Daniel Szehin Ho

  • picks August 12, 2017

    Zhou Tiehai

    In the silent vintage film footage on view, a military officer points at a civilian airport on a map. An intertitle drolly reads: “It has the monopoly to welcome museum directors, critics, and gallery owners.” And a bit later: “Comrades, we must remember we will have nothing without our own airport.” Thus begins Zhou Tiehai’s satiric 1996 video work on the Chinese art world, its foibles, and its predicament in the 1990s. Appropriating the language of old film footage and grasping at diverse metaphors, the artist adds pointed intertitles throughout the nine brief scenes, wryly critiquing an art

  • picks September 29, 2015

    Evgeny Antufiev

    Taking over the venue’s third floor, Evgeny Antufiev’s solo exhibition presents a varied array of items, including a web of imagery connected to the Russian ballet dancer Anna Pavlova—photos of the dancer herself, of sculptures, cakes she inspired, even embroidery—as well as objects that evoke Tolstoy, such as books and videos that restage his stories and hilariously portray a party thrown by his descendants. The visitor might be reminded of a visual-culture approach in which artworks are situated within a broader field of imagery. Yet Antufiev also weaves in artifacts by his late grandmother,

  • picks June 24, 2015

    Xu Qu

    The Beijing-based artist Xu Qu’s first solo exhibition in Shanghai delves into violent realities—animal, mineral, and social—with unflinching sangfroid. A video of an upturned turtle toyed with by a human foot (Custom II, 2014) signals control and helplessness. In Longevity, 2015, minimalist metallic pillars are seemingly held apart by fragile spines of umbrellas, which were collected last year by the artist during Hong Kong’s “Occupy Central” protests, which unsuccessfully called for universal suffrage. The imagery is fairly obvious—a frail opening between almost immovable blocks—but anything

  • picks October 09, 2014

    Zhang Ruyi

    “CUT | OFF” is made up of two seemingly divergent series of works. One consists of realistic drawings of diminutive cacti framed by primary geometric shapes on top of a much larger grid of meticulous lines in chromatic gradation. Zhang Ruyi's use of abstract colorism and rational coolness could be seen as part of a broader tendency in painterly practices in China (with variants on the theme being offered by Dong Dawei, Li Shurui, Xie Molin, Chen Jie, among others)—a trend that looks a bit like a domestic Chinese assimilation of and fascination with post-painterly abstraction and Color Field.


  • picks September 30, 2014

    Liu Xinyi

    Liu Xinyi’s recent exhibition continues his excavation of visual logic used for political ends. The artist was spurred by a 1958 speech by Nikita Khrushchev about his visions for Soviet rule in Hungary: Rather than empty revolutionary rhetoric, he asked, “Isn’t it better to have good goulash?” Mistranslated and mocked by Mao, the bastardized Chinese formulation became “Communism is stewed beef and potatoes.” With such displacements in mind, Liu takes on the imagery of now-defunct Socialist states. One Night Back to Wartime, 2014, for instance, is made up of twelve red stars arranged in a circle,

  • picks June 09, 2013

    Xu Zhen

    Xu Zhen has reemerged from his art collective MadeIn Company with an audacious latter-day Earthwork. The smell of vegetation alerts the visitor upon entry that this is no ordinary exhibition: Carefully planted rolling knolls with a veritable maze of forking paths have completely taken over the white gallery space. One is reminded less of a traditional Chinese garden of ideal, miniaturized landscapes than a video game remake of Alice in Wonderland with the installation’s bizarre, flat cut-outs of fire, ginseng, and psychedelic bodhisattvas installed throughout the field. Urs Fischer’s intervening

  • picks May 02, 2012

    “Formant: Forms of Listening to Forms”

    Featuring divergent works of sound art and performance, this exhibition takes its name from the peak in the spectral envelope of sound. A formant’s role in the overall perception of sound quality and its dependence on the resonant environment render it an apt metaphor for the emerging genre of sound art in China. Organized by two artists, Yin Yi and Luca Forcucci, both of whom also present works here, the project includes installations, performances, and public lectures, all aiming to bring greater awareness to sound as art.

    Sprawled out along the walls is Yan Jun’s Still, 2011–12, with its tiny