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2018.04.08 Sun, by
Starting from the Desert. Ecologies on the Edge
Second Yinchuan Biennale

Entitled Starting from the Desert. Ecologies on the Edge, the Second Yinchuan Biennale will open on June 9, 2018, at the MOCA Yinchuan. Under the artistic direction of Marco Scotini, the Yinchuan Biennale is pleased to announce the curatorial team composed of Andris Brinkmanis, Paolo Caffoni, Zasha Colah, and Lu Xinghua.

Conceived with the aim of measuring itself against a specific geo-historic context, and proposed as a form of minor language within the biennale system, Starting from the Desert seeks to respond to contemporary urgencies (not only in China) by adopting an “archaeological method.” Northwest China is still considered a remote corner, but one which, owing to the historic Silk Road, has been defined through time as a place of great flows, hybridizations and exchange of people, knowledge, languages, technologies, religions, animals, spices and goods.

In relation to the possibility of reducing the Eurasian continent to simple geo-economics, which could well be implied in current large-scale projects, the Second Yinchuan Biennale seeks to read the modalities of “group-being” at the crossroad of heterogeneous components, as indispensable to a new ecology that intends to emancipate all forms of life. In search for eco-logics as a new paradigm of transversal thought, the Second Yinchuan Biennale attempts not to reduce these elements to subject matter, but to utilize them in order to question the limits of the exhibition format, and thus to eventually produce a new eco-model of exhibiting.

The Biennale’s framework is articulated over four, interdependent (and often overlapping) thematic areas that, without seeking to limit or circumscribe, attempts to visualize their material and immaterial aspects. In the same way, these areas try to question the contradictions of the dualistic systems that have accompanied the rise of Modernity and Capital, positioning them as limits to the realization of an ecosocial program for our time.

Nomadic Space and Rural Space is concerned with the interaction of the physical environment with forms of life. It proposes less the different natures of the two spatial types, than their reciprocal intersections. Labor-in-Nature and Nature-in-Labor focuses on forces of production(paid or unpaid)and on the relations of production (appropriation, exploitation, accumulation) linked to modern ideas of nature. The Voice and The Book intervenes at the level of mental ecology deconstructing the opposition between phonemes and graphemes, orality and writing, questioning the production and reproduction of knowledge. Minorities and Multiplicity discusses associations and the associative forms of living beings: from the micro-social to the institutional scale.

With newly commissioned works alongside ancient artistic relics from public museums and private collections, the Second Yinchuan Biennale has selected the 90 participating artists from over thirty regions, paying particular attention to the western borders of China (from Mongolia to Central and Southeast Asia) in a way that is consistent with the exhibition’s geo-political, investigative methods. Starting from the Desert. Ecologies on the Edge announces its final list of artists.


Ravi Agarwal, Vyacheslav Akhunov, Navjot Altaf, Can Altay, Nazgol Ansarinia, Arahmaiani and Wukir Suryadi, Said Atabekov, Baatarzorig Batjargal, Sammy Baloji, Massimo Bartolini, Felice Beato, Erick Beltrán, Alighiero Boetti, Nomin Bold, Giuseppe Castiglione (Lang Shining), Filipa César, Sheba Chhachhi, Nikhil Chopra, Emory Douglas, Duan Zhengqu, Enkhbold Togmidshiirev, Peter Fend, Mariam Ghani, Yervant Gianikian & Angela Ricci Lucchi, Piero Gilardi, Shiva Gor, Raphaël Grisey, Grupo Suma, Salima Hashmi, Kiluanji Kia Henda, Hiwa K, Ho Rui An, Huxian Peasant Painters (Chen Jianchun, Du Zhilian, Jiaoxi Culture Station, Li Fenglan, Li Naiti, Liu Huisheng, Ma Zhenlong, Wang Zhenying), Saodat Ismailova, Joris Ivens, Francesco Jodice, Alimjan Jorobaev, Kan Xuan, Muratbek Kasmalieva & Gulnara Djumaliev, Kimsooja, Li Juchuan, Li Binyuan, Liu Ding, Juan Pablo Macías, Taus Makhacheva, Mao Chenyu, Mao Tongqiang, Helen Mirra, Adrien Missika, Tina Modotti, Moataz Nasr, Pedro Neves Marques, Nils Norman, Uriel Orlow, Prabhakar Pachpute, Kyong Park, Gianni Pettena, Thao-Nguyen Phan, Justin Ponmany, Marjetica Potrč, Leang Seckon, Tsherin Sherpa, Karan Shrestha, Song Dong, Demetrio Stratos, Alexander Ugay, u-ra-mi-li (Iswar Srikumar & Anushka Meenakshi), Wang Sishun, Wang Wei, Penba Wangdu, WUXU Group, Xu Tan, Xu Bing, Yang Kailin, Sawangwongse Yawnghwe, Zai Tang, Katarina Zdjelar, Robert Zhao Renhui, Zheng Bo, Zhuang Hui