As a curator and art historian who has had a fair share of the excitement and discontentment with “contemporary Chinese Art” in my practice, I would like to share a few recent projects in which I actively problematize frameworks that primarily concern identities—national, cultural, peripheral (in light of the “identity politics” discourse), othering—through looking at fault-lines, ignored historical registers, and speculative/futurist narratives that break down, render ineffective, and bypass the identity-oriented impasse. The hope is that this might become a viable—even necessary—strategy that simultaneously accounts for a rigorous attention to specificity and expands—rather than guards and forecloses—the critical capacity of cultural production.
Xin Wang is an art historian and curator based in New York. Past curatorial projects include Lu Yang: Arcade (2014, New York), THE BANK SHOW: Vive le Capital and THE BANK SHOW: Hito Steyerl(2015, Shanghai), chin(A)frica: an interface (2017, New York), and Life and Dreams: Photography and Media Art in China since the 1990s (2018, Ulm, Germany). Her writing has appeared in E-flux journal, Artforum, Kaleidoscope, Hyperallergic, and Leap. Currently pursuing a PhD in modern and contemporary art at Institute of Fine Arts, New York University, Wang also works as the Joan Tisch Teaching Fellow at the Whitney Museum of American Art and manages the discursive archive on Asian Futurisms at afuturism.tumblr.com
followed by conversation with Ziyang Wu.
Ziyang Wu’s art practices focus on a new power of control rooted in what he calls “post Internet micro-alienation”. They refer to contemporary technology, Internet power and popular culture, the dynamics between identity and community, as well as the alienation of an individual’s spirit and body. His artworks seek to present an unusual and carnivalesque status. He hopes the unusualness would provide the audiences with absurd, extreme and strange visual and psychological experiences, which correspond to the current features of life – transient, contingent and unstable.
Wu has shown his work internationally in China, USA, and Europe including solo exhibitions at Nancy Margolis Gallery in New York and CO2 Gallery in Florence, and group exhibitions at the Medici Palace and Milan Design Week in Italy, Today Art Museum and Times Art Museum in Beijing, Powerlong Museum in Shanghai, Rochester Art Center in Minnesota, Providence Biennial for Contemporary Art in Rhode Island, Academy Art Museum in Maryland, The Hole Gallery and Microscope Gallery in New York.
Wu currently teaches at the Fine Arts Department of The School of Visual Arts, NYC.