Exhibitions & Events: Harmonious Society 天下無事 & ATM14 – Manchester (UK)

I thought I’d start sharing some of the events that are coming up and I’m going to in the realm of Chinese contemporary art and curating Chinese contemporary art including exhibition openings and more. The first listing is explicitly about the forthcoming exhibition and association launch, conference and symposium events for ‘Harmonious Society 天下無事‘ as part of the Asia Triennial Manchester 2014 (ATM14) festival on the theme of ‘Conflict and Compassion’ taking place across many venues in Manchester, UK and the North West. It would be great if you could join my colleagues and I for these occasions that mark a wealth of growing knowledge in contemporary Chinese and Asian art.

ATM14 logo

cfcca's harmonious society web banner BLANK

Harmonious Society 天下無事 exhibition
– six venues, Manchester, 27 September – 23 November 2014

The largest exhibition of Chinese contemporary art in the UK to date, it features all new commissions or UK premieres by over 30 artists. “The current socio-economic vision presented by the government of mainland China, seemingly presents ‘no conflict’ but rather, almost poetically, 天下無事, a ‘Harmonious Society’. Simultaneously our era has been characterised as increasingly destabilised and challenging, transformed in the early years of the 21st century in terms of space, identity and communication. Artists from Hong Kong and Taiwan investigate their own socio-political situations, responding alongside artists from mainland China, to the produce the Harmonious Society exhibition.

Confirmed artists are CHANG Huei-Ming (Taipei), CHEN Chieh-Jen (Taipei), CHEN Wenbo (Beijing), CHENG Ching-Yuan (Taipei), HE An (Beijing), JIN Feng (Shanghai), KAN Xuan (Beijing), KAO Jun-Honn (Taipei), LEUNG Chi Wo (Hong Kong), LEE Kit (Hong Kong), LI Wei (Beijing), LIU Jianhua (Shanghai), LIU Xiaodong (Beijing), Luxury Logico (Taipei), PAK Sheung Chuen (Hong Kong), TOF (JIN Feng, YIN Yi and DING Li) (Shanghai), Annie Lai Kuen WAN (Hong Kong), WANG Sishun (Beijing), WANG Yin (Beijing), WANG Yuyang (Beijing), XU Qu (Beijing), YANG Zhenzhong (Shanghai), YAO Jui-Chung (Taipei), Samson YOUNG (Hong Kong), ZHANG Peili (Hangzhou), ZHAO Yao (Beijing), ZHENG Guogu (Yangjiang), ZHOU Xiaohu (Shanghai), YAN Bing (Beijing), YUAN Gong (Shanghai), ZHUANG Hui and Dan’er (Beijing). The exhibition takes place across six key spaces in Manchester: ArtWork, Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art, John Rylands Library, Manchester Cathedral, Museum of Science & Industry and the National Football Museum. The curatorial team is led by Jiang Jiehong, Professor of Chinese Art at Birmingham City University and a former curator of Guangzhou Triennial, supported by co-curators Ying Kwok, Ying Tan, Mei Huang, Luo Yi, Chou Yu-Ling and Paul Stanley (CFCCA) and Lindsay Taylor (University of Salford).

Chen Chieh-Jen
Chen Chieh-Jen, Realm of Reverberations, 2013, still. Image courtesy of the artist.
Liu Xiaodong
Liu Xiaodong, In Between Israel and Palestine no.11, 2013 Image courtesy of the artist.
Yang Zhenzhong
Yang Zhenzhong, Long Live the Great Union, 2011 Image courtesy of the artist

Harmonious Society 天下無事 Workshop – King’s College London, Monday 15 September 2014, 6pm – 9pm – BOOK HERE (Free)

The Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art, in partnership with Kings College London, presents the final in a series of workshops led by International artists and UK based curators to discuss key themes to be explored in the upcoming Harmonious Society programme. This informal discussion will draw on the experiences of curating and practicing internationally to address issues including, amongst others, translation and cultural exchange. The evening will provide an insight into the upcoming largest exhibition of Chinese Contemporary Art in the UK, Harmonious Society. In attendance will be speakers at the forefront of Chinese contemporary art curating including:

  • Jiang Jiehong, lead curator of the Harmonious Society exhibition and Professor of Chinese Art at Birmingham City University;
  • Jonathan Watkins, Director of IKON Gallery;
  • Stephanie Rosenthal, Chief Curator of Hayward Gallery;
  • Ying Tan, curator at CFCCA and co-curator of Harmonious Society;
  • Ying Kwok, artist and co-curator of Harmonious Society (Hong Kong/UK); Yu-Ling Chou Assistant Curator in Residence, CFCCA (Taiwan/UK).

