June 4, 2017 - Museum of Contemporary Art Leipzig - metroZones: Chinafrika. under construction
June 4, 2017

Museum of Contemporary Art Leipzig

Explosion/Exposition, 2017. Design by Markus Dreßen.

Chinafrika. under construction
June 2–September 24, 2017

Museum of Contemporary Art Leipzig
Karl-Tauchnitz-Straße 9-11
04107 Leipzig
Hours: Tuesday–Friday 2–7pm,
Saturday–Sunday 12–6pm

T +49 341 140810


The artistic research project Chinafrika. under construction is tracing the cultural relationships between China and Africa and portraying a global process, which is sure to fundamentally alter no less than the notion of Europe. “Chinafrika” is a symptom of the de facto ongoing provincialisation of Europe.

The project is concentrating on the Copperbelt in northern Zambia and the South-Eastern DR of Congo as a hub for the extraction and the transport of raw materials, as well as on the megacities Lagos (Nigeria), Johannesburg (South Africa) and Addis Ababa (Ethiopia). In China, it is focusing on the Pearl River Delta with its African trade centres in Hong Kong, Guangzhou and the free-trade zone in Shenzhen.

African, Chinese and European artists and curators, theorists and protagonists reflect on new developments and phenomena in the fields of artistic practice and visual cultures, everyday social life, as well as architecture and urbanism. Working Groups in Guangzhou, Johannesburg, Lagos and Lubumbashi develop shared theoretical and artistic positions in order to generate local research, theory and art as well as a local debate. These will be presented in a mobile “travelling construction site” format in workshops and conferences, exhibitions, performances, film screenings and publications.

The presentation Chinafrika. under construction in Leipzig’s Galerie für zeitgenössische Kunst (GfZK) is the central exhibition of the Chinafrika project. It features a mix of contributions from Africa, China, and Europe based on more than 20 artworks specially prepared for Leipzig, findings from the four Chinafrika Working Groups and already existing works.

Participants’ diverse artistic and exploratory works are structured and explained through a curatorial narrative (Establishing Shots, Contact Zones, interviews, materials, frequently asked questions) in terms of both substance as well as scenography. Chinafrika. under construction unfolds a spatial terrain spanning three continents, addressing interconnected spheres of the economic and cultural dynamics of the “Chinafrika” phenomenon, organised around the themes of Explosion/Exposition, Resourcing, Shipping, Factory, Shopping, Urban, Transit, Exchange, Future and Trailer.

The pavilion structure of the challenging exhibition space is outfitted with mobile walls, interweaving the various themes into a spatial scenario with multiple potential pathways through which to explore the exhibition. Simple supporting structures criss-cross the pavilion, while exhibits, objects, and various devices are unfolded across the space and “time zones” of light traverse the room. In this sense, the building’s flexible, deconstructive architecture characteristic of late Western modernity, now plays host to works of the current “Chinafrikan” era. This implicit antagonism simultaneously represents the core of the project itself, transformed into a spatial experience in the context of the exhibition.

August 20–September 3, 2017: premiere of Chinafrika. mobile at Kunstfest Weimar.


Curators: Jochen Becker (metroZones, Berlin), Julia Schäfer (Galerie für Zeitgenössische Kunst, Leipzig), Daniel Kötter (Berlin)

Working Group Curators: Huang Xiaopeng (Guangzhou), Michael MacGarry (Johannesburg), Patrick Mudekereza (Lubumbashi), Folakunle Oshun (Lagos)

Exhibition Design: ifau (institut für angewandte urbanistik, Berlin), Markus Dreßen (Spector Bureau, Leipzig)

With works by: Ayo Akinwande, Opeyemi Balogun, Sammy Baloji, Dounia Cherfaoui, Bodil Furu, Allyn Gaestel / Benedicte Kurzen, Anawana Haloba, Dan Halter, Gerda Heck / Christian Hanussek, Louis Henderson, Sam Hopkins / David Lalé, Eric van Hove, Huang Xiaopeng, Taiye Idahor, Daniel Sixte Kakinda, Daniel Kötter, Mansour Ciss Kanakassy / Christian Hanussek / Baruch Gottlieb, Li Jinghu, Li Xiaofei, Lu Shan, Luo Xiye, Michael MacGarry, Denise Maheho, Map Office, Elke Marhöfer / Mikhail Lylov, Eddy Mayaya, Stary Mwaba, Nobukho Nqaba, Folakunle Oshun, Henrik Spohler, Mladen Stilinović, Moffat Takadiwa, Song Ting / Adam Smith / Wang Qihan, Paolo Woods, Joseph Wright of Derby, Yu-Shen Su, Payne Zhou, Sofiane Zouggar and others

Chinafrika. under construction is a production of metroZones. In co-production with Galerie für Zeitgenössische Kunst Leipzig, Kunstfest Weimar, steirischer herbst Graz and Goethe Insitut Nigeria. In cooperation with Centre d'art WAZA Lubumbashi, Culture Advocates Caucus Lagos, Things that can happen Hong Kong and Goethe Institut Algier. 

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