Vortex|Rethinking the locality of contemporary exhibitions

2022.10.23 Sunday 19:00


2F, The Cloister Apartments, 62 West Fuxing Road, Shanghai

Speaker: Lu Mingjun、Lu Xinghua

Guest Speakers: Liu Wei、Xu Zhen、Yang Beichen、Yang Zhenzhong

Host:Jin Feng

Time:2022.10.23 19:00—22:00

Live broadcas: Art-Ba-Ba


The highly controversial Documenta 15 has come to its closure, however, the debate around it is still very much heated. We have seen severe disagreement and imbalance at this specific site that represents the global contemporary art scene. How are they relevant to us? We could still ask, how are we (artists, institutions, curators, collectors…) related to the discourses around “locality”, “global south”, “context”, and “Lumbung” – the concept proposed by Ruangrupa in Documenta 15. How do we comprehend these disputes and arguments? How do we rethink of “locality”? In this seminar, we would like to reflect on these questions as well as to solidify our positions.

Rethinking the locality, internationality and globality of contemporary exhibitions

In the past century, we have seen many artists contemplated on the issue of “international art”. Among them are artists such as Wassily Kandinsky, who stated that there is only one art school in the world – “International College of Art” and Joseph Beuys, who led the establishment of The Free International University. Today we are seeing numerous art schools the quality and quantity of which are best described as that of the rats, the flies and the termites.  Exhibitions had to be sneakier than prostitutes soliciting clients at street corners. We are forced to ponder the impact a local exhibition has on the art ecosystem, as well as to think and rethink how to position local artists and their works on a larger diagram.  How do we find the balance between art spaces, collectors, art history narratives with local concerns and universal art and exhibits that call for attention on the Anthropocene and planetary care in a local context? How do we evaluate international exhibitions after 2022?

About the Speaker: Lu Xinghua

Lu Xinghua is a professor at the School of Humanities of Tongji University. His research focuses on philosophy of technology, philosophy of art, and urban philosophy. His publications include Introduction of Art Exhibition and The Urban Philosophy series (Nanjing University Press).

Internal Circulation, Political Correctness and the Retreating Macho-Aesthetics

“Internal Circulation”, “Political Correctness” and the “Retreating Macho-Aesthetics” have become prevalent in contemporary cultural scene. The question is, how are they related to one another? What do they indicate under the current socio-political situations, in which we are seeing coming global recessions, vastly different Covid policies and economic downturns. As cultural workers, how do we deal with these changes? I would attempt to answer these questions in this seminar, based on my own thinking and observations.

About the Speaker: Lu Mingjun

Lu Mingjun is a Doctor of History, and a Young Researcher at School of Philosophy of Fudan University. Recent curated exhibitions include “Frontier: Re-assessment of Post-Globalisational Politics” (2017, Shanghai; 2018, Beijing) , “Assembling” (2018, Shengyang) , “hic sunt leones” (2019,Wuhan,Beijing) ,and “River flowing without a Beacon,1979” (2019,Beijing), “Muses, Yu Gong And Compasses” (2020), “Awakening of Insects” (2021). Recent publications include “The Poetry of Gaze: Visual Culture, Art History and Contemporary” (2019, Henan University Press) and “Revolution of Art”and Modern China: Radical Origin of Chinese Contemporary Art (2020). Awards: 2015 Appointed Artistic Director of Surplus Space Contemporary Art; 2015 Awarded the Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation China Research Grant; 2016 Recipient of the Yishu Award for Writing on Contemporary Chinese Art; 2017 Awarded Asia Cultural Council Fellowship. 2017 Recipient of the CCAA Chinese Contemporary Art Critic Award. 2019 Recipient of the AAC Chinese Contemporary Art Curator Award.

About the Guest Speaker: Xu Zhen

Xu Zhen, artist, curator, MadeIn Company Founder.Xu Zhen was born in 1977, and lives and works in Shanghai.

Xu Zhen has been considered as an iconic figure in Chinese contemporary art. In 2004, Xu won the prize for 'Best Artist' at the Chinese Contemporary Art Award. His practice covers various media such as installations, video, painting and performance, etc.

