Following the Trail of Tianjin’s Art Scene

Following the Trail of Tianjin’s Art Scene
By Imogen Rogerson-Costello , eChinacities.com

Although Tianjin on the surface may not seem like a place boasting a plethora of places for the discerning art fan, if one explores a little deeper it is possible to find a good few art galleries and museums that are worth a visit. Displaying both Western and Chinese art there are a number of places fit for whiling away a pleasurable afternoon.

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Ancient Culture Street 古文化街 View In Map
One of the most well-known of Tianjin’s attractions, Ancient Culture Street houses a number of stores for one to peruse and buy traditional Chinese paraphernalia, along with temples and traditional Chinese food outlets. It may not seem like a typical art district however, if one enters one of the many small indoor centres such as Wenhua Xiao Chang, situated at the Wu Mart end of the area, there are rows and rows of small individual art galleries and stores. Entering these indoor areas is also a good way to escape from the mass of tourists that inevitably fill the streets.

Each store showcases the artist’s works and individual take on Chinese traditional painting, sculpture and calligraphy, although there are also examples of more Western style oil paintings and prints. It is generally possible to commission an artist to create a specific piece as well as to buy works hanging in the stores. Although one may be put off by the fact that these are mainly stores rather than merely galleries, this should not be a reason for being deterred. It is easy to peruse the different works, moving from one gallery to another, without being harangued to buy anything. Mainly showcasing traditional Chinese paintings, such as flowers and birds, calligraphy and sculpture each artist can often be seen completing works in front of onlookers. A good opportunity for an art fan to spend some time perusing different works, a visit to the art districts within Ancient Culture Street can also be an interesting way to find out more about the techniques and materials used to create Chinese traditional art.

Add: Dongbei Jiao, Hebei District, Tianjin
地址: 天津市河北区东北角  

Gallery of Tianjin Academy of Fine Arts 天津美术学院 View In Map
This fairly new, modern art gallery is most definitely worth a visit, if not for the art then at least as an escape from the constant hustle and bustle of the city. Attached to the Tianjin Academy of Fine Arts, a rather imposing concrete building, this gallery uses three out of its four floors to display varying exhibits. The ground floor houses a somewhat random selection of paintings, fashion and sculpture while at the time of writing, the other three floors are home to an exhibition of Polish prints. Displayed in black frames and placed against stark white walls, the largely black-and-white prints make a dramatic impact, giving credit to the curator.

With a large floor and wall area, and being linked to Tianjin Academy of Fine Arts, hopefully the gallery will also continue to showcase some similarly impressive exhibits in the future. Situated on a busy main road, inside the gallery it is surprisingly calm. With a price tag of 10 RMB a ticket, or 5 RMB for concessions, it is surprising that the gallery is not busier, although, if you want to escape from the crowds and incessant noise of the city this could be a welcome change.

Add: 4 Tianwei Lu, Hebei District, Tianjin
地址: 天津市河北区天纬路4号
Tel: 022 2624 1540
Opening Hours: 08:30 – 12:00; 13:00 – 17:00
Price: 10 RMB; 5 RMB concessions.

Tianjin Art Gallery 天津美术展览馆 View In Map
Situated in what looks like a residential building and with a sign advertising it only in Chinese, this small art gallery could easily be missed by most foreign expats. Climbing the two floors up to the gallery one may be a little dubious as to whether it is right building, however one may be pleasantly surprised once the gallery is found. Although small, consisting of only one open-plan room, there is no charge on entry and there are a number of interesting works, both paintings and prints, seemingly inspired by both Western and Chinese influences. 

Add: Wenlian Building, 237 Xinhua Lu, Heping District, Tianjin
地址: 天津市和平区新华路 237号文联大楼
Opening Hours: 09:30 – 16:30 


China House

China House瓷房子 View In Map
Created by a Chinese artist named Zhang Lianzhi, the China House is a unique and fascinating display of Chinese porcelain. In order to promote Chinese culture and traditional art, in the year 2000 Zhang Lianzhi decided to undertake this project. Consisting of more than 700 million antique porcelain pieces, 400 stone statues, 300 stone lions from all different dynasties and 20 tons of natural amber and crystal pieces, and taking ten years to complete, the building is itself the exhibit; the entirety of the exterior is covered in porcelain. However, if you’re looking for an art gallery in the traditional sense of the word then you may be disappointed; the inside showcases a number of displays made out of porcelain and antique furniture but other than that seems pretty empty. The tickets may seem quite steep at 35 RMB, or 20 RMB for concessions, but the place continues to attract a large number of visitors. The sheer mass of porcelain is clearly visible from outside of the entrance but it appears that one cannot fully understand the magnitude of the project until each tiny piece of porcelain is seen from up close.

Add: 72 Chifeng Dao, Heping District, Tianjin
地址: 天津市和平区赤峰道 72 号
Tel: 022 2314 6666
Opening Hours: 09:00 – 17:30
Price: 35 RMB; 20 RMB concessions

Huitai Art Centre  汇泰艺术中心 View In Map
Situated in the No. 6 art zone, the Huitai Art Centre boasts the first contemporary art collection in Tianjin. With the intention of rivalling other art districts such as the 798 Art District in Beijing, the centre houses varying exhibits throughout the year and showcases a variety of Chinese and Western contemporary art. Although it currently does not reach the magnitude of Beijing’s 798 district it does appear to be a growing area for new forms of art. Housed in a converted warehouse the art centre does act as the perfect basis for a collection of contemporary pieces, with large open-plan rooms and white walls, the gallery’s space is used effectively to showcase modern paintings, prints as well as sculptures by an array of Chinese as well as international artists.

Add: 3F, Bldg. E, Art Building, no. 6, Tai’er Zhuang Lu, Heping District, Tianjin
地址: 天津市和平 区台儿庄路6号院艺术区E座3层
Tel: 022 2835 2525 / 2739 5579   

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Keywords: Art scene Tianjin art museums Tianjin art galleries Tianjin

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