporary art in the 1970s and is considered the largest collector of Chinese art in the world. Zurich based artist Trevor Guthrie penned an important Chinese art article for Whitehot Magazine in 2007. Guthrie's article featured interviews Marc Spiegler (now the director of Art Basel) and Zurich based mega-collector Monique Burger. This article further pushed Chinese contemporary art to wider audiences.

Now in 2017, Klein Sun Gallery's current exhibition (on now until Sept. 2nd) is artist  Wei (born in Beijing, China, 1981. Lives and works in Beijing, China.) Wei received his BA from the sculpture department at the world famous Central Academy of Fine Arts in 2007. Wei makes hyper realistic sculptures and installations that can at times incorporate video and have an interactive and magical feeling. His work is a critique of human nature finding its inspiration from sources such as philosopher Carl Jung’s writings.

Li Wei, Immigrants, 2017, Performance, installation comprising two tempera on wood paintings, soil, weed and single channel video, Painting dimensions: 13 1/4 x 16 1/4 inches each (33.7 x 41.275 cm), Soil pile dimensions: 84 x 84 x 47 (213.36 x 213.36 x 119.38 cm), Video duration: 12'50" minutes, looped, © Lí Wei, Courtesy Klein Sun Gallery. Photo by Xiao Yun.

Lí Wei’s exhibitions have included Nobody Cares, Red Brick Art Museum, Beijing, China (2015); Peace, Primo Marella Gallery, Milan, Italy (2014); Hero, Today Art Museum, Beijing, China (2011). He has also exhibited in major group shows including New voices: a dsl collection story, Klein Sun Gallery, New York, NY (2016); China 8 - Contemporary Art from China on the Rhine and Ruhr, Mulheim Museum, Mulheim, Germany (2015); Unlived by What is Seen, Pace Beijing, Beijing, China (2014); Commune, White Rabbit Gallery, Sydney, Australia (2014); Asia Triennial Manchester – Harmonious Society, Manchester Cathedral, Manchester, UK (2014); Hugo Boss Asia Art, Rockbund Art Museum, Shanghai, China (2013); Criss-Cross: Artworks of Young Chinese Contemporary Artists from Long Collection, Long Museum, Shanghai, China (2013); The Unseen – The Fourth Guangzhou Triennial, Guangdong Provincial Museum, Guangzhou, China (2012); and BMW New Face 2011, Minsheng Art Museum, Shanghai, China (2011). Wei’s enigmatic works are worth watching -  a must-see New York exhibition this fall.

Lí Wei’s current show (on thru 9/2 2017) at Klein Sun Gallery in New York is his North American debut. WM


Noah Becker

Noah Becker is an artist and the publisher and founding editor of Whitehot Magazine. He shows his paintings internationally at museums and galleries. Becker also plays jazz saxophone. Becker's writing has appeared in The Guardian, VICE, Garage, Art in America, Interview Magazine, Canadian Art and the Huffington Post. He has written texts for major artist monographs published by Rizzoli and Hatje Cantz. Becker directed the New York art documentary New York is Now (2010). Becker's new album of original music "Mode For Noah" was released in 2023. 


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