About the Guest Speaker: Liu Wei

Liu Wei (b.1972) was born and presently resides in Beijing, China. He was trained as a painter at the China Academy of Art, Hangzhou in 1996. Heavily influenced by the instability and fluctuation peculiar to twenty-first century China, in particular with respect to its physical and intellectual landscape. He belongs to the generation of artists – specifically, the Post-Sensibility group. In the years since, with his paintings, videos and large-scale installations Liu has become a singular presence on the global art stage. Post-Duchampian, and actively negotiating with the legacy of the Modern, his works are known for crystallizing the visual and intellectual chaos of China.

About the Guest Speaker: Yang Beichen

Dr. Yang Beichen is a researcher and a curator based in Beijing, China. He is the director of the Macalline Art Center (Beijing), and one of the members of the Thought Council at the Fondazione Prada (Milan, Venice).

About the Guest Speaker: Yang Zhenzhong

Yang Zhenzhong (b. 1968) is an artist from Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province, currently based in Shanghai. YANG’s artistic practice mainly focuses on conceptual art, involving video, photography, installation, painting, sculpture, and other art forms. He has been active in the global contemporary art scene for a long time and participated twice in the Venice Biennale (2003 and 2007). Furthermore, as a curator, he has planned and initiated more than a dozen crucial contemporary art exhibitions and projects with artists in Shanghai since the late 1990s, including "Art For Sale" "Express Art Exhibition" "Hipic" and so on. On the one hand, YANG’s creations center around life and death with his cynical attitude to reinforce the numerous contradictions and disorders existing in society; on the other hand, he transforms and recovers daily life and political space within which people, objects, and landscapes reside.

About the Host/Project Curator: Jing Feng

Born in 1967 in Shanghai, China, Jin Feng is a multi-media artist who graduated from China Textile University in Shanghai (now Donghua University) in 1991 with a degree in Arts and Crafts. He also holds an MFA in Visual Arts (2012) from Shanghai Theatre Academy. Since 2000, Jin has been closely involved in contemporary art activities and exhibitions initiated by the artist community in Shanghai. A co-founder of Future Festival and Jiangnan Stack, he is also one of the producers behind Powcast, a podcast on contemporary art. Jin also served as the chief advisor of “Superfluid,” a project by students of Shanghai Institute of Visual Arts in “an Ecosystem of Alliances,” the second phase of the Shanghai Biennale 2021 which invited local art institutions to participate.

About the live broadcas: Art-Ba-Ba

In 2006, Art-Ba-Ba was established as an open, free, and interactive platform for artistic exchange hosted on a bulletin board system (BBS). In the decade that followed, it became China’s most active and open online contemporary art community. Due to a changing online environment, Art-Ba-Ba moved in a new direction in 2021, becoming an art media brand and creative company that spans multiple platforms and continues to curate art events and create multi-media content related to art and culture. In this new phase, Art-Ba-Ba has remained dedicated to the organic and lively community atmosphere of the past, while aligning the platform with today’s new environment.
At Art-Ba-Ba, we have always defended and believed in art and the power of connection. We are keenly interested in the past, present, and future of art, and we will overcome geographic constraints to maintain connections with Beijing and the global art world.

About the Vortex

Vortex is a long-term project. We will update the content of performance lectures by artists and talks by experts both on- and offline. Following the fundamental approach of connecting local practice, theories, and context, we hope that this nonstandard art venue will become a place of torrents, flux, and confluence.

The Macalline Center of Art (MACA) is a non-profit art institution located in the 798 Art District of Beijing and officially inaugurated its space on January 15, 2022. Occupying a two-story building with a total area of 900 square meters, MACA unites artists, curators, and other art and cultural practitioners from around the world. Through its diverse, ongoing, and collaborative approaches, the Center establishes a new site on the contemporary art scene. Guided by the “work of artists” and backed by interdisciplinary research, the Center aims to bring together a community passionate about art and devoted to the “contemporary” moment so as to respond proactively to our rapidly evolving times.