Rising Stars of China


We continue to believe in the investment potential of contemporary art in China. Rather than investing only in established artists, we spend much of our time researching the younger generation. Following our recent acquisitions of work by three more post-Mao generation artists, we list our growing selection. We believe these artists hold great promise.Zhao Zhao, 'Waterfall', 2013Zhao Zhao, 'Waterfall', 2013  

Born after 1975 and growing up during an era of openness and reform following the death of Mao, this generation of artists started practicing amidst a society beset by binaries. During this period of flux, the contemporary art market has evolved from the underground scene of the 1990s to a new, highly commercial market with a rapidly expanding collector base and a rapidly growing institutional infrastructure. The artists at the forefront of this scene are the recipients of formal art educations and many are asserting themselves in an ever expanding gallery system. They exhibit a strong tendency toward self-promotion and collective practice within a striking diversity of media.

Although this generation is the first to have instant access to information about global artistic developments and have an unprecedented ability to travel internationally, they – at the same time – are still faced with continual constraints that limit their artistsic ‘freedoms’.

As a collection, we have a tendency to acquire those artists who speak the critical global language of contemporary art but at the same time maintain a strong connection to their local culture, traditions and aesthetics. We list the artists that we've collected in this category over the past three years, from the most senior to the youngest, and provide a little background on each. For more details please read their biographies and review the artworks on our site. 

Gao Weigang, 'Misapprehend', 2008-2012Gao Weigang

Born in Heilongjiang Province in 1976, Gao Weigang graduated from the Tianjing Academy of Fine Arts in 2006 and is currently living and working in Beijing. He employs a wide range of media adopting a great variety of aesthetics in order to challenge the viewer’s accustomed visual culture, with a sense of humour and an overriding hint of scepticism.

We acquired three works by Gao Weigang from Shanghai Gallery of Art in 2012.


Lia Guohe, 'Save the House', 2011Liao Guohe

Although born in 1977 in India, Liao Guohe has practised almost exclusively in China and is widely considered a Chinese artist. As a painter Liao Guohe uses his brush haphazardly in a deliberate and controlled manner much like a graffiti artist. The titles of his works are written directly on to the canvas, echoing the practice of the great Chinese landscape painters, who often incorporated poems in their works, or even the captions of political cartoons. 
Guohe's wit, artistic liberty and cheekiness have made him a darling of the artist community... an artist's artist.

We acquired two works by Liao Guohe from Boers Li Gallery in 2012.


Xu Zhen, 'Light Source', 2014Xu Zhen

Born in 1977, Xu Zhen graduated from the Shangai School of Arts and Crafts in 1996. He won the top prize at the China Contemporary Art Awards in 2004 and was invited to the 49th Venice Biennale and has since exhibited his works widely. In 2009 he established MadeIn Company – a pluri-disciplinary company focused on the inner structure of the art system, seeking to expand its working field beyond the mere accumulation of experiences, thereby encouraging a new pathway for cultural development. 

We acquired two works by Xu Zhen / MadeIn from Long March in 2013, an installation of four sculptures from Nathalie Obadia and a painting from the newly founded MadeIn Gallery in 2014.


Song Yuanyuan, 'Fei Tan', 2013Song YuanYuan

Born in 1981, Song Yuanyuan graduated from Luxun Academy in Shenyang and has gone on to exhibit all over China. Formerly trained as a photographer, the artist has recently turned his hand to painting where he embodies the desire and allure for reality and illusion. The artist often portrays the perceptions and feelings around every day, common and often ugly and miserable spaces, combining aesthetics, decoration and ornamentation into thought provoking compositions. 

We acquired four works by Song Yuanyuan from Platform China in 2014.



Zhao Zhao, 'Thank You Brother-In=Law (2)', 2010 Zhao Zhao

Born in 1982, Zhao Zhao works with a variety of media including installation, performance and photography. He is in a never ending dialogue with the great art masters, seeking to challenge reality and the traditional ideology. Similar to Ai Weiwei with whom he worked, Zhao Zhao’s practice is closely watched by the authorities. In 2012, a shipment containing a controversial sculpture was confiscated by Chinese customs.

We acquired one work by Zhao Zhao from Platform China in 2013, followed soon after by the acquisition of four more works from Alexander Ochs gallery, also in 2013.



Chen Fei, 'See For Yourself', 2013Chen Fei

Born in 1983 in the Hongton County of Shangxi Province, Chen Fei graduated in 2005 from the Fine Arts Department of the Beijing Film Academy. His profound knowledge of the silver screen, stemming from his childhood love of cinema, deeply influences Chen Fei’s oeuvre; from his subjects to the composition of his paintings. 

We acquired one work by Chen Fei from Perrotin Gallery in 2014.



Guan Xiao, 'The Documentary Geocentric Puncture', 2012Guan Xiao

Born in 1983 in Chongqing, Guan Xiao currently lives and works in Beijing. Having received a BA in Directing at the Communication University of China, the artist primarily uses video and sculpture to engage the audience. Guan Xiao uses extreme visual language as a method of fully conveying her artistic conceptions and vibrant individuality to her audience. 

We agreed to acquire two works by Guan Xiao from Kraupa-Tuskany Zeidler, at the 2014 edition of ABC- Art Berlin Contemporary.


Dong Yuan, 'Grandmother's House', 2013Dong Yuan

Born in 1984 in Huatong, Liaoning Province, Dong Yuan moved to Beijing to study at the Central Academy of Fine Arts, graduating in 2008 having majored in experimental art. Focusing on the possession of objects that fill the places we inhabit, Dong Yuan uses her practice to reflect on everyday domestic life and familial relationships.

We acquired a major three-part painting installation by Dong Yuan, made up of over 60 canvases, from Gallery Yang in 2014.


Yu Honglei, 'First Into the Mist', 2012Yu Honglei

Born in 1984 in Inner Mongolia, Yu Honglei represents a new generation of sculpture and video in China. The artist combines processes of fabrication, appropriation, techniques of repetition and placement in order to highlight the fragile nature of objects. 

We acquired three works by Yu Honglei from Magician Space in 2014.



He Xiangyu,'Cola Project - Extraction', 2009He Xiangyu

Born in 1986, He Xiangyu likes to challenge his contemporaries’ association with post minimalism. By creating a new kind of minimalism anchored in Chinese traditions, the artist redefines the significance and reality of his materials to act as an invisible mediator between the spiritual and the material. 

We acquired four works by He Xiangyu from White Space Gallery in 2012.


These ten rising stars of China now account for thirty-four works in the collection, more than half of which have been acquired so far in 2014.

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