December 17, 2019 - Guangdong Times Museum - Modes of Encounter: An Inquiry / Li Yifan: The Heretical Light
December 17, 2019

Guangdong Times Museum

(1-3) Installation views, Modes of Encounter: An Inquiry, Guangdong Times Museum, 2019. (4) Li Yifan, Sha Ma Te I Love You (still), 2019. Single-channel video, 125:05 minutes. Courtesy of the artist.

Modes of Encounter: An Inquiry
Li Yifan: The Heretical Light
December 13, 2019–February 16, 2020

Guangdong Times Museum
Times Rose Garden III
Huang Bian Bei Road, Bai Yun Avenue North
510095 Guangzhou
Hours: Tuesday–Sunday 10am–6pm

T +86 20 2627 2363
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Modes of Encounter: An Inquiry
Curated by Biljana Ciric
Assistant Curator: Cai Qiaoling

Artists: Li Shuang, Nicolás Paris, Marie Voignier, Mario García Torres, Kateřina Šedá, and Yunyu “Ayo” Shih in collaboration with Zhu Jianlin and Zhang Hanlu

With the transformation of our living conditions and relations—from the political, as citizens, and the environmental, as part of the living species, to members of the communities we each belong to—the rise of international institutions of contemporary art are failing to create the much-needed intimate spaces for their publics in response to these new challenges and orientations.

With all of this in mind, the exhibition Modes of Encounter: An Inquiry proposes to investigate our near future realities through a prism of our present encounters.

Group of artists has been invited to conduct research and produce newly commissioned works over the period of the past two years. There was no given theme but through long term engagement they have been encouraged to adopt their own ways of thinking in relationship to China.

Further, the proposed idea of the encounter as a framework for interaction created a sense of openness to chance and randomness that today we rarely allow to develop thoughtfully.

The invited artists come from different places, different geographies, and belong to different generations. But what has brought them together is a specific working methodology that generally requires time and appreciates the need for time to develop relationships through the process. Each of the projects over the course of the two years developed at very different speeds, and each of them produced their own dynamics. The relatively slow mode of working that underscores this exhibition serves also as a proposal for the institutions of the future, wherein long term commitment, the notions of care and weakness, become the key characteristics of an anti-patriarchal code of practices that operates in opposition to mainstream values founded on productivity as a core of capitalism.

The set of inquiries determined by invited artists, curators, and museum teams—as well as their users—develops different processes that cultivate learning through an understanding that the discourse and the object are equally important.

This inquiry attempts to reflect on the temporality of the exhibition format and its inherent problematics, using its structure as a platform that enables ideas and actions to grow through different encounters beyond the exhibition’s frame, creating their own life cycles.

The spatial design for the exhibition has been created in collaboration with artist Nicolás Paris, and in turn, in close dialogue with all of the invited artists. The design itself serves as an architectural and institutional intervention that explores the possibilities of the museum as a space of permanence, as a residual space.


At the other side of Times Museum, exhibition Li Yifan: The Heretical Light curated by Liang Jianhua tries to reconnect mutually segregated communities, to base artistic creation on a genuine perception of reality and thus to acquire a critical sensibility that has long been cherished in art.

Transliterated from the word smart, “Sha Ma Te” was originated from an online game coterie and was one of those subcultures in pursuit of idiosyncratic visual appearance. Emerging from the fringes of this trend, migrant workers in the coastal cities developed an even more melodramatic and more marginal popular culture on its very basis. After years of field studies on “Sha Ma Te” groups dispersed in the coastal industrial area, Li Yifan has completed his long documentary Sha Ma Te, I Love You. Through the oral accounts of the interviewees, the artist has reconstructed the process from the emergence of “Sha Ma Te” as a cultural trend to its years of decline and failure. For the installation The Heretical Light, with numerous objects of daily life and hundreds of second-hand cellphones, Li Yifan reenacts the moments when workers took selfies in the heat of labor.

Guangdong Times Museum
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