Lorenz Helbling

Shanghart founder and Shanghai art scene pioneer

With Western galleries continuing to open in Greater China (by and large in Hong Kong) and Western museums attempting to introduce audiences to the development of contemporary art in the region (witness the Guggenheim Museum’s current exhibition), it’s no surprise that Helbling, who has been promoting contemporary art in China since he set up Shanghart in 1996, is the first port of call for advice and information. Of course, that he represents a bunch of leading artists in China (11 of them in that Guggenheim show) and beyond helps too. At gallery HQ there was a museum-worthy summer solo exhibition by Thai filmmaker Apichatpong Weerasethakul, work by Birdhead was at Tate Modern and pretty much everywhere else, Xu Zhen’s Supermarket (2007/17) popped up at Sadie Coles during Frieze London and even one of the less active gallery artists, Zhou Tiehai, saw his iconic 14-painting-and-one-video, Will/We Must (1996–2004), enshrined in Shanghai’s Yuz Museum.