ON | OFF: China’s Young Artists in Concept and Practice
13 January–14 April 2013
Ullens Center for Contemporary Art
All exhibition spaces
798 Art District, No. 4 Jiuxianqiao Lu
T +86 10 5780 0200 / 5780 0201
The Ullens Center for Contemporary Art opens its 2013 program with ON | OFF: China’s Young Artists in Concept and Practice. This groundbreaking exhibition, which will occupy all UCCA exhibition spaces, marks the most comprehensive survey to date of the generation of artists born after the death of Mao and the end of the Cultural Revolution, and at the dawn of the country’s era of opening and reform. Unparalleled in scope and unprecedented in concept, ON | OFF will feature 50 commissioned works by 50 artists and artist groups.
Curated by Bao Dong and Sun Dongdong, ON | OFF is an effort to effectively document a new generation of Chinese artists born after 1975 who have “grown up in a society and culture beset by binaries, constantly toggling between extremes.” The title ON | OFF, which comes from the graphical interface of a common VPN (virtual private network) software used to scale China’s Internet firewall, represents this binary condition at its simplest and most direct.
The exhibition is rooted in a series of such tensions that intensified in 1999, just as the Internet was becoming implicated into everyday life. Since then, it is precisely this generation of artists that has surfaced and begun to attract attention, as Chinese contemporary art has moved away from the underground scene of the 1990s and a new commercial market and institutional infrastructure have come to replace it. Today’s most notable young artists are the recipients of formal art educations. They are gradually fitting into a rising gallery system and actively participating in the emergence of art institutions even as they question and mediate these developments. They exhibit a strong tendency toward self-organization and collective practice, yet represent a wider diversity of individual subjectivities, styles, and dispositions than ever before seen in China. Unlike previous generations, they stay informed of international developments in real time, even as they work against the background of a distinct and specific set of constraints and challenges.
ON | OFF is above all a research project, drawing on preparatory visits to more than 200 artists in cities including Shanghai, Hangzhou, Guangzhou,Chengdu, Chongqing, Wuhan, and Shenyang. Accompanied by a wide range of publications and programs, the exhibition aims to articulate a generationalsensibility by highlighting individual positions. “Since its founding in 2007, the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art has been a passionate platform for presenting the freshest artistic voices in China, and for placing them into the twin contexts of Chinese art history and the international conversation around contemporary art,” said UCCA director Philip Tinari. “We are extremely excited to mount an exhibition that will showcase the wide range and high caliber of work being made in China today.”
Participating artists: Birdhead, Chen Wei, Chen Yujun + Chen Yufan, Chen Zhe, Chen Zhou, Cheng Ran, Fang Lu, Ge Lei, Gong Jian + Li Jinghu, Guo Hongwei, He Xiangyu, Hu Xiangqian, Hu Xiaoyuan, Huang Ran, Jiang Pengyi, Jin Shan, Lee Fuchun, Li Liao, Li Ming, Li Ran, Li Shurui, Liang Yuanwei, Liu Chuang, Liu Xinyi, Lu Yang, Ma Qiusha, Qiu Xiaofei, Shang Yixin, Shi Wanwan, Song Ta, Song Yuanyuan, Sun Xun, Tang Dixin, Wang Guangle, Wang Sishun, Wang Yuyang, Wen Ling, Wu Junyong, Xie Molin, Xin Yunpeng, Xu Qu, Xu Zhe, Yan Xing, Yang Jian, Yang Xinguang, Zhang Ding, Zhang Liaoyuan, Zhao Yao, Zhao Zhao, Zhou Tao.
ON | OFF will be accompanied by a full calendar of events, including a lecture series, a documentary film, and a commissioned concert series. It includes two publications: an exhibition catalogue and a book on collective practice in China, 2002-2012.
ON | OFF is made possible by the generous sponsorship of LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton.
The ON | OFF publications are supported by H2 Foundation for Arts and Education Limited and Hallam Chow.