Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Open Call / Research Paper: Exhibition-Making Practices in China and Southeast Asia after 2000

Friday, January 11th, 2019

Period: 2018-12-28 ~ 2019-03-01

Venue: Guangdong Times Museum

Times Museum is glad to announce the open call for From a History of Exhibitions Towards a Future of Exhibition-Making—The Third Assembly: Exhibition-Making Practices in China and Southeast Asia after 2000. Papers can be submitted by researchers who look at what it means to investigate exhibition histories rather than art history. Through this call, we are hoping to support critical discourse that is less known or discussed and highlights changes within the art system of China and Southeast Asia after 2000. The shifting practices of exhibition-making have framed our working methodologies and brought new problematics such as the private sector and its leading role in the forming of art institutions as well as the expanding of art market, in burgeoning new biennials and art prizes by promoting a kind of “internationalism”, which vacillates between national representations with global surplus value and transnational collaborations and circulations that challenge the existing geographical demarcations. So what kind of internationalism we want to achieve?

Images: Reading Room at Rockbund Art Museum, Shanghai.

From a History of Exhibitions Towards a Future of Exhibition-Making

Second Assembly: Exhibition-Making Practices in China and Southeast Asia in the 1990s

Co-organized by RAM and Biljana Ciric


The Third Assembly – Exhibition-Making Practices in China and Southeast Asia after 2000

Presented by Guangdong Times Museum

Organized by Biljana Ciric and Nikita Yingqian Cai

Time: December 2019 (final date TBC)

The Third Assembly will reflect on exhibition-making practices after 2000, which have deeply framed our modes of working. Assembly through individual presentations will reflect on exhibition-making practice and its problematics on different levels, including the institutionalization of contemporary art in the region, the standardization of contemporary art practice that nails down exhibition as the only ultimate form of display, the frequently vanishing boundaries between museum exhibition and art fair booth display or commercial gallery shows, the privatization of contemporary art sector and how it determines the thinking and doing of art practitioners, the emergence and exhaustion of biennials, and the expanding presence of western institutions in China and Southeast Asia which in return shifts the way large-scale institutions work globally but endorsed by regional capital. The accelerated increase in exhibition number and scale and the lurking crisis of exhibition as the medium of presentation by default coexist after the millennium. Can exhibition permeate into reality? Are there any other forms of presentation? What are the exhibition typologies that we have proposed and explored in the recent 20 years with the development of art system? What are the curatorial and artistic methodologies that we have consolidated? What are the vocabularies if we want to talk about them? What kind of institutions that biennials have become? Are they still acting as institutions and what kind of knowledge they produce?

And most importantly, what and how can we revive the urgencies of artist-organized exhibitions now which are taken as past histories? Can we think of artist-as-curator today from different perspectives and what could be the roles of curator for today and in the future?

For more information about application process and guidelines, please visit:

Yishu to Participate in Booked: Tai Kwun Contemporary’s Hong Kong Art Book Fair, January 11-13, 2019

Thursday, January 3rd, 2019

Yishu is delighted to take part in the inaugural Booked: Tai Kwun Contemporary’s Hong Kong Art Book Fair from January 11-13, 2019.

The inaugural Booked: Tai Kwun Contemporary’s Hong Kong Art Book Fair brings together over 60 art book publishers, artists and exhibitors from Hong Kong, the region and the world for the first time, to share their work in publishing and art through the medium of books. The art book fair takes place from January 11-13, 2019, within the JC Contemporary building at Tai Kwun. This three-day annual event aspires to create a platform for art book publishers and artists to display their range of works, from photography books, art albums, art historical and theoretical texts, to zines, and objects of art known as artists’ books. This art book fair also offers an extensive public programme of talks, book launches, workshops, performances and special projects.

