Arrow Factory is an independently run alternative art space in Beijing that is located in a small hutong alley in the city center. Arrow Factory reclaims an existing storefront and transforms it into a space for site-specific installations and projects that are designed to be viewed from the street 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Arrow Factory’s modestly sized space (15 sqm) occupies a former vegetable stand, signaling an economy of means that informs our practice and promotes artistic collaboration, exploration, and experimentation across different cultural contexts and viewing publics. We are committed to presenting works by local and international artists that are provisional in nature, highly contingent upon the immediate environment, and that form meaningful responses to the diverse economic, political, and social conditions of our given locality and everyday lived experiences.
Arrow Factory, founded in 2008, was initiated as a response to the current conditions facing contemporary art production in Beijing. At present, contemporary art has been largely defined by its commercial nature and increasing confinement to purpose-built art districts in the remote outskirts of the city. This raises many questions regarding art’s physical removal from the urban fabric of the city, not to mention the severing of an artwork’s ties to the very social and political conditions it is alleged to represent. For Arrow Factory, meaning-making is an activity that occurs through interacting with the pre-existing givens of a site and adopting a strategy whereby the social frame does not so much ‘surround’ as much as it becomes part of the work.
Arrow Factory shares the same name as the hutong alley in which we reside. We hold a temporary commercial business license, but we do not sell anything. We subsist on small contributions from friends, colleagues, and ourselves. We do not hold openings and we operate modestly, spontaneously, and flexibly. Our mission is simply to provide an alternative; a different context in which artists can experiment with pushing the relationships that radiate outwards from the levels of the individual, the neighborhood, the urban, the region, to finally, the global.