Tickets: This is a free event, but reservations should be made in advance here. Conference Schedule

  • 18.30 – 18.45 Registration
  • Welcome by King’s College London and CFCCA
  • Introduction by Jiang Jiehong
  • Screening: TOF’s Rehearsal (Caipai 彩排)
  • Panel Discussion: Jiang Jiehong, Jonathan Watkins, Stephanie Rosenthal, Ying Tan, Ying Kwok and Yu Ling Chou
  • Q&A and drinks reception

ATM14 VIP opening including Harmonious Society 天下無事 – Imperial War Museum North, Friday 26 September 2014, 6.30pm – 8.30pm – BOOK HERE (Free)


Harmonious Society 天下無事 Conference
The University of Salford at MediaCityUK, Monday 29 September 2014, 9.30am – BOOK HERE (PAY EVENT)

The conference brings together leading international curators and academics with exhibiting artists from China, Taiwan and Hong Kong, to review and examine the significance of Chinese contemporary art in the West. The conference provides a unique opportunity to discuss practice-led curatorial research, which critically examines Chinese contemporary art, and the strategies for its curation, from cultural and socio-political perspectives. Simultaneously the conference offers a rare and detailed insight into the artistic practice and ecology of artists’ development of those participating in the Harmonious Society programme. Keynote speakers are Xinghua Lu and Wu Dar-Kuen other speakers include Yu-Ling Chou, Mei Huang, Jiehong Jiang, Ying Kwok as well as Harmonious Society artists Chen Chien-Jen (Taiwan), Leung Chi-Wo (Hong Kong), Pak Sheung-Chuen (Hong Kong), Zhenzhong Yang (Shanghai), Jui-Chung Yao (Taipei) and Peili Zhang (Shanghai).

Conference schedule:

09:30 Registration
10:00 Welcome by Prof Allan Walker, Dean of School of Arts and Media and Sarah Fisher, Director, CFCCA
10:10 Introduction by Prof Jiang Jiehong
10:20 Keynote: Prof Lu Xinghua (Shanghai)

11.20 Tea and coffee

11:30 Panel Discussion 1
Chair: Jiang Jiehong
Discussants: Lu Xinghua, Yang Zhenzhong, Zhang Peili and Mei Huang
Please note that this session will be conducted in Chinese, translated by Li Bowen

12:40 Lunch Break

13:30 Keynote: Prof Wu Dar-Kuen (Taipei)
14:30 Panel Discussion 2
Chair: Wu Dar-Kuen
Discussants: Chen Chien-jen, Yao Jui-chung and Chou Yu-Ling
Please note that this session will be conducted in Chinese, translated by Li Bowen

15:30 Tea and coffee

15.50 Panel Discussion 3
Chair: Ying Kwok
Discussants: Leung Chi Wo and Pak Sheung Chuen
16.50 Plenary Discussion
17:30 Drinks reception


ATM14 Symposium
 Conflict | Compassion | Resolution– IWM North, Manchester, 20 November 2014, 9.30am – 6pm – BOOK HERE (PAY EVENT)

As a collaboration strand of Asia Triennial Manchester 2014, this symposium will present diverse perspectives from keynote speakers, curators and artists on its theme Conflict | Compassion | Resolution. It aims to connect local and international artists, curators, and academics; and engage with the wider audience in a discursive forum on: the tangibles e.g. visual artworks, galleries, local and international art events and industries, as well as the intangibles e.g. memories, personal histories, attitudes and values – to develop a ‘source of inspiration and knowledge’ about Asian visual cultures and encourage learning and skills development through the wider ATM14 creative programmes. Through the symposium, ATM aims to highlight the role of the 21st century artists and curators in providing “a voice for the unheard, and a message to the dominant” – to promote transcultural arts as catalyst for social integration and economic development in pluralistic, democratic society.


  • Alnoor Mitha – Artistic Director of ATM, Senior Research Fellow (Asian Cultures) MIRIAD MSA
  • Graham Boxer – Director of IWM North
  • Professor David Crow – Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Internal Communication, Dean of the Faculty of Art and Design


  • Tessa Jackson OBE – CEO of Institute of International Visual Art (INIVA), London
  • Dr Nima Poovaya-Smith – Director of Alchemy Cultural Enterprise, Yorkshire

Guest Speaker:

  • Erica Ng – Director-General of Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office, London


  • Alice Kettle – Senior Research Fellow, MIRIAD Manchester School of Art
  • Dr Simon Faulkner – Programme Leader of Art History, Manchester School of Art

Speakers (artists and curators):

  • Aman Mojadidi Commodifying Conflict
  • Sophie Ernst – What is Conflict?
  • Professor Bashir Makhoul – House of Cards and The Genie
  • Dr Ming Turner and Dr Beccy Kennedy (DbD) – Bordering on Darkness
  • Hardeep Pandhal – Muses on the ‘labour of negative’
  • Kashif Nadim Chaudry – ‘Fools gold: Fingering the naval of what it means to be queer’
  • Rosa Nguyen – Sanctuary
  • Professor Jiang Jiehong – ‘Translating Harmonious Society’
  • Hsiao-Chi Tsai and Kimiya Yoshikawa – Scintilla From Our Sun
  • Sarah Perks and Andy Willis – Join the dots: Asian Cinema in the UK
  • Dr Tongyu Zhou and Joe Duffy – The Fire and the Rose
  • Alinah Azadeh – The Recital and Burning of the Book of Debts (Volume VIII) Manchester

Talks, discussions, and networking sessions followed by The Recital and Burning of the Book of Debts (Volume VIII) Manchester by Alinah Azadeh. Lunch and other refreshments will be provided.


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