Announcement of granted researchers for the “Curatorial Practices in Asia” Project 2018 of Rockbund Art Museum


Sep 13, 2018

Rockbund Art Museum is delighted to announce that four researchers have been selected by the jury as winners of a research grant in connection to the on-going project From a History of Exhibitions Towards a Future of Exhibition-Making —“Second Assembly: Exhibition-Making Practices in China and Southeast Asia in the 1990s”. They are: Julia Hartmann, Miao Zijin, Wang Ziyun and Maggie Zheng (in alphabetic order).The members of the jury for the open call are Biljana Ciric, independent curator; Larys Frogier, Director of Rockbund Art Museum and Hsieh Feng-Rong, Senior Curator of Rockbund Art Museum.

Responding to an open call to research overlooked exhibition histories in China, they will be invited to a series of talks throughout the upcoming months, presenting their on-going research, and contributing material to the growing archive of the Reading Room, a project currently on view at the museum during opening time until November. The events and their research will culminate in a two-day ‘assembly’, where the grantees join leading practitioners across the region to present their final research and participate in the symposium event to be held on 24th and 25th November 2018.

Julia Hartmann is an independent curator based in Vienna, who specializes on transnational feminist and activist art. Hartmann's research focuses in the first all-female group exhibition held since the late 80s and into the 90s in China. The years after 1995 witnessed significant changes in the official discourse related to gender specific issues, which was influenced by the UN Women' s Conference held in Beijing, an event that has since become an important milestone for female artists and curators in China. Responding to the gap in historical scholarship connected to these seminal all-female exhibitions, Hartmann explores the marginal status and overlooked history of exhibitions, which helped to externalize issues related to gender. She will look at exhibitions, interviews, and archival material to reveal various critical positions on categories such as “women's art" or "feminist art", which were prevalent during this period of time.


Research cases:

- Woman’s Approach to Chinese Contemporary Art curated by Liao Wen, 1995

Related talks:

- Julia Hartmann will participate in a conversation with artist Yu Hong in November.

For more details please see following posts of Rockbund Art Museum.

Miao Zijin is an independent curator and writer based in Beijing. Her research explores the concept of "Apartment Art" first coined by art historian Gao Minglu to describe activities from 1970s to 1990s in the contemporary art scene in China. Self-organized and independent to the mechanism of museums and commercial galleries, these experiments often functioned in-between the private and public sphere, the official and unofficial. The research project plans to study several exhibitions and publications from the 90s including Zhang Peili and Geng Jianyi' s Recent Works, which was held at the Diplomatic Residence Compound in Beijing; projects with Song Dong, Yin Xiuzhen, Wang Gongxin, Lin Tianmiao, Zhu Jinshi, and QinYufen; and the publication Chinese Contemporary Artists' Agenda (1994) edited by Wang Luyan, Chen Shaoping, Wang Youshen, and Wang Jianwei et al. Miao Zijin will look into the unique historical and social contexts behind exhibitions such as the Diplomatic Residence Compound, an intimate gathering of an art circle that at the time was an early link between local and foreign communities – a legacy that continues today as a site-specific and sustainable model for independent spaces today.


Research cases:

- Zhang Peili and Geng Jianyi' s Recent Works, 1992

- Exhibitions with Song Dong, Yin Xiuzhen, Wang Gongxin, Lin Tianmiao, Zhu Jinshi, Qin Yufen, 1993-1995

- Chinese Contemporary Artists' Agenda, 1994

Wang Ziyun is an art critic and curator based in Beijing, and a doctoral student in Academy of Arts & Design, Tsinghua University. His research begins with texts related to "The Wild: Starting from the Waking of Insects in 1997" an event curated by artists Song Dong and Guo Shirui. With the ambition to display works across different localities spanning a period from 1997 to 1998, the artists extended the invitation of participants to include 27 artists from different regions across China. As a pioneering experiment that questioned the fixed form of an exhibition and its venue, the event comprised of random locations where works were displayed such as: wildlands, ponds, streets, rooftops and stairs. In many ways, the project represented the ad-hoc spirit of exhibitions during the 1990s, which were often organized as underground and temporary activities, leaving very few images and documentation left for researchers to study. Against a background of great turbulence and social change in China, this research project will explore this social reality through the myriad connections and individual responses generated by this exhibition, and will also look at how it continues to influence present thinking.


