This year marks the 10th anniversary since Pace Gallery first began working in Asia—and what a decade it’s been. Pace, which was founded by Arne Glimcher in Boston in 1960 and now has outposts around the world, opened the doors to its Beijing space in 2008, expanded to Hong Kong in 2014 and then earlier this year opened its second space in the city, this time in the H Queen’s art hub.
Leading Pace in Hong Kong and Beijing is Leng Lin, who has organised exhibitions in Hong Kong of both leading international artists—among them Yoshitomo Nara, Robert Rauschenberg and Alexander Calder—and rising stars such as Loie Hollowell and Qiu Xiaofei.
What was the first work of art that moved you?
Zhang Xiaogang’s "Big Family" from his Bloodlines series. In 1985, I saw Zhang’s work for the first time when I was a university student in Beijing and was immediately impressed. In his work there is a quiet, simple but deep mood that always moves me deeply.
In 1997, when he had a solo exhibition in Beijing, I met him in person. After he moved to Beijing, we got along very well, and I held his first solo show in New York in 2004. The exhibition helped me get to know him even more and understand his method of painting. Then I started representing him in 2004, when Pace presented new works in his solo exhibition In and Out.
What was the first exhibition you ever hosted?
My first exhibition was New Anecdotes of Social Talk in 1995. I invited Liu Ye, Zhang Gong and Hong Hao for this group show. I tried to set some new challenges and put together a new exhibition which was different from political pop and cynical realism, which was common in China at that time.
I wanted people to look back on Chinese contemporary art and see a variety of different styles.
What’s the most challenging exhibition you’ve ever hosted?
Beijing Voice: Together Or Isolated was the exhibition I hosted after I joined Pace. At that time, Chinese contemporary art was in the midst of an obvious change, where artists had built up more confidence about their own culture and weren’t afraid of showcasing it, whether it was from a social, ideological or political view point.