EX: 1/30/2012
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YUAN space
2013.09.28 Sat - 2013.11.16 Sat
Opening Exhibition
09/27/2013 16:00
20/F, Tower B, Jiaming Center No.27 Eastern 3rd Ring Road (North) Chaoyang District, Beijing 100020, China 北京市朝阳区东三环北路27号嘉铭中心B座20层
+86-10-5775 5070
Opening Hours
11:00 -- 17:00 (close on Sunday & Monday)

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Evolution: A Question
[Press Release]

Press Release

Artists: Hu Yun, Guo Hongwei, Museum of Unknown
Curator: Karen Smith, director of OCAT Xi’an
Location: YUAN Space, Beijing
Date: September 28 to November 16, 2013
Opening: 16:00 – 19:00, September 27, 2013

As the first presentation of projects from the young generation of Chinese contemporary artists, Evolution: A Question brings a new and lively dimension to YUAN Space’s on-going exhibition programme. Combining installations, film and documentary works and paintings as the mediums used by Hu Yun, Guo Hongwei and Museum of Unknown, the diverse display is united by a common endeavour and set of concerns: the nature of art and its public display in the ever-changing culture of today.

Exquisitely designed and finished, YUAN Space has all the qualities of a professional museum. It is a perfect place to experience art. For Evolution: A Question, it is the perfect setting to gain experience of the energy that these artists bring to new ways of achieving artistic expression, ways which to their thinking are not always reliant on producing a finished art work in the traditional sense. As Museum of Unknown demonstrates, audience participation can be art as much as anything touched by an artist.

The three participants each work in rather different ways, each of which reflects the evolution of viewing and experiencing culture and art as a human activity, as has formed through several centuries of museum-going.

Shanghai-based Hu Yun looks back to an imperial age, during which colonizers played a particular role in mapping the natural world; contributing to collections which are today the core of natural history museums, like London’s Natural History Museum. The Secret Garden II: Reeves’s Pheasant is an elegant installation, filled with intriguing minutiae. It would be at home in any history museum, but deploys very contemporary means to comment on the complexities of history that surrounded the power to form such collections in the nineteenth century.

Hu Yun, “The Secret Garden II: Reeves’s Pheasant,” 2011, installation,(detail)

Through an exquisite series of watercolour paintings, Beijing-based Guo Hongwei also looks back to the means by which the natural world was classified beginning in the eighteenth century. Using exemplary skill, with no single mistake permitted, Guo Hongwei defies the contemporary distaste for unadulterated beauty to achieve a poignant comment on the conventions of representation as well as of painting.

The Shanghai-based Museum of Unknown is a platform for interdisciplinary collaboration and communication. Its members work together to explore the idea of “museum for today” in the immediate world and in light of its evolving socio-cultural values. Museum of Unknown uses multiple mediums to present its research and multiple partners, each of whom are known for their individual contribution to a particular field of research. This presentation includes contributions from Ou Ning, Xu Tan, Mao Chenyu, Liao Wenfeng, Li Mu and Li Yifan.

The exhibition is curated by Karen Smith.

Introduction to the curator:
Karen Smith is a curator and art critic specializing in contemporary art in China since 1979. She has written widely on the subject for numerous journals and exhibition catalogues, and is the author of numerous artist monographs.

Her curatorial work includes numerous group and solo exhibitions for China’s contemporary artists in China as well as abroad, including The Real Thing at Tate Liverpool (2007), The Chinese: Photography and Video Art from China at the Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg (2004), Music to My Eyes at Today Art Museum, Beijing (2009), and Subtlety at Platform China (2008), as well as solo exhibitions for Liu Xiaodong, Ai Weiwei and Xu Bing in the US and the UK. In August 2012, she was appointed executive director of OCAT Xi’an, the newest contemporary art centre under the OCAT Shenzhen Museum Group, launched in 2013.

She has lived in Beijing since 1992.