CURATORIAL

Ongoing – ACROSS CHINESE CITIES



Across Chinse Cities is an international program organized and promoted by Beijing Design Week (BJDW) since its launch at the 2014 International Architecture Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia. Developed as a series of exhibition and discursive events, it aims at generating unprecedented content and research around the state of producing, thinking and being in the urban condition of today China, providing access to the practical and theoretical knowledge generated at the crossroads of its unabated challenges and ambitions.

The two projects so far produced featured as official collateral events of the Venice Architecture Biennale, while relevant activities like talks, symposia, publications and spin-off exhibitions have taken place in the context of Beijing Design Week and other cultural institutions and platforms internationally.

You can read more about Across Chinese Cities at the dedicated website WWW.ACROSSCHINESECITIES.ORG.

Editorial content and texts by Beatrice Leanza.

Chief Curators: Beatrice Leanza and Michele Brunello (DONTSTOP Architettura)

For full list of credits and supporting partners and institutions please check the dedicated website.

SEE ALSO ::

Ongoing_Venice Architecture Biennale 2016



Ca’ Tron, Santa Croce 1957 – 30135 Venezia

May 26 – September 23, 2016

Open daily 8:30 – 19:45 // June: open every day // July- September: Closed Saturday and Sunday // Closed: August 1 – 22, 2016

For the 2016 Venice Architecture Biennale, we are presenting the second installment of Across Chinese Cities, an international program ‘promoted by Beijing Design Week (BJDW) since its launch at the 2014 International Architecture Exhibition La Biennale di Venezia with Across Chinese Cities – Beijing.

The 2016 exhibition Across Chinese Cities – China House Vision, an official collateral event, curated by Beatrice Leanza (BJDW) and Michele Brunello (DONTSTOP Architettura), stems from the House Vision project, a Pan-Asian platform of multidisciplinary research and development started by designer Kenya Hara and Sadao Tsuchiya for Japan in 2013. House Vision is an exploration in ‘applied futurity’ in the realm of domestic habitation exercised by match-made teams of architecture practices and industry-leading companies from various sectors for the actualization of visionary conceptions of ‘home’ responding to extant urban challenges, lifestyle transformations and human needs.

Across Chinese Cities – House Vision features for the first time the body of research so far produced with a team of China-based architects and experts from various innovation-driven industries. It addresses the wider cultural and historic implications affecting the role and habitat of architecture practice in today China as increasingly impacted by environmental factors, shape-shifting demographics and generational segmentation.

The show renders manifest the contextual phenomena – economic, urban, social – that inform the research trajectories, motives and conditions behind 12 architectural proposals by reflecting on the implications of rethinking ‘habitation’ beyond the strict confines of the ‘private’.

Participating architects (in alphabetical order): Approach Architecture Studio, Atelier Deshaus, Atelier FCJZ, Atelier Fronti, AZL Architects, Beijing Centre for the Arts (In collaboration with Kengo Kuma, Winy Maas and Au Yeung Ying Chai), B.L.U.E. Architecture Studio, Crossboundaries Architects, MAD Architects, NEXT Architects, Trace Architecture Office, URBANUS, ZAO/standardarchitecture.

Promoter: Beijing Design Week

Organizer: China RedStar Design Award, CHINA HOUSE VISION Committee

Curators: Beatrice Leanza, Creative Director Beijing Design Week & Michele Brunello, architect DONTSTOP Architettura

Across Chinese Cities 2016 Guest City – Chengdu // Guest City Curator: Weng Ling

Exhibition DesignDONTSTOP Architettura (Michele Brunello & Marco Brega) & Omri Ravesz Studio (Team: Giorgio Donà, Caterina Fumagalli)

Visual and Graphic DesignSANS Practice

Exhibition Sponsors: Lenovo Group, SunShine 100, I-Space, CITIC BookStores

Institutional Support: Unesco ICCSD, Sino-Eu Innovation Center, Beijing Centre for the Arts

Technical Provider (Furniture): QM Furniture

More info soon here and at the ‘under construction’ www.acrosschinesecities.org as of mid May!

See you in Venice soon.

SEE ALSO ::

Shanghai Art&Design Biennale 2016 – Ideas in Action


”IDEAS in ACTION” in SHANGHAI ART&DESIGN 2016 ¬ TRANS-DESIGN

January 10 – March 15, 2016

West Bund Art Centre, Shanghai 


Curator: Beatrice Leanza

Exhibition Design: reMIX Studio

Participants: 2×4 / Alexander Åhnebrink / Alvaro Catalan de Ozon / Anaide Gregory Studio / Atlas Studio / 白塔寺再生计划Baitasi Remade Project / 中央美术学院 -工业设计系Central Academy of Fine Arts – Industrial Design Department / 曹璞Cao Pu / 大木设计事务所DAMU Design / Studio Eva de Laat / From余杭融设计图书馆 & Pinwu 设计工作室From Yuhang – Rong Design Library & Pinwu /郝振瀚Hao Zhenhan / 黄明健Huang Mingjian / Instant Hutong-Studio Ramoprimo / LAVA Design Agency / 樂建筑 Le Architecture / LCD – Laboratory for Creative Design) / OPENDOT / 众建筑People’s Architecture Office / 临界工作室reMIX Studio / Studio S.W.I.N.E. & Andrew Friend / 清华大学 – 工业设计系Tsinghua University – Industrial Design Department / YEAH! Archkids

IDEAS in ACTION is one of four core thematic exhibitions constitutive of the 2016 Shanghai Art&Design biennale, hosted in the 8000 sqm space of the West Bund Art Centre (a reclaimed hangar once used as an airplane repair shop).

Ideas in Action brings together multidisciplinary projects linking conceptual and practical strategies of design enactment that mobilize extant relations of production, inheritance and place into new conformations. The exhibition aims at offering a critical look at forms of integrated thinking found, inspired by or echoing across contemporary scenarios of change in China that span from object-to-city making by way of rerouting connections across the social, cultural and spatial givens of uneven or unattended frameworks of development. While their specificity of investigation is expansive in covering from urban and rural renewal to augmented methodologies of making, engaging craft-thinking and-digital knowledge or grassroots intelligence, a common denominator of positive value-making, co-actualization and a light-weight awareness of ethical like-mindedness, drives their action. The implicit premise to this assembly of positions is the recognition that design performs today as a ‘meta-project’ across disciplinary and systemic structures of both intangible and material nature, which must labour at the interplay of processes grounded in practical know-hows as much as empower culturally dispositional faculties of locational character. What draws shared significance to these projects is their dynamic positioning within generative networks of co-doing and combining of knowledge, their detouring within the remedial scale of actions that can rekindle broken or obsolete relations of production, inheritance and place into novel processes of mutuality and co-dependency. These practices advocate for design actions that are generated by a situationally shaped resourcefulness of humanistic and social engagement, while remaining committed to exploring the ideas and the technical boundaries that move the discipline towards new horizons.

