2013.03.02 Sat, by Translated by: 梁舒涵
News: Manifesta in Russia, Wang Chunchen curates the China Pavilion, Artshare & More

Back to the 1930s: Manifesta 10 announces Russian Host Venue for 2014

It has just been announced that Manifesta 10 is to be held at the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg in 2014. That’s right, Vladimir’s hometown. In its own words, Manifesta, the European Biennale of contemporary art, “purposely strives to keep its distance from what are often seen as the dominant centres of artistic production” — well, they’re sure on target this time. Pussy Riot member Maria Alyokhina recently described the “anti-life” now surrounding her in a labor camp in the Ural mountains; last month witnessed an acid attack on the Bolshoi Theatre’s Artistic Director, and at the Stieglitz Academy in St. Petersburg an educational program for young artists led by Political Propaganda magazine (to include a lecture by artist Dmitry Vilensky of the collective “Chto Delat?”), has just been closed down following “a call from above” (source: Art Leaks.org). One wonders why on earth a biennale famous for being provocative would choose to plant itself amid Putin’s “normalization of society”; and why, indeed, as Europe slides ever further into economic depression and culture offers a chance for exposure and uplift, Manifesta couldn’t have found a more —how to say — auspicious host. Authoritarianism, it seems, is chic.


Wang Chunchen announced as the curator of the China Pavilion in Venice

Wang Chunchen was announced as the curator of the China Pavilion at the 55th Venice Biennale. Wang, who is the Head of the Department of Curatorial Research at the Central Academy of Fine Arts Museum in Beijing as well as an adjunct curator of the Broad Art Museum in Michigan State University, will be inviting He Yunchang, Hu Yaolin, Miao Xiaochun, Shu Yong, Tong Hongsheng, Wang Qingsong, and Zhang Xiaotao. The theme of “Transfiguration” is, according to Wang, based on Hans Belting’s anthropology of the image, and echoes the main theme of Massimiliano Gioni’s “The Encyclopaedic Palace” (for the entire biennale) as well as referring to China’s transforrmation.  (link and link )

The limitations of the space within the China pavilion — with the oil tanks — have always posed a challenge for curators. However, according to one interview, Wang has apparently been informed that the rancid-smelling oil tanks will be removed thanks to the intervention of the Chinese Foreign Ministry.  (link)

Elsewhere in Venice, Wang Lin will be curating a parallel exhibition, “Voices of the Unseen,” which reportedly has (seemingly absurdly) over 100 artists. Wang Lin had in 2011 also curated a parallel exhibition called  “Cracked Culture? The Quest for Identity in Contemporary Chinese Art” amid much hoopla. And of course, the German Pavilion as invited Ai Weiwei to participate as one of four artists. ( link and link )


Iberia Center to be renamed Hive Center

The Iberia Center in Beijing has officially been renamed Hive Contemporary Art Center (Fengchao Dangdai Yishu Zhopngxin). Xia Jifeng, the director of the former Iberia Center, is to become the director of the new Hive Center, which is now reportedly a commercial center. “Hive” does not refer to the herd-like mentality of the art market; according to Xia, it refers to the collective mode of existence of human life as well as the cognitive complexity of its actual conditions of existence. (link)

Iberia Center, of course, had faced serious challenges when Gao Ping, the director of the Iberia art foundation was arrested for money laundering in Spain last October. Xia Jifeng, however, denies any connection between Iberia Center in Beijing and Gao Ping. (link)



The latest web-based art source to appear in Asia, ArtShare is scheduled to launch officially on April 15, 2013. ArtShare offers the “world’s first online platform dedicated to modern and contemporary Asian art,” setting itself apart with a selective approach to collecting. This will hinge on a monthly exhibition of ten works picked by specialists and guest curators, based on a chosen theme. In addition to virtual viewing, ArtShare members will have the opportunity to see the works privately, thus fusing traditional and contemporary modes.  ArtShare enlists the support of an Asian Art Advisory committee including curator and author Philip Dodd, gallerist Pearl Lam and collectors Dominique and Sylvain Levy, and aims to increase access and understanding of the work through specialists’ contributions to the site. Prices will start at US $10,000, and the first show will be announced at the end of March. ArtShare Founder and CEO Alexandre Errera (the son of leading French diplomat Gerard Errera) tells Randian:

“I think we are at a turning point for both art & the internet and the Asian art scene… there’s a new generation of artists that need to be put on the global stage quickly, which is our mission….Probably the biggest challenge will be to convey the message that buying art online can be personal and intimate, and that we are taking a very different approach… I felt that something was missing (in the Asian art market).”


MAP Office awarded 2013 Sovereign Art Prize

Hong Kong-based duo MAP Office have been awarded the Sovereign Art Prize — Asia’s biggest art award — for their work Back Home with Baudelaire, No.5” (2005). The photographic edition showing an aerial view of coloured shipping containers (an image drawn from a MAP Office film of cargo ship Baudelaire travelling from a dock in Shenzhen to Hong Kong’s Victoria Harbor) was put forward by art advisor Jehan Chu, and judged the winner of the US $30,000 prize by David Elliott, Emi Eu, Lars Nittve, Philip Tinari and Tim Marlow. Laurent Gutierrez and Valerie Portefaix started MAP Office in 1997 as a way to explore real and fictional territory relating to Hong Kong through texts, art, architecture, design and film; the Sovereign Asian Art Prize was initiated by the Sovereign Art Foundation upon its founding in Hong Kong in 2003. The winning work is kept by the foundation, whose charitable activities support disadvantaged children with art as rehabilitation, education and therapy.