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.



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 ::

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: 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 ::

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


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 ::

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


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 ::

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

video animation

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.


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.


The Opportunist: 100 Hours!

Poetics of Delay, Neglect and Exclusion

September 2008
Borderline Moving Images – Shanghai edition (unrealized project)
Special Edition within the framework of INTRUDE – Art & Life (Zendai Museum)
Shanghai & Beijing, CN

concept and curation ::  Beatrice LEANZA
visual design ::  LI Naihan

Borderline-Shanghai will be featured under the subjective spell of an anonymous yet controversial singularity: figure of dismay and contingency, timing itself between estrangement and familiarity, between the soliloquy and the public arringa, it survives complacently in the anti-systemic organism of the network, swerving from unexpected change, to shock and displacement, the Opportunist is an emotional personality that runs the flexible tides of communal life in the global spectacle of the post-fordist multitude. By appropriating this contentious tonality of contemporary life (an attributive image framed by philosopher Paolo VIRNO within the labor regime of new capitalism) and its transnational modalities of unmediated performance, Borderline orchestrates while investigating the topography of loosened hierarchies and modes of subjectivation, to interrogate the diffused reengagement of art in sociopolitical concerns against the locality of present Shanghai.

In the one dimensional time of the Opportunist work and leisure have no longer fixed separation, sociality has become a cognitive and behavioral technicality, information a form of art. Regardless of where and when you are, discarding the notion of mediation as a programmatic agenda for collective thinking, the Opportunist gathers the anomalies of disinformation, indifference and delusion to forge instead hospitality, awareness and solidarity. While believing in the power of self-expression, the Opportunist challenges its contemporary understanding as a form of strategic survival within the governance of the artistic spectacle and its power structures. By entering what Gerald RAUNIG has defined the “paradox of creativity as self-government”, this free-flow of subjective views will be drawn together in an ephemeral structure of open-signification to produce a collective engagement for thoughts and optimism. Sensitive to the fluid nature of the city, Borderline will intrude the specificity of its fast paced life by deploying art in a full-time assault into a continuous 100 hours programation among critique, provocation, poetry and entertainment.

The Opportunist is designed as an information network revolving around a broadcasting unit, it is an experiential tool for motivating an alternative experience of space by way of time. With a total of 100 hours of programmation (ie., 4 days + 4 hours) The Opportunist will take up different forms of public interventions in both physical sites, “on air” sessions and the web.

忠站 DeadEnd

December 2007
A project for the Second Shenzhen Biennale of Architecture and Urbanism
Shenzhen, CN

curator ::  Beatrice LEANZA
in collaboration ::  何颖雅 Elaine W. HO
graphics & uniform design ::

artists // 宋琨 SONG Kun (artist; Beijing, CN), 洪启乐 HONG Qile (sound artist/musician; Hangzhou, CN), Can ALTAY & Asli KALINOGLU (architect & artist; Ankara, TR), Patrick TUTTOFUOCO (artist; Milano, IT), PROGRAM initiative for art + architecture/Carson CHAN & Fotini LAZARIDOU-HATZIGOGA (architecture & design; Berlin, DE)

DeadEnd is predicated on the disconcerting experience of urban destinations as increasingly orchestrated spectacles, dissimulating participation, observation and accumulation in “pictorialized time/space” resorts (M. Christine BOYER). This form of programmed anticipation, widely deployed in strategies of city marketing, tourism enterprise and cultural entertainment, is one that appropriates the concept of termination not as an end in space but an end in experience, which disposes of the cultural mediation of difference by severing the city from its possible (multiple) reconstructions. Five new works have been commissioned by BAO Atelier as tour guides/mental scapes for pedicab journeys from the main Biennale venue into greater Shenzhen. Under the urgency of a city of expiration, each work and its concordant route is assigned one of five pedicabs to be stationed at the exit of the primary exhibition hall of the biennial at the DeadEnd station.


Nike China ’08

Nike 706

November 2006
Dashanzi Art District | Nike Energy Space

Creative research and concept development for opening event, program planning and art direction of Nike China’s creative space in 798 Art District. Located in one of the largest industrial spaces within the well-known art district, Nike 706 looked at creating a foundation for informed brand and culture appreciation by delivering a cumulative consumer experience over the course of 2 years, in the run up to the 2008 Beijing Olympics. The research focused on an analysis of existing subcultural trends, neo-tribal communities and creative industries in contemporary China.
Book, print items and program planning.

Nike China ’08

January – October 2007
Nike & Beijing 08 Olympics | Golden Team

On the backdrop of the 2008 Olympics, an in-depth case study of local youth trends and sport culture through the lens of Nike’s start athletes, developing strategic creative formats redefining the brand’s positioning and its impact in contemporary urban culture. Production of research tools, multimedia and textual supports.

Nike Alter Ego

January – October 2007
Nike & Beijing ’08 Olympics | Golden Team Manga Series

Integrated yet running parallel to the research for Nike China ’08, this project included development of concept structure, storyboards and production plan for a series of comic books fictionalizing sport and sportsmanship through the life and adventures in a mysterious megacity.

