“Unlived by What is Seen”
              Venus Lau
              “Unlived by What is Seen” showcases the work of 34 artists, collectives, and organizations, spanning across three galleries (Galleria Continua, Pace Beijing and Tang Contemporary) located in Beijing’s 798 Art district. In contrast to its elusive English version, the show title reads straightforwardly in Chinese: Bu Zai Tu Xiang Zhong Xing Dong, literally meaning “Not Acting Within Images.” Organized by independent curator Cui Cancan and artist duo Sun Yuan and Peng Yu, this project amounts to a vague attack on the image and visual production, even as it ends up as a vast pool of images, particularly of the moving sort, with a total viewing time of around 80 hours—made up mostly of interviews with artists. Here the image is belittled as the residue of life, although the curators emphasize the non-archival dimension of the exhibition. Writer Eileen Chang refers to the (photographic) image as the empty shells left over when the nuts inside have been consumed. Likewise, here visitors are presented with “nuts”, Wanxiang (January­–June 1944). Translation the author’s own.] like Cai Dongdong, Hu Yinping, and Jinag Bo’s Chang An Street Rally (2014), a video documenting a furtive race along the east-west axis of Beijing, and artist collective First Floor’s …

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