The featured projects have been selected according to four analytical categories that portray distinct yet interwoven scales of operation. The categories are: Infrastructural Matrix, Growth Protocols, Infill, and Materiality & Objecthood. Although categorized according to these four subchapters, the selected projects are not so presented in site of the show, as the spatial narrative instead highlights their interconnections, as if extensions of a growing organism, laid along a ‘dynamic masterplan’ realized by Beijing-based reMIX Studio.

INFRUSTRUCTURAL MATRIX

The works here featured here unpack the workings of systems of development traversing various spatial and material registers – from urban and domestic, to places and forms of production (from studio to factory; from digital prototyping to artisanal remake), and the communities that inhabit them, thus eliciting how designers are finding new ways of constitutive interaction against shrinking economies, socially divided contexts and degrading or disappearing cultural heritages.

These include: urban spaces, domestic spaces, spaces of production (from studio to factory), social spaces and communities, systems of production (from digital prototyping to artisanal remake).

INFILL

As a dive into the first chapter, this section looks at specific projects that infiltrate orders of production (urban, industrial, social, architectural, etc.) by giving shape to novel solutions or simply poetic expressions emerging from within. These projects unveil what is unattended, invisible or underutilized by way of creative gestures turning those into new productive potential. Borrowed from architectural parlance, a strategic ‘infill’ is side-track thinking, it is a compounded approach that generates scalability out of extreme specificity.

These include: architectural projects, visual and graphic design, social design, industrial design.

GROWTH PROTOCOLS

This features programs that operate more specifically across the post-demographic scape of increasingly segmented user-and-consumer groups, devising new tools and systems to bring positive change to critical contexts, endangered or discarded constituencies.

These include: social design, digital and interaction design, product design.

MATERIALITY & OBJECTHOOD

The designers and creators selected for this section are more prominently working across material divides at the crossroads of new systems of ‘making’, rethinking traditional and artisanal forms and methodologies with the aid of contemporary technologies and skilling emerging as a result of changing systems of fabrication, distribution and ever more flexible and customizable possibilities of creation. Changing notion of aesthetic and material orders surface as a result.


BEIJING DESIGN WEEK 2013 – ongoing




 

Launched with a pilot effort in 2009, Beijing Design Week (BJDW) is co-hosted by the Beijing Municipal Government, the Ministry of Culture, the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Science and Technology, to nurture a culture of design in the Chinese context. With seven key sections – Design Service, Design Award, Design Night, Design Trade, Guest City, Smart City,  and Design HOP – BJDW features hundreds of international exhibitions, public events and trading platforms as the leading design event in the PRC. While offering an expansive overview of China’s transforming design landscape, it serves as a laboratory for innovative perspectives that, from industry to academia, inspire and shape contemporary design discourse and practice.
Beatrice Leanza has acted as creative director and chief curator of the event since 2013.

”In its youthful four years it has grown into a city-wide showcase of hundreds of events covering 7 urban districts, totalling 362 projects with designers and organizations from over 30 countries in 2014. Taking up the creative direction of the event from 2012 offered both the thrill and challenge of shaping a positioning of relevance across the local and international design landscape. BJDW has ever since operated by establishing long-term cooperative frameworks with various stakeholders in the city’s development from governmental planners and educational institutions to companies and individual makers, offering a dialogical and physical arena for design solutions to be tested. A noted example, started in 2013, is the Pilot Program developed in collaboration with the historic district of Dashilar, which has contributed heavily in raising public and officials’ awareness to the contentious issues of urban renewal and preservation.

BJDW’s innervation in the built and social fabric of the city embodies an active engagement in nurturing while questioning the role and impact of design for the 21st century global city. Every year this contextual dialogue is rendered via thematic-driven explorations and calls for projects devised to test the boundaries of design knowledge within selected zones of the capital. This unique outlook has rendered BJDW a reference platform, investigating the widening economic and cultural implications of what ‘designing for China’ means today and tomorrow.
Various features have appeared on international media outlets over the past two years, including The Guardian, The New York Times, Le Figaro, Liberation/NEXT, Dezeen, Wallpaper, Core77, Metropolis, IDEAT, Surface Asia, T Magazine, Domus, Abitare, Disegno, The Good Life, Elle Décor Italy, among many others.”

BJDW 2015 runs Sept 24 – Oct 7.

For more information please use the contact page or see links on bjdw.org


Making Futures BJ – Craft and Design


MAKING FUTURES BEIJING

Contemporary Shifts Across Craft and Design

A Pop-UP Forum in Dashilar

September 27 – 28, 2014; 2 – 8 pm


Location: the MFBJ forum was hosted in an installation dubbed the Fly Tower (or Trapped Tower) designed by Benjamin Beller of BaO Architects, Beijing

Curated bv: Malcolm Ferris, founder and curator Making Futures UK (Playmouth College of Art) and Beatrice Leanza (BJDW)

Organizers: Beijing Design Week, Dashilar Platform and Plymouth College of Art, UK

Program Partner: Stellar Works
Supported by: The Danish Agency for Culture, Coletivo Amor de Madre
The digital craft elements in Making Futures Beijing are aligned with ‘Made@EU’, a two-year collaborative project between Plymouth College of Art (UK); the Institut d’ Architectura Avancada de Catalunya(Spain); and the École Nationale Supérieure de Création Industrielle (France), and supported by the European Union Creative Europe programme

Making Futures: Beijing is conceived as a response to the Dashilar Craft and Design Pilot– the urban plan to promote one of Beijing’s oldest hutong districts as a creative craft and design zone. Complementing a series of collaborations between local craftsmen and contemporary designers established by Beijing Design Week, the project aims to bring Chinese and global perspectives into dialogue concerning the ideas and aspirations that underpin the overall Making Futures series. As such, Making Futures: Beijing will bring into focus research pertinent to the Chinese context and platform it as a contribution to international debate. Each day consists of two thematic ‘sessions’ (four across the two days) each of which is structured around a particular theme:

The Return of Craft?

Will extrapolate from current developments to explore whether we are (or in the near future will) experience a reappearance of small-scale production and consumption based on craft enterprises, design-to-make, and micro-manufacture.

Malcolm Ferris/ Think through Making                
Chiwing Lo/design director, Kanjian Creations: The Wisdom of Traditional Chinese Crafts      
Catherine McMahon (Atlas Studio) /researcher and DSL Craft Pilots series participant: Lightworks              
Jacob Dreyer/researcher, writer: 100 Year Brands               
[Stellar Works/MF BJ program partner]: The Possibility of Evolving 

Material Worlds

Will explore how craftspeople and designer-makers are proactively exploring socially and sustainably engaged projects through re-cycling, renovation and refurbishing and, increasingly, through closed-loop approaches associated with cradle-to-cradle design and make strategies.

