The national museum of art in Beijing was busy and getting ready to receive the guests for the opening. As artists holding our blue and green guest cards we had special access to the exhibition prior to the opening. Mingling with the museum guards still placing guard rails around the sculptures and fixing up the walls with white dabs of paint on brushes we walked through halls and took in the artworks. The ground floor showcased the artwork of the Chinese participants, and like in the previous biennale, the works were exquisite. Large works of dreamy mastery, using traditional ink on paper or oils or acrylic on canvas were confidently painted. The sculptures stood firm in their transformed material. The works where made by men and women that were obviously so well trained in their skills of art making, that we only see such dedication in the west in athletes, dancers or musicians. Hours of practice, hours of doing, resulting in physical actions perfectly synchronized with their thought. Further on in the museum, the republic of Armenia had its own ‘Special exhibition’, as did Mexico, and a series of etchings from Fransisco Goya. Moving up to the 2nd floor the exhibition continued with the works of the international artists. Sometimes a little crowded, the collection showed a full array of diversity found in our world cultures. And it was obvious that the curators of the Beijing international art biennale did not choose the art works by status or personal connections but through an open call for artists. To be part of this varied collection is truly unique.
In the second room I found the familiar grey and green colours of my painting, then I realized it was mine, the painting was hanging on its side. Quickly I looked around to see if I could bring this to the attention of anyone in charge. No one, so appointing myself to take charge. I found two guards to help me. We unhooked the painting, turned it and hung it on its appropriate hanging wire. With some improvisation we levelled the painting so that it was straight, and brushed off the dust and specks of polystyrene packaging flakes. Now we were ready for the opening. The people streamed in; I will have to come back an other day. The work that I presented was ‘sculpture of animals and children’.
More about the process can be found in a short video clip.
That day I met up with:
Vu Quang Hung, Nguyen Truong Linh, Ho Mingh Quan, Do Duc Khai, Nguyen Thai Thang, Nguyen Duc Viet, Peter Hiers, Joan Marie Kelly, Mainaz Bano, Jitendra Kumar Sharma, Rajib Bhattacharjee, Maurya Shitanshu Gupt, Sonal Varshneya, Shatrughan Kumar Gupta, Vidya Sagar, Jyotsna Gyanani Deb Dulal Dutta, Danilo Oyarce , Dmitry Zharov