In 1985 to conceive of Beijing as a center for contemporary art would have been a fanciful and preposterous idea. How much the world changes in such a short time-frame.
An ambitious art space opened earlier this month. The Ullens Center for Contemporary Art (UCCA) founded by the Belgian baron and baroness Guy and Myriam Ullens is in a huge factory building, Bauhaus style in the popular 798 art zone.
This is the only non-profit privately funded art organization in China. Architects Jean-Michel Wilmotte and Ma Qingyun renovated the 8,000 square meters with 31 foot-high ceilings. Famed curator and critic Fei Dawei is the newly appointed artistic director.
The inaugural exhibition '85 New Wave: The Birth of Chinese Contemporary Art focuses on the time period where it was extremely difficult for artists to make avant-garde works and which prompted an exodus of artists to the west such as Huang Yong-ping to Paris and Xu Bing to New York.