Time | (Jan. 11) 5pm–9pm; (Jan. 12) 11am–9pm; (Jan. 13) 11am–7pm

Location | JC Contemporary at Tai Kwun, 10 Hollywood Road, Central, Hong Kong

Price | HKD 20

For more information, please visit: http:

The January/February 2019 Issue Is Now Available

Tuesday, January 1st, 2019

Editor’s Note

In Yishu 89, Maya Kóvskaya explored the work of Xu Bing and its relationship to language, in particular the visuality that is inherent to calligraphy. He is not the only Chinese artist who incorporates language into visual art. Yuling Zhong’s essay in Yishu 90 examines the work of five contemporary artists and how they integrate words and characters into various artistic forms to create hybrid models and to expand their potential meaning.

Rebecca Catching takes an extensive look at the work of Chen Hangfeng, an artist who during the past two decades has in a variety of ways tackled his own, and society’s, complex transition in China from the end of the Cultural Revolution to an opening up to rampant capitalist tendencies. While he recognizes serious implications within this important period of history, arising from both within and outside of China, his work is not immune to humour.

Yishu 90 also includes several conversational texts. David Ho Yeung Chan speaks with Morgan Wong about his time-based investigations into elements of temporality and their impact on our experience of life, world events, and science. Tansy Xiao converses with Cai Dongdong about his journey through the medium of photography, its metaphor as a kind of weapon, and his eventual abandonment of it and a turn to appropriating images and everyday objects into his projects. John Tancock carries out an in-depth discussion with Wu Jian’an about the importance of art to society and his defense of sustaining Chinese mythologies and traditional artisanal practices within the context of contemporary art.

Yang Tiange’s interview with Liu Ding explores the artist/curator’s curatorial practice and distinct approach to exhibition design, a topic that has been discussed in past issues of Yishu. Here, Liu Ding explains his strategies in presenting an artist’s work that speaks to a more expansive life and creative experience than expressing a practical linear narrative.

Exemplifying another creative approach to curating and exhibition presentation, Mostafa Heddaya looks at the curatorial premises of a 2017 survey exhibition featuring the work of Xing Danwen. In it Heddaya identifies curator Tarek Abou El Fetouh’s approach to representing her work, which draws upon the writing of Jean Genet, and then ventures into ideas of what Heddaya refers to as a quality of “dissociative sociability” and “mirror effects” that are consistent elements embedded within her twenty-five year career.

Image (top): Charwei Tsai, Iris Mantra, 2005, photograph. © Charwei Tsai. Courtesy of the artist.

Keith Wallace

The November/December 2018 Issue Is Now Available

Thursday, November 1st, 2018

Yishu has followed the work of Xu Bing for many years and from many different perspectives. His work is diverse and he takes a socially responsible approach. Maya Kóvskaya adds to the discourse on his work by bringing up issues of how language, nature, and culture function in his projects and how he plays with the vulnerability of visual and textual language and its ability to reflect an understanding of our experience of the world.

We also present the work of two younger artists who are exploring the contemporary relationship between nature and technology. Mandy Ginson brings forward the work of Karilynn Ming Ho and her projects that address the mind and body and their connections to the digital world. Digital technology also plays a primary role in the work of Liu Chang, who, Echo He proposes, confronts the link between nature and the world we live in.

Realism, especially that which emerged after the cultural Revolution, is often not looked upon kindly by promoters of contemporary Chinese art and its potential of representing the avant-garde. Sophia Kidd discusses the work of Chen Anjian and his strong relationship with the Transport Teahouse, and Alexandra Grimmer explores the recent work of He Duoling, who brings together his history of working with realism and his interest in Russian intellectuals. On another level of history that is generally unacknowleged, Qu Chang examines the exhibition of work by Zhao Wenliang and Yang Yushu, two painters whose work is not easy to categorize, but who are clearly part of contemporary Chinese art history.

Stephanie Bailey visits the exhibition Speech Acts: Reflection–Imagination– Repetition, which challenges the collecting practices of museums and complicates how they can be read. In conclusion, we acknowledge the passing of Cui Xiuwen, another artist whom we have followed closely over the years, with a tribute by Patricia Eichenbaum Karetzky.

Image (top): Chen Anjian, Teahouse Series–Tian Bangbang Moves His Black Piece (detail), 2010, oil on canvas, 110 x 78 cm. Courtesy of Liao Liao Arts Dissemination Institute, Chengdu.