Paul Mickelthwaite /course director, MA Sustainable Design –  Kingston University: Make Unmake Remake  – Sustainability and Design          
Pil Bredahl/curator the Danish Craft Collection: Sustainability and the Danish Crafts Collection (CC18)  
Instant Hutong (Stefano Avesani/Marcella Campa) /architecture and design studio (Beijing): RE-USE, Participatory Urbanism         
Danful Yang/designer (Shanghai)  : Exploring Chinese Traditions      
Mauricio Arruda/architect and designer (Sao Paolo): Architecture and Design for Sustainability 

Making Place

Will explore whether and how contemporary approaches to craft and small-scale making can avoid ‘Disneyfication’ and make positive and authentic contributions to community identity, heritage and ‘place-making’.

Andrew Brewerton/Principal, Plymouth College of Art: Plymouth School of Creative Arts – A Case Study in Urban Regeneration        
Zhang Lei (Pinwu studio)  /designer (Hangzhou) and DSL Pilots series participant: Handmade in Hangzhou           
Shikai Tseng (Poetic Lab) /designer (Taiwan): About Ripple and Bronze China Projects            
Kim Charnley /researcher, writer: Urban Space as Vernacular process

Craft 2.0.

Will consider advanced technological models of production, including digital print technologies, from craft and designer-maker perspectives, exploring their current and future potential to support artisanal micro fabrication and designer-makers.

Peter Oakley/Research Leader, Royal College of Art UK: The Future of the Digital and the Hand-made    
Elaine YanLing NG/designer (HK) and and DSL Craft Pilots series participant: CLIMATOLOGY and NATUROLOGY   
Zhang Zhoujie/designer (Shanghai): Digital Lab      
Guto Requena/designer (Sao Paolo): The LOVE PROJECT EXPERIENCE          
Justin Wang/founder Makers Carnival (China) and CEO Makers Space, Beijing:The China Makers Movement           
Areti Markopoulou /architect and professor at IaaC – Institute of Advanced Architecture of Catalunia (Barcelona): Personal Manufacturing – Perspectives from the Institute of Advance Architecture of Catalonia

 Making Futures: Beijing represents one of the first attempts to gather China-based perceptions regarding the current and future performance of contemporary craft and designer-maker practices and to place these in dialogue with trans-national debate around these issues. It is intended that that the dialogue started in Dashilar will continue into the future, not least by a strong research strand dedicated to Chinese perspectives in the 2015 UK edition of Making Futures.

Making Futures is a Plymouth College of Art (PCA) research platform developed and curated by Malcolm Ferris. The platform consists of a bi-annual international research conference; a series of satellite exhibitions; an on-line journal that reports the proceedings as an Open Access archive, (ISSN 2042-1664); and a range of related staff and post-graduate student projects. The conference series has evolved across its three editions to date (2009, 2011 and 2013), into the foremost international event in its field, with a good reputation across global art, craft and designer-maker communities.

 


Venice Architecture Biennale 2014


Across Chinese Cities – Beijing

An Official Collateral Event of the 14th International Architecture Exhibition – la Biennale di Venezia
Tesa 100, Arsenale Novissimo
June 4 – November 27, 2014


 

Beijing Design Week with the collaboration of Dontstop Architettura presented Across Chinese Cities – Beijingan investigation into the Chinese capital’s spatial transformations and its historical district Dashilar, as a Collateral Event of the 14th  International Architecture Exhibition – la Biennale di Venezia. The exhibition expounds upon the complex architectural and social transformation of the city, looking at contemporary challenges between globalisation and localism, the processes of continuous adaptation and resilience found therein which remain paradigmatic for many contemporary cities like Beijing.

“Across Chinese Cities – Beijing” responds to the thesis set forth by Rem Koolhaas with “Absorbing Modernity” by looking at Beijing’s mutations in relation to Dashilar’s in two juxtaposed sections: “Across City Sections” and “Across Dashilar”.  Dashilar, a city within the city, an historical and peculiar area situated southwest of Tian’anmen Square, becomes a prism to observe the whole city and the contemporary urban condition. Dashilar’s interwoven fabric of traditional courtyards and alleys (hutongs), the vibrant and dense urban and social ecosystem of crafts, specialized knowledge, infrastructures and historic buildings are taken here as experimental platforms for innovative pilot projects. Characterised by capillarity and porosity, its built forms and social condition offer themselves to a productive retooling and questioning of existing spatial devices: an engine for urban regeneration and reinvention.

“Across City Sections” consists of an installation composed by a map of the city and by a linear timeline of five city sections. Each scaled 1:500 along Beijing’s North-South axis they are temporally posited along five crucial moments: 1488: Foundation of Dashilar, 1914: Construction of experimental Xiang Chang District,1958: Inauguration of Tian’anmen Square,1992: Opening of Henderson Centre, first Shopping Mall, 2014: Beijing today, the global city. From within these spatial and temporal sections, the invariant core of the Forbidden City and the grand transformations of the urban fabric are set in contrast with the small-scale changes in Dashilar, attesting to its adaptive capacity across different historical thresholds.

Juxtaposed to the linear enunciation of “Across City Sections”, “Across Dashilar” draws a circular and explorative path across the socio-cultural dynamics, the economic and political factors which, since its foundation, have shaped Dashilar as a space of productive marginality. Originally founded outside the imperial city’s walls as an ‘outer city’ or external settlement, Dashilar evolved into a spatial dimension of autonomous alterity, where social and behavioural hierarchies were subverted. The historical mesh enveloping Dashilar unfolds into four historical moments (the Mongol Dynasty in the XV century, the Ming and Qing period, the end of the empire and the first Republican period, the foundation of the People’s Republic in 1949 until the economic reforms of the 1990s, the pre Olympic period and the XXI century), while being interpolated with various interdisciplinary projects realised in the last two years by a wide range of studios and creatives as a result of the cooperation established between Beijing Design Week and Dashilar Cutural Investment co Ltd. Part of a regeneration scheme aimed at mending the urban and social fabric of Dashilar by means of a nodal system founded on principles of social design, the selected projects are responsive to Dashilar’s endangered architectural infrastructural and communal ecosystem, so here becoming points of departure for historical and thematic explorations. In this section, architectural archetypes and construction types are presented and complemented by an anthropological journey into the literary and cultural history that made Dashilar the creative and commercial heart of the capital since the Ming Dynasty. Six pilot projects are contextualised within historical scenarios, refraining the effects of key historical and political transitions. The pilots are accompanied by a selection of works on various media ranging from photography, sound art, video, animation and interactive applications to co-design and collaborative projects with local residents and craftsmen.

A dedicated area hosts a  film program ‘Beijing on FIlms – 1980s – 2000s) curated by Meng Xie (director of Public Programs UCCA, Beijing) so further expanding the investigation into related issues and selected topics.

A special Reader is presented as complementary to the exhibition, inclusive of a rich textual selection from original sources excerpted from existing historical and critical literature, fiction, journalism, blogs and articles, and it is edited by Beijing Design Week in collaboration with experts in related fields and the participants to the exhibition. A series of programs and workshops will also be organised in the opening weeks of the biennial.