Research cases:

- The Wild: Starting from the Waking of Insects curated by Song Dong and Guo Shirui, 1997

Maggie Zheng is a visual and performing artist based in Los Angeles who is interested in the impending obsolescence of individual embodiments. “Zomia” is a term that groups the region of highlands overlapping Yunnan, China and several countries in Southeast Asia. There, certain ethnic groups, particularly those who practice swidden (slash-and-burn) agriculture, have preserved their local culture by residing away from state control and influence— though this ability and desire to remain independent is ever-changing. What happened when the works of those who once refused to come down from the mountains began to exhibit at the Yunnan Museum of Minority Nationalities for the first time? Was this exchange mutually beneficial, a compromise, a travesty, a fiction? Starting in the late 1990’s, the construction of eco-museums began in six villages across Yunnan— each focusing on a specific nationality or minzu. Maggie Zheng will look at the Jinuo Eco-Museum in Baka Village, Xishuangbanna Dai Autonomous Prefecture as a case study, and further consider the parallel booms in ethnic nationality museums and tourism in Yunnan.


Related talks:

- On 12th August 2018, Maggie Zheng was invited by RAM to present her research through a talk entitled Inching Towards the Fire.

Please see following post of Rockbund Art Museum to get the talk review.

About Curatorial Practices in Asia

“Curatorial Practices in Asia” is a research platform launched by Rockbund Art Museum, the main objective of which is to develop a strong network with artists, academics, art organizations, independent curators and researchers—with people engaged in innovative research and artistic projects that support a better understanding of contemporary artistic practices in Asia.

This year, RAM in collaboration with critic and independent curator Biljana Ciric are organizing a curatorial research project under the platform of Curatorial Practices in Asia: From a History of Exhibitions Towards a Future of Exhibition-Making— “Second Assembly: Exhibition-Making Practices in China and Southeast Asia in the 1990s”. From a History of Exhibitions towards a Future of Exhibition-Making is a platform of seminars initiated and organized by Biljana Ciric with different institutions in the region, including St Paul Street Gallery, AUT (Auckland) and Rockbund Art Museum (Shanghai). While the First Assembly in Auckland examined early exhibitions of contemporary art in different local contexts, the Second Assembly will look at exhibition-making practices during the 1990s in China and Southeast Asia. This specific focus on the 90s attempts to look at the number of complex issues that appear during this period, taking exhibition-making practices as a main vehicle.

Since March 2018, the research in China has been expanded through an open call to researchers who look at the question of what it means to look at exhibition histories rather than art history. Through open call we hope to support the creation of an on-going archive and critical discourse focused on lesser known but relevant exhibitions held in China during the 90s.

Please see following post of Rockbund Art Museum to get more information about the assembly.

About the Curator

Biljana Ciric works as an independent curator.

Her recent exhibitions include When the Other Meets the Other Other presented by Cultural Center Belgrade (2017), Proposals for Surrender presented by McaM in Shanghai (2016/2017), and This exhibition Will Tell You Everything About FY Art Foundations in FY Art Foundation space in Shen Zhen (2017). She was co-curator of the 2015 Third Ural Industrial Biennale for Contemporary Art (Yekaterinburg, Russia) and she was curator in residency at Kadist Art Foundation (Paris) where she recently curated exhibition Habits and customs of _____are so different from ours that we visit them with the same sentiment that we visit exhibitions. She also curated exhibition Encounters with Pompidou within exhibition Museum On/off, Centre Pompidou (2016). Other exhibitions include Just as Money is the Paper, the Gallery is the Room (2014) presented by Osage Art Foundation (Hong Kong), One Step Forward, Two Steps Back—Us and Institution, Us as Institution (2013) presented by Times Guangzhou Museum (Guangzhou), Tino Sehgal Solo Exhibition (2013) in UCCA (Beijing),  Alternatives to Ritual (2012–13) in Goethe Open Space (Shanghai) and OCAT (Shenzhen), Taking the Stage OVER (2011–12) presented in different institutions in Shanghai, Institution for the Future - Asia Triennale (2011) in Manchester among others.

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