The turbulence of the post-Brexit art world
Updated 19:47, 19-Mar-2019
By Ye Qing
Britain has always been in a leading position in the art and design industry; a large part of the reason is due to the open introduction of overseas talents. However, the government's attitude so far after the Brexit referendum has made these talents extremely anxious, and the oscillations and generally unknowable situation of the British art industry have gradually emerged.

For the artists and buyers

According to the Hiart report, from the perspective of the primary market, western contemporary art creation has always been closely linked to European culture. Many young artists from Europe come to London. They created and communicated in this "art incubator," looking for inspiration and opportunities.
London's galleries, backed by the vast continent of Europe, are free to select artists of high quality to train and cooperate with, and continuously supply "fresh blood" to the active, rich and diverse artist groups. This is also an important prerequisite for the sustainable development of London's healthy primary market of contemporary art.
After Brexit, it is foreseeable that the European Union (EU) citizens will lose the opportunity to travel freely although Brexiters stress that they will guarantee the inflow of high-quality immigrants, while young artists often need to accumulate years in London to meet the rigid "high quality, high technology" conditions.
A man looking at Turner's paintings at Tate Britain, London. /VCG Photo

A man looking at Turner's paintings at Tate Britain, London. /VCG Photo

Also, private galleries are likely to be unable to afford work visas, which is bound to cause young artists to abandon London for more open and convenient cities in Europe.
As the highly international art industry, in fact, has long sniffed out dangerous information. Before the referendum, Tracey Emin, Anish Kapoor, and other famous contemporary artists all campaigned to remain in the EU. More than 300 leading figures in the creative arts industry have written out in support of Britain's EU membership.
The letter read that from the smallest galleries to the most famous masters, too many projects would not have been possible without the support and cooperation of the EU.
Brexit will not only bring millions of British people into unknown ravines but also affect the development of more domestic and foreign art and creative industry practitioners and the industry itself, the letter added.
Visitors attend the annual Frieze London art fair in London, Britain on October 7, 2018. /VCG Photo

Visitors attend the annual Frieze London art fair in London, Britain on October 7, 2018. /VCG Photo

The letter showed that many contemporary artists first gained their fame in London, backed by billions of dollars or pounds in funding and academic resources, most of which came from Europe.
For example, "The Angel of the North," a public sculpture by Anthony Gormley in the north of England was paid for by an institution within the EU. Also, the Frieze London, an art fair for contemporary art in London, is being financed exclusively by Deutsche Bank.
As 99 Art Network reported, many private dealers worried that the EU will introduce a uniform consumption tax to balance the consumption of EU countries, which will make Britain lose the existing tax advantages and lead to the outflow of collectors, although Britain's five percent excise tax is so far the lowest in the EU.

For the museums

From the perspective of public institutions, Brexit will also cause unpredictable effects. Many of the major museum sponsors come from EU countries. Brexit is likely to lead to a diversion of these huge funds to support local research institutions in Europe.
London's V&A museum once said that if the UK leaves the EU, a large number of research funds will be lost and London's influence in European culture area will be greatly reduced.
And from the perspective of the exhibition, the major museums are likely to encounter greater resistance on exhibition tour and loan.
Sotheby's Auction House on New Bond Street, London. /VCG Photo

Sotheby's Auction House on New Bond Street, London. /VCG Photo

However, for major auction houses, including Sotheby's and Christie's, although the Brexit brings uncertainties, Kevin Ching, CEO of Sotheby's Asia told the Beijing Times that in the long run, whether Britain in the EU or not, the impact on Sotheby's is not big.
"Sotheby's was born in Britain in 1744, and we have been through countless changes for over 270 years, standing still whether we are in the European Union or not," Ching added.