The exhibition problematizes the assumption of a centripetal modernity which is here supplemented by a vision in which the interactions between an architecture of resilience and relationship are essential and pivotal in the evolution of a polycentric, porous and informal city.

 

Organization:

Beijing Design Week

 Curators:

Michele Brunello (DONTSTOP architecture) and Beatrice Leanza (Beijing Design Week)

Special Installation:

Ma Yansong

In collaboration with:

Dashilar Platform, SANS Practice (Neill Mclean Gaddes, Yijing Xu)

Participants:

For “Across City Sections”:

Dontstop architettura

For “Across Dashilar”:

Abitare China magazine, Approach Architecture, CAFA – Central Academy of Fine Arts, Matali Crasset, CYJO, Instant Hutong, Kenya Hara studio, LAVA design agency, Lumalu, Meta Hutongs, People Architecture Foundation, People’s Architecture Office, reMIX Architecture, SANS practice, Varvara Shavrova, Standardarchitecture, Studio Ramoprimo + MDDM Studio, The DaZhaLan Project (Cao Fei and Ou Ning), Jia Yong, MAD Architects, Michael Young, Hua Xinmin, Cui Yong

 


Making Community ¬ Design/BJ


MAKING COMMUNITY, NOT THE MAP NOR THE TERRITORY 

Beijing ‘Design-in-Progress’

Curated by Beatrice Leanza
Centre for Contempoary Chinese Art – Manchester
April 3 – June 3, 2014
 

 

Making Community showcases a selection of ongoing initiatives rendering a generative grammar of creative engagement with the spatial and social context of the Chinese capital.

This relational archipelago of interdisciplinary design practices is both premise and product of an evolving cultural predicament formulated by the mutually defining changes along the design-and-community nexus in the contemporary urban realm. Radically collaborative and open-ended, they are inherently shaped as metaphorical constructs of ‘speech and duration’ that reflect on the urgency for localized forms of intellectual and practical connectivity to amplify and enable solutions in the contested spaces of the city, for and with its constituencies. The exhibition is therefore not conceived as a static display of finished products, but as an ‘architecture of relationships’ informed by urban research and social agency engaged in the rethinking of existing topographies of knowledge production, and the creation of instruments for its dissemination.

A selection presented for the first time in an international context and originally featured during Beijing Design Week 2013, Making Community offers itself as a dynamic archive and a participatory device to open a conversational space around: design and cultural heritage, architectural preservation and urban revitalization, sustainability, up-cycling and environmental consumption, digital and artisanal fabrication, interactive and social design.The creative outputs range in open-source research platforms for urban innovation, digital and print publications, books, experiential apps, identity and branding, product co-design, documentaries and experimental videos, among others.  Taken here as a case-study, BJDW plays out as a resounding system of creative communities, where territoriality and collectivity are continuous with its molecular formation as co-creation. It aims at forging a force field that can augment and expand professional perspectives into institutional agendas and public debate, to devise the tools and the awareness for ‘process’ to truly be emplaced as productive exchange on the micro-scale. As one of the core projects developing within BJDW urban ecology, the Dashilar Pilot project is here employed as a narrative dispositive of concrete solutions implemented through transcultural and cross-disciplinary interactions. Launched with the BJDW 2013 edition in close cooperation with the Dashilar Culture Investment, a governmental developer, it is an international call for ideas responsive to Dashilar historical area of densely populated alleys (hutongs), its aging infrastructure and endangered architectural and social landscape. An abridged presentation of resulting proposals serves here to contextualize the complexity of ‘transformation’ – a form of collective thinking involving the making of professional and social communities wired to institutional networking – as opposed to the complacency in political agendas of ‘change’. Textual and visual narratives caption each project with information about their initiators and contributors; relevant links to online platforms are provided for audiences to start forming an understanding of a Beijing-bound design landscape and part-take in an ever growing laboratory for innovation and self-engagement.

The exhibition set up and visual design are the work of SANS, a Beijing-based studio made of Neill Gaddes and Yijing Xu, who’s been involved in the development of the Dashilar Project since its inception, and contributed heavily in making the Dashilar Pilot series possible.

Participants and Projects:

Participants names refer to those of initiators, many of these projects are the result of multiple contributions which are credited in the documentation provided on site of the show.

A.M.I. (Appropriate, Mutate, Innovate), Audio Archecology & Concrete Flux (Tom Baxter and Solveig Suess), CYJO, Dashilar Pilot series: [Hutong Toilets (Michael Young), Pop-Up Canopy (Peoples Architecture Office), 2 Yangmeizhu (reMIX studio), Fringe Density (Urbanus), Rabbit Grandpa Zhan (metaLINGO), Modul’Hutong (Matali Crasset), Micro-Hutong (standardarchitecture studio), The Museum of Bicycle Parts (CAFA Visual Communication dpt), Scagnel (Luca Nichetto)], Design For the Real China, Hutopolis (Gianantonio Bongiorno, Eugenia Murialdo, Luis Aguirre Manso), Interactive Beijing (Fei Jun and Lulu Li), LAVA Design Studio, Meta-Hutong (Andy Bryant and Wang Shuo), MovingCities (Bert de Muynck and Mónica Carriço), SANS (Neill Gaddes and Yijing Xu), The Other Place, Wai Architecture Think Tank (Nathalie Frankowski and Cruz Garcia), Sander Wassink.

A selection of publication and books presented within the show will be also available at the CFCCA store: Concrete Flux magazine, LAVA Mobile Design Agency Newspaper, Hutopolis book, Abitare China HUTONG, special summer issue 2013, Pure Hardcore Icons publication.


The Human Factor


May 24 – June 3, 2012
Museo Pietro Canonica in Villa Borghese | Rome, Italy

 


 

Organized by: qwatz – artist in residence program, Rome
Artists: Liang SHUO, Charles LIM, Koki TANAKA, Hong-kai WANG
Curator: Beatrice Leanza

 

The Human Factor is a research project featuring artists Liang Shuo (China), Charles Lim (Singapore), Koki Tanaka (Japan) and Wang Hong-kai (Taiwan) organized by qwatz artist in residence program – Rome, and curated by Beatrice Leanza. The artists’ two months residency (April-May 2012) informed an exhibition of both newly created and selected works as well as a unique book of commissioned essays and interviews published by cura.books in November 2012 [The Human Factor – Rethinking Relationality (or the artist as bricoleur)].

A meaningful cross-section of contemporary Asian art, the practices here presented subtend to strategies of perception and cognition of reality where oppositional paradigms between otherness and individuality, nature and culture, man and world are abandoned to make space for an architecture of knowledge intrinsically ‘transformational’, ‘ situationally interconnected’ and ‘relational’. Drawing upon an acentric universe of experiential nature mobilized by a phenomenology of “becoming” that offers itself supplementary to a more inherently western-made anthropology of “being”, they collectively conjure the hypothesis of a space of action and contemplation of the world deliberately removed from the political terminologies of a ‘dichotomous’ predicament, to propose instead a culturally asymmetrical thought of social and philosophical inclusiveness – an identification with change and situated relations.

