Chinese Contemporary Art on Show (UK & a pinch EU): January 2016

Before you consume the ever-growing (and continuing) list of Chinese Contemporary Art on Show…what’s on, what to see, what to apply to, what to listen to including talks, exhibitions, projects, conferences, gallery big birthday parties (times two!) and more…here’s an image of Ai Weiwei getting what I’d call Lego-ed by his son. It made me smile and kind of epitomises a moment in the contemporary art ecology as a Chinese artist takes on the tension between the seriousness of refugee migration culture versus the playful “corporation” and “life game” of Lego. It’s going to be interesting to see what’s ahead for Ai Weiwei this year.

As ever, if I have missed anything that should be on the list let me know. Note there’s one of my projects in here…where I’m also reviewing many of these shows for various contemporary art press. It’s going to be a year of words for me, PhD completion included!

Ai Weiwei lego 13 January 2016
Taken from Ai Weiwei Camps Facebook page
  1. Opening of SinArts Gallery with Chen Xi – Rue Bouré 6, 1050 Brussels, Belgium
    14 January – 20 February 2016
    A new gallery built on the existing foundation and community of SinArts by Alex Lebbink, focusing on promoting and presenting contemporary Chinese art. The gallery’s launch exhibition is a solo exhibition by Chen Xi, showing works from the last decade. ‘Based on an ideal of mastering techniques which he was taught in his early Shanghai years, each of his works is hand drawn without a prior sketch. The abstraction he brings is a legacy of his long European art education.’ I actually fly to Brussels tomorrow for the opening! And I’ll be reviewing the show…so watch my social media feed!

    SinArts Gallery
    Image courtesy of Alex Lebbink
  2. 30 Years of CFCCA – Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art (CFCCA), Manchester, UK
    February – June 2016
    Birthday party number one! I’m curating a graffiti and street art project between China and the UK as part of these celebrations called ‘RareKind China’ (blog post to come on this). There will also be a series of solo shows by Xu Bing, Cao Fei, Lee Mingwei, Tsang Kin-Wah and susan pui san lok. ‘In 2016, CFCCA will celebrate its 30 year anniversary in Manchester with a high profile exhibition programme spanning 6 months featuring some of the very best Chinese contemporary artists of today. The anniversary programme will see CFCCA collaborate with 30 prestigious artists, curators and academics who have each previously contributed to the organisation at various stages of its 30 year history. This ambitious programme will launch on 4 February 2016 to coincide with Chinese New Year. Throughout our history we have sustained a commitment to representing Chinese arts and culture in the UK. Today we are the UK’s leading organisation for the promotion of Chinese contemporary art, producing an internationally renowned artistic programme and developing a reputation as a centre for research.’

    Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art (CFCCA), Manchester, UK
  3. CFP: Making the New World: the Arts of China’s Cultural Revolution – Centre for Chinese Visual Arts (CCVA) in partnership with Whitechapel Gallery
    DEADLINE: 1 February 2016
    Another CCVA event on it’s way that I’m helping to coordinate. Marking the 50th Anniversary of the Cultural Revolution, Making the New World: the Arts of China’s Cultural Revolution, is a two-day international conference programmed by the Centre for Chinese Visual Arts (CCVA) at Birmingham City University in collaboration with the Whitechapel Gallery. Inviting researchers, artists, designers, curators and practitioners at all stages of their careers worldwide to reassess the significance of the arts and culture of the Cultural Revolution, the 9th CCVA Annual Conference reflects upon their impacts on everyday life in China within socio-political, cultural and global contexts. More information can be found here.

    Weng Naiqian,1966, courtesy Centre for Chinese Visual Arts (CCVA)
  4. Song Yige – Marlborough Fine Art, London
    Opening 26 January, 6pm. 27 January – 27 February 2016
    Curated by Zeng Fanzhi, this is an exhibition of new paintings by Beijing-based artist Song Yige [press release], and the artist’s first solo show outside Asia. Known for her figurative paintings, Song depicts everyday objects and anonymous characters, alongside subjects from the natural world in imaginary settings. Another show I’ll be reviewing…so watch my social media feed!

    Song Yige. Image courtesy of Marlborough Fine Arts
  5. ‘The Colony’ by Dinh Q. Lê – IKON Gallery, Birmingham, UK
    27 January – 3 April 2016
    Ikon, in collaboration with Artangel, presents The Colony (2016), a major new commission of video work by acclaimed Vietnamese artist Dinh Q. Lê. In three parts, featuring newly filmed footage, The Colony is loosely based on 19th century depictions of a cluster of islands off the west coast of Peru, rich in guano, a powerful fertilizer. Exploring the drama of absurdity, greed and human suffering, all for the brown gold of bird excrement, Lê’s narratives revisit three important episodes in the islands’ brutal history: the 19th century imperial wars between Spain and its former colonies Peru and Chile; the horrific fate of the indentured Chinese labourers; and the US Guano Act of 1856 that authorised over one hundred claims for uninhabited islands, reefs and atolls in the Pacific and Atlantic.

