“Active Withdrawal” seminar

“Active Withdrawal” seminar

Guangdong Times Museum

July 26, 2013

“Active Withdrawal — Weak Institutionalism and the Institutionalization of Art Practice”
July 27–28, 2013 

Guangdong Times Museum 
Times Rose Garden III
Huangbianbei Road
Baiyun Avenue, Guangzhou, China


Co-organized by Biljana Ciric and Nikita Yingqian Cai 

The Guangdong Times Museum is proud to present “Active Withdrawal — Weak Institutionalism and the Institutionalization of Art Practice.” This seminar aims at providing a space for critical reflection on new forms of institutionalism, which respond to its immediate context organically, and to initiate further discussion on the institutionalization of art practice that differs from the managerial approaches in the canonical conceptual art history of the West.     

In the context of China, artist initiatives, with critical orientation towards institutions, emerged in the early 1980s contingently and were interrupted in the following decade. Due to the lack of infrastructure and fragmented history, they were not recognized as distinct approaches of Institutional Critique as such. This seminar seeks to establish an expanded definition of Institutional Critique connecting it to a diverse history of dissent, and underscores the relations within the larger context of global Institutional Critique initiatives. As a historic movement, the legacy and transmitted forms of Institutional Critique reflect the common concerns of the art system that are not only related to certain localities but are issues that we all, as practitioners, share today. The focus of each section revolves around topics of keynote speakers and our concern as organizers about how this discourse is reflected in a local context.

As an expanded inquiry of last year’s three-day long seminar, “No Ground Underneath: Curating On the Nexus of Changes, presenting this seminar in tandem with the very exhibition One Step Forward, Two Steps Back–Us and Institution, Us as Institution, represents a self-reflexive gesture of the Guangdong Times Museum as a young and committed art institution in China, where different relations between artists and institutions are explored and manifested. 

July 27
Conceptual Art within and beyond Institutional System 
Speakers: Camiel Van Winkel (critic and curator based in Amsterdam), Zheng Guogu (artist based in Yang Jiang, Guangdong province)
Moderated by Nikita Yingqian Cai

Situated artistic and curatorial practices
Natasa Petresin-Bachelez (independent curator and critic based in Paris, chief editor of the journal Manifesta Journal – Around Curatorial Practices), Huang Xiaopeng (artist based in Guangzhou, founder and director of Huang Bian Station), Fang Lu (artist based in Beijing and founding member of Video Buro)
Moderated by Biljana Ciric 

July 28
Chiefs, Prophets, Warriors, Enemies and Allies
Speaker: Ho Tzunyen (artist based in Singapore)
Respondents: Camiel Van Winkel, Zheng Guogu, Fang Lu
Moderated by Biljana Ciric 

“Take your pleasures seriously” (C. Eames)
A lecture about (institutional) obsessions, pleasures and the necessity to playby Kathrin Meyer, Manifesta Journal—from Journal of Contemporary Curatorship towards Journal “Around Curatorial Practice” by Natasa Petresin Bachelez 
Moderated by Nikita Yingqian Cai 

Presentation of the Journal to be followed by roundtable discussion of participants.


"Active Withdrawal" seminar at Guangdong Times Museum
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Guangdong Times Museum
July 26, 2013

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