Chen Yun: Rejecting Presumptions, Rebuilding Connections —A diachronic work of art based on individual experience and community history

2023.06.24 Saturday 19:00


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

Speaker: Chen Yun

The art practice that began with the exhibition "Dinghaiqiao: Art Practice into History" in 2014 and continues to this day may have started with a series of perplexing personal scenes:


The view of Li Tung Street from a building in Wanchai, Hong Kong in 2004; the increasingly desolate Duolun Road in Shanghai in 2005 due to the "Street of Cultural Celebrities” transformation project; the two-week temporary flower bed on the pavement of Sanyuan Bridge before the Beijing Olympics in 2008, and the compulsory standardisation of shop posters along the street; moreover, the Shanghai Expo in 2010 demonstrated the further play of the logic of Olympic governance, the pinnacle of globalised optimism and the new wave of land development that immediately followed.


At the same time, some of the work and practices elsewhere have deeply enlightened the work of Dinghaiqiao: observations of the Woofer Ten in Hong Kong, which is rooted in Yau Tsim Mong, throughout 2015, a live screening of Realm of Reverberations at the Lo-Sheng Sanatorium in Taipei, and a conversation with children in a community children's space secured by artists and architects in a resettlement housing estate in the outskirt of Mumbai in 2017.


In a social context that is fluid, day-to-day, and hard to identify in time, the structural basis for the sustained engagement of the Dinghaiqiao Mutual Aid Society as well as the 51 Personae project gradually rests on the individual memories, experiences and emotional qualities of the participants and collaborators. In particular, the latter is gradually shaped by a vigilance against all sorts of intentions of governance, administrative methods, and artificial planning, and articulated in a questioning of external 'preconceptions' (at different levels), thus urgently and naturally 'linking' through artwork in a contextually appropriate way.


The lecture will consist of two threads--one will trace the journey from the Dinghaiqiao to the 51 Personae project, and the other will feature the specific people and things involved. In this way, the speaker hopes to explore the method of working without pre-determined issues/problems, but rather in the "exclusion" and " limitedness" of path, thus approaching the conditions and possibilities that lie both within our own history and outside the minds of others.

About the Performer

Chen Yun is a cultural and arts practitioner.

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.

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.