In November, I participated in the 13th Annual Conference of Centre for Chinese Visual Arts. The theme "The World, Two Metres Away" was related to this year’s epidemic. My presentation was first a study, through interviews and close reading, on the anonymous action ‘Farewell to Li Wenliang’, the writing in the snow on the bank of Tonghui River, Beijing in the early morning on February 7th. I then discussed why Chinese contemporary art practitioners raised and worried about the proposition of ‘art is useless’ during the pandemic. Obviously, this is related to the relationship between art and politics in modern and contemporary China. In December, I wrote a short piece for the Lonely Library, to recommend a series ofphotographs about North Korea shot by a Chinese photographer ‘L’ — it was one of the sharings on their Wechat Blog account this year.
Earlier in the summer, I received an invitation from my curator friend Margaux Bonopera to participate in the exhibition ‘Rien n'aura eu lieu’ (Nothing will have taken place) organized by her, Grégoire d'Ablon and Fabien Vallos in Arles, France. The exhibition was carried out during the epidemic, and the only requirement for artists was it should be about virality and needs to be mailed to Arles through the post. I asked Xiao Yuxi, my roommate in London, to copy a photo and the corresponding text that I posted on Instagram in April. This post recorded my mood at the time: in an unplanned writing, I slowly confirmed that I am entitled to be angry at the arrogance and blindness around me in London, and I can question the suspicion against China and the discrimination on people with Asian looks. This collaborative work was named as The Post.
In the past year, the text that I have been most proud of is actually a sharing that has nothing to do with art. Because I wanted to encourage women who were bullied in the society like the young girl in the ‘Li Xingxing’ case in China, I spent a few days writing down an essay For Stars, about a sexual assualt that I experienced in high school and published it on Weibo on the 4th May, the Youth Day in China. Before publishing, I thought there would be abusive words on the Internet, but it turned out to be none. In the many reposts and comments, I received encouragement from many, many women. My alert against injury that came up with the courage to tell was gently melted in the embrace of these warm words. Writing is meaningful. Connections are possible. I am especially grateful to these confirmations in this turbulent year.
11月，我参加了Centre for Chinese Visual Arts的第13届年会，主题“The World, Two Metres Away”和今年的疫情有关，我的报告首先通过采访和细读梳理了2月7日清晨北京的匿名者在通惠河畔的雪中写下“送别李文亮”的这个行动，接着讨论了为什么在疫情里，中国的当代艺术实践者们会提出并焦虑“艺术无用”这样一个命题——在我的理解里，这和在中国的现当代历史里艺术与政治的关系有关。12月，给孤独图书馆写了一篇短文，在ta们的微信公众号今年的图片推送里，我选择了摄影师“L”在朝鲜拍摄的一系列照片进行了推荐。
夏天的时候，我还收到了策展人朋友Margaux Bonopera的邀请，参加她和Grégoire d'Ablon、Fabien Vallos在法国的阿尔勒组织的展览Rien n'aura eu lieu (没什么会已发生)。这个展览在疫情之中开展，自然与疫症有关，另外的要求是通过邮寄把作品寄到阿尔勒。我请伦敦的室友肖羽曦摹写了一份我在四月时在Instagram上发的一张照片和文字，这个post记录了当时我的心情：在书写中我慢慢确认，我可以愤怒，可以对在伦敦感受到的人们的自大与盲目，我可以愤怒，可以质疑西方社会对中国的怀疑、猜忌以及亚裔面孔受到的歧视，当中也有对自己并没有立刻说出自己感受的无能的愤怒。和羽曦合作的这个作品，被我们取名为《The Post》。
I travelled to Antwerp in July to visit a castle in ’s-Gravenwezel, the home of collector/curator/dealer Axel Vervoordt, and the area Kannal renovated by the Vervoordt company. This trip was arranged for an article published on Wallpaper (Chinese). Axel has an obsession with objects, but his understanding towards nature, art and design, or objects from different time and places, is so penetrating and free, without any discrimination from the bound of knowledge. I also wrote a book review (in Chinese) for Uncooperative Contemporaries: Art Exhibitions in Shanghai in 2000 published by Afterall recently.
The writing is bit lengthy because I think it would be better to cover the main content for the Chinese audience and I also take the chance to talk about how becoming ‘international’ was understood by the contemporay art field in China at that time. In October I participated in the symposium ‘Curating and Future’ organised by China Artists Association and Beijing World Art Museum. I joined the ‘Global and Local’ session and shared my thoughts about two insitutions Iniva and CFCCA. Recently, I had a discussion with curator He Yining about ‘exhibition’, which is published on Jiazazhi.
