Chinese Contemporary Art on Show (UK): November 2015

Time for another blog post of Chinese contemporary art on show in the UK. November brings a broad spectrum of exhibitions, festivals, events, call for entries, screenings and happenings across the country…from historical to hyper contemporary themes and topics. As always, if I’ve missed any, let me know…or if you want to find out more, get in contact…

  1. CALL FOR ENTRIES – Chinese Visual Festival 2016
    Deadline 31 December 2015
    Chinese Visual Festival is delighted to launch its Call for Entries for the 2016 edition. Established as a major cultural event, CVF has been bringing to the UK the best in contemporary Chinese language film and art since 2011, having worked in the past with a long list of distinguished artists and directors including Jia Zhangke, Pema Tseden, Wu Wuna, Zhou Hao, Cao Fei and others. The festival has been hosted by Kings College London, one of the world’s leading research and teaching universities based in the heart of London, for several years now, with other events being regularly held at the BFI Southbank, the leading repertory cinema in the UK, specialising in seasons of classic, independent and non-English language films and is operated by the British Film Institute, and at the newly opened Bertha DocHouse, the UK’s first cinema dedicated solely to documentary films and events.



  2. The Chinese avant-garde: Two contemporary artists in conversation – British Museum, London
    13 November 2015, 6.30pm
    Qu Leilei and Ma Desheng – also a member of the Stars Group – will hold a discussion at the British Museum about the Chinese Avant-Garde. Book tickets here.


  3. CONFERENCE – Dislocation: Remapping Art Histories – Tate Modern, London
    3 December 2015, 6.15pm – 8pm and 4 December 2015, 10am – 6pm
    The histories of modern and contemporary art in Asia are inseparable from the cultural, social and political realities of the region and its continuously changing position in the world at large. What we regard as the canonical reading of art and its histories have been the subject of rigorous critique and revision in the past decades, and the conventional perception of art history as a singular narrative has yielded to a more complicated, discursive understanding of multiple art histories. The conference raises a number of questions on performance, socially engaged practice and the methodological rethinking of the Western-centrism of 20th century art histories. Topics include environmental art and performance in Japan in the 1960s, performance and its relationship to installation art in the Philippines in the 1970s, transnational and multivalent character of Modernism’s centres such as Paris and Mumbai, the effect of the internet and social networking technologies in contemporary Chinese art and the ‘social’ legacy of the socialist era in contemporary practice in China.

    Staircase-III 2010 Do Ho Suh born 1962 Purchased with funds provided by the Asia Pacific Acquisitions Committee 2011 © Do Ho Suh, courtesy Lehmann Maupin Gallery, New York
    Staircase-III 2010 Do Ho Suh born 1962 Purchased with funds provided by the Asia Pacific Acquisitions Committee 2011 © Do Ho Suh, courtesy Lehmann Maupin Gallery, New York


  4. Asian Art in London – Various Sites across London
    5 – 14 November 2015
    Asian Art In London brings together over sixty of the world’s top dealers, major auction houses and museums for an annual ten-day celebration of the finest Asian art. Visitors converge on London for this prestigious international event offering gallery selling exhibitions, auctions, receptions, lectures and seminars.

    'Lady and Lotus' by Dinh Hanh
    ‘Lady and Lotus’ by Dinh Hanh


  5. ‘Garden of Dreams’ by Liu Weidong – Royal College of Art, London
    17 – 21 November 2015, opening 17 November 6.30pm – 8.30pm
    Gardens, a passion shared in both China and Britain for centuries, are deeply rooted in both cultures. In C.18th England, the landscape architect Capability Brown established new trends with smooth-surfaced, undulating grass park-land, intermittently dotted with mature trees and occasional serpentine lakes. In China, classical gardens, consisting of walls, ponds, rocks, trees, flowers-beds and winding paths, date back even further, inherited from thousands of years of tradition. Similarly, in both countries, these beautiful garden vistas, attracted artists keen to record them. The garden is an endless theme throughout Chinese art; the ancient traditional Chinese Shanshui (landscape) paintings, immortalizing these often-inaccessible utopias for future generations of artists and scholars. This ancient legacy has been reinterpreted by some of China’s leading contemporary artists, such as Zhan Wang’s ‘scholars’ rocks’, displayed in the Great Court of the British Museum in 2008 and Xu Bing, who transformed the John Madjeski Garden at V&A into an idealised landscape through his installation in 2013.  This November (17th-21st), British audience will have an opportunity to see another such reinterpretation, with the exhibition of 20 oil paintings themed on Chinese Gardens by artist Liu Weidong at the Royal College of Art, in the UK-China Year of Cultural Exchange.

