Nestled in the northeast corner of Beijing is a funky little enclave that has come to be known as the city’s hub of avant garde artistic expression — part SOHO, a dash of Left Bank, a smidgen of Mao and a great deal of Mad Max. Sound interesting? It is.
The 798 Art District, or Factory 798 as some call it, is a former military industrial complex developed by the Soviets and East Germans back in the early 50’s. After years of decay, its unique open space structures began to be discovered by artists in the mid 90’s. Although it has experienced mass gentrification over the years, it still stands as the prominent symbol of China’s cutting edge art movement and home to various unchained personalities and wild attitudes – including that of famous Chinese dissident Ai Wei Wei. We recently visited 798 and are happy to share what we found.
Photos by Tod Hardin, except second photo, courtesy of 798 Art Space.