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2014.11.19 Wed, by
A History of Exhibitions: Shanghai 1979-2006 Book launch with artists’ conversations

Artists in conversation: Zhang Jianjun and Shi Yong

Moderated by Biljana Ćirić

Time: November 22nd, 2014, 4–6 pm

Venue: Glamour Bar, 6/F, 20 Guangdong Road, Shanghai

Language of event: English

Publication was made possible with support of:

1933 Contemporary, ShanghART gallery, Lookartspace.org 

Editor of the book History of Exhibitions: Shanghai 1979–2006, Biljana Ćirić will be in conversation with Zhang Jianjun and Shi Yong for the book launch reflecting on artist-organized exhibitions in Shanghai.

Both artists played vital roles in artists’ organized exhibitions—Zhang Jianjun during the 1980s and Shi Yong since the early 1990s, highlighting the role of artists as curator, which is still an important legacy to this day.

In 2013, she initiated the ongoing seminar platform From a History of Exhibitions towards a Future of Exhibition Making. Her recent publications include Alternatives to Ritual—Exhibition as a medium in China (2014), published by CFCCA and Goethe Institute, History of Exhibitions— Shanghai 1979-2006 (2014), published by CFCCA (distributed by Cornerhouse), and Active Withdrawal—Life and Death of Institutional Critique (co-editedwith Nikita Yingqian Cai) and published by Black Dog Publishing (2014-2015).

Biljana Ćirić was on the jury on a number of awards, including Hugo Boss Asia Art Award (2013), and she is on nominating council for Vera List Prize for Art and Politics (2014/2015). She is also a regular contributor to Broadsheet and Yishu Journal, and has been nominated for an ICI Independent Vision Curatorial Award (2012).

History of Exhibitions: Shanghai 1979-2006

By Biljana Ciric

Till today there is no archive devoted to Shanghai-based artists’ works nor exhibition-making practices in Shanghai nor Mainland China (except Asia Art Archive in Hong Kong). History of Exhibitions: Shanghai 1979-2006 is a comprehensive archive which traces an all-encompassing overview of the Shanghai contemporary art scene from 1979 to 2006.

As many of the original ephemera and documents related to exhibitions have been lost, some of the material presented is re-imagined by artists, inviting them to recall according to their own memory. This is the case especially with exhibition floor plans, of which almost none before 2000 had been preserved. Together with the artists the author tried to collect not only archival material related to the site of the exhibition but also what kind of discussion these exhibition raised in the wider social sphere through media reviews.

The archive takes a chronological approach starting from the 1979 exhibition, “12 Men Exhibition” that for the first time showed different works together publicly by artists who didn’t belong to any artists association. Early exhibitions presented in the archive are significant for introducing so called new art or new practices—early experimentations that at that time didn’t have a clear status as being underground. So many of these early exhibitions before 1989 mark a very important negotiation process between artists and the state that was dissolved after 1989. Most of the exhibitions presented in archive didn’t happen in institutional spaces with exception of “The Last Supper” in 1988, presented in the Shanghai Art Museum, which has historical place as the first performance piece presented in a public museum. Early venues of artists’ exhibitions were either the Cultural Palace under different district governments or University galleries.

Fudan University Student Club was one of the important gathering places during the 1980s. Hua Shan Art School will have its importance from the early 90s to the mid 90s as one of the most important experimental venues in the whole country. One of the early attempts where we see artists temporarily occupying vacant spaces was for the 1991 Garage Exhibition where artists used the underground room of the educational hall for organizing the exhibition. While this strategy would become common way of artists organizing exhibition from late 90s, during late 90s the institutional format of more organized artists structure appears.

About Spearkers:

Jian-Jun Zhang was born in Shanghai, China, and graduated from the Fine Arts Department of the Shanghai Drama Institute in 1979. From 1986 to 1989, he was the Assistant Director and head of the Art Research Department of the Shanghai Art Museum. Since 1997, he has been a Fine Arts instructor at New York University. This year, he became an Associate Professor at NYU Shanghai.

Jian-Jun Zhang is a contemporary artist active in both Shanghai and New York. His artwork is widely exhibited in museums, art centers, and galleries around the world. Recently, he showed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, China National Gallery in Beijing, Venice Biennale, Shanghai Art Museum Biennial, and Dresden National Art Museum in Germany.

Shi Yong was born in Shanghai in 1963. He graduated from Light Industrial School, Fine Arts Department. He resides and works in Shanghai. Shi Yong has exhibited widely since the early 1990′s. Recent shows include “Face”, Minsheng Art Museum, Shanghai (2012); “Grasstress 2011″, Venice, Italy (2011); “Negotiation, The Second Today’s Documents”, Today Art Museum, Beijing (2010); “Shanghai Kino”, Shanghai Kino, KUNSTHALLE BERN, Switzerland (2009); The 3rd Nanjing Triennial-Reflective Asia, RCM ART MUSEUM, Nanjing (2008); “Think carefully, where have you been yesterday?”, BizART,Shanghai (2007); “The First Today’s Documents, Energy: Spirit·Body·Material”, Today Art Museum, Beijing (2007); “Follow Me!”, Mori Art Museum, Tokyo, Japan (2005); Second Guangzhou Triennale, Guangdong Museum of Art, Guangdong (2005); “Zooming into Focus”, China National Art Museum, Beijing (2005); “The Heaven, The World”, ShanghART Gallery & H-Space, Shanghai (2004); 4th Shanghai Biennale, Shanghai (2002); Bienal de Sao Paulo, Sao Paulo, Brazil (2002) and BM99, Bienal da Maya, Maya Art Center, Portugal (1999) etc. 

Biljana Ćirić is an independent curator based in Shanghai. She is interlocutor for 2015 Asia Pacific Triennale.

Her recent exhibitions include Just as Money is the Paper, the Gallery is the Room (2014) presented by Osage Art Foundation, One Step Forward, Two Steps Back—Us and Institution, Us and Institution (2013 ) presented by Guangzhou Times Museum, Tino Sehgal solo exhibition in UCCA, Beijing (2013), Taking the Stage OVER (2011–12), Institution for the Future—Asia Triennale, Manchester (2011), Alternatives to Ritual (2012–13), Goethe Open Space Shanghai and OCAT, Shenzhen among others.