Featuring installations inclusive of photography, sculpture, video, sound and performance, the exhibition infiltrated the private rooms and studio spaces part of Museo Pietro Canonica in Villa Borghese by way of subtle strategies of juxtaposition and substitution, played out throughout the interlocking rooms with the rich collection of paraphernalia, furnishings and art objects found wherein. Spotted by means of a color-coded parkour the works were carefully interspersed inside Canonica’s domestic landscape of personal grandeur and monumental formality so creating a diachronic configuration of affinities among diverse life paths and experiences, the artists’ and Pietro Canonica’s (1869 – 1959). Canonica was an Italian academic and mannerist artist from the first half of the 20th century, whose diplomatic savoir-faire earned him the favors of ruling classes and conservative elites of foreign governments (from Russia to Thailand) where he often travelled as a political and cultural mediator – a proponent of classicism and high-culture that distanced himself from the conceptual and formal upheaval brought about by the historical avant-gardes. The works in “The Human Factor” operated with knowing irony aside the dignified art that surrounded them, bringing it back to a transformed social context in the present times.

Like the complementary publication, the show highlights the four distinctive practices as focused critical explorations into the human mechanics of the architecture of knowledge (a ‘rethinking of relationality’) across four central modes of envisioning and creating the perimeters of its structure: that is, in the sonic space of speaking and listening (Musical Memory/Wang Hong-kai), in the sensorial and affective relationship with things and people (Situational Objects/Koki Tanaka), in the social and aesthetic process of inhabiting (Beautiful Evidence/Liang Shuo), in the construction of narrative dispositives mapping real and imaginary territories (Neutral Spaces/Charles Lim).

The project THE HUMAN FACTOR is made possible by the generous contribution of various supporters and sponsors:

Ines Musumeci Greco; Agi Verona; Japan Foundation; Cultural Affair Department, New Taipei City Government; FARE in collaboration with Open Care and with the support of Fondazione Cariplo, NABA – Nuova Accademia di Belle Arti, GAI – Associazione Circuito Giovani Artisti Italiani; O’A.I.R.; ArchiviAzioni;  ROMA CAPITALE, Museo Pietro Canonica in Villa Borghese – musei in Comune, in collaboration with Acea, BNL, Unicredit, Monte dei Paschi di Siena, Acqua Claudia, Finmeccanica, Lotto, Vodafone, with the support of Atac, la Repubblica.


Concierge / BJDW ’11


Concierge @ The House of Leaves

September 24 – October 3, 2011
BJDW – Beijing International Design Week 2011
Design HOP | Dashilan’r, Beijing




For its participation to the first international Beijing Design Week, BAO Atelier stationed its project in the bustling neighborhood of Dashilan’r, the historical commercial district of old Beijing right by Tiananmen Square, and house to the most cutting-edge, experimental program of BJDW.

The project takes cue from Naihan LI’s latest series of design works titled “The Crates”. Inspired by the volatile and exuberant spirit of a contemporary urban habitat like Beijing’s and its epic detournement of building construction, decay and regeneration, LI’s mobile creations accommodate with poetic comfort the moody impracticality of globe-trotting, ready-to-move lifestyles. Sofas, beds, bookshelves, workstations, and foosball tables pop out of their own shipping shell to form a unique spatial language which is whole with a ‘total’ concept of dwelling. Wooden crates become carapaces to contain the body, objects and the memories we carry with them. Situational freeplay and sculptural abstraction blend here to make room for a design practice which is intrinsically relational and open-ended.
On this occasion a brand new all-in-one Media Box was presented, including its mini-cinema, DJ deck, lights, karaoke equipment, multimedia screens and seating area.

Concierge is a curatorial inspiration developing from this design ensamble: the installation built inside one of Dashilanr’s old factory complexes materialized an inexistent part of the actual building dubbed “The House of Leaves“, a semi-private/semi-public residence located on the edge of the Fifth Ring Road in Caochangdi village (also home to BAO Atelier offices). Drawn upon an intimate image of both action and reflection, this serendipitous space represents an antechamber of no definite time or spatial confines, a public retreat and an interior garden activated by a politics otherwise known as ‘meeting’. Daily talk-shops, happenings and presentations are accompanied by impromptu performances and informal gatherings, with cocktail making sessions and live music. Events included among others: a scribbling, scrawling and mixing afternoon with WEN Ling (aka Ziboy), graffiti artist HE Cong and Leo (86/33 link); workshops organized in collaboration with the British Council, such as “Domestic Super Objects”, an experiment with everyday domestic objects to reveal their creative potential by designer Nelly BEN HAYOUN, and “Nuclear Tea Party You” by designer Zoe PAPADOPOULOU.

SEE ALSO ::

Xijing


The work of the Xijing Men collective

June 2 – September 25, 2011
Bevilacqua La Masa Foundation | Venice, IT
organized in collaboration with Arthub Asia




curator ::  Beatrice LEANZA
catalogue design ::  Hironori Oooka Office | Tokyo, JP

This is the first institutional exhibition dedicated to the work of the Xijing Men collective, the unique collaborative team composed by artists CHEN Shaoxiong (China), OZAWA Tsuyoshi (Japan) and GIMhongsok (South Korea). Hosted in the Foundation’s main site in Piazza San Marco, the show is a quixotic journey through the creative universe of Xijing—a life-world of encounters, places and compounded narratives awakened by the thereof named collective since 2007.

Xijing—the capital of the West—exists upon a fictive geopolitical axis created in correspondence to the real cities of 北京 Beijing (capital of the North), 南京 Nanjing (capital of the South) and 东京 Dongjing/Tokyo (capital of the East). Conceived since its inception as progressive exploration in five open-ended chapters, the Xijing project departs from the literary exercises of fictional geography and imaginative mapping, to voyage instead through the ‘enactment’ of a symbolic territory where the connections between spatiality and identity are continuous with its collective production. Developed over the course of the past five years in different geographical and institutional contexts (Asian, European, of museums, galleries, alternative art spaces, biennials etc.) the eventuation of Xijing is informed  by an artistic practice comprehensive of a variety of media and formats conceived to make the process of ‘situating’ Xijing a participatory and productively unstable experience. All of the chapters so far created (Do you know Xijing?, Welcome to Xijing, This is Xijing and I Love Xijing) are constituted via performative interventions into the phenomenal world of politics and institutions – of art, history and society. Flipping between dark humor and existential eccentricity, these abridged scripts are devised to render Xijing as the immanent other site/side of things human, be it of memory or mythology, literature or tradition, the foundation of urbanity, the conception of citizenship, the formation of power and authority.

The show is accompanied by a comprehensive publication designed by Tokyo-based Hironori Oooka Office; functioning as a complementary tool to navigate the Venice chapter it includes illustrations and descriptions of all the previous projects since 2007.