    中国园林系列 布面油画 'Chinese Garden No. 9' by Liu Weidong (2015) 70x90cm Oil on Canvas
    中国园林系列 布面油画 ‘Chinese Garden No. 9’ by Liu Weidong (2015) 70x90cm Oil on Canvas


  6. EVENT – Strangers in a Strange Land: The art and performance of the World War One Chinese Labour Corps – SOAS China Institute, London
    5 November 2015, 5pm – 7pm
    The long buried story of the 140,000 Chinese labourers who lent vital assistance to the allied Great War effort is only now beginning to emerge. One striking element is the strong feature of art and culture in these men’s lives. They played musical instruments, sang songs, performed stories and dances, fashioned art out of abandoned artefacts and even bombshells. Art, so often seen as the preserve of the privileged classes, played a huge part in the lives of these impoverished workers. Guest speakers: Paul Bevan (SOAS/ Oxford), Steve Lau (Ensuring We Remember Campaign), Nick Saunders (Bristol), Frances Wood (author), Daniel York Loh (playwright).Strangers in a Strange Land
  7. ‘Selected Works 1979-1987’ by Ma Dasheng – Rossi and Rossi, London
    5 – 14 November 2015, opening 9 November 6pm – 9pm
    Selected Works 1979–87 will present a selection of the artist’s woodblock prints and ink paintings from the late 1970s to the 1980s. A self-trained artist, Ma’s boldly graphic woodblock prints are the result of his observations of peasants and workers in the countryside during the Cultural Revolution. In direct contrast to the kitsch and brightly coloured Socialist Realism of propaganda imagery well established in China at the time, Ma’s highly expressive monochromatic prints were unusual for their portrayal of peasants and workers as sad, tired and distressed. The first Stars Art Exhibition, held in 1979 along the gates outside the National Museum, was poorly received by officials and resulted in the confiscation of the artworks after only two days, as well as Ma’s arrest.

    'Abstract 1' by Ma Desheng (1987) Ink on Chinese paper, 69 x 102 cm (27 x 40 in)
    ‘Abstract 1’ by Ma Desheng (1987) Ink on Chinese paper, 69 x 102 cm (27 x 40 in)


  8. GOING PUBLIC: International Art Collectors in Sheffield – Site Gallery, Sheffield
    Until 12 December 2015
    EVENT: Going Public on Going Public
    12 November 2015, 6pm – 8pm
    As part of a city-wide collaboration with major international art collectors, Site Gallery is partnering with dslcollection who, over the last ten years, have built one of the most significant collections of Chinese art in the world. Led by Dominique and Sylvain Levy, their promotion and pioneering of established Chinese artists, often rarely seen in European galleries, alongside emerging Chinese artists makes their evolving collection exciting and relevant. This work is underpinned by a commitment to archiving, researching and communicating the value of the work of this region.

    Going Public Site Gallery

  9. ‘Ai Weiwei’ – Royal Academy of Arts, London
    19 September – 13 December 2015
    Curated in collaboration with Ai Weiwei from his studio in Beijing, the RA will present some of his most important works from the time he returned to China from the US in 1993 right up to present day. Among new works created specifically for our galleries and courtyard will be a number of large-scale installations, as well as works showcasing everything from marble and steel to tea and glass. With typical boldness, the chosen works will explore a multitude of challenging themes, drawing on his own experience to comment on creative freedom, censorship and human rights, as well as examining contemporary Chinese art and society.

  10. ‘RoCH Fans & Legends’ by Susan Pui San Lok – QUAD, Derby
    18 September – 15 November 2015
    EVENT – Panel Discussion- QUAD, Derby
    13 November 2015, 6pm – 8pm
    susan pui san lok premieres a new body of work titled RoCH Fans & Legends, commissioned by QUAD and the Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art (CfCCA), in partnership with Animate Projects and the University of Salford. Featuring single and multi-channel moving image works for gallery and online, RoCH draws on fan uploads of numerous adaptations of The Condor Trilogy (1957-61), a classic ‘new wuxia’ epic by Louis Cha aka Jin Yong, to explore some of its recurring tropes and translations – its fantasies, landscapes and archetypes, as well as its ‘poor’ and ‘pidgin’ iterations, in diasporic popular culture.

    Susan Pui San Lok.

  11. BOTH SIDES NOW: It was the best of times, it was the worst of time? – CFCCA, Manchester
    25 September – 6 December 2015
    EVENT – Both Sides Now 2: David Blandy and Wong Ping screening and Q&A – HOME, Manchester
    29 November 2015, 4pm
    Artists’ film and video works from the UK, China and Hong Kong spanning a quarter century will be presented in a new exhibition that seeks to draw comparisons between the identity and culture of China and the UK. Part of a six-month programme of screenings, exhibitions and residencies involving 15 arts organisations in the UK, China and Hong Kong. Moving image pieces by artists working in China & Hong Kong, including Birdy Chu, Lu Yang, Wong Ping, Ellen Pau and Map Office, will be exhibited alongside work by UK filmmakers David Blandy, Lucy Clout, Ben Rivers, Daniel Shanken and Rachel Maclean.

    Daniel Shanken - Both Sides Now 2 - 'Common Descent' (2015)


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