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Buying new China

A pop-up that pulses with Chinese energy of the future

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Buying new China

February 16 2012
Vicki Reeve

The clue’s in its name: the Nomad Store is an itinerant shop. But the project is far more exciting than that. It’s fronted by tastemaker Ritchie Chan, whose concept-driven Beijing studio/boutique/brand Triple-Major is imbued with the enthusiasm of young Chinese creatives, and has been credited with injecting new and fashionable life into the Baochao Hutong area of the city. In different guises, the Nomad Store has visited LA (last summer) and, in 2010, Hong Kong and Shanghai, where it showcased progressive Chinese designers while challenging traditional retail criteria.

And now – for one week only – the hip Nomad Store is in London, in Shoreditch (naturally). The gallery venue, Londonewcastle Project Space, is appropriate, since Triple-Major is partnering with Isis Gallery and expanding the remit to include contemporary Chinese art and publishing, as well as fashion.

Chan says: “Most of the designers we’re showing here have never been presented in the UK before, so I hope [we] can introduce people to some works by upcoming progressive Chinese designers.” The launch coincides with London Fashion Week, but Chan believes that since Europe is waking up to Chinese talent, now’s the time to keep the spotlight on. Of the work on show, he is particularly excited by Digest Design Workshop, “a really cool project by Beijing-based designer Dooling Jiang. Her works have been getting a lot of attention in China, so I am excited about the feedback here in London.”

Other highlights include works by installation- and performance-based artist Charwei Tsai, ready-to-wear and sculptural pieces from Woolmark Award-winning fashion designer/artist Qiu Hao, and artist Yida He, who has been singled out in Beijing as one to watch. Her work Don’t Try To Be Clever (second picture) confronts perception and visual experience, and she has created a special installation for Nomad Store London.

Banana Fish Books, one of the first independent magazine stores in China, is setting up shop, supplying cool fanzines and artist books, including Light Room, a “neo-photography” book of works by 17 young Chinese artists who all shoot on film, and Karamay (first picture), a book of portraits of Uyghurs (an eastern- and central-Asia-based Turkic-speaking ethnic group) whom Yuan Jie photographed in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of China, with the intention of breaking “the inherent mindsets towards Uyghur, [to] reveal the fair and bright side of a community”. Nomad Store London is bound to open the eyes of its visitors too.