The Xijing Men collective is CHEN Shaoxiong, OZAWA Tsuyoshi and GIMhongsok. The group’s work has been featured, among others, at the First Aichi Triennial (2010), the 10th Lyon Biennale (2010), the 4th Fukuoka Asian Triennial (2009), Tate Liverpool (2009), Art Sonje Center (2008) and Platform Seoul (2008).


CDM 2011


CDM 2011 – Rizzoli Beijing

April 12–17, 2011
Salone Int’l del Mobile – Milan Design Week
Pasticceria (Via Tortona) | Milano, IT




graphic design and media kit ::  ourwork.is

CDM – China Design Market returned to Salone del Mobile in Zona Tortona for the fourth year in a row, featuring a brand new exhibition sporting the creative research of China-based designers and studios as inspired by the different yet unique urban cultures of two of its greatest cities, Beijing and Shanghai (see WoYou – Beijing & Shanghai Travelogues in Design). The show is accompanied by a thematic showcase presenting the latest lines of products in casa Lenovo, long supporter of CDM together with Rizzoli Beijing and BIDC (Beijing Industrial Design Centre). This installation was designed by LI Naihan to present Lenovo’s newly released Le Phones and Le Pads, and was conceived as an abstract environment inspired by vintage video games (eg., PacMan and Super Mario Brothers).

Art direction included curating, concept and editing of the catalogue as well as the media kit.

promoted by :: Beijing Municipal Science and Technology Commission
main organizer :: BIDC (Beijing Industrial Design Centre)
supported by :: Beijing International Design Week & Lenovo
co-organizer :: Rizzoli Beijing (RCS Media Group)
art direction :: BAO Atelier


WòYóu


WòYóu: Beijing & Shanghai – Travelogues in Design

April 12 – 17, 2011
Salone Internazionale del Mobile – Milan Design Week
Pasticceria (Via Tortona 28) | Milano, IT




curator ::  Beatrice LEANZA
catalogue design ::  ourwork.is

Presented in CDM 2011 the exhibition takes the two international Chinese metropolises as backdrop for an imaginific journey through the quixotic and the ordinary, depicting imaginaries supplementary to those that widely circulated via the spectacles of the 2008 Olympics or the 2010 Expo. “WòYóu 卧游” is an expression that came to popular use in the end of the 19th century when a culture of new images, goods and attitudes entered Chinese cities therefore designing new meanings for urban realities. It refers literally to the habit of reading while reclined on a sofa or a bed [ ], indulging into a private moment of creative leisure.

While the word yóu translates generally as ‘traveling’— it is also often associated to the act of ‘playing’— it figuratively recalls the act of ‘travelling with your mind’, daydreaming of new worlds and adventures, and finds its origin in the ancient arts of traditional painters and literati, their extraordinary capacity to evoke distant geographies as popularized by the rich genres of travel literature throughout the centuries.

Acute observers and insiders alike, the 10 designers presented in the exhibition all live and work in China sharing the spirit of mercurial travellers – archeologists, spelunkers, innovative makers they traffic between past and present, their visual repositories and aesthetic languages to translate them into objects and forms inspired by a contemporary spirit of exuberant nomadism, where geographical and cultural confines blur and intersect.

The exhibition is articulated through a modular system of customized hexagonal units called The Beehive ©, at the same time archival and display structure. This lightweight sculptural body creates an abstract landscape through which 10 stories, like 10 chapters in an open-ended book, unfold in a series of individual stage-sets where products and projects covering a diversified range of design practices (from furniture to fashion) are accompanied by documentation in the form of sketches, texts, photos or videos providing an in-depth vision of the design process and context of work.

participating designers ::  Monica BERTINI, Jovana BOGDANOVIC (INNOVO Design), INSTANT HUTONG (Marcella CAMPA & Stefano AVESANI), LI Naihan (NAIHANLI&CO), LI Yongling, LIU Feng (FUN Living), WOLFS & JUNG (Emmanuel WOLFS & Boyoung JUNG), WANG Hao, XIAO Tianyu, Danful YANG (XYZ Design), ZHANG Da

promoted by :: Beijing Municipal Science and Technology Commission
main organizer :: BIDC (Beijing Industrial Design Centre)
supported by:: Beijing Intl’ Design Week, Lenovo
co-organizer :: Rizzoli Beijing (RCS Media Group)


Xijing Letters


Museum on Paper: Xijing Letters
March 2011 issue of Art & Investment Magazine (CN)




curator ::  Beatrice LEANZA
artists ::  Xijing Men collective (CHEN Shaoxiong, OZAWA Tsuyoshi, GIMhongsok)

The Chinese contemporary art magazine Art & Investment hosts a special curatorial project dubbed “Museum on Paper” which, published 6 times per year, features an 18 pages, custom designed insert dedicated to the work of one artist or specific project.

Xijing Letters is an exploration of Xijing world by means of 27 keywords selected by the artists as related to their unique collaborative practice. Each of the keyword is illustrated by visual or written inserts as excerpted by videos, interviews, curatorial texts and the artists’ own drawings. The irregular size of the pages exposes the different background colors used for each of the keywords.

The idea came from research on an hypothetical book structure (Xijing Zaji: Miscellaneous Records of the Western Capital) conceived to resemble the anthological character of traditional historiographical literature: generally complied at different moments in dynastic times in the form of collected works. Inclusive of eminent biographies, geographical records and factual accounts, literary and artistic genres, myths and folklore) this type of encyclopedic formats are known to be of extravagant nature and of relative scientific value. Organized in alphabetical order and structured along a selection of key-words and epistemological categories embedded in the work of the collective, the book would aim at contaminating discourse and critique with its deviant humor and disarming digressions.


The Third Party


An Exhibition in Three Acts

The Third Party

November 11, 2010 – January 24, 2011
Platform China Contemporary Art Institute | Beijing, CN

curator ::  Beatrice LEANZA

And what would art have to do with this? What would it give to be seen? Cause to be seen? Let us see? Let us cause to be seen? Or let itself be shown?

Jacques DERRIDA, The Truth in Painting

The Third Party is an exhibition conceived to unfold in three consecutive sessions in Platform China project space. Each approximately lasting twenty days, the three moments of this show are devised to disclose their conceptual and thematic associations as in a chain‐reaction, where the individual frameworks are determined by the critical inputs presented within a preceding one. The Third Party explores the shaping relationships between narrative and aesthetic objects to foreground an inquiry in the realm of the ‘ordinary’ specific to the Chinese context. It does so by mobilizing overarching frames of reference and critique currently at play, be those aesthetic or historical, through three analytical environments tackling respectively issues of self-historicization, witnessing/archiving and collaboration. The progressive movement of the show somehow attends to the patterns of identification inherent in the day‐to‐day business of learning and communicating of and through our bodies, spaces, feelings as we build an understanding of reality and ultimately our position within it. The Third Party therefore concerns itself with matters of mapping, the tracing of patterns of both presence and absence and the ideological constitution of subjects.

