Beautiful things occurring in a city make it beautiful.
“The beauty of a single blooming flower is far less attractive than that of many flowers blossoming together.” To present the great beauty of various arts from different origins, the Macao Special Administrative Region Government created “Art Macao” in 2019. By integrating resources from various sectors, the project aims to connect with international art trends, cultivate local creative forces, integrate multi-cultural perspectives, and strive to produce a signature international art biennale with both historical and cultural depth and contemporary humanistic breadth.
Renowned curator Qiu Zhijie is again the chief curator of Art Macao: Macao International Art Biennale 2023, which has adopted the theme “The Statistics of Fortune” to reflect on the challenges and opportunities in the world. Over 200 contemporary artists from more than 20 countries/regions across the globe will embark on a large-scale aesthetic exploration of science and religion. From July to October, through eight sections, namely the Main Exhibition, Public Art Exhibition, City Pavilion, Special Exhibition, Invitational Exhibition by Local Artists, Local Curatorial Project, Art Exhibition of Higher Education Institutions and Collateral Exhibition, nearly 30 art exhibitions will be inaugurated one after another across Macao, turning the city into an arts paradise interwoven with aesthetics and philosophy.
The Main Exhibition at the Macao Museum of Art (MAM) brings together more than 100 works by 42 artists from more than 10 countries in Asia, Europe and America as well as mainland China, Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan, which include paintings, medical photography, AI works and large multimedia installations. From the contemporary reconstruction of ancient myths, artistic presentation of philosophical concepts, figurative reflection on human-machine relationship, to the bold assumption of the life structure... The clash of ancient and modern ideas and the fusion of Chinese and Western imageries will certainly trigger infinite imagination and profound inspiration.
The Invitational Exhibition by Local Artists is a joint exhibition of works by local artists, commissioned by Macao’s six integrated resorts. A showcase of local creative elite forces, its representativeness is self-evident. It is even more meaningful in terms of promoting collaboration between corporates and artists.
The Public Art Exhibition presents six outdoor pieces produced by artists from China, Israel, the US, Mexico, South Africa, India, the UK, and Korea. The application of optical principles and natural elements, combined with religious symbols and cultural totems, has resulted in a series of artistic explorations weaved into the local cultural ecosystem, which is ingenious and thought-provoking.
The Special Exhibitions organised by the six integrated resorts include art shows by Chinese-born artist Hsiao Chin (Xiao Qin), London-based graffiti artist Mr Doodle, and Japanese trendy brand BE@RBRICK, as well as dialogues beyond time and space with Da Vinci, a tribute to Disney iconic characters, and a virtual tour from the Palace of Versailles. Being both intellectual and fun, all these can become excellent cultural tourism offerings highlighting Macao's leisure appeal.
The City Pavilion will show thematic exhibitions by four Eurasian cities, including: Vila Nova de Cerveira, in Portugal, famous for its international art biennale; London, a metropolis full of experimentalist architectures; Kyoto, both rich in traditional art atmosphere and innovative spirit; and Shenzhen, the “city of design”. Each city’s unique urban culture would have a wonderful chemical reaction with the theme of this edition, thus fostering a unique section with distinctive individuality and rich imagery. It not only accentuates the diversity of “Art Macao”, but also becomes a highlight of this Biennale.
The Local Curatorial Project is an important project of the S.A.R. Government to promote the development of local arts. It provides a stage for local curators and artists to showcase their ideas and talents, aiming at stimulating creativity and is indeed a wonderful event to look forward to.
The Art Exhibition of Higher Education Institutions attempts to improve the creative atmosphere among local youth by inviting the four major art academies from the mainland to participate, to promote inter-school cross-disciplinary art exchanges, while injecting more innovative vitality into the Macao International Art Biennale to boost its growth.
Finally, the Collateral Exhibition is a new section aimed at encouraging the industrialisation of local arts, inviting established commercial galleries and institutions to enrich their own artistic experience and increase public awareness to the local art market.
In a word, “Art Macao 2023”, focusing both on the most cutting-edge and oldest human issues, has made breakthroughs both internationally and locally: not only have been created the Invitational Exhibition by Local Artists, the Local Curatorial Project, and the Collateral Exhibition, but also has significantly increased the proportion of works by international artists, thus expanding access to the global art network. This important initiative taken by the S.A.R. Government will further develop Macao into “a base for exchange and cooperation, where Chinese culture is mainstream and diverse cultures coexist”, with the objective to enhance cultural and tourism experiences in Macao as a “world centre of tourism and leisure”. It will develop the city's creative DNA and give strong cultural and artistic momentum to the long-term development of local cultural industry.
This year, from summer to autumn, Macao will become an arts garden that “blooms with the beauty of diversity”. Let’s encounter it in every corner of the city and share this beauty.
Leong Wai Man
President of the Cultural Affairs Bureau of the Government of the Macao Special Administrative Region