The newly appointed director of the Shanghai Gallery of Art – for which he has been a curator since 2004 – Zhang Yi has been a long-term observer of Chinese art. He graduated from Beijing’s Central Academy of Fine Art in 1992, has been working as a scholar concentrating on Chinese contemporary art since 1994 and, in 2009, established Gallery 01100001 in Beijing.
What do you think was the biggest change in China’s art scene in 2015?
The immense and powerful growth of the domestic art sector. This year proved that the Chinese art scene could withstand, and to some extent even weaken, the impact of shifts in the global economic recession and social environment.
What was your art highlight of this year?
Xu Zhen’s solo exhibition at Shanghai’s Long Museum.
What (or who) was the big name of 2015?
Gu Dexin, China’s most avant-garde artist. His installation works have earned him worldwide fame.
What do you predict for Chinese art in 2016?
I presume we will witness a tremendous shift in the way art is created here. It’s also likely that artists will try be more implicit or subtle in expressing their visions, rather than overtly aggressive or extreme.
What about Chinese collectors? Will the phenomenal growth continue?
Chinese collectors are only going to grow in number. As for the art that’s most likely going to be trending? I think it’ll be works from the early 20th century that grab quite a bit of attention from local investors.