A good news is that I have been selected together with Izzy Kroeze and Ashokkumar Mistry into the first Emerging Art Writers Fellowships Programme initiated by AICA-UK. Hope I can write more in English and join more discussions.
7月的时候去了一趟安特卫普，参观了收藏家、策展人Axel Vervoordt在 ’s-Gravenwezel的城堡还有运河旁边的 Kannal。我的文章主要围绕Vervoordt和他的城堡的故事，发表在中文《卷宗》杂志的公众号和杂志上。这趟旅行给我的印象很深：Axel对不同时间、地域、类别的事物没有分别心，很自然地能看到并展示出事物之间的联系，他对直觉的秉持和对事物的理解，让我看到了一种不被“策展“和“艺术“局限的自由和宽厚。
一个开心的消息是，我和Izzy Kroeze、Ashokkumar Mistry入选了英国的国际艺术评论协会（AICA-UK）举办的第一届Emerging Art Writers Fellowships。之后可以和很多批评家聊写作中的困惑了，希望接下来可以写更多的英文文章。
In the past months, I have recorded several podcast episodes in Chinese, including three with Art Is Poison on Mary Gariel’s Ninth Street Women, Nam June Paik Exhibition at Tate Modern and Olivia Laing’s Funny Weather respectively.
I also produced the first episode for Mingming, a platform I initiated with freinds for documenting the on-going art situation in pan-Chinese and Asian contexts (it is dormant right now... will wake up after my Ph.D. programme). This episode was in collaboration with Jiang Chunyu and Liu Lijuan who have conducted a dozen of interviews with art school students. Many of them had to leave the campuses and move their degree shows online due to the Covid-19 pandemic – this episode is therefore a survey of the current (April 2020) situation of Chinese art studenets all over the world. Previously, Mingming also published two articles that index online contents relating to the passing away of artist Huang Yong Ping and the wide discussion on artist payment in the event of Jimei Arles Photo Festival.
In March, when the pandemic swept across China, I now realised that I was keeping myself calm as an intense reaction to the on-going crisis. I wrote a piece on Art Newspaper Chinese about an anoymous action ‘Farewell to Li Wenliang’ (a )which I consider to be the best ‘art’ in China during the pandemic, or it's better to say, I think it is the most inspiring event for the awkward situation of art in the pandemic when art is dubious about its capacity and role in this crisis.
On the academic side, I published an ‘investigative’ piece on Engage journal issue 44 about the short curatorial courses, with Shanghai Curator’s Lab as my case study. I also invited my friends/curators Cecilia Giurgevich and Canan Batur to talk about their experience in the first Shanghai Curator’s Lab in 2018.
过去几个月，我和“艺术有读”播客录了几期节目，Mary Gariel的书 《九街女人》，白南准在Tate Modern的展览和Olivia Laing的书《奇怪的天气》。 “明明”是我去年年末发起的一个平台，本意是想记录泛华人/华语和亚洲地区的正在进行的艺术现场，但是后来意识到目前的精力难以产出持续的内容，只能在本子上把未竟的想法都写下来，暂时让平台休眠。在“明明”这个平台上，我和朋友姜春雨整理了2019年黄永砅过世后各界写下的悼辞，集美阿尔勒摄影节上出现的对“艺术家费”的讨论。春雨也和我的另一位朋友刘丽娟一起，在新冠肆虐的2020年的四月采访了在世界各地学艺术的中国学生，这些境况汇总成了一期播客。
三月的时候在《艺术新闻（中文版）》上发表了有关 “送别李文亮” (二月七日晨，通惠河畔匿名者的雪中留字)这一事件的文章，现在看并没有写透，更多的是种心情和直觉。但在人们普遍怀疑艺术的力量时，这个行动给了我很多的鼓励和启发。
在英国有关艺术教育的期刊《Engage》上发了一篇文章，以上海策展人实验室Shanghai Curator’s Lab为例，讨论为什么双年展会设置短期策展课程，。我也邀请了朋友 Cecilia Giurgevich 和 Canan Batur录了一期音频节目，配合这篇文章，聊了聊她们2018年参加第一届Shanghai Curator’s Lab的体验。
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