Shanghart founder and Shanghai art scene pioneer
As Western galleries rush to expand into new markets in China, the Swiss founder of Shanghart can confidently say ‘done that’. Shanghart has been in business since 1996 and now operates galleries in Shanghai, Beijing and Singapore. Exhibitions over the past 12 months read like a who’s who of Chinese art, with the likes of Ding Yi, Sun Xun, Xu Zhen and David Diao all having solo shows. Not to mention gallery artist Zeng Fanzhi, who was showing across three branches of the Hauser & Wirth empire this autumn. This summer, in collaboration with Brussels gallery Waldburger Wouters (one half of which is a fellow Swiss expat), the gallery opened Büro, a project space in Basel, with a show by American conceptualist Lynn Hershman Leeson. That’s right, having conquered the East, Helbling seems also to be setting his sights on the West, as a Shanghai solo exhibition for British artist Michael Dean in the prime pre-Art Basel Hong Kong slot demonstrated.