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Yuecheng Magazine Interview "A Gallery, Twelve Years, Lanlan Gallery"


A Gallery, Twelve Years, Lanlan Gallery】 
Writing/ Zhou Xiangyu  Photography/ Vanluo  SourceLanlan Gallery

This is an art living room and the building where Lan Lan, Wang Tong and assistant Susan live. The entrance is a courtyard with a small tea table. The sculptures in the courtyard are the works of Danish artists. Some green plants are ornamented and surrounded by the sculptures.

Lanlan Gallery is one of the early group of Xiamen Art and Literature Space. Since the opening of the gallery in 2003, this two-storey building is full of life. It is the home of Lanlan and his husband Wang Tong, the plants here, the colors here, the decorations here and the works here are closely related to their lives.

Lanlan often says with a smile: she opens Lanlan Gallery, it seems that is to wait for Mr. Wang Tong. 

Lan Lan studied computer when she was in school. She worked as a secretary in Xiamen Art Association for one and a half years in the late 1980s. She began to get along with Xiamen artists at the age of seventeen or eighteen. After that, She went to Shanghai to start a special paper business and earned a lot of money. She also kept collecting paintings.In 2003, she opened the gallery, and the next year she met Wang Tong, a Swedish painter. 

In 2005, one of them came from Sweden, the other from Xiamen, and they pushed their career together to Beijing. They also been together since then. 

Over the past four or five years, their career maps have been mainly in Xiamen and Sweden. Xiamen is the Lanlan Gallery, focusing on Nordic art. In Sweden, they have worked with the local government to promote projects such as the Gallery of Sugar Hezygote, focusing on Chinese art. 

Asked why Lan Lan ran the gallery, she said it was because she felt "it was necessary to do an increasingly valuable business" and wanted to find a "career that many young people would like to get along with me even when I was old". For linear thinking, she felt that running a gallery is a reliable way, so when abandoning the commercial battlefield, she was not entangled at all. The young mentality nurtured by art in these years is the reason that many young artists in Xiamen call her "Sister Lan".
Over the past decade, Lan Lan has seen the existence of the gallery from the perspective of a businessman. She said that 12 years ago many galleries in China were operated by artists and they would be bound by local labels. She started acting  as a agent for Beijing artist or even foreign artists, and also for the Japanese Erxian Society, which mainly copies ancient art treasures. She is also willing to devote herself to the exhibition, meticulous to every print.
Lan Lan couple and assistant Susan live on the second floor of the gallery, just like a family. Unlike the main exhibition of art works on the first floor (there is also a small library), the family atmosphere on the second floor is more strong. Every work of art is very good decoration. Susan said Lanlan and Tongwang and their friends often chat about art in the living room. Camphor trees surround every window, bringing the world green. Lan often said to trees, "Thank you." She thought that because of this, the green branches would go inside a little more. Lan has such an interesting temperament like that.
Lan Lan said that for a gallery, everything happens not because of space, but because of people. She manages this space with her own personality, hoping it is a place where people feel intimate. Many people bring books, have a cup of coffee and look at pictures here. She spends half or more of the year outside Xiamen. "For me, space doesn't play a big role, but this gallery has existed for more than a decade. It's a gesture."
Q&A: The concept of ecology is symbiosis. We encourage each other to move forward.
Yuecheng: It seems that the gallery has recently launched the "Art Tour". What is it?
Lan Lan: When we hold the exhibition, artists are required to be present, whether Chinese artists go to Nordic or Nordic artists come to China. Later, we thought that since everyone came, we could take an art trip, take you to see the studio of the local artists, see exhibitions, communicate with the local people, visit my home and experience Nordic life.
At present, we mainly design four Nordic countries on the tour line, there are also private customized routes, six or seven people travel, me, my husband and Susan will lead the team. In the future, domestic routes can also be done.
Yuecheng: As an historical gallery, is art journey very important to you?
Lan Lan: We haven't made it so important. In fact, it is just expanded by every exhibition, for the richer experience we want to bring to artists.
Yuecheng: You seem to be paying attention to some young, local artists, such as Kong Longzhen, a truck driver who loves painting.
Lan Lan: Cultivating and promoting young artists is a direction of the gallery now, because we now have experience and funds to help others, we can sell paintings in almost every exhibition, which is more difficult to achieve in many emerging spaces. Like the first exhibition of Lin Hou Art Commune, "Listen, the voice of Lin Hou", which I curated. Kong Longzhen, who is also Wang Tong's student, will help him sell his paintings and take him to Nordic exhibitions. We feel that the focus of mature artists has been too much. It will be a good circle for us to help young people.
Yuecheng: many young art and culture spaces have sprung up in Xiamen recently. Do you think there will be impetuosity and problems?
Lan Lan: This ecology must be good or bad, but the concept of ecology is symbiosis, we encourage each other to go. Recently, Xiamen has another axis project. Some young students and artists are doing it. They have gathered a lot of space. This is a good phenomenon. The more people do it, the more people will pay attention to it.
I do not deny that some people are doing this with a speculative mentality. It has two results. One is that some people are really attracted and taken away by art. The other is that some people retreat. This will not be a problem.
Yuecheng: Does Xiamen have the advantage of realizing the community of art and literature space?
Lan Lan: In fact, space is not important. In Beijing, so many art and literature spaces, so many exhibitions, are also annihilated. Although small cities have the advantages of small cities, it is ultimately a relationship between supply and demand. When many people need art everyday, art and literature space will naturally come. Like Taiwan's art and literature is very commercial, there is a market demand, their utensils, homes, shopping malls... Every aspect is integrated with art --- not by hanging up works of art.