Claudia Albertini
Hong Kong Gallery Director, Platform China


An Italian Sinologue based in Hong Kong, Claudia Albertini has spent most of the past decade in Beijing, where she played a key role on promoting the Chinese contemporary art scene and supporting young Chinese artists. Prior to moving to Hong Kong as the Director of Platform China’s new project space, Claudia worked for a leading Italian gallery in Beijing, and has written extensively on Chinese art for leading publications, namely NY Arts Magazine, The Architecture Newspaper and IlSole24Ore ArtEconomy24. As independent curator, she has followed various research projects on the contemporary state of arts in China, most recently a project supported by QUT, Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane, Australia, as well as curating exhibition projects both in China and abroad. Claudia is the author of Avatars and Antiheroes. A Guide to Chinese Contemporary Artists, published by Kodansha.

Claudia studied Chinese Language and Culture at the University Ca’ Foscari in Venice, Italy, and has received a Master’s degree in Chinese Advanced Studies from the University of Sheffield, UK. Claudia is one of the organizers and producers of Chai Wan Mei Art Festival, an annual satellite art event in Hong Kong that coincides with Art Basel Hong Kong.

May 2, 2014

A bit about art and myself

Art is important in my life, because…


Art is everything. Art is joy, freedom, art is fulfillment. Art is in every single moment of life from childhood to your most mature days. Art is the way you look at life, the way you picture and paint it. Art is what brings that additional quid to everything else.


Art goes best with…

Love…and possibly a glass of wine

Three words that best describe art according to you

Instinct and innovation.

An art exhibition you have enjoyed recently

Maria Lassnig at MoMA PS1, NYC. I have visited it a week ago and I am still thinking of those portraits, they are well impressed in my mind. I do love paintings, and I feel hypnotized every time a painting can transmit such real an emotion. The show presents a very rich array of her works spanning from different times and moments in her career. Overall, the exhibition is a memorable sensorial experience.

Best city to go to for art

London and New York. No doubts. Venice runs for the second position.

Your favorite museum in the world

Rome is my favorite living museum in the world.

The artist you would like to have lunch with

Joseph Beuys, but it might be hard…I would be happy to meet Gerard Richter too

If you were an artist, who would you like to be

My grandaunt Luisa: her life is her art, her art is her life. This is where my passion has started. When I was a child, I used to stare at her while drawing sketches in her studio, enchanted by the stories of her bohemian adventures, and I used to draw imaginary pictures in my head as if I was in her stories or in her drawings.

The artwork you’d like to have hanging in your living room

Off the top of my head… Jia Aili’s “Mr Yang” and Brancusi’s “Head”

Chinese contemporary art for you is…

NOW, and everything you think of knowing but actually you don’t. Chinese contemporary art is an extraordinary moment in the history of art, however I don't think many art people have actually understood it. This is why discovering through curiosity is a prerequisite, but, unfortunately, it seems is not for everyone.

Something I would like to share

Trained as a photographer at the Lu Xun Fine Arts Academy in Shenyang, in North East China, Song Yuanyuan (b. 1981) settled on becoming a painter. Photography though plays a major part in his creative process as it influences his painting and contributes to his ability to perceive and process images. Passing through different types of painting styles and techniques, he has now developed a mature, confident and individual approach to composition and colour. Lived-in interiors from our daily life are the main subject of his recent paintings all depicted after humans have left them. Often his paintings feature a picture within a picture through use of multiple images. Like many young artists of his generation, Song Yuanyuan uses traditional realist painting techniques whilst choosing subject matters and concepts that are more contemporary.


Looking at the artist's most recent works, it is possible to notice he is now focusing on new cultural forms, which have emerged from the cross-over of Western culture into Eastern culture and vice versa. He takes a look at the fragmented symbols of Western culture, which commonly appear within Chinese society. He adopts these symbols, such as ornate antique picture frames, objects and furniture in Baroque style and combines them together with the ready-made objects and industrial landscapes of modern China. 

By means of this approach, he reconciles the discrepancy between the reality of Western culture and these symbolic elements of Western culture in a Chinese context. Using painting as a tool, he tests and explores the different aesthetics of these two distinct traditions by placing the distorted Western symbols as understood in Chinese reality back into a Western framework.

Through this series of works, Song questions our understanding of 'fusion' of cultures and what might arise from this fragmentation. New works will be shown at Liste 19 The Young Art Fair taking place in Basel, between 16 and 22 June.

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