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Address by Ambassador Zou Xiaoli at the Opening Ceremony of the Chinese Contemporary Art Exhibition

Distinguished guests,

Good evening! As the Chinese lunar year of the monkey draws near, the Chinese Contemporary Art Exhibition opens in the Arts Center of the City of Athens. It is a new year present to our Greek friends and a prelude to the series of "Happy Spring Festival" activities. On behalf of the Chinese Embassy in Greece, I would like to express sincere thanks to the municipal government of Athens and the China Arts and Entertainment Group and warm welcome to all the guests present today.

Western contemporary art has a history of over a hundred years. In comparison, Chinese contemporary art is much younger, but it has developed fast with proud results. In 1993, Chinese contemporary artists and their works made their debut at the Venice Biennale, which presented a China that was increasingly open, inclusive and confident to the outside world. In 2000, the Shanghai Biennale presented Western arts. In 2005, the Venice Biennale set up a China Hall. Now at the first-rate art exhibitions and galleries, Chinese contemporary artists won wide acclaim. It is fair to say that after its collision and cohesion with Western culture and the historical transformations in the Chinese society, Chinese contemporary art has become a unique scene.

Yesterday I had a long face-to-face conversation with Mr. Ding Yi. I have got some inspirations from this thought-provoking conversation. First, the rapid development and profound changes in China have provided constant inspirations for Chinese contemporary artists. Second, while pursuing innovation in the language and forms of art, Chinese contemporary artists are also exploring the link between the Chinese history, society and culture and contemporary art and how to present the Chinese spirit and style in contemporary art. Thirdly, the combination between contemporary art and fashion design is an important direction. Mr. Ding Yi was invited by Hermes, the leading fashion brand, to design its products. You can well expect to see more excellent works by Chinese contemporary artists on the international designer market.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Both China and Greece created splendid ancient civilizations, making outstanding contribution to the development of mankind and offering inspirations to contemporary art. Therefore, China-Greece cultural exchanges can well transcend bilateral scope and the limits of time and space and exert far-reaching impact on the world. This year marks the 10th anniversary of the establishment of comprehensive strategic partnership between China and Greece. China is ready to work with Greece to explore new ways and means to expand and deepen exchanges and cooperation in various areas. There are artists and businessmen in both countries that have the wish to carry out cultural industry cooperation, such as setting up animation and film bases, museums and theme parks as well as the joint translation and publication of books and the production of audio-video products, which will combine the rich cultural resources of our two countries with enhanced trade investment, so that cultural relations will become closer and more productive. I think all these are far-sighted and viable suggestions. Tonight officials from the Greek foreign ministry and cultural industry have honored us by their presence, which demonstrates the importance of the Greek government attaches to cultural exchanges between the two countries. I believe that with joint efforts of the two sides, one sound wish will come true after another and bring benefit to peoples of the two countries.

Thank you!

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