Here Are the 5 Buzziest Artists at Gallery Weekend Beijing

The city's gallery weekend coincides with Jingart and the Beijing Dangdai Art Fair.

Gallery Weekend Beijing 2024.

Gallery Weekend Beijing (GWBJ) returns at the tail end of a still fairly cool spring, and this time it is filled with more excitement and activities compared to last year. Perhaps it is even too packed as two art fairs, Jingart and the Beijing Dangdai Art Fair, have synchronized their start dates with the annual event.

The gallery weekend has clearly made a sincere effort to attract younger visitors and collectors, tapping young curators and inviting 30-year-old collector Aria Yang to serve as program director. These efforts have paid off, as evident during the VIP days, with many galleries reporting the presence of numerous new faces and a younger, more diverse crowd interested in purchasing art.

However, painting remains the dominant medium. This might be a reflection of the market returning to conservatism and engaging new collector groups during economic slowdowns. As for prices, most range between $20,000 to $50,000. Gallery Weekend runs from May 24 to June 2. On the opening day, we quickly surveyed all the galleries and selected five artists who created a significant buzz on the scene.

Zhou Yilun

a lean-to made of shipping palettes and dyed cloth with images on it

Installation view of Zhou Yilun’s “SANLIANZMK” at Beijing Commune.

Who: Zhou Yilun (b. 1983) studied in Hangzhou at the China Academy of Art, and his practice often involves reimagining seemingly redundant everyday objects, such as internet images, decorations, and furniture.

Based in: Hangzhou, China

Showing at: Beijing Commune

Why You Should Pay Attention: Zhou’s resume includes several recent solo exhibitions at top art institutions in China, such as the Fosun Foundation, CC Foundation & Art Centre, and Start Museum. This is his fourth show at Beijing Commune. The show’s title, “SANLIANZMK,”  features random and meaningless letters often seen in Zhou’s work, commonly used in architectural templates and everyday consumer scenarios. The original expansive gallery space showcased four low huts and a “stage” filled with bizarre, crudely made sculptures, including Zhou’s reimagining of the transformation and evolution of Acropolis sculptures.

In his other paintings, familiar religious icons, modern celebrities, and newly added cartoon characters appear strange against mottled backgrounds but remain vaguely recognizable. Zhou views this as a game of images and perception, re-examining the relationships between the self and the external, order and chaos, meaning and action, and the everyday and art. According to gallery’s founder, Leng Lin, Zhou is “obsessed with the collision between ‘objects’ and finds support in their mutual clashes.” Additionally, the show netted Beijing Commune GWBJ’s “Best Gallery” at its opening dinner.

Qiu Zhijie

an installation by qiue zhijie

“Qiu Zhijie: Eco-Lab” Photo: Galleria Continua,©️ Artist and Galleria Continua.

Who: Qiu Zhijie (b. 1969) is an artist who needs no introduction to China, a leading contemporary Chinese artist who works primarily in video and photography, and whose creative activities also encompass calligraphy, ink painting, installations, theater, and more. 

Based in: Hangzhou, China

Showing at: Galleria Continua

Why You Should Pay Attention: Qiu once curated China’s earliest video art exhibition in 1996 and served as the curator of the 9th Shanghai Biennale in 2012. In 2017, he was the curator of the Chinese Pavilion at the Venice Biennale. He is also an enthusiast of art education. Qiu was recently appointed as the president of the Tianjin Academy of Fine Arts, one of China’s top eight art academies.

However, this dynamo artist is still making new waves. This time, he has created an “Eco-Lab” at Galleria Continua in Beijing, showcasing a fusion of art and science, reflecting the intricate relationships between the biosphere, lithosphere, atmosphere, and geosphere. In this show, the artist brings us a world encompassing everything from viruses to celestial bodies, and the changes and connections between this world and the species that inhabit it. You will see various changes happening simultaneously: plants growing, wood rotting, mold spreading, mushrooms sprouting, silkworms spinning silk, stones weathering, crystals forming on rocks, stalactites slowly taking shape…

Qiu’s activities at Gallery Weekend Beijing don’t stop there. In anticipation of the Paris 2024 Olympics, as part of the Public Sector of GWBJ, Qiu Zhijie is spearheading a “Poetry Marathon” to collect and exhibit poetry contributions from children worldwide.


two colorful paintings hang on a dark grey wall

Works by Wenjue, BANK, Visiting Sector of Gallery Weekend Beijing. Photo: Cathy Fan.

