New museum appreciates an art challenge

Diantha Chong
Privately owned He Art Museum (HEM) is due to open on March 21 in Shunde District, Foshan City.
Diantha Chong

Nestled in the southernmost part of China, the city of Foshan is known for its amazing food culture. But not many of the local residents have the habit of appreciating art.

This is one of the main challenges of the privately owned He Art Museum (HEM), which is due to open on March 21 in Shunde District.

The name “He” stands for the Chinese word “和,” meaning harmony. The name embodies HEM’s founders, the He family’s wish to provide a harmonious balance between sharing of art and culture.

The museum has been designed by world-renowned Japanese architect Tadao Ando, with a total area of 16,000 square meters, and half of which will be exhibition space.

The design features a variety of circles in line with HEM’s main philosophy of “harmony.”

New museum appreciates an art challenge
Courtesy of HEM

A picture of the He Art Museum, designed by Tadao Ando.

Ando uses circles to construct spaces in the building for exhibitions and education programs. The circles give a ripple-like effect as they overlap. The design plays with the effects of light to create a warm ambience for gallery-goers.

Ando is a self-taught architect, whose work is often marked by minimalism and natural materials. He describes his design of HEM as an integration of “traditional history and culture with modern and contemporary art.” Through his design he hopes that the “exchange of cultures will bring people the long-cherished wish of a harmonious and peaceful life”.

China is building its art scene at a rapid rate with 251 museums opening in 2017 alone. This shows that the Chinese art scene has a lot of room of growth.

HEM’s director Shun Shu hopes that “the space can give Chinese artists a new form of avenue to showcase their art” and “allow the local residents to enjoy and appreciate art.”

HEM will present works from its own collections with contemporary Chinese artists such as Liu Ye and well-known international artists such as Pablo Picasso and Alexander Calder.

The museum will open with two exhibitions showcasing HEM’s collection and specially curated international works “From the Mundane World” collection. The international collection will feature contemporary artworks focusing on the ecological system of human and nature. HEM will also present its personal collection in two exhibitions entitled “Milleu in Change” and “One the Rise.”

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