experimental music venue XP closed last year, it left a major void in Beijing.
Luckily for its fans, the small concert hall's spirit lives on in almost the exact same location but
a whole new form.
Picture House curator Michael Marshall explains, ‘When XP closed, there was a lot of
material culture from rock music in China that was left over. Michael Pettis (the owner of the
Maybe Mars record label and XP) was interested in having someone start a kind of historical archive, and that
got extended into an art gallery.’
The gallery might have its origins in the Beijing rock
scene, but that won't be its main focus. ‘We do have an interest in supporting
the music scene here, but it's not exclusively for Maybe Mars,’ Marshall says.
‘The idea is more to facilitate the development of an alternative art scene. We
wanted to create an art scene around Gulou in the way that D-22 or XP
facilitated the development of a post-punk scene. We specifically wanted
something that could be aesthetically and ideology distinct from what you might
find in 798 or Caochangdi.’
means shows focused on comics or screen-printing instead of conceptual
installations. The gallery has made its alternative intentions clear with its
, entitled 拆 (chāi, the Chinese character for
’), a group show from
Beijing graffiti artists Filippo Cardella, Mask and Zato.
Given that it's the
kind of work more likely to be seen on the walls outside Beijing's major
galleries than in them, 20% Picture House's role looks like a welcome addition
to the city's art scene.
is on view
at 20% Picture House
Jan 16 - Feb7. See full event details here