The Third Party was chosen as “Best of 2011” in ArtForum, December 2011.

ACT 1.  How to Be Alone (or Nowhere else am I safe from the question: why here?) | November 11 – 30, 2010
ACT 2.  The Stranger | December 9 – 27, 2010
ACT 3.  The Third Party – A Group Celebration! | January 7 – 24, 2011

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SUPERnatural! Shanghai


September 10-13, 2010
Shanghai Rockbund Museum | Shanghai, CN




curator :: Beatrice LEANZA
exhibition design :: LI Naihan
special soundtrack ::  86/33 Link | Leo de B. & Thomas S.

The exhibition was originally presented within the framework of China Design Market 2010 jointly organized by Rizzoli Beijing and BIDC (Beijing Industrial Design Centre) as an official event of Milano Salone Internazionale del Mobile (Milan Design Week). It introduced for the first time on an international stage the work of a young generation of 30 Chinese independent designers, artists and studios. (see SUPERnatural! Salone Internazionale del Mobile Milano)

On the occasion of the 3rd anniversary of Rizzoli Beijing, SUPERnatural! will be featured anew as part of the celebration event hosted in the stunning architectural framework of Shanghai’s Rockbund Museum. With the aim of recreating a connection to their original context of provenience, the exhibition transforms one of the rooms in Rockbund’s YWCA Building into a compact museum of domestic urban scenarios. Showcased in three life-sized dioramas, these symbolic remakes juxtapose selected pieces by 13 artists and designers into a wondrous stage-set of private interiors onto a unique backdrop illustrated by artist CHEN Shaoxiong. By gazing through these windows visitors are taken into a filmic detour into the personal life and visual histories behind the designers to discover the minutiae of everyday worlds in continuous change, while accompanied by a customized selection of vintage tunes and ambient sounds assembled by Leo de B. & Thomas S. A sonic voyage through different decades, the compilation blends Chinese pop songs from 1930s and 1980s, with original western tunes ranging from vintage movie soundtracks to avant-garde pieces of yesterday and today.

The selected pieces include furniture, lights and products by Danful YANG, 多相工作室 DUOXIANG Studio, 姜晶 JIANG Jing, 李永玲 LI Yongling, NAIHANLI & CO, 林菁 LIN Jing, LING & COMMA, OHO-OHO, 湃设计 PEP Design, 萨日娜 SARINA, 石川设计 TOM SHI Design, 肖天宇 XIAO Tianyu and a special series of costumes by young fashion designer 张丹丹 ZHANG Dandan


CDM 2010


CDM 2010 – Rizzoli Beijing

April 14 – 19, 2010
Salone Internazionale del Mobile – Milan Design Week
Design Library | Milano, IT




graphic design and media kit ::  ourwork.is

China Design Market (CDM) has been born out of the collaborative efforts of Rizzoli Beijing/Abitare China magazine and BIDC (Beijing Industrial Design Center), with the support of the Lenovo Group. It was launched in 2008 as a cooperative platform for the promotion and enhancement of strategic synergies between the international design world and China. CDM 2010 included three main projects, including an exhibition, a special project realized in collaboration with Alessi (curated by Gary CHAN) and a showcase of the homegrown Chinese Red Star Award dedicated to industrial design.

Art direction included curating and coordination of all projects, concept & editing of the catalogue and media kit.

main organizers :: Rizzoli Beijing (RCS Media Group), BIDC (Beijing Industrial Design Centre)
in collaboration with :: Lenovo & Alessi
art direction :: BAO Atelier


SUPERnatural!


The Secret Life of Things in Chinese Art and Design

April 14 – 19, 2010
Salone Internazionale del Mobile – Milan Design Week | project of CDM 2010
Design Library | Milano, IT




curator :: Beatrice LEANZA
exhibition design ::  LI Naihan
catalogue design ::  ourwork.is

Introduced within the framework of CDM 2010, the exhibition is conceived as a wondrous journey into contemporary object-scapes through the creative processes of a young generation of 30 Chinese independent designers, artists and studios as a way to explore both formally and conceptually the micro-fields of everyday life. This curatorial approach wishes to expose the multiple outreaches of design processes and research into a variety of crossdisciplinary practices and how these speak of a perception of the world and contemporary life, stretched into a continuous experimentation with its visual and material currency. The works and projects featured in the exhibition – ranging from products, furniture and lights to clothing, publication/illustration, sound and art objects, intend to inform of the shaping relationships between visual strategies in art, architecture and design and their implication with material processes of production that take the realm of the ‘ordinary’ as an ideal environment to continuously reinvent the cultural outfit of personal history into a process of performative innovation. The show highlights how these selected creative practices engage forms via strategies of subtle sabotage, appropriation, assemblage, where found shapes, materials and objects of everyday use are remoulded into a geography of whimsical ambiguity and disarming über-reality.
A selected series of books, artists’ catalogues and independent publications by Chinese graphic designers and studios are included as part of the exhibition.

featuring ::  ACF, BANMOO, CENG Hong, CHEN Ke, Design MVW, DUAN Jianyu, DUOXIANG Studio, HC28, HOMESHOP, JIANG Jin, SHAN Lin by LEE Yao Studio, Naihan LI & CO, LIANG Yuanwei, LI Yonglin, LING & COMMA, MADE-IN / LEAP, MEWE Design, MORE LESS, OHO-OHO, PAPER WORKS by Jethro CHAN, PEP Art + Design, RAINBOW, Tom SHI Design, SUBjam, WANG Bin, WANG Yifan, XIAOmage + CHENGzi, XIE Dong, XYZ Design, YAANG by WANG Yang, YANG Jun, ZHANG Dandan, ZHENG Guogu, ZIZAOSHE by SONG Tao

main organizers :: Rizzoli Beijing (RCS Media Group), BIDC (Beijing Industrial Design Centre)
in collaboration with :: Lenovo & Alessi
art direction :: BAO Atelier


Public Viewings


Mnemonics of the Self and Social Space in the film works of 7 Chinese artists

Screening program and public presentation


SUN Xun
Requiem
video animation
2007

November 13, 2009
Salon of MoCAb – Museum of Contemporary Art Belgrade
in collaboration ::  Jelena VESIC

November 18, 2009
Galeria Nova | Zagreb, CR
support :: WHW Collective

artists ::  CHEN Xiaoyun (1971, lives and works in Hangzhou), GAO Shiqiang (1971, lives and works in Hangzhou), LU Chunsheng (1968, Shanghai), QIU Anxiong (1972, Sichuan province; lives and works in Shanghai), SHI Qing (1969, Inner Mongolia; lives and works in Beijing), SUN Xun (1980, Fuxin; lives and works in Beijing), ZHANG Ding (1980, Gansu; lives and works in Shanghai)

Much of the literature compiled around the popularity of Chinese contemporary art is generally concerned with its commitment to an aesthetic modernization process that satisfies international exhibitions’ agenda by translating the social and economic implications of an increasingly globalized country into the critical achievements sustained by its creative miracle. While such form of discourse is motivated by transformative notions of urban growth, social development, economic differentiation, and is largely interpreted via a secular portraiture of changing credos and mentalities, not much of it seems to engage with the less manifest phenomena informing the shifting nature of private and public spatiality as culturally and subjectively constructed processes.