Borderline – Moving Images

June 23 – July 1, 2007
various locations | Beijing, CN

art direction ::  Beatrice LEANZA & Pauline DOUTRELUINGNE
main organizers :: BAO Atelier & Platform China Contemporary Art Institute, Beijing
in collaboration with: Soho China, Ltd., 86/33 Link, Theatre in Motion, Chaos Projects
supporting institutions :: CAFA (Central Academy of Fine Arts), Beijing Film Academy, Goethe Institute Peking, Austrian Cultural Forum, Norwegian Office of Foreign Affairs, Embassy of Belgium in China, Mexican Secretary of Foreign Relations (Mexico), Icelandic Art Center
sponsored by :: MinSheng Bank, Barco, Boloni Group, Intelligent Alternative
media partners :: Modern Media, Domus China, Time Out Beijing,, City Pictorial, City Weekend, Vision, Art&Design China

An experimental urban platform unfolding over the course of nine days, it takes as its area of investigation the interconnection between visual production and contemporary urban culture with a focus on video art and its multidisciplinary accounts. Conceived as a continuous narrative, the event moved every day into a new location within different areas of Beijing city, networked through public and private institutions, commercial and educational spaces including universities, galleries and art venues.

It featured an international program of both exhibitions and public programs such as talks, workshops, screenings, and live performances bridging perspectives from installation, short film, documentary, animation, performance and music, sound art, architecture and design.

Borderline‘s structure included three overarching sections: 2 thematic exhibitions, 6 days of Mobile Lab and night events. Full content on all events can be viewed at



A Theory-Fiction between the Real and the Possible

June 2007
Soho Shangdu Underground Parking Lot | Opening exhibition of Borderline Moving Images 2007
Beijing, CN

curator :: Beatrice LEANZA
exhibition design :: LI Naihan

participating artists :: Fikret ATAY, Johanna BILLING, Candice BREITZ, Mircea CANTOR, Calin DAN, Claire FONTAINE, GAO Shiqiang (高世强), Clarisse HAHN, Teresa HUBBARD & Alexander BIRCHLER, Jesper JUST, Mathieu LAURETTE, Melik OHANIAN, OU Ning & CAO Fei (欧宁 & 曹斐),  SHI Qing (石青), Ulla Von BRANDEMBURG, WU Wenguang (吴文光), ZHANG Peili (张培力).

A constructed story-telling portrayed by the experiments of 17 international artists, Seduction is a theory-fiction inspired by the homonymous book by French philosopher Jean Baudrillard, featuring diverse video installations, including documentary, experimental video, and footage appropriated from personal and public archival material, CCTVs, mass media, pop culture video-clips, cinema repertory, etc.

“On the backdrop of modernization and the inspirational economic leverage incited by the countdown to the Olympics, the changing relationship between politics and culture articulates within a process of experimentation which interrogates locality and its historicity against, on a side, the products of global consumerist culture, and on the other, the convergence of new models of spatial thinking and occupation, popular culture, social ‘neo-neo-tribalism’, corporate branding, viral marketing and hybrid libidinal economies. The perpetual nature of this predominantly visual production giving rise to new urban imaginaries speaks to the paradigmatic quality of fluid social networks, where communication is situational, metaphorically consumed in the digital time of internet and experienced in the superficial flux of moving images. Indeed the synthesis of global connectivity is not only challenging our sense of space, but also that of human presence within; while displacing the time of history in a one-dimensional media flow, it furthers brings into questions that of its immanent possibilities and “invisible” modes of existence. It is thus in the spatial convergence of our mental vocabulary/memory, one of compound narrativity and filmic character, and the digital tempo of contemporary hyper-production that opens up the measure for art to forge critical distance and innovative models of counter-representation.”

Three Exhibitions in a Box

June 2006
part of Borderline – Moving Images Festival 2006
Platform China Contemporary Art Institute | Beijing, CN

participating artists :: GUO Peng (Kunming, CN), Terry LAI (HK), Anne PENDERS (BE), Timo VAITINNEN (FI),Anssi PULKKINEN (FI), Pawel WOJTASIK (PL/USA), WU Ershan (Beijing, CN), WU Quan (Beijing, CN), HAN Zi, TANG Xiru, LU Yitong, PANG Wenlong, LIANG Wei and LI Zhenhua (Beijing, CN), Cristina Diana SERESINI (IT),  LI Hong Ting (HK), Jens R. CHRISTENSEN (DK), HUANG Jianbo (CN), SUN Xun (CN) and Jonas GEERNAERTS (BE), Jean-Sebastien LALLEMAND (FR), Elaine W. HO (HK/USA) & David GIBBS (NL/IS), Stefaan DHEEDENE (BE), Hee-Yeon PARK (KO) and OU Ning (Guangzhou, CN)

The three parts of the show are each occupying a different area of Platform China’s space, each of which presenting international video artists working with different video-based formats. The works ranged in single and multiple channeled videos, documentary and research projects as well as animation: NOMANSLAND / ANYMANSLAND / STRAITS.

Object Cast

An Immersive Installation of Objects and Sound

22 January – 26 March 2006
BTAP – Beijing Tokyo Art Projects | 798 District, Beijing

installation :: Andrea GOTTI
soundscape :: FM3
supported by :: Italian Cultural Institute in Beijing

This immersive installation chooses the billiard table as a metaphorical space, a mystical ‘immobile machine’ where the object is place and abode of time, a platform of translated perception and process of identification, around which Andrea GOTTI orchestrates an unpredictable theatre of objet trouvé (electric transformers, cables, industrial waste, etc). Time and place are called into a game where they can reconfigure mutual positioning into hybrid chrono-topological formulas, and where arcane mysticisms are revealed through the sound architecture by FM3.

Object Cast was part of the programme for the Italian Cultural Year in China – 2006.