K11 alternative diplomacies: Penetrating the global arts markets | Intellect Skip to content
1981
Volume 10, Issue 3
  • ISSN: 2051-7041
  • E-ISSN: 2051-705X

Abstract

This article explores structure, motivations and cross-cultural mechanics of operations of alternative cultural diplomacy in China, performed by K11. The K11 Art Mall franchise, opened in Hong Kong in 2008 by Chinese billionaire Adrian Cheng, has established its visible presence in the global arts markets by supporting contemporary Chinese artists and sponsoring major international arts residencies and large-scale events and exhibitions. Deconstructing and exploring the neo-liberal multilateral nature of K11 diplomacy, the research questions how K11 operates and navigates the international communication complexities within the global arts market. It analyses how this diplomacy is different from government-led bilateral cultural diplomacy of China and why it creates less frictions and contradictions on the international level. The article reveals that the rapid integration of K11 into the international art market is a combination of different factors. Beyond the economic power of K11 to sponsor major international events in collaboration with prestigious partners, it also possesses more flexibility and tolerance to navigate the normative environments of the ‘epistemic community’ of the global arts world, which do not always work well with national authoritative regime’s pressures. However, positioning itself as an apolitical player with a global vision, K11 is dominating a niche within the national art market, where it does not compete with state authorities. Moreover, it generates a high economic and cultural capital in China by nurturing contemporary Chinese arts and raising their prestige and value on the international level.

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2023-12-08
2024-02-25
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