Two years ago, John Dodelande, a private collector came up with the idea of putting together an exhibition to showcase Chinese contemporary artists in Georgia. To turn his plan from an idea into reality, he reached out to his friend Ami Barack, a curator and art critic. Together, they put together the ‘Constellation’ exhibition currently showcased at the Georgia National Gallery highlights the vibrancy and the influence that the Chinese art scene has around the world. One could wonder, why put together a show solely focused on Chinese artists in Tbilisi?
For John Dodelande, it was a self-evident choice. The young Paris-based, independent Art Market curator, producer and entrepreneurs specialized in producing and finding unique art pieces for international exhibitions and investment opportunities has dedicated his career to Chinese contemporary art and had seen first hand the shift in power between the East and the West. The art market reflects the economic landscape around the world and while the United States are still leaders in field, China is slowly becoming one of the most important players in the art world.. Nowadays, Asian collectors dominate Christie’s auction sales as China becomes one of the most important players in the art world.
The Dodelande-Barack duo conceptualized this exhibition as a window into the emergent Chinese avant-garde artists who influence the art scene in China and around the world. Our private collector describes this new generation of Chinese artists as “witnesses to what our new century represents.” They no longer rely on the political history and use their art as a social commentary on the problems of our century. John Dodelande personally travelled around Europe, Kazakhstan and China to meet with collectors and pick the pieces that would be exhibited. By choosing a very eclectic mix of artwork from artists such as Ai Wei Wei, hu Xiaoyuan and Liu Wei, Dodelande’s goal with this exhibition is to put forward the dynamic nature of the current Chinese contemporary art scene. He credits the name of his exhibition : “Constellation” as the reflection of the gathering of such important starts on the Chinese art scene in one show.
The choice of Georgia was both a strategic and meaningful initiative. It would be the perfect opportunity for Georgian to have access to art that is usually reserve for larger galleries in the art epicenters of the world: Paris, New York, Venice… However, Dodelande sees Tbilisi has a crossroads of cultures, a central part of the Silk Road which linked Asia to the Western world. He sees this exhibition as a way to encourage Georgian collections to gain interest in what is happening in Eastern part of the world and invest in artists from this Silk Road: Turkey, Iran, Georgia, Indonesia, China… Enabling emerging countries to join the global art market is one the goals of John Dodelande and the 29 year old art collector is very proud to show the international dimension of his work. After its stint in Georgia, the exhibition will move to Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan and each exhibition will increase the artwork on display. Furthermore, some of the pieces handpicked by Dodelande and Barak will be shown at the Guggenheim Museum in New York which shows the global interest of the Chinese avant-garde art scene.
Collectors like John Dodelande are the catalyst for much of the change that we see in the art world today. The Georgian Art scene is hosting 10 of the most renowned Chinese contemporary artists’ works at the Georgia National Gallery shows a definite shift in the way the art world is slowly democratizing its access. By bringing together artworks from private collectors and showcasing them in locations that aren’t art capitals, it allows for a sense of renewal across the art scene.
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