Keith Wallace

The September/October 2018 Issue Is Now Available

Thursday, September 6th, 2018

Editor’s Note

Over the years, Yishu has paid considerable attention to artists who are working outside the main urban centres and in more rural locales. Lu Mingjun opens Yishu 88 with a text that considers artists who work in different regions of mainland China within the context of what he refers to as the “frontier,” a transitional zone that challenges the idea of the nation-state and the pressures of globalization. His essay complements Mia Yu’s recent research, published in Yishu 86, that addresses artists whose geographical imaginations attracted them to the marginal corners of China’s Northwest.

Marie Leduc presents a conversation with Jean-Hubert Martin, whose 1989 exhibition Magiciens de la terre played a seminal role in opening up a discussion pertaining to visual art, globalization, and what constitutes the international, and that delivered a provocative proposition to the art world establishment of the time. Patricia Eichenbaum Karetzky discusses the work of the venerable Yang Jinsong and the artist’s dramatic shift from expressionistic figurative painting to one rooted in landscape and the tradition of calligraphy.

Yeung Tin Ping revisits the work of Pak Sheung Chuen, whose work we featured earlier this year in Yishu 84, and takes a look at this artist’s endeavours through his recent video work, to address contentious questions around the occupation and ownership of public space in Hong Kong. The regulation of public space is also brought into play in Julie Chun’s examination of the audio art of Yin Yi, a pioneer in what is a relatively new medium in China whose source material is often derived from everyday urban encounters.

The Chinese diaspora and identity politics within Canada are examined in the last three texts. Henry Heng Lu discusses the work of Ho Tam and his idiosyncratic—humourous, yet serious—exploration of Asian and non- Asian social typologies. Annie Wong reviews the exhibition Far and Near: The Distance(s) between Us and highlights the shifts in contemporary art by Chinese-Canadians from the 1990s to today. And, finally, Joni Low conducts an extensive conversation with Karen Tam about the artist’s most recent research and exhibition, which references the Musée d’art chinois de Jésuits in Québec City, revealing the complex ways this artist deals with issues around history and cultural appropriation.

Image (top): Zhuang Hui, Searching for Mu Lili, mixed media, 2014. Courtesy of the artist.

Keith Wallace

The July/August 2018 Issue Is Now Available

Sunday, July 1st, 2018

Editor’s Note

In its seventeen years of publishing, Yishu has frequently presented special features on women artists. Yishu 87 continues this legacy and offers texts by Eliza Gluckman and Phoebe Wong, who employ a conversational methodology in their research on the lives of women artists in Hong Kong; Margarida Saraiva, who considers how museums in Macao and elsewhere can, through their collections and exhibitions, play an inventive and decisive curatorial role in representing women artists; and Quincy Ngan and Lingling Amy Yao, who each discuss mainland Chinese women artists, Xiang Jing and Cui Xiuwen, respectively, whom they identify as having taken bold, even controversial, directions in their work. Feminism is an issue that arises in each of these texts, but, at the same time, the authors recognize it is a conflicted discourse that is yet to be resolved relative to art history and in an Asian context.

Mai Mang turns his attention to a particular series of ink paintings by Zhang Hongtu that blurs the binaries of East and West. Zhang Hongtu reimagines Vincent van Gogh’s self-portraits rendered in the style of Bodhidarma, creating a surprising hybrid through combining two different cultures and epochs; we discover that the conception of this work is not without its logic. Hybridity is further elaborated in Alexandra Grimmer’s conversation with filmmaker Sun Xun, who reflects upon his in-process animated feature film and his distinct approach of juxtaposing cultural, geographical, and political references from a disparate variety of countries and historical eras to produce a narrative alive with unexpected complexities. On a different note, Romain Maitra explores the second iteration of Gallery Weekend Beijing and its endeavour to create a distinct event for contemporary art in Beijing by promoting a celebratory but profitable format that distinguishes it from the standard biennial or art fair.

Image (top): Xiang Jing, Are a Hundred Playing You? Or Only One? (detail), 2007, acrylic on fiberglass, 240 x 140 x 240 cm. Courtesy of Xiang Jing Studio, Beijing.

