Photologue

A First Glimpse into 2009

Twentieth anniversary events of the 1989 ‘China/Avant-Garde’ exhibition

Qiu Zhijie’s solo exhibition, ‘Breaking Through the Ice’, at UCCA, Beijing

Nie Mu’s solo exhibition, ‘Memoire’, at Galerie Urs Meile, Beijing

Tracey Snelling’s solo exhibition, ‘Where Mr. Wong Sent me’, at Galerie Urs Meile, Beijing

China will mark a few politically sensitive anniversaries in 2009. On 5th February, only a few days into the new lunar year, the events commemorating the twentieth anniversary of the 1989 ‘China/Avant-Garde’ exhibition took place in various venues throughout the city. An exhibition that had foreshadowed political unrest twenty years ago has once again contested the government’s tolerance of freedom, while evoking sentiment and spirit from its artists and curators.

Meanwhile, the first exhibitions kicked off with a bang in the artists’ hubs of 798 and Caochangdi, despite the hovering uncertainties of the economic downturn. Remarkably, the impressive scale of Qiu Zhijie’s solo exhibition at Ullens Center for Contemporary Art showcases its second largest exhibition by a single artist. Qiu’s exhibition unveils his third project developed around the Nanjing Bridge – China’s first architectural landmark, also known as a site for suicide – in probing the paradox of the human ambition to build gigantic structures under the nation’s drive for modernization and its effect on human life.
  • Wang Gongxin, daytime view of It's Not About the Neighbors, 2008, video installation, Arrow Factory (a storefront space in an old Beijing alley)
  • Wang Gongxin, Night time view of It's Not About the Neighbors, 2008, video installation
  • Photo documentation of the 1989 ‘China Avant-Garde’ exhibition at Today Art Museum in conjuction with the documentary screening, Seven Crimes
  • The screening of Seven Crimes, produced by Wen Pulin, a documentary film that was censored by the police the night before the opening of the twentieth anniversary celebration of the 1989 ‘China/Avant-Garde' exhibition
  • Curator Gao Minglu, and other artists who participated in the 1989 ‘China/Avant-Garde’ exhibition, are surrounded by journalists in the square of the Agricultural Exhibition Center, before Gao showed the crowd a letter of protest to the police written on the morning of the anniversary events
  • Artists and journalists gathered at the Agricultural Exhibition Center to commemorate the twentieth anniversary of the 1989 ‘China/Avant-Garde’ exhibition
  • Artists Tang Song and Xiao Lu's statement on their gunshot performance at the 1989 ‘China/Avant-Garde’ exhibition; a pivotal work causing the police to shut the exhibition down
  • At the opening of ‘Documents’, part of the twentieth anniversary events of ‘China/Avant-Garde’
  • Schedule of the 1989 ‘China/Avant-Garde’ exhibition
  • Xiao Lu’s Wedding to Myself performance at Wall Museum
  • Xiao Lu showing her wedding ring to photographers after the performance
  • Tracey Snelling, To Hit the Dog With a Meat Bun, 2009, mixed media
  • Tracey Snelling, Chongqing, 2009, mixed media
  • A visitor peeping into Tracey Snelling's Wang's House, a re-enactment of the street scene next to Urs Meile Gallery
  • Detail of Wang's House, providing subtle clues to the viewer of the recent Chinese Spring Festival
  • Gallery Director Enrico Polato with artist Tracey Snelling
  • Artist Nie Mu in front of her work, 70, 2008, c-print, at the opening of her solo exhibition ‘Memoire’
  • Qiu Zhijie, Breaking Through the Ice - the Sinking Giant, 2009, iron and acrylic board
  • Qiu zhijie , 2009, City of Defeat (detail), stone and grass
  • Qiu Zhijie , 2009, I Used to Have Seventy-two Different Forms, bamboo mats
  • Independent curator Varvara, Assistant Curator, Snejana Krasteva, and gallery owner, Urs Meile, at Qiu Zhijie's ‘Breaking Through the Ice’ exhibition
  • Qiu Zhijie, One Line Sky (detail) 2009, cement and various ready-made objects
  • Three out of a series of thirty paintings entitled Letter to Qiu Jiawa
  • Qiu Zhijie, Zeno (detail), 2009, roller, conveyor belt, fibreglass sculpture, magnet and electric motor
  • Artist Kan Xuan at Qiu Zhijie's solo exhibition, ‘Breaking Through the Ice’, at UCCA, Beijing
  • Qiu Zhijie, Nation Building Strategy, 2009, water buffalo and rail
  • Qiu Zhijie, Diploma No. 3 (detail), 2009, iron board, cement, crops, fibreglass, iron characters and red flags
  • Qiu Zhijie, Beijing (detail 1), 2009, light box, countdown clock and photograph
  • Qiu Zhijie, Beijing (detail 2), 2009, light box, countdown clock and photograph
  • Qiu Zhijie, Conductor and Supplies , 2009, large pencils, conductor, small bulbs, wood shaving, battery and large pencil sharpener
  • Detail of the floor, an image of the Nanjing bridge on the Jiangsu provincial food ration coupon
  • Qiu Zhijie, The Shadow of the Imperial Seal Hanging over the Paddy Field, 2009, wood, wooden case, pulley block, rope and scarecrow
  • Qiu Zhijie, Nation Building Strategy (detail), 2009, water buffalo and rail
  • Qiu Zhijie, Diploma No. 3, 2009 iron board, cement, crops, fibreglass, iron characters and red flags
  • Qiu Zhijie, Monument to the Visitors, 2009, glass-frame cabinet and printed cups
  • Artists Chen Shaoxiong and Wang Youshen at the opening reception of ‘Breaking Through the Ice’
  • The black room of What Makes Me Understand What I know, an installation by the artist He An, showing the impartial contour of the title of this installation lit with neon lights
  • The white room of What Makes Me Understand What I know, an installation of the artist He An's stolen Chinese characters found in his father's name “He Taoyuan” and the Japanese actress, Yoshioka Miho
  • Curator Pauline Yao, David Spalding and Snejana Krasteva at the opening reception of ‘Breaking Through the Ice’
  • Artists Huang Yong-ping and Qiu Zhijie at the opening of reception of ‘Breaking Through the Ice’
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