Who: Wenjue (b. 2001) studied at the Académie de la Grande Chaumière in Paris in 2015 and then at Atelier François Legrand in 2016. 

Based in: Shanghai, China

Showing at: BANK (Visiting Sector)

Why You Should Pay Attention: Wenjue might be the youngest artist at this GWBJ edition. However, whether at the previous Art Basel Hong Kong or on social media, his strong appeal to collectors, especially those of his generation, is evident. This artist’s work consistently revolves around the experimental use of oil painting, creating a relief-like effect similar to a “cabinet of curiosities” through accumulating physical textures in paint and mixed media. His paintings, priced at RMB 70,000 to 150,000 ($9660 to $20,700), feature a fantastical world of his creation, populated with various characters such as elves, masked figures, dragons, and dancers. Wenjue’s fascination with anime has also provided him with a wealth of creative inspiration.

Christine Sun Kim and Thomas Mader

two large read arms with hands protrude from opposite walls in a gallery

Installation view, Christine Sun Kim & Thomas Mader “Lighter Than Air”, White Space, 2024. 5.23-7.13. Courtesy of the artists and White Space.

Who: Christine Sun Kim (b. 1980) and Thomas Mader’s (b. 1984) collaborative practice has long centered around themes such as signed and spoken languages, Deaf history, games, and wordplay. Approaching the complexities of communication with specificity and nuance, their work often parodies and questions social stereotypes and prejudices with a sense of humor.

Based in: Berlin, Germany

Showing at: White Space

Why You Should Pay Attention: Even though the gallery space is far from the city center, it hasn’t stopped the artist duo from becoming the talk of the event. This is the first solo exhibition in China for them, showcasing their latest paintings, videos, and installations, priced at RMB 90,000 to 220,000 ($12,000 to $30,000). The exhibition’s title, “Lighter than Air,” originally refers to flying objects like hot air balloons and airships and gases with lower density than air.

In this exhibition, this concept is integrated into various expressions related to “inhaling” and “exhaling” in both sign language and spoken language. ATTENTION is a dynamic installation piece. In American Sign Language (ASL), attention can be attracted by waving a hand downward or pointing at someone or something. Reflecting these expressions, the two large inflatable arms in “ATTENTION” intermittently point at a worn stone. The rising and falling motion of “inflating-deflating” makes the arms move like a dance, constantly drawing the viewers’ gaze. This highlights the semantics of ASL in space and body, hinting at the erosion of people’s attention in the real environment.

Timur Si-Qin

an artwork that looks like a rock sitting in water, the water is made of a digital screen playing water footage

Installation view of Timur Si-Qin’s “Milk Lake Rock” at Magician Space, 2024.

Who: Timur Si-Qin (b. 1984) was born in Berlin and later moved to the southwestern United States. He has a unique background, growing up in a family with German, Mongolian/Chinese, and San Carlos Apache Native American heritage. Diverse cultural perspectives, Indigenous experiences, and global culture deeply influence his works. 

Based in: New York

Showing at: Magician Space

Why You Should Pay Attention:  During a trip to the Hengduan Mountains, often described as a cradle of species evolution and one of China’s most culturally diverse regions, Timur Si-Qin was inspired by how different cultures show respect for nature through plants. His new works visualize and sanctify plants unique to the Hengduan Mountains, drawing inspiration from Sanxingdui and Dunhuang murals. For him, these forms represent the dialect expressions of nature worship and sacred concepts across cultures.

The artist uses his photographs, computer modeling, hyper-realistic rendering techniques, and 3D-printed sculptures to present natural landscapes. The result challenges traditional boundaries between nature and culture, human and non-human, organic and synthetic. Against the backdrop of climate change and the biodiversity crisis, his work envisions a new spiritual accord to reestablish the sanctity of nature in our globalized and technologically saturated world. The question of how to return to a culture that reveres nature has been central to his recent explorations, with art serving as a powerful medium for secular spirituality.

Follow Artnet News on Facebook:

Want to stay ahead of the art world? Subscribe to our newsletter to get the breaking news, eye-opening interviews, and incisive critical takes that drive the conversation forward.