Art administrator Wang Yihan [Global Times]
China's growing contemporary art market is finding success at all levels with artists, curators and investors all benefiting from the recent boom. The burgeoning industry is also opening doors for young art graduates who are choosing administration as an alternative career path.
When Wang Yihan was an art student, she never pictured herself as a successful curator and art dealer. Although she had dreams of becoming an artist when she was a little girl, her expectations went no further than teaching art at university.
With a bachelor's degree in art education from Anhui Province, Wang then moved to Beijing to further her studies and gained a master's degree in oil painting from Capital Normal University.
"Being a professional painter was not the only career choice of many art students," Wang, 33, explained. "So I thought if I could enjoy painting in my spare time, it would be good enough."
While pursuing her post-graduate studies, she landed a job at Soka Art Center that sells contemporary art and is an agent for art works by outstanding Chinese artists.
With experience in the commercial side of the art business, Wang began working at China International Gallery Exposition (CIGE), a major art firm that organizes one of China's largest art fairs each year. Just two years later, Wang became the director of the company. Her move into art administration is typical of the changing face of China's art world. The business of wheeling and dealing is creating new opportunities for graduates and artists alike.
According to Wang, China's contemporary art market has changed dramatically in recent years. Things have improved greatly for modern artists and in her opinion there are more and more opportunities in the art sphere at all levels.
"Now many artists can paint for a living; their works sell," Wang said. "Even compared with foreign artists, Chinese artists are enjoying a better way of life."