Keith Wallace

Keith Wallace, Yishu Editor-in-Chief participates in Art Basel Hong Kong Conversations, March 31, 2018

Thursday, May 31st, 2018

Yishu Editor-in-Chief Keith Wallace was invited to participate in Art Basel Hong Kong’s programme of conversations. This session focused on Art Criticism and Critical Writing: Where to Now? and was moderated by Hera Chan, Independent Curator and Critic, Hong Kong. He joined other conversation participants from publications focusing on contemporary Asian art: Elaine W. Ng, Editor and Publisher, ArtAsiaPacific, Hong Kong; Daniel Szehin Ho, Co-Founder and Editor-at-Large, Ran Dian, Hong Kong; and Bhavna Kakar, Editor-in-Chief and Publisher, TAKE, New Delhi.

Image caption (left to right): Stephanie Bailey, Curator of Conversations and Salon Programme, Art Basel Hong Kong; Keith Wallace, Yishu Editor-in-Chief, Vancouver; Bhavna Kakar, Editor-in-Chief and Publisher, TAKE, New Delhi; Daniel Szehin Ho, Co-Founder and Editor-at-Large, Ran Dian, Hong Kong; Hera Chan, Independent Curator and Critic, Hong Kong; and Elaine W. Ng, Editor and Publisher, ArtAsiaPacific, Hong Kong.

The May/June 2018 Issue Is Now Available

Friday, May 4th, 2018

Editor’s Note

Yishu 86 is honoured to present essays by Mia yu and Wang Nanming, recipients of the Seventh yishu awards for Critical Writing on Contemporary Chinese art. These awards represent Yishu’s endeavour to celebrate and support an activity that all too often receives little recognition. Mia yu has contributed an essay about artists who, since the 1940s, have found Northwest China an inspiration for their art, and how that region has been defined within an artistic imaginary. Wang Nanming provides a statement about his particular approach to the evolution of institutional critique and how art can move outside of the institution and secure a place within the real lives of its publics.

These are followed by three texts that address painting. Marta Blàvia has written an extensive survey focusing on the role of painting in Cai Guo-Qiang’s oeuvre, from his very first works of the 1980s to his recent highly coloured works produced for the Prado Museum, Madrid. Britta Erickson, in acknowledgment of the legacy of painter Li Huasheng, has presented a survey of this important artist’s evolution with ink and brush technique; she discusses how he elevated this genre from its origins in landscape to one characterized by contemplative grids. John McDonald examines the painting of Li Huayi, an artist of the same generation as Li Huasheng who has also contributed to the tradition of ink and brush landscape painting but whose work is more unsettling in its impact.

Photographer Taca Sui makes indirect reference to literati painting, and Daniel M. Greenberg discusses how his images become an exploratory journey into historical places of the past but in ways that are suggestive and elusive rather than literal. Tansy Xiao speaks with artist Lin yan, who works extensively with xuan paper and brings to it new dimensions, especially by creating installations and adapting it to the architectural spaces in which the work is presented.

Godfre Leung explores two performances in Vancouver by members of the collective Hong Kong Exile that employ technology to speak of the diasporic condition within two very different narrative contexts. Our final text, by Stephanie Bailey, offers a detailed examination of the Guggenheim New York’s massive survey of Chinese art after 1989, in which she discusses the curatorial concept and its presentation to a Western, in this case american, audience.

Image (top): Taca Sui, Shicong (detail), 2015, archival pigment print on baryta paper, 53 x 80 cm. Courtesy of the artist and Chambers Fine Art, New York.

Keith Wallace

The March/April 2018 Issue Is Now Available

Thursday, March 1st, 2018

Editor’s Note

Yishu 85 opens with an essay by Susanna Ferrell and Britta Erickson on the early work of Yang Jiechang, one of contemporary Chinese art’s most important artists and among the first to exhibit outside of China. The multi-year series of nearly all-black paintings, titled 100 Layers of Ink, embodies a complex deliberation of the artist’s social, political, and spiritual life journey. Junjie Jiang writes about Xu Bing, who, since the 1980s also has made an instrumental contribution to contemporary Chinese art. Her essay focuses on Xu Bing’s major public art project Phoenix, in which she addresses the tension between his dependence as an artist upon both capital and the labour of those who fabricated his artwork, as well as the workers whose labour also drives China’s urban development.

