Peruvian artist Maya Watanabe’s multimedia work to be showcased during the Beijing 798 Biennale 2009

Peruvian multimedia artist Maya Watanabe’s “A-phan-ousia” film will be showcased during the Beijing 798 Biennale 2009, a mega-event that will bring the works of more than 70 artists to China’s capital, focusing on video, photography, installation, performance, audio, site-specific works, and other new art forms.

“We were introduced to Maya via an artist who we deeply respect and admire,” said Chilean curators Nicolás and Katiushka Arze. “This artist travelled to Peru and had the opportunity to survey many works of art. When he came back to Chile, he told us that the only artist he could recommend was Maya Wantanabe. We saw her beautiful artwork on her web page and we selected her for the Beijing Biennale.”

“China has been surprised by what Latin America has to offer,” added Arze, who also selected artworks crafted by Brazilian, Argentinean, Colombian and Chilean artists.

The Beijing 798 Biennale – which aims to assert Beijing’s position as an international art capital – will open on August 15 and run through September 12, 2009.

Under the theme “constellations,” the art will be exhibited in the 798 exhibition space as well as other venues located within Dashanzi Art District. Art Map editor and prominent Beijing art critic Zhu Qi serves as artistic director, and Marc Hungerbühler, founder of New York City’s the:artist:network, is the curatorial director.

“The Beijing 798 Biennale is primarily about redefinition,” said Hungerbühler. “It redefines Beijing as a catapult for transcultural movements and it builds its structure from the bottom-up starting with the artist and the curator, rather than the museum or institution.”

“Viewing it from the outside, the exhibition is a space in which a group of people are traveling. Everyone gravitates to the places they are most interested in,” said Qi. “While seeing it from the inside, one sees that people form a community among others with similar views and ideals–regardless of whether they live in the same physical place. The internet and an unrestricted art community provide possibilities for this.”

The 798 Art District used to be an East German-designed factory producing electronics. Abandoned in the late 1990s, it left an opening for artists and galleries to fill the vast industrial spaces. Today, it has become an international tourist attraction with trendy cafes squeezing in next to increasingly prestigious galleries.

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