Walkabout Town: Peter Doig, Fu Xiao Tong and Li Tingting finishing with Earth Day at the Hutong

It was a perfect weather day on Saturday April 22nd and began the day with a trip to 798 . I have been waiting for a Doig show here in Beijing for a while, it finally arrived. I couldn’t make the opening as my own show in Dong Yue was opening the following day. Two weeks later I finally make it to Faurschou Foundation. ‘Cabins and Canoes’ didn’t disappoint. 

Some works were like greeting old friends, also loved to see some of the smaller simple oil sketches where his process begins. Known for his particular blend of abstraction and figuration , it is the scenes in nature that thrill. The magical realism of selected vegetation and those thick unexpected blobs of light, when looked at from the correct distance can burn the back of the retina.

Cabins and Canoes was the first exhibition I had come across where there was a limit of 20 people at a time in the huge gallery space. There was also a note that visitors needed to agree not to linger too long to allow other visitors a chance. Having such space and peace certainly made it very accessible and enjoyable.


After jumping on a bus heading a bit further North of 798 , I often get confused with the buses to Caochangdi and safely ended up on the 418 . I made my way to Fu Xiao Tongs exhibition “Limitless” opening at Chambers Fine Art. (Fu was a participating Irish Wave Artist over the years it was in operation.)


The first room I entered was installation work of intricate mesh of recycled copper wires placed on linear bar stands. The delicate hexagonal motif constructing the mesh gives both space and fragility to the work an almost graceful lack of substance which can be seen in Dragons Egg.

There was yet another room of installations, somewhat busier looking,  integrating found objects which she referred to as materials containing something lost to the progress of human civilization.

Fu is probably better known for her detailed pinhole work on paper. She records and titles these paper works with the number of pinholes made for the work . She uses a hand counter (I suspect one similar to those used for counting cells on a slide manually in a medical laboratory with her other hand). The surface results in delightful tactile frescos of various shapes , an MRI scan of a skull, a reflected city scape on waters edge and other abstractions . 


The next visit was back into town, another bus and train ride to a spot north west of NAMOC (National Art Museum of China) YiShu-8 is a leafy peaceful courtyard of historic buildings. This was the former Sino-French University which currently host collaborations of Chinese and French Artists . (No.20 A, East Huangcheng’gen North Street). Also in this location there is a unique fresco with Sun Yat-Sen’s last will and testament on display .

I was first introduced to Li Tingting’s work through Luise Guest’s book ‘Half the Sky – conversations with women artists in China ’.


Li focuses on everyday objects depicting the most common things in life, through colour ink on paper such as grandiose items of furniture and household items such as clothing and toys and other mass produced items.   She claims she seeks neither insight nor an answer from these common objects. The exhibition is titled “Orange is not the only fruit “.

Li Tingting at Yishu-8. 


In the evening I ended up in a well known cultural exchange centre known as ‘The Hutong’ . Staff member Olufemi introduced various speakers on the breezy rooftop under a lone star. Some of the speakers included Irene Guo from NGO Thirst- an educational program for schools on water use and awareness of the pending scarcity. Another speaker was June Deng outdoor educator  with the Hutong centre who guides public and school groups hiking with responsible camping skills. Another speaker Kyle Obermann an environmental photographer,  he spoke of his travels and hikes in various conservation areas, stumbling upon Pandas at night, how some varieties of bamboo dies after 6-7 years and and how a complete hillside might be wiped out in a matter of weeks neccessating the wildlife to migrate in mass. Obermann also showed some of his amazing photography .