Tong Wenmin:From South to North


Artist: Tong Wenmin

Curator: Yuan Fuca

From July 10 to October 10,2022, Macalline Art Center is proud to present solo exhibition “From South to North” for Chinese artist Tong Wenmin.

“From South to North” is the first presentation of a series of performance projects by the same name that Tong Wenmin has recently initiated. As a member of the younger generation of Chinese performance artists, Tong’s work often focuses on the places where the external environment intersects with individual perceptions. Through seemingly illogical acts, she activates subtle and inspiring gestures and their visual poetry. Her often simple or regulated movements suggest the allegorical nature of the body and action in a rich semantic context.

In her previous investigations of urban ruins, Tong Wenmin noticed wild plants’ will to survive and started to collect plants that grew in different regions. Through a long process of sun exposure, she “imprinted” these plant patterns on her body, ceremonially imbuing her body with their spirits. The six video works in the exhibition record a series of performances that the artist made with her body covered in plant designs, ranging from Manzhao, a village in Menghai County, Xishuangbanna, Yunnan. In these pieces, she climbs into trees on the mountain at night, she hangs upside down and brushes the earth, she is involved in a strangling, and she rotates around the bonfire with a group of people as to feel the temperature. These fleeting, hallucinatory scenarios are the results of the artist’s countless physical adaptations, as well as her examination of local knowledge and interest in the natural environment. These prior preparations could be seen as delayed works of art. The artist’s body is an image and a medium that occupies the liminal space between a trance-like state and a sense of presence; she balances unavoidable self-politicization and finds meaning in the simple and mysterious.

By presenting solo show for this female artist, Macalline Art Center hopes to explore more deeply the aesthetic and lived dimensions of contemporary performance practice. The solo exhibition has been curated by Chief Curator-at-Large Yuan Fuca and presented by Curatorial Assistant Chen Baichao and the Curatorial Department. The exhibitions was designed by Fang Yuan.


About the Artist

Tong Wenmin

Tong Wenmin (b. 1989, Chongqing, China) received her BFA at Sichuan Fine Arts Institute in 2012. Tong has recent solo / duo shows at Essence Contemporary Art Museum, Chongqing; OCT Boxes Art Museum, Foshan; WHITE SPACE, Beijing, and recent group shows at HE ART MUSEUM, Foshan; By Art Matters, Hangzhou; Power Station of Art, Shanghai; Asian Art Museum, San Francisco; A4 Art Museum, Chengdu; House of Egorn, Berlin; BARRAK, Okinawa. She won the Grand Jury Prize of Huayu Youth Award in 2018, the First Prize of the 8th New Star Art Award by Deji Art Museum in 2018, and has also been selected for The Swiss Arts Council Artists Residency, Switzerland (2021) and other residencies.


About the Curator

Yuan Fuca

About the Curator

Yuan Fuca, Chief Curator-at-Large of Macalline Art Center. She was the founding Artistic Director of the Center between 2019 to 2022. Yuan Fuca has previously held positions at Independent Curator International in New York City, Spacetime C.C. (the New York studio of American sculptor Mark Di Suvero), and the Beijing Contemporary Art Foundation. From 2016 to 2019, Yuan co-founded and managed Salt Projects, a non-profit art space that offered a site for practice and exchange among young artists and practitioners. Fuca’s curatorial practice has been supported by Parasite (Hong Kong), Maxim Gorki Theater, Asia Society, Japan Foundation and New Century Art Foundation. She is the founding editor of Heichi magazine, the online bilingual publishing platform affiliated with Macalline Art Center. Her writing has been published on platforms such as Artforum, Artnews, BOMB, Flash Art, and Frieze.

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.