01 Sean Henry, Man with Potential Selves from the Grainger Town project

On January 28, 2015, hosted by the “Art Nova 100”, it invited Matthew Jarratt, the famous British curator and a former member of the Arts Council England to give a lecture at Mingtai Space. Matthew Jarratt initially introduced the artistic construction projects planned for the cities in the northeast of England and then extended the regenerative possibilities of art, introducing the development of Chinese art with the international experience.

Matthew Jarratt gave a Lecture around the art and regeneration in the northeast of England, eventually offering the listener an inspiration in the art that transforms the city, changing the economic development and citizen’s life. First of all, Matthew Jarratt started from the experience of spending 15 years at the Arts Council England as part of the team that shaped the regions art renaissance and drove forward the culture that led to regeneration in the north east of England, telling the historical development in the north east of England. The northeast of England has many historic buildings, such as the ancient Roman Hadrian’s Wall, castles, and is also the area famed for the origin of the industrial age. It paid a heavy price for the pollution of the construction of the large-scale shipbuilding industry, coal industry and other factories. In the 1980s it was seriously criticized by the media and the citizens, and named the region with the worst environment, meanwhile also the area experienced a recession due to the industrial economy. In order to save the reputation of the northeast of England, the local council thought to use culture and arts to modify and re model the cities. This idea came from the art environment in England at that time, a large number of young artists entered the north east of England and established studios aiming for artistic creation, the local council invited artists to participate in this project cleaning away the waste and the old rubbish and ushered in the new. With the insistence of the local government, it spent 10 years to complete the great change for British art history.

In the 1990s, the famous contemporary artist Antony Gormley was one of the first batch of artists entering the north east of England, the nameless artist submitted the sculptural plan for the Angel of the North to the local government, when Angel of the North was successfully built on a hill, it caused a sensational influence, and becomes a landmark of the city ushering in a large number of tourists. After this, Matthew Jarratt has been wandering between the artists and the local government and enterprises, playing the middleman in the communication for the promotion of public art. Then he participated in the planning of public sculptural art in Darlington, Northern region, Southern region, etc., combined with the local environment and geomorphology to design unique urban art. This is a transformative work, starting from changing the idea of construction and investment of the government and enterprises to the promotion of opening up the new developing forms of art, spanning more than 20 years, the northeast of England has become an area of high-profile global culture and art representing the holy lands. The establishment of the famous BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, displays the great sculptor Anish Kapoor’s work, trans-boundary of castles and fashion art, tourism and sightseeing of urban art landmarks which reshuffles the economy in the northeast England.

798 Art District in Beijing, which is the pioneer trying to develop the old factories using art in China for the first time, this has the same effect as the northeast of England. When the 798 Art District becomes a famous cultural card in Beijing, the form of public art development succeeds in a short term, driving the indicator of the economic art development in China. China is a global economy with a booming Asian power, constantly advancing and changing the definition of culture. The more multiple and open art creative form drives the new framework of art museums and art institutions towards art as a business. For Matthew Jarrett, he is bullish on the development potential of public art in China. He would much rather share his experience and communicate with the Chinese government departments, enterprise groups, art institutions, introducing a remarkable art economic effect into China. To reverse the single situation that the art develops regionally in a small group of Chinese people, it will also become the key foundation for the popularized art education. The culture inside the country with a 5000-year ancient civilization combined with the contemporary economic development will subtly create a long-term benefit during the era, and will also promote the direction of development of modern and contemporary Chinese art history. Breakthrough and innovation is in need of the joint efforts of various powers, focusing on long-term development, young art power being the heavyweights creating a new art market.

The public art in China is still in the process of development, the development of northeast England is worth learning, at the same time, we can predict it is moving in the right direction. It is like a cardiac arrest that Matthew Jarratt brings us art inspiration, which helps us grasp the direction for a more creative art career.

Photo by Art Nova 100, translated by Chen Peihua and edited by Sue/CAFA ART INFO

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