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Gallery ALL is a new contemporary design gallery dedicated to showcasing conceptual, innovative art as well as international talent. Located in the historical Bradbury building in Los Angeles, the gallery was co-founded by Qingyun Ma and Yu Wang. Ma, Dean of the USC School of Architecture, is a world-renowned architect while Wang is the founder of the International Design and Furniture (IDF) as well as an architect and designer. Launched last month, the gallery now joins the downtown LA art community, advancing experimental designs and facilitating the dialogue between the East and West. Whitewall talked with co-founders Wang and Ma to talk about the inaugural exhibition and their vision for the gallery’s future.
WHITEWALL: Gallery ALL just opened in March 2014. What are your goals for the gallery?
YU WANG: At Gallery ALL, our goal has been dedicating to create a dynamic dialogue of designs between the East and the West, and trying to present works that are bold, fresh, and of contemporary significance.
At the inaugural show at Gallery ALL Los Angeles, we feature two young Chinese designers, Naihan Li and Zhoujie Zhang. They are both in their early 30s, but have demonstrated exceptional design talent. Although they are well recognized in China’s art and design world, their works have never been exhibited in the U.S. or at major design fairs outside China. We feel there is a gap and we want to create such a platform to bring those brilliant artists and designers to the global audience. However, this is just a beginning; we will not be limited to only Chinese or Asian artists in the future.
WW: Why did you want Naihan Li and Zhoujie Zhang to be a part of your first show?
YW: For the inaugural exhibition, we want to make a statement about the new era of Design in China instead of the more widely known Made in China designs. China was commonly recognized as the world’s factory for the past few decades, however its design capability is never well recognized. Naihan Li and Zhoujie Zhang are both the top post 1980-generation Chinese designers, yet their works haven’t been exhibited by galleries outside China. We wanted to show new undiscovered talents like Naihan and Zhoujie for the inaugural show, which marks their first appearance in the US.
I knew Naihan Li’s work very well; she has a special interest to design complicated folding design pieces that can easily travel to anywhere, conceptually very similar to the Jade Rabbit explorer. So my brief to Naihan Li was to make new pieces for the crates series, it has to be futuristic and have an aerospace quality.
Zhoujie’s works explore the minimal solution to represent a complicated 3D object by the simplest 2D geometry, then reverse-engineer the solution to re-define the problem, what is a perfect 3D object, such as a chair or a table. He is now developing his own digital design generation system with artificial intelligence, so that people will be able to design and produce their truly “customized” furniture in the future. The main logic is scanning your body, and then the system will automatically form and generate a perfect structure that holds you well and gives you the most comfort. You will be able to see how the system generates the shape of the chair. He is also experimenting with different materials such as stainless steel and brass, to test how the system can adapt to different materials as well.
WW: How do you see the gallery fitting in to the design scene in LA?
YW: We haven’t been in LA for very long. From my observation, designs and design galleries are mostly in the Westside, Melrose, Pacific Design Center, La Cienega, etc., yet the downtown art district is really emerging and becoming a vivid center of contemporary art. Gallery ALL, I hope, will bring the design element to the downtown LA art scene, especially contemporary designs.
WW: What are your plans for the future of Gallery ALL?
QINGYUN MA: We are also opening our Beijing space in the second half of 2014. There are very few galleries in China that professionally exhibits contemporary designs to the Chinese audience where there is another gap. Chinese collectors are getting more interested in contemporary art and designs, yet there is a lack of design galleries to introduce and exhibit the contemporary designs in China right now. We feel there is a need and also a market there. By establishing a branch in Beijing, we hope to build relationship with Chinese collectors and bring western designs into China. We understand that it would be a long way to go and we look forward to it.