The Jing Issue

A special Beijing insert for CA (CasaAmica) architecture and design magazine
CA – CasaAmica October 2011 | 22-page insert

concept/editing ::  Beatrice LEANZA
graphic design ::  ourwork.is
contributors ::  Beatrice LEANZA (texts and translations), XIAO Longhua (illustrations), Nod YOUNG (illustrations), SONG Min (texts and translations), Cici WANG (texts and translations), Boris SHIU (photos), FANG Zhenning (photos)

On the occasion of the first Beijing International Design Week 2011, Italian CA magazine commissioned a special Beijing-themed insert—a guided journey and a design portrait of the city as seen through its characteristic spatial typologies. Following CA’s editorial structure, generally organized according to seven keywords pointing to a thematic focus, The “(Bei)Jing Issue” indexes instead seven ‘key-spaces’ which are explored as micro-universes where things and people speak for themselves, to and of the city. With an opening and closing section respectively dubbed “Entrance (rukou)” and “Exit (chukou)”, the seven key spaces/chapters unveil a city that like a mysterious Chinese box is made of infinite worlds-within-world. Macro- to micro- and back again, we start from rooms, houses, gardens and courtyards, traverse urban villages, old factories and entire districts, to eventually land in the digital mazes of social networks.

Key spaces:

  • 环路 / Anelli & Griglie / Grids & Rings
  • 胡同 / Vetrine / Storefronts
  • 四合院 / Giardini Segreti / Courtyards
  • / Villaggi in Città / Minimal Heavens
  • 场地 / Magazzini & Depositi / Mighty Warehouses
  • 内外 / Beijing Interiors
  • 微波 / Nella Rete / Webs

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.



Xijing: The work of the Xijing Men collective

exhibition catalogue
Bevilacqua La Masa Foundation | Venice, IT
organized in collaboration with Arthub Asia

editor ::  Beatrice LEANZA
catalogue design ::  Hironori Oooka Office | Tokyo, JP
publisher ::  Fondazione Bevilacqua La Masa
details ::  Italian and English | full color | 60 pp.

Realized on the occasion of the first institutional exhibition of the Xijing Men collective, the catalogue features the first complete survey of its work from 2007 until today. The book includes written introductions and images of 11 projects including the Venetian one. With contributions by Angela VETTESE (director Fondazione Bevilacqua La Masa) Arthub Asia (Davide QUADRIO & Defne AYAS) and an essay by Beatrice LEANZA.


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).

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.