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Austrian Embassy houses contemporary art exhibition for China Young Artists Project

China Young Artists Project (CYAP), a non-profit program aiming to promote talented young artists in China to the world, launched its 'Art Bridges Cultures桥•邸蕴' exhibition on November 14 at the Austrian Embassy in Beijing.

From L to R,Irine Gina-Reichl, Ambassador of Austria, Dong Yi,CEO of Beautiful Asset Art Industry Corporation and the sponsor of CYAP. Photos: Rebecca Lin/Sino-US.com

The brightly-lit ground floor of Austrian Embassy showcased 42 contemporary art (当代艺术) works by 22 young Chinese artists and was packed with visitors from the neighboring embassies, Beijng' s foreign community and art circles. The exhibition runs till November 30.

"Art bridges people with people and country with country. I feel quite thankful for CYAP to provide us an access to so many good works by China' s young artists and wish them good luck in exploring the new world outside China," Irine Gina-Reichl, Ambassador of Austria said in a brief opening speech. According to her, the exhibition now going on in her house displays different genres of contemporary art works by young Chinese artists.

Gudrun Hardiman, the Cultural Affairs Counsellor of Austrian Embassy said that the rhino sculpture at the gate is her favorite works, because it reminds her of good memories in Africa.

Later, Dong Yi, CEO of Beautiful Asset Art Industry Corporation and sponsor of CYAP said, for today's plural society in China, the collision of different cultures and rapid growth all prompted a flourishing contemporary art, and she felt obliged to introduce the aspiring youth into the world art picture.

"Artists should do what they do best—which is making art. They should not worry about marketing, exhibiting or the business matters," Harvey Dzodin, a popular cultural events freelancer and organizer of the exhibition told Sino-US.com, "the program would take them and their works to the international art fairs or exhibits."

Harvey Dzodin, organizer of the exhibit and one of his friends

"When Harvey informed me about CYAP and told me they would like the artists to go to Europe, I suggested them to start it by doing it on Ambassador' s residence here and that' s where the idea originated," said Gudrun Hardiman, the Cultural Affairs Counsellor of Austrian Embassy told Sino-US.com. She regards the project as excellent. “When you are famous, every one comes to you. But for most young Chinese artists, they haven' t even reached the level of being known. So, I think Austria, as a country cherishing art and cultural exchanges with China, should take the role of introducing them to the foreign community in Beijing and help them enter the European market.

According to Ms. Hardiman, the Austrian Embassy is now helping CYAP to find venues for next year’s exhibits in Austria.

Helen Han, senior adviser of the CYAP project 

Helen Han, the senior adviser of the CYAP project, said that the Embassy also specially planned the exhibit to be staged during Austria' s National Day celebrating period, when Ambassador’s residence would be frequented by visitors from different countries and the works could get more exposure.

"We collaborates with the Ministry of Culture, and with their help, we has formed a selection committee of nine distinguished person in the art scene for choosing 135 artists from over a thousand applicants," Han said. The selection committee includes Dong Junxin (董俊新), Secretary-General of CICA, Fan Di' an (范迪安), the Director of the National Art Museum of China, Xu Bing (徐冰), Vice President of the Central Academy of Fine Arts, Zeng Fanzhi (曾梵志), famous Chinese artist, Hong Huang (洪晃), Editor-in-Chief of  "iLook" magazine, and senior curators from the renowned NY Guggenheim  Museum and Mori Art Museum.

Having participated in a few top international art events like the Venice Biennale and Istanbul Biennale, Han said CYAP is still in the opening phase.

"Now, based on the practical experiences, we get to know the major players on the arena are still artists from the US or Europe. But we're confident, considering a country' s development always coincides with its art, China’s rapidly developing society has cultivated not some individuals, but a group of talented contemporary artists." She also noted once the artists are selected into the program, they would not need to worry about promotional things, and they could be endowed more opportunities to be known by the world.

From L to R, Anna Gustafsson, wife of Ambassador of Finland, Birgit Nyborg, wife ofAmbassador of Iceland and Stefan Skjaldarson, Ambassador of Iceland 

Ambassador of Iceland, Stefan Skjaldarson and his wife also made to the openning. "We really like the works and hope the same kind of exhibition could happen in our own embassy only at the moment our premise is not big enough. But one thing is for sure, programs like this one is connecting China with the Europe and the Europe now is curious about what’s happening in China," he said.

Chen Xingzhou, one of the CYAP artists

Chen Xingzhou, one of the CYAP artists, told sino-us.com that unlike traditional Chinese art, contemporary art could more easily be connect to western audience. "Different times give birth to different genres. Contemporary art is less about showing off skills, but more about communicating hearts and past experiences. Although we have different skills and media for making art, we have the same heart to appreciate the genre."  

An Austrian contemporary art lover poses with one of his favorite works.A Chinese visitor takes a photo with his mobile phone.