In what has been a time of financial crisis for much of the world, the Chinese art market has grown exponentially in the last few years, culminating in Artprice’s recent announcement that China has taken the lead in art sales internationally. There have been rumors that the bubble is poised to burst, however, with reports of shady business practices and a greater emphasis on money than artistic merit casting doubt on the future of the market. Those doubts will soon be put to the test by the expansion of Beijing Poly International Auction Company, one of the leading and fastest growing Chinese auction houses.
Poly intends to reach out to the Korean market by opening a branch office in Panmunjon, and will take up residence on the 100th through 105th floors of the Twin Towers Go Global (TTGG) Panmunjon building, speculated to reach completion in late 2014. The village of Panmujon, on the border between North and South Korea, has all but disappeared due to the presence of the nearby Joint Security Area, where negotiations between the two countries have taken place since the end of the Korean War. However, Poly spokesman Li Xiaowen is optimistic that the company’s presence will be the first step towards turning the area into an art destination similar to Beijing’s 798 District, citing numerous galleries there with plans to follow Poly’s lead. The company is also working to commission a permanent collaborative installation by architects Herzog and de Meuron and artist Ai WeiWei, who worked together on the National Stadium in Beijing, built for the 2008 Olympic Games, as well as a piece for the 2008 Venice Architecture Bienniale. WeiWei’s recent detention by the Chinese government, part of a broader crackdown on perceived political dissidents, may delay the installation, however.