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.



Emporium:  A New Common Sense of Space

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

curation :: Beatrice LEANZA
exhibition design and graphic project :: studio dotdotdot, Milan
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 for ARROW FACTORY, NIWA Yotaro, QIU Xiaofei, Siren Eun Young JUNG, TANAKA Koki, MICHIKAZU Matsune for THE SHOP, XIJING MEN (GIMhongsok, CHEN Shaoxiong & OZAWA Tsuyoshi), YAN Jun, YANG Jun, KIMURA Yuki, KIMURA Taiyo

Emporium: A New Common Sense of Space</em > exhibition catalogue, full color images and curatorial essay by Beatrice LEANZA. Customized lettertype for mail visual. Digital invitation and posters.

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

’09 New Media Archeology

September 10, 2009 – October 11, 2009
Part of the 2009 Shanghai eArts Festival
DDMwarehouse | Shanghai, CN

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curators ::  Alex ADRIAANSENS, LI Zhenhua
exhibition design ::  LI Naihan

09′ New Media Archaeology attempts to offer up new media realities happening at several time-cues in the past, the present and the future. This reality is revealed through several clues. One clue comes from the development of visual art after photography. Another is from the art forms influenced by the knowledge and technologies in different fields based on science of chaos developed in the 1960’s. 09′ New Media Archaeology intends to integrate new media art developments under these two main clues, and to implement further discourse, exhibition and discussion with such social topics as urban design, public education and concept integration. It is hoped that a new mode of development can be co-constructed beyond borderlines between artists, planners, organizations and universities from different countries, presenting the sources of these clues by establishing the past events of new media, determining starting directions through discussion of future events, and a platform for discussion can be provided through present exhibitions. 

— from the event press release


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.