Du Keke

  • Yokohama Triennale 2020

    THIS PAST JULY, the number of confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Tokyo rose to more than two hundred per day. In spite of this, the Yokohama Triennale, less than twenty miles away, went on to open July 17, having pushed its original date back only two weeks. This speaks volumes about the courage and determination of its artistic directors, the New Delhi trio Raqs Media Collective. With international travel still on hiatus, neither the collective nor the non-local artists participating in the Triennale could attend the opening in person, and many had to participate in

  • Where we’re at: Beijing, Singapore, Tokyo, Shanghai, New Delhi

    VICTOR WANG

    BEIJING

    BLACK MAOISM was a real thing. Recently I’ve been thinking about what that means in China today.

    Radical histories of Blackness in China are rarely part of mainstream discussions on Afro-Asian solidarity on either side of the Pacific, yet those very legacies explain why Shirley Graham Du Bois is buried in Beijing’s Babaoshan Revolutionary Cemetery, China’s illustrious burial ground for its national heroes.

    I’ve recently found access to these histories through the Department of Xenogenesis, a series of pedagogical dialogues organized on Zoom by the Otolith Group. Kodwo Eshun

  • slant March 27, 2020

    Letter from Tokyo

    THINGS HAVE SEEMED CALM in Tokyo during the pandemic. I am tempted to write ominously calm, but in all honesty, things do not feel ominous to me—and this absence of ominousness is what is so discomposing. Yes, there is the constant hum of anxiety emanating from the television, where ongoing criticism of the government’s prevention and containment measures are heard, and where pundits speculate on how the postponement of the Olympics will impact the economy. But everyday life goes on, even despite warnings about a second wave of cases: people dine out, ride trams, and even stop by the galleries

  • “Awakenings: Art in Society in Asia 1960s–1990s”

    “AWAKENINGS” was the latest collaboration between museums in Japan, Korea, and Singapore to loosen the grip of postwar, so-called Western narratives of art. The ambitious curatorial team (Cheng JiaYun, Seng Yu Jin, Adele Tan, Eugene Tan, and Charmaine Toh of the National Gallery Singapore; Tomohiro Masuda and Katsuo Suzuki from the National Museum of Modern Art in Tokyo; and Bae Myungji and Ryu Hanseung of the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Seoul) organized more than a hundred artists from twelve countries across three sections—“Questioning Structures,” “Artists and the City,”

  • 12th Shanghai Biennale

    EVER SINCE the Shanghai Biennale moved to the Power Station of Art in 2012, monumental works have been a mainstay of the event. Take, for example, Huang Yong Ping’s nearly sixty-foot-tall cast-iron tower in that first edition in the former coal energy plant, or MouSen+MSG’s immersive “storytelling machine,” The Great Chain of Being-Planet Trilogy, in 2016.

    So it is refreshing to enter the cavernous main hall and find a relatively understated display: Enrique Ježik’s In Hemmed-in Ground, 2018. The installation consists of sixteen Chinese characters, each constructed humbly from cardboard and steel,

  • ROPPONGI CROSSING 2019: “CONNEXIONS”

    Curated by Reiko Tsubaki, Hirokazu Tokuyama, and Haruko Kumakura

    For the sixth edition of the Mori Art Museum’s triennial survey of contemporary Japanese art, the institution’s three curators delve into the question of what kind of role art might play in a society where political and economic polarization is exacerbated by rapid technological change. The show’s roster of twenty-five artists and collectives—most of the exhibitors are in their thirties and forties—is diverse with respect to medium and style. For instance, the latest high-tech garments from the fashion label Anrealage will

  • "QIU ZHIJIE: MAPPA MUNDI”

    If all thinkers are either hedgehogs or foxes, as per Isaiah Berlin’s