Lorenz Helbling

Shanghart founder and Shanghai art scene pioneer

Helbling once said that his strength lay less in promoting artists than in his ability to ‘find good talents and then not to get desperate when things need time’. Having survived for 23 years as one of China’s most influential galleries by discovering mainland artists and developing them, it’s no surprise that the founder of Shanghart favours the long game. It has been a solid if unspectacular year, with business-as-usual showcases of the gallery’s A-listers, including multimedia artist Sun Xun. There was evidence of an increased focus on Southeast Asia in the signing of Indonesian performance artist Melati Suryodarmo and Thai multidisciplinary artist Arin Rungjang, but Helbling’s taste remains eclectic, as shown by the decision to show American filmmaker Lynn Hershman solo at the Armory Show, New York. As the economy slows, plans to expand on Shanghart’s existing four branches might be on hold, but the gallery in Shanghai’s M50 district reopened after a major refurbishment with a show by Liu Yue.