In recasting attention to the processes of spatial voyage and memory formation through the filmic experiments of these artists – be those documentary evidence, fictive journey or personal diary — subtle commentaries of self-disclosure reappear into a totally new feature of change which no longer inhabits the vestiges of the past – its symbols, iconographies and idols, but sits on the ruins of the present by eliciting mental, psychological and spatial associations of contemporary ‘inner landscapes’ . By articulating intimate writings into the architectural peripatetics of moving pictures, these artists’ works make use of an elliptic emphasis on subjectivity, mnemonics and imaging, so that the viewing product comes into being as a space of collective recollection where social fundaments and behavioural schema are readjusted into the artists’ contemplation of interpersonal dependencies and historical loci.

Public Viewings thus represents an attempt to elucidate theoretically and aesthetically on the changing psyche and processes of identity formation in contemporary China through their aesthetic re-enactment in cinematic space. In the wake of critical historical changes defined by forms of transcultural regionalism and denationalization in place in the Asian continent, a dive into the representational apparatus of the Self in the reality of globalizing China is a necessary exercise for anyone interested in venturing inside a yet un-coded domain of public culture where networked societies and a-political subjectivities are shaping new sociological mainstays.


Emporium


A New Common Sense of Space

November 4 – December 8, 2009
Museo della Scienza e Tecnologia Leonardo da Vinci | Milano, IT




curator :: Beatrice LEANZA
exhibition design & graphic project :: studio dotdotdot, Milano
catalogue design :: LI Naihan

artists :: AHN Doojin, Ahn Kanghyun, AN Jungju, BAE Young Whan, BIRDHEAD (SONG Tao & JI Weiyu), GAO Shiqiang, HASHIMOTO Satoshi, Elaine W. HO for HOMESHOP, JUNG Yeondoo, Kim GISOO , KIM Sangdon, LEE Wooyeon, LI Naihan, Liang Shuo, MATSUBARA Megumi, MIN Ji Ae, NI Haifeng/Arrow Factory, NIWA Yotaro, QIU Xiaofei, Siren EUN Young Jung, TANAKA Koki, MICHIKAZU Matsune/The SHOP, XIJING MEN (GIM Hongsok, CHEN Shaoxiong & OZAWA Tsuyoshi), YAN Jun, YANG Jun, KIMURA Yuki, KIMURA Taiyo.

Presented for the first time in Milan, the exhibition features the works of 27 artists from China, Japan and South Korea. The project sets forth an investigation of multidisciplinary artistic practices which implicate new formal and conceptual relationships with the space of the contemporary and the habitat of the everyday, by introducing a heterogeneous group of artists, art collectives and independently-run art spaces with backgrounds in art, design, sound and architecture.
The projects included in this exhibition manifest an intrinsic connection with the spatial and social conventions of their original contexts, and intend to provide an understanding of the way younger generations are formulating new ways to deal with the space of art and social action by assuming a position of open, dynamic marginality. The tentative, incomplete quality of these, for the large part, installation-based works (featuring photography, video, drawing, architectural interventions, publications, performances, sculpture) comes into being as a product of intimate negotiation and continuous readjustment with the immediate environment and its social implications by forging aesthetic assemblages that subtend re-invented symbolisms and meanings for the contemporary.

The aesthetic order framed within this exhibition inhabits the episodic nature of reality by reconnecting to its fragmented, scattered, precarious objects via subtle strategies of self-design, where fragile materials of everyday use and familiar forms are reassembled into new spatial relationships.

The abandoned, discarded and cheap materials which are often employed in these works are recollected and brought into new relations of force, so to expand the field of vision beyond their contingent materiality. In this sense the relationship kindled between the viewer and the work is ever reformulated onto an ambiguous, non-deterministic territory, where consciousness and recognition are negated a manifest environment and rather accommodated in an unstable, non-representational space enforced by a rhetoric of the unexpressed.

The show included opening performances and new site specific installations by five artists.

promoted by :: Regione Lombardia
with the support of :: BMP Sas (Milano), The Nomura Cultural Foundation (Tokyo), Unione del Commercio, del Turismo, dei Servizi e delle Professioni della Provincia di Milano.
technical Sponsor :: Hantarex, Electronic Systems, Milano
supported by :: Consulate General of the People’s Republic of China in Milano, The General Consulate of Japan in Milano, The General Consulate of the Republic of Korea

Emporium was selected for best exhibition design in ADI – Design Index 2010 as finalist for the Compasso D’Oro Award.


The Shape of Things to Come


September 8 – October 20, 2009
140 sqm Gallery | Shanghai, CN




curator ::  Beatrice Leanza
participating artists ::  Elaine W. HO, LIANG Shuo, QIU Xiaofei, SUN Xun

 

…all about a kind of door. To envision us approaching and pounding on this door, increasingly hard, pounding and pounding, not just wanting admission but needing it; we don’t know what it is but we can feel it, this total desperation to enter, pounding and ramming and kicking. That, finally, the door opens, and it opens outward — we’ve been inside what we wanted all along. Das ist komisch.

David Foster Wallace

The Shape of Things to Come is an experimental project bringing together four artists and one curator to test the ground of contemporary art in a time ‘other than’ the present. Conceived in reminiscence of a Wunderkammer, or Cabinet of Curiosity, the exhibition engages the task of exposing the status of artistic objects to scientific self-inspection. It does so by stretching the visual narratives and spatial extents of the creative process past its extinction, into the realm of a possible future. As the Cabinet contained an object-ified reservoir of history, this project deliberately captures itself and the works toward a latent new aesthetic order.  Written in 1933 at the peak of the Great Depression, the novel by H.G. WELLS from which this exhibition takes its name provides an account of world history up to 2105; in a disastrous unraveling of ominous predictions towards global collapse, Well’s imagination purges the traces of the present with no regret for its oblivious passing away. What then, if we were able to test-drive the deflagration of our aesthetic universe? Manufactured in the conceptual size of a table-game, what parcels of history, relics of the contemporary, would be left as a visual repository of our present times, and in what new semiotic order would they re-awaken so that by way of an exhilarating expansion, stretched between experience and premonition, they’d frame the possibility of a hopeful artistic prophecy beyond its predictable end. Such is seemingly the quest of the current age. How to jump start history?  Can we avoid a critical conflation of artistic paradigms, that is, a totalizing erasure of things past, their identity and difference, and still break through a concrete future? The project’s participants use the site and economics of the exhibition to play out such a fantastic threat. Site-specifically devised for the 140sqm Gallery, the show presents a series of interlocking installations and textual interventions where boundaries continue to be tested and stripped down.

SEE ALSO ::