• Installation View
  • Installation View
  • Installation View
  • Installation View
  • Man, Eagle and Eye in the Sky(detail), Cai-Guoqiang, Mixed Media (Gunpowder on Paper), 230x77.5cmx9, 2004
  • Spring is Coming(detail), Yuan Qingyi, Oil on canvas, 170x189cm, 1984
  • A Gratified Young Man(detail), Shi Chong, Oil on canvas, 152x74cm, 1995

The Weight of Spirit: Selection of Taikang Collection 2016

2016.08.21 - 2016.09.09

Artist(s): Cai Guo-Qiang, Chen Danqing, Duan Jianwei, Geng Jianyi, Jin Shangyi, Lei Shuang, Li Hua, Li Xiangqun, Li Yousong, Liu Xiaodong, Lu Chao, Luo Zhongli, Mao Yan, Meng Luding & Zhang Qun, Shang Yang, Shen Yaoyi, Shi Chong, Sui Jianguo, Tang Daxi, Wang Zhaomin, Yang Feiyun, Yuan Qingyi, Zhang Enli, Zhang Shujian, Zhao Bandi, Zhou Chunya, Zhu Chunlin

Curator(s):Tang Xin

In a span of two decades from 1996 to 2016, Taikang Life made steady progress and has developed into a major insurance company with sustained attention to corporate social responsibility. Being the first large-scale finance company to start contemporary art collection, it opened Taikang Space in 2003, a non-profit art institution dedicated to the collection, the promotion and the research of Chinese contemporary art, representing profound and lasting influence.

Taikang Space, now a highly recognized professional art institution and a role model for other financial corporations within the country to assume to fulfill their social responsibility , is now well regarded by the media as “Taikang power” in the art community. To mark the 20th anniversary of Taikang Life, the space organizes a special exhibition entitled “The Weight of Spirit: Selection of Taikang Collection 2016”. It comprises 30 pieces/series of modern and contemporary artworks from 27 artists ( groups included), including works that best represent their time, like “Spring Comes” ( Yuan Qingyi), a work regarded to have heralded the ’85 New Wave, “In the New Age: The Enlightenment of Adam and Eve” ( Meng Luding + Zhang Qun), a painting pioneering avant-garde art in China, “Man, Eagle and Eye in the Sky” (Cai Guoqiang), a gunpowder masterpiece exploring the symbolic power of art in a social context, etc.        
During over a decade’s growth and development, Taikang became the first domestic collector that put forward the idea of “systematic collection”, devoted to both collecting and researching of artworks from the budding modern painting and photography in China in the 1930s and Chinese revolution art in its early stage, to Socialist Realism between 1949 and the death of Chairman Mao, besides the most popular new art in present China. Taikang Collection is considered a guardian of art archives and unveils its further studies about the basic historical structure, along with root issues related to art in multiple forms ranging from exhibition to publication in Taikang Space and other organizations in the field. It is also the first corporate collector to make its collection open to the public. Its two recent collection shows were very well received: “Fusion: Modern and Contemporary Art in China since 1930s” at Wanlin Art Museum of Wuhan University in 2015 and “Image·History·Existence: Taikang Life 15th Anniversary Art Collection Exhibition” at National Art Museum of China in 2011.   

In 2015 Deutsche Standards EDITIONEN invited a group of experts from business, culture, media, museum, auction and other fields to choose from the world’s corporate collections the best 80 corporate collections in terms of scholarship, special features and size, giving introduction and showing research on collections in Global Corporate Collections. Among the 80 collections, Taikang Collection is the only one from Mainland China, which proved not only worldwide recognition but also global acceptance of the standard of corporate art collection in developing countries. According to Global Corporate Collections, what is unique about Taikang is not only its inclusion of the most popular new art in present China but also its extraordinary role as a model in collecting and carrying out research on Chinese art in the early modern years.

Corporate collecting, as something new after World War II, has gradually become one of the most important ways for worldly renowned enterprises to fund culture, protect contemporary art, carry out social duty and shape brand image. Being an active and long-time supporter of art in China is one of Taikang Life’s major tasks in the public good sector as well as a motivating force for the progress in contemporary art in China. The 20th anniversary is a milestone that points to the future in which Taikang Space, while enriching Taikang collection, will be more committed to high-level academic research, exhibition, public education and public outreach, making greater contribution to the country’s art cause.