OPEN EAST：Asia Museum Forum 2019
Curatorial Practice and Diversified Perspective Based on International Cross-Culture Communication
Re”to “Rui(wisdom)”：Looking Back on the Eastern Philosophy in Curation
Director of the Art Museum of Beijing Fine Art Academy, Curator of China Pavilion of the 58th International Art Exhibition
It does mean something in context of the first half of the 21st century when we say “May You Live in Interesting Times”. Every single one out of ourselves indeed feels like there are new-whether so-called or not-questions arising relentlessly from the media coverage or just from our mundane life. To the “interesting times” that we have stepped in, we do not suppose ourselves to provide a delusive definition but to establish a thought-provoking dimension by presenting our artworks.
“Re” is a prefix that many western languages share in common and to revert or to return is one definition of its, which bring a sense of retrospection. There is a Chinese character “睿(Rui)” that sounds similarly with “Re”, however, it means wisdom in Chinese. In wake of the new questions that we are bombarded with, it is probable that only by looking back can we become wise; the process can be seen as from “Re” to “Rui”.
After all, intended to connect the virtual reality to the real world and to set a homebound path for the audience along which to seek wisdom, the curator exploits an interactive artwork by Fei Jun (b.1970) in means of a smart phone application, a realism woodblock print by Chen Qi (b.1963) with traditional Chinese technique, a video installation by Geng Xue (b.1983) that reflects on the circle of life, and a device by He Xiangyu (b.1986) that simulates the tactile sense, etc. By incorporating new technologies into traditional Chinese art, the curator and the artists construct a configuration in such a way as induces the audience to rethink on the senses of body, contemplation of life and coincidences among civilizations.
Curating as Framing
Ph.D. in Art, Head of Exhibition Department, Power Station of Art
Hans Belting, an art historian, believes that art history restates the art of a certain era into a coherent narrative according to a certain relationship. The relationship between art history and art works is like that between pictures and frames. Once the picture changes, the frame also changes, and usually the change of frame takes place later than the change of picture. I think curation can also serve as a frame, a coherent narrative that expresses art works according to a certain relationship, but it is more agile and flexible than art history. It can observe, sort out and analyze the latest art phenomena taking place in the society, and provide various materials and perspectives for more long-term art history research, as well as new approaches and ideas of narrating.
Of course, this kind of curation is not about simply putting all kinds of art works together under a fixed title or space. Such creative curation should be aware of the needs to observe and study the art and social phenomena in China’s history, run rigorous aesthetic analysis and selection of art works, design the spatial layout and consider the overall visual effect in presenting the exhibited works. By combining aesthetic judgment and a certain theoretical framework, such curation can not only become an instrument for art history research in sorting out the features of the current Chinese artistic creation and in observing the ever-changing oriental art and aesthetics, but also be used as an instrument by the museums to operate effectively and maximize its public effects. Based on China’s realities, it can be used to explore a museum operation mode characterized by Asian experience and thorough considerations of research, collection, promotion and curatorial work
Beyond East and West: Contemporary Art in the Digital Domain
Presidential Academic Fellow in the History of Chinese Art, The University of Manchester
This talk examines a series of new media artworks by Miao Ying (b.1985), Ye Funa (b.1986) and Liu Xin (b.1991). Contextualizing their practice in relation to China’s online culture and media spheres, it situates the contemporary art world’s engagement with new media in relation to anti-aesthetics and the rise of what has been termed “Internet Ugly”. Interrogating the assumption that net art emerging from China can only belatedly repeat works of Euro-American precedent, it argues that these artists’practice confronts the complex and contradictory facets of social media and commercial platforms, as well as the unique aspects of vernacular culture that have emerged within China's online realm. Offering a satirical take on the commodity fetishization and online self-posturing that has often come to characterize digital interactions in the early 21st century, these works can be seen to emerge out of the broader contradictions of new media practices that parody the relationships between the Chinese internet and the World Wide Web, global capitalism and “Shanzhai”(fake or pirated) aesthetics, online accessibility and digital divides, and the art market’s relationship to the virtual economies of an art world online.