Liu Jianhua: “Between” at Pace London (4th Nov 2015)
For our first private view we may have been a little ambitious. When looking at private views, we concerned ourselves more with the type of work and themes rather than the location, so it was only when we got to the gallery that we realised it was in fact being displayed at the Royal Academy. The hall leading to the exhibition was a bubble of activity students and collectors alike, but it was not long till we realised that the chances of speaking to the artist was slim. There was a cultural barrier that we did not foresee, in hindsight more research would have told us that Liu Jianhua did not speak much English, he had a translator but both him and the artist where swamped by people all evening. There was defiantly a sense of community that we felt a little alienated from, Jianhua embraced many people like old friends, taking photos and swapping anecdotes.
We did not want to leave without talking to anyone, after a brief chat with the lady on the front desk we located the curator. Re grouping and assembling questions to ask we approached her, only to be interrupted by a man evidently a banker or something equally as dull. This man obviously had an intension to buy a piece of the work, so we as lolly art students where discarded.
Looking back at it, this private view was probably a good one to start with, throwing us in the deep end, gave us the confidence we needed to make sure we talked to both the artist and the curator of future private views. We learnt to do our research, and to be persistent, of course the artist is going to be hard to get hold of, but its worth waiting.