Special Experimental Zone: Shenzhen's 22 Art District

Special Experimental Zone: Shenzhen's 22 Art District

Just like Beijing’s 798 Art District or Shanghai’s Moganshan Lu, Shenzhen too has an art district of its own. Housed in a closed down factory area from the 1980s and occupying an expanse of 120,000 square metres, 22 Art District is a gathering point for original works of art, investment, collection and transaction in Southern China. Located by Gongyuan Lu in Bao’an District, 22 Art District opened to the public on May 12th, 2007. Despite the fact that the Chinese art market has been suffering from a downward spiral in recent years, especially since the global financial crisis significantly devalued the price of Chinese art, there is actually no concrete evidence anywhere in China that such forces are stopping the creation of some of the largest, most modern art districts in the world, Shenzhen being no exception.

Though the area features modern art galleries that are open to the public free of charge, 22 Art District is more than just an exhibition space. Contrary to 798 Art District in Beijing, which developed into what it is today through artists and art organizations themselves, this district was born out of a political initiative to develop south China’s art market, attract investment as well as international attention. As a result, the district is home to a wide array of organisations and companies dedicated to promoting China’s burgeoning art market, such as the Shenzhen Guolang Advertising Company, Gefeng Cultural Dissemination Company and Artnow, China’s biggest website dedicated to modern art. Designed by the Gefeng Art Organization, the area focuses on painting, video, literature and music and contains several well established art galleries, including Gefeng Contemporary Art Gallery, the Lemon Gallery, 1001 Art Gallery, 2030 Dao Space and Beyond Gallery.

The vast district is also in the process of constructing an “art culture bar street”, with bars, cafes and entertainment venues for its visitors. The street will also provide a good gathering point for artists to engage in artistic exchange. Where is the financial crisis now you may wonder. 22 Art District regularly hosts large-scale art forums and festivals in its events area. Among such events is the annual “Shenzhen Contemporary Art Festival”, held every year in December, the annual “China Modern Art Market Development Forum” and the “Shenzhen International Cultural Property Trade Fair.” Also look out for the Origin Bar (原点艺术酒吧) which attracts top international performers and artist.

The Origin Bar (原点艺术酒吧)

The opening of the art district has invigorated the city of Shenzhen in many ways. Though first and foremost a base for the promotion of contemporary art, 22 Art District also has historical worth, having itself become a splendid portrait for the city’s culture. Historically, District 22 took on most of the important political and economic tasks in Shenzhen in the 80s. Though the district’s industrial function was long been made redundant, a new and vibrant venue has risen from the ruins of its derelict buildings. The factory exterior of the buildings has been preserved, but the inside has been renovated into modern, top of the range facilities. Since the refurbishments, thousands of Chinese and foreign artists, art collectors, media, city residents and tourists visit the grounds annually. Therefore the district has become a bridge of sorts between the public and the art world.

A saying now goes around Shenzhen which says: “Beijing has 798, Shenzhen has 22.” Though the area has only been open for two years, it is already considered one of Shenzhen’s most valuable cultural landmarks. With lots of new projects, exhibitions and events planned for the future, make sure to pay a visit to this cultural gem in Shenzhen.

Shenzhen 22 Art District深圳22艺术区View In Map
Address: Gongyuan Lu, Bao’an 22 District, Shenzhen
地址: 深圳市宝安22区公园路
Tel: 0755 2766 4239
Website: http://22.cefomsz.com/
Opening Hours: 10:00-18:00
Getting there: Take Bus No. 382, K651 to Huizhong Huaxian stop (惠中化纤), or Bus No. 604, 607, 613, 626, 632, 636, 702, 718 to Lingzhiyuan stop (灵芝园站).

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