ShanghART founder and Shanghai art scene pioneer (91 in 2007)
In 1996, when Chinese contemporary art had virtually no market, this Swiss dealer founded ShanghART from a tiny room in a hotel. Now the gallery has become one of China’s most influential players, with seven spaces in Shanghai, Beijing and Singapore. At Helbling’s galleries, you can encounter the long, poetic tableaux of filmmaker Yang Fudong, provocative sculptures of Xu Zhen from MadeIn Company and diaristic snaps by Birdhead. Not to mention senior pioneers such as Ding Yi, Zhang Enli and Xue Song. Helbling reappears on the list after a burst of activity. This year ShanghART moves out of its Moganshan space in Shanghai to a larger building in a swanky new art district in West Bund. And during the summer The Crocodile in the Pond saw 11 of the galleries artists exhibiting at the Abby St Urban in Lucerne. It has also been slowly dipping a toe into the Southeast Asian pool, signing on Palme d’Or-winning Thai filmmaker Apichatpong Weerasethakul and Singaporean artist Robert Zhao Renhui.