    Dinh Infirmary-Small-600x400
    Dinh Q. Lê Chincha Norte Island Production shot of The Colony (2016) Photograph courtesy of the artist
  6. ‘The Imitation Game’ – Manchester Art Gallery, Manchester, UK
    13 February – 5 June 2016
    Including artist Yu-Chen Wang. An exhibition by eight international contemporary artists who explore the theme of machines and the imitation of life. The exhibition will include work by artists Ed Atkins, James Capper, Paul Granjon, Tove Kjellmark, Lynn Hershman Leeson, David Link, Mari Velonaki and Yu-Chen Wang. With a title inspired by Alan Turing’s Turing Test, devised to test a computer’s ability to imitate human thought, introduced in an article while he was working at The University of Manchester, The Imitation Game includes three new commissions and works never before seen in the UK.

    ‘It is just the beginning The Helix’ (2014) by Yu-Chen Wang
  7. Slade Lectures by Wu Hung on ‘Feminine Space: An Untold Story of Chinese Pictorial Art’ – University of Oxford, UK
    From 20 January onwards until 2 March 2016. I’ll be attend the latter two lectures based on their contemporary contexts. See you there?Slade_Poster_2016
  8. ‘KALEIDOSCOPE – 50 years of Modern Art Oxford’ – Modern Art Oxford
    Exhibitions running from 6 February – 31 December 2016.
    Another birthday party! From the China side it includes Guan Xiao. Modern Art Oxford celebrates 50 years as an internationally acclaimed powerhouse of contemporary visual culture. KALEIDOSCOPE [Kaleidoscope Press Release] is a year long series of interlinking shows, performances and events, presenting an unmissable opportunity to reflect on some of the great moments in Modern Art Oxford’s history. Iconic works from the past return to the gallery from across the globe, shown as part of a dynamic programme of new commissions, performances and events by the current generation of artists. In an unconventional approach, the exhibition will stay open throughout year, giving audiences insight into the process of exhibition-making as one show morphs into the next.

    Screen Shot 2016-01-13 at 17.20.50
    KALEIDOSCOPE – Celebrating 50 inspirational years of Modern Art Oxford
  9. ‘A Beautiful Disorder’ – Cass Sculpture Foundation, UK
    Opening May – November 2016
    The first major exhibition of newly commissioned outdoor sculpture by contemporary Chinese artists to be shown in the UK. From May 2016, sixteen monumental outdoor sculptures will be on display throughout the grounds of CASS. These artists employ a variety of ambitious sculptural techniques across a range of materials including bronze, stone, steel and wood. I cannot wait for this show! Read the A Beautiful Disorder Press Release here. Another show I’ll be reviewing…so watch my social media feed!

    Wang Yuyang, Identity, 2016. (Rendering)
    ‘Identity’ (2016) by Wang Yuyang (Rendering)
  10. MALEONN Solo Show – Magda Danysz Gallery, London, UK
    6 January – 27 January 2016
    Maleonn is one of the most famous Shanghai photographers. Artist with many personalities, Maleonn [Press release MD Gallery] has become the leader of an entire generation in China. Magda Danysz Gallery is proud to showcase an overview of his different series, showing the wealth of his work. Maleonn’s photographs are like tales. Combining ancient theatre costumes, surprising and edgy props, he takes us into a fable and tells us with poetry the story and culture of the Chinese society. His universe is rich, both complex and playful, he reveals the plurality of nowadays China, split between its traditions and its will to build the future. Another show I’ll be reviewing…so watch my social media feed!

    ‘Days on the Cotton Candy’ (2006) by Maleonn. Courtesy Magda Danysz Gallery
  11. ‘An arm, a leg and other stories’ by Heman Chong – South London Gallery
    Until 28 February 2016
    Heman Chong is an artist and writer whose work is located at the intersection between image, performance, situations and writing. His work continuously interrogates the many functions of the production of narratives in our everyday lives. A million blacked out business cards covering the floor set the scene for this exhibition which explores ideas of exchange, and the role of rules and regulations in determining codes of behaviour. Every Wednesday at 1pm and 5pm, a performance will occur in the main space where participants are taught to recite a short story of 500 words which is transmitted by word of mouth by an instructor. Second-hand copies of novels are included in the gift shop and made available for sale, while sixty-six paintings in the gallery weave together a list of novels, abstractions and spam e-mails.

    Heman Chong at SLG, London
    Heman Chong at South London Gallery

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