This idea of social consciousness is extended in essays by Yu Hsiao Hwei on the 7th Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism/Architecture, Shenzhen, and by Yuling Zhong on recent ethnographic practices within the art making process. Both of these texts address artists working directly with local communities; in the case of Shenzhen, in the ways that art can animate an older part of the city while attempting to maintain its social character and economic ecology, and in the case of ethnographic methodologies, how engagement with various communities generates forms of knowledge that expand the parameters of what might constitute a work of art.

Yishu has on a regular basis presented perspectives examining various urban and rural art scenes in China. Julie Chun explores some of the current galleries operating in Guangzhou and identifies what makes them so distinctive relative to other cities in China. Sophia Kidd updates us on Chengdu’s dynamic performance art scene through a review of the fifth iteration of the Up/ On International Live Art Festival. On a different note, Shih-yu Hsu reviews Spectrosynthesis, one of the first exhibitions in Asia to highlight art from the LGBTQ community, and considers the challenge of what it means to attempt to represent Asia within this context.

In conclusion, Yishu is honoured to announce the recipients of the Seventh Yishu Awards for Critical Writing on Contemporary Chinese Art. Recommender Kuiyi Shen has selected Mia Yu and Zhu Qinsheng has selected Wang Nanming. The awards will be presented on March 28 in Hong Kong. Yishu 86 (May/June 2018) will carry an extended profile of the recipients as well as publish a text by each of them.

Image (top):MVRDV, The Why Factory, 2017. Photo: Zhang Chao. © UABB (Shenzhen) Organizing Committee.

Keith Wallace

The January/February 2018 Issue Is Now Available

Wednesday, January 3rd, 2018

Editor’s Note

Mainland China’s museum and gallery scene has evolved rapidly over the past decade. Yishu 84 opens with two essays examining Shanghai, a city that is taking strategic approaches in its recognition of culture as an essential component of a vibrant urban experience. John Clark focuses on the influence the Shanghai Biennale has had on galleries and museums, and Xing Zhao looks into the phenomenon of the private museums that have recently populated Shanghai’s West Bund district, both writers taking note within this growth of the challenges faced by the art professionals who must fulfill the programs. These two essays build upon those presented in earlier issues of Yishu by Biljana Ciric and Julie Chun and exemplify our aim to encourage ongoing discourses.

Next we present conversations Biljana Ciric carried out with six Chinese artists who are included in the collection of KADIST, an organization based in Paris and San Francisco that believes in the freedom of creativity. The artists Ciric selected are for the most part relatively young, highly experimental, and make work that operates outside of the art mainstream. Julia Gwendolyn Schneider and Helen Wong discuss a Hong Kong-based artists, Pak Sheung Chuen and Tsang Kin Wah, respectively, who also take non-conservative approaches to their artwork. What is distinct is their mix of the poetical with the political, which results in a disconcerting and provocative aesthetic experience.

Denisa Tomkova examines Zhu Fadong’s Identity Cards project, which began in 1998, and Chan Shing Kwan focuses on Zhang Huan’s seminal 1994 performance 12m2. These two artists, whose work in the 1990s reflected their discontent with the implications of mainland China’s urban renewal for migrant workers and the disenfranchised, explore the idea of what constitutes full participation as a citizen.

Our cover features a portrait of artist Geng Jianyi in recognition of his recent passing in December 2017. Geng Jianyi was an uncompromising artist who made an indispensable contribution to contemporary Chinese art beginning with his first exhibition in the mid-1980s. He was recipient of the 2017 Art Award of China as Artist of the Year.

Image (top): Pak Sheung Chuen, display tables with court drawings and archival materials; on the wall: The Seals, 2017, acrylic paint on wall, exhibition view of Chris Evans and Pak Sheung Chuen: Two Exhibitions, Para Site, Hong Kong. Courtesy of the artist and Para Site, Hong Kong.

Keith Wallace