July 31, 2018 - K11 Art Foundation - Assembling
July 31, 2018

K11 Art Foundation

Installation view of Assembling at chi K11 Art Space Shenyang. Courtesy of chi K11 Art Space Shenyang.

May 27–August 25, 2018

chi K11 art space
No.6 Zhujiang East Road, Tianhe District

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Curator: Lu Mingjun
City Projects Curator: Zhang Hanlu
Producer: Adrian Cheng
Artistic Director: May Xue
Assistant Curators: Jenny Tian, Kari Jiang

Art Education Group, Dokuyama Bontaro (Japan), Geng Yini, Hai Bo, He Xiangyu, Hu Qingtai, Hu Xiaoyuan, Jin Dongxuan (Icebreaking Society), Li Dafang, Liu Chuanhong & Na Yingyu, Liu Lihong, Liu Renjie, Liu Xiaodong, Lu Chunsheng, Northern Road Art Union, Northern Art Group, Park Chan-kyong (Korea), Qin Qi, Shi Qing, Sun Yuan & Peng Yu, Song Yuanyuan, Sun Xun, Theatre 44, Violet Oil Painting Research Association, Wang Bing, Wang Tuo, Wang Xingwei, Wang Zeyin, Yang Yuanyuan,  Zhang Enli, Zhang Hui, Zhao Liang, Zhuo Kailuo & Han Tao

As chi K11 art space Shenyang's inaugural exhibition, Assembling presents around 70 artworks of various styles, systematically narrating the history of contemporary artistic experiments in Northeast China. The exhibition gathers 45 renowned artists from China and beyond, as well as six contemporary art collectives founded in the region. It is the largest contemporary art exhibition with the largest number of artists in the northeast to date.

Contemporary art group show features northeast
The northeast is considered one of the origins of China's northern culture, and also a major agriculture and industry base. Under such spatial and temporal influences, artistic creation within the northeast employs its own characteristic aesthetics and linguistics. "Assembling" gathers a group of such artists. Each, within their work, is dedicated to writing the northeast's past, present and future, or underline the broad expression of thought in the powerful current of the times.

The exhibition is divided into five sections: “No Matter How Busy He is, Brother-in-Law Won't Forget You,” “My Former Lovers Have All Grown Old,” “Not sure how long you’ve been away, or where you’re going,” “If Seeing is Not An Option,” and “Some Actions, Which Haven’t Been Defined Yet in the Revolution”. The exhibition includes painting, installation, video, sound and archival works and artifacts, providing multiple interpretative angles. Curator Lu Mingjun stated, "By channeling these emotions and voices and allowing them to clash, an exhibition framework is established, an assembly site that connects and interweaves a diverse range of discourses, spanning regional culture, personal narratives, social change, geopolitics, and self-organization."

A pluralist interpretation of northeast culture
Audience will first encounter Wang Xingwei's painting No Matter How Busy He is, Brother-in-Law Won't Forget You, a work embodying drama and humour. Subsequently Wang Yan's  Boy Seeking Balance at Dusk, Gong Lilong's Chun Xiu who is Sending Blessings to Gou Zhu on 29th December of the Lunar Calendar (reproduction) and Liu Renjie's Wind, are testimonies of Lumei's (LuXun Academy of Fine Arts) golden age. Zhang Enli's Girl and Liu Xiaodong's Guo Qiang at His Karaoke Club painting vividly reflect the real life of common northeast people; Zhang Hui's Gust and Seaside Picnic represent scenes familiar to people from multiple perspectives; while Qin Qi's The Farewell of Hats portrays a departure from the past and expectations of a new era.

"The Northeast" is like blood in artists’ veins. Hu Xiaoyuan in her Momentary Place  abstracted the "existence" of a city; He Xiangyu realized his Cola Project-Extraction by condensing 127 tons of Coca-Cola, equal to the quantity consumed per year in his hometown; Sun Yuan and Peng Yu’s installation Teenager Teenager portrays a life-sized wealthy family with faces obscured by large rugged rocks. Young artist Song Yuanyuan's seemingly absurd video shows the way young people are connected to the world in the digital age; Sun Xun, on the other hand, projects the northeast's history into its future via his animations.

Documenting urban transformation is another major concern among artists in the show. Photographer Lu Chunsheng integrates ephemeral surreal experiences in his video work that focuses on urban reality; while Hai Bo and Liu Lihong highlight details that are prone to be ignored in contemporary environmental and landscape changes through rapid urban development. Yang Yuanyuan's Dalian Mirage is a city portrait that mixes fragmented stories from different times. Zhao Liang in his work Stage tracks the seasonal change of the border river between China and North Korea. Wang Zeyin collected various sounds from six historical blocks in Shenyang and put them together with a drawn map. The exhibition also extends beyond the region of China’s northeast into Pan-Northeast Asia through participating artists Park Chan-kyong from South Korea and Dokuyama Bontaro from Japan.

Art rejuvenates urban experience
The last section embodies an inspiration to be continued. It includes the research of six art groups: Violet Oil Painting Research Association, Northern Road Art Union, Northern Art Group, Icebreaking Society, Theatre 44, Art Education Group, with an array of archival documents adding context to the artworks. In this section, history is linked to the contemporary age, and the continuity of culture is examined and challenged, with the aim to open the northeast up to a broader creative future.

In Curator Lu Mingjun’s words, "While marking a new beginning, this exhibition also makes an essential statement. In the future, we hope to see this kind of provisional assembly and local experimentation become the new normal. By then, artistic endeavors will no longer need to appeal to an established tradition; instead, they will recognise and channel an ever more diverse range of histories and realities. No longer immured, these local movements will transform into a regional cultural practice with a global impact." As the largest non-profit contemporary art institution in Shenyang, the opening of chi K11 art space brings new energy to local artistic experimentation and cultural initiatives. Through interaction with the exhibition, aesthetic experience is brought to a new level and the city is provoked to embrace more vibrant possibilities. Art is inspiring a new vision for Shenyang.

For more information, please contact:
Contemporary Art Communications Beijing
Yafei Zhang
yafei.zhang [​at​] contemporaryart.cc, T +86 135 8193 2279

K11 Art Foundation
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