Online documentation of the supporting programm on Chinese contemporary art

The exhibition series is accompanied by a varied program of events, with lectures, talks, readings and discussions featuring artists, curators and theorists. These will be concerned with the works of individual artists, but above all with issues relating to current developments in Chinese contemporary art. The program of related events explicitly aims to facilitate ‘encounters’ and ‘dialogues’ between people who are significant to Chinese culture and those who are familiar with the scene, in order to get to grips with the themes that matter within the People’s Republic of China and are also important in the understanding of this art beyond China’s shores.

Another key event in the supporting program was a Symposium in September 2015, where established experts from China and from Europe sketched the development of Chinese art over the last 15 years in a variety of media, and engaged in critical discussion. The Intention was that people should gain a deeper understanding of Chinese contemporary art, in all its diversity. The insights arising out of these events are going to be published online.




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    Mercedes-Benz Contemporary Berlin
    In Dialogue: Li Zhenhua and Feng Boyi - Two perspectives on China

    Li Zhenhua studied at the ICA in London. Today, he is a multimedia artist, curator, and producer, and the initiator of a variety of projects relating to new media in the Chinese context and beyond. He currently lives in Shanghai and Zürich. Li’s achievements include founding “Laboratory Art Beijing” – a platform for new media, research and international exchanges – and curating the film section at Art Basel in Hong Kong 2016.

    Feng Boyi first studied history at the Capital Normal University, Peking, followed by art history at the Central Academy of Fine Arts. Today, he is one of the best-known independent artists and art historians in China. His hotly debated exhibitions and publications have a major impact on current art discourse in China. This dialogue between two art curators is intended to shed light on recent cultural developments in China, from two distinct perspectives.

    This event was conducted in Chinese and English.

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    Mercedes-Benz Contemporary Berlin
    Lecture by David Elliott and a performance “The Physique of Consciousness” by Xu Zhen

    “The Physique of Consciousness” is a sequence of 200 “cultural fitness exercises”, the product of many years of study of human thought behavior and body language by the artist Xu Zhen and his firm “MadeIn Company”, which was founded in 2010. These exercises are accumulations of ceremonies, forms of worship, and traditions from a variety of different contexts. Xu studied at the School of Arts and Design in Shanghai. As an artist, curator and producer, he inquires into the historic traditions and ideologies of our time, and the influence of the present-day art system on artistic authorship. The performance will be accompanied by a lecture by David Elliott, curator, publicist and co-author with Xu of a 2014 monograph. He has headed various different art institutions, including the Museum of Modern Art in Oxford, and the Mori Museum in Tokyo. In 2008, Elliott was holder of the Rudolf Arnheim guest professorship at the Institute for Art and Visual History of the Humboldt University, Berlin. Today, he is a guest professor at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. This event was conducted in English.

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    Mercedes-Benz Contemporary Berlin
    Lecture by Chang Tsong-Zung (Johnson Chang), Hong Kong: "3 Parallel Artworlds – a reading of Chinese contemporary art"

    Chang Tsong-Zung (Johnson Chang) is a gallerist, independent curator and co-founder of “Asia Art Archive” in Hong Kong, who began to bring Chinese contemporary artists into a global context in the early 1990s, and has striven to open up Chinese art practices through innovative curatorial projects. Chang will speak about his most recent project: “3 Parallel Artworlds”, a conceptual “frame” for “reading” Chinese contemporary art. This concept brings together China’s positions before, during and after the Cold War, as well as the traditional literati culture, as the three major forces that shape contemporary Chinese art. The “3 Parallel Artworlds” represent not only the dynamics of culture, but the alternative positions on China’s “project of modernity”. This event was conducted in English.

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    Mercedes-Benz Contemporary Berlin
    Artist talk with Natalie Czech and Liu Ding

    Liu Ding (*1976 in Changzhou, CHN) lives and works as an artist and curator in Peking. His conceptual work, which exists somewhere on the borderline between installation and painting, investigates mechanisms and rules in the art system, and the conditions under which history is written. In 2009, he represented his country at the 53rd Venice Biennale. There have been a large number of international exhibitions of his work since his first solo exhibition at the Frye Art Museum in Seattle, USA, 2012. Natalie Czech (*1976 in Neuss, D) lives and works in Berlin. Her artworks oscillate between poetry and conceptual photography.
    Czech playfully investigates the interactions of images, texts, poetry, and art, thereby revealing a recurring lyrical potential. Solo exhibitions of her work have appeared at the Palais de Tokyo in Paris, at the Philara collection in Düsseldorf, and the Galerie Polistar in Istanbul, among others. At this event, parallels and differences in the artistic practice of these two concept artists – two artists who belong to the same generation, but come from very different cultures and social backgrounds – will be discussed.

    This event was conducted in German and Chinese.


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    Mercedes-Benz Contemporary Berlin (1st floor)
    Symposium - Chinese contemporary art since 2000

    Welcome: Dr. Renate Wiehager

    6:30-7:30 p.m.
    Artist talk with Cao Fei
    Book Launch: Cao Fei. I watch that worlds pass by, Mercedes-Benz Art Collection Artist Book #7


    7:30-8:30 p.m.
    Moderated discussion with Anselm Franke (Berlin) and Carol Lu (Beijing)
    Moderators: Christian Ganzenberg (Munich) and Andreas Schmid (Berlin)

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    Mercedes-Benz Contemporary Berlin (1st floor)
    Symposium on the development of contemporary Chinese art since 2000

    Welcome by Renate Wiehager


    10:20 am – 11:00 am
    Painting engineering: new trends of Chinese painting since
    Speaker: Pu Hong, Beijing

    11:10 am – 11:50 am
    Ink splash painting 2000 – 2015
    Film screening: Britta Erickson. The Enduring Passion for Ink

    12:00 pm – 12:40 pm
    Calligraphy: Between extinction and the new role of script in Chinese contemporary art
    Speaker: Lu Dadong, Hangzhou

    2:00 pm – 2:40 pm
    Alternative spaces and recent trends in Chinese contemporary art: new institutions and the question of the importance of artist groups – “Crimes” without a scene
    Speaker: Carol Lu, Beijing


    2:50 pm – 3:30 pm
    Conceptual tendencies in China 2000 – 2015
    Towards conceptualism? Thoughts on the postponed and the formalist
    Speaker: Su Wei, Beijing

    4:00 pm – 4:40 pm
    Photography in China 2000 – 2015
    Speaker: Karen Smith, Xian


    4:50 pm – 5:30 pm
    Video art in China 2000 – 2015
    Speaker: Andreas Schmid, Berlin

    6:30 pm – 7:30 pm
    Installation art in China 2000 – 2015. Historical subjects.
    Constructing subjective historicities through installation art
    Speaker: Birgit Hopfener, Berlin

    Moderator: Wiebke Hahn




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