Was it the year of the goat or the year of the sheep? Did the lamb lie down in Newport Place? The 2015 Chinese Open just happened, back to that glorious brutality and the red and grey of Q Park car park, back to Chinatown, Soho and the West End of London, back for another Chinese Open, the third, back for more. Was it good? You bet it was… “Right place, right time, right people” (Andrew Stys).
The first big London art event of year, and once again it ties in with the Chinese New Year. The year of the sheep (or is it the goat?) and the London art year both starting at the same time. The dragons are dancing, the streets are full, the fire-crackers cracking, well they were until the weather broke and the storm kicked in. We were underground though, down in the underground car park, no storm down underground, just lots of people, lots of echos, lots of art, lots of voices, tire marks, paintings and E-Types, sculptures and Triumphs, performance and Bentleys, a car park taken over to kick off the art year. Not sure how many artists were invited this year, over a hundred so were told, there’s a lot to explore in the stark light of level two and the dark depths of level seven. This year the Open is a one day affair, artists set up on Saturday night, car park gates open on Sunday, no cars allowed in today, just people on foot. A car park taken over from noon until six before the cars took over again…Painters, performers, video makers, photographers, sculptors, artists, all gathered together to kick off the new year….
““A historic third consecutive CHINESE OPEN reclaims the multi-storey car park on Newport Place in the heart of Soho, Chinatown. You are cordially invited to join us and celebrate the arrival of sheep in our midst. Initiated in 2013 by two London based artists Cedric Christie & Vanya Balogh this year’s exhibition will feature over 100 international artists who work in various media including performative, video and site specific sound installation. Entry is free and we open at 12 noon sharp. Soho will be closed down to traffic on the Sunday 22nd and we highly recommend a brisk walk to Chinatown to view this exquisite show presented in a unique setting”.
Was it good? Well here’s a flavour or two of the day, a bag a snap shots. Was it good? It was heartfelt, it was strong, it was a lot of artists doing a lot of individual things, a whole load of different things, diverse, heart and soul, it was a day alive with a “fantastic diverse mix of people and creativity”, an energetic exciting event, a car park bursting with art, with people, with something real, with something connecting something, connecting lots of things actually. Not everything worked, of course it didn’t, the claim everything was great would be wrong, more than enough of it was though, everybody who went (and a lot of people did) will have walked away with a head full of very strong highlights and names to explore a little more. This is not the place to pick out pieces or artists (Rebecca Fiener piece was powerfully moving though), there’s a set of photos there to explore. The 2015 Chinese Open was an exciting event, an event alive with art and people, and, yes, in amongst all the serious business of art and people, an event that was, more than ever this year, a lot of fun. Bring on 2015 then, the London art year has kicked off in rather fine style. Once again artists curating, organising and coming together, doing it themselves (ourselves), artists making things happen,… (sw)