Qiu Zhijie

Qiu Zhijie

Fondazione Querini Stampalia

Qiu Zhijie, preparatory study for The Unicorn and the Dragon, 2013. Series of maps, carved wood and ink, dimensions variable.

May 5, 2013

Qiu Zhijie
The Unicorn and the Dragon. A map of collections of
Fondazione Querini Stampalia, Venice and
Aurora Museum, Shanghai

May 29–August 18, 2013

Part of the project New Roads

Press Preview: May 28, 10am–2pm
Opening: May 28, 6pm

Venice, Fondazione Querini Stampalia onlus
Santa Maria Formosa
Castello 5252
Venice, Italy
Hours: Tuesday–Sunday 10am–6pm


Curated by Chiara Bertola and Davide Quadrio

Chinese artist Qiu Zhijie, chief curator of the last edition of the Shanghai Biennale, will present at the Querini Stampalia Foundation a selection of new works on the occasion of his first solo exhibition in Italy during the 55th edition of the Venice Art Biennale.

Through a comprehensive and diverse range of works, the artist will explore the complex dynamics that outline space and time routes between the East and the West, the Past and the Present.

Considered a real intellectual in the Renaissance meaning of the word, Qiu Zhijie is all in one—a thinker, an artist, a cartographer and even an archivist of knowledge. Nobody could explore these intricate paths that span parallel across time and space better than he.

As an artist Qiu Zhijie defines his modus operandi as total art, centered on the awareness that artistic creation cannot be uprooted from the historical and cultural background.

This exhibition of Qiu Zhijie’s is the first stage of New Roads, a three-year international cooperative project between China and Italy, born from the will to create a platform for intercultural dialogue through contemporary art.

There are three institutions involved: the Aurora Museum of Shanghai and the Fondazione Querini Stampalia in Venice, which, through the critical intervention intercultural and artistic mediation of Arthub Asia, will compare their history and their collections, analyzing and expanding them with projects commissioned from Eastern and Western contemporary artists.

The site-specific works by Qiu Zhijie, as well as all the previous contemporary art projects included in the program Sustaining the future and developed at Fondazione Querini Stampalia since the year 2000, are designed in relation to the objects within the permanent collection. In this case, the comparison and analysis will extend beyond the usual project, building conceptual and stylistic bridges between the works of the Venetian foundation and the valuable collection of ancient Asian Art at the Aurora Museum of Shanghai.

Transcending the geographical distance and exposing the prejudices built over centuries of cultural exchange between the East and the West, the mapping approach used by Qiu Zhijie trails, discovers and highlights the connections between the two museums along with those between Venice and Shanghai, two cities sharing many features, including their intrinsic attitudes towards external influences and exchange, typical of all places overlooking the sea.

The title of the exhibition, The Unicorn and the Dragon, A map of the collections of Fondazione Querini Stampalia and Aurora Museum, is inspired by Umberto Eco’s conference—”They were looking for unicorns”—held at Peking University in 1993. The renowned scholar, analyzing the mechanisms that arise when discovering and comparing different cultures, pointed out a tendency that has existed for centuries to classify symbols, ideas and concepts of foreign cultures by adapting them to our cultural reference system.

The new series of maps by Qiu Zhijie, some of them produced on paper using an ancient Chinese technique of dab rubbing and others drawn with ink directly on site, will expose these very bizarre misunderstandings that stem from the relations of cultural exchange between Italy and China and in a broader sense between the East and the West.

These hybrids of mystical significance will be represented by Qiu with a series of sculptures of mythologycal animals created by the combination of images sourced from two warehouses of memory, such as the collections of the Querini Stampalia and the Aurora Museum.

Press office Sara Bossi
T 041 2711411 / s.bossi [​at​] querinistampalia.org

In collaboration with Studio ESSECI, Sergio Campagnolo
T 049 663499 / gestione3 [​at​] studioesseci.net


Qiu Zhijie at Fondazione Querini Stampalia
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Fondazione Querini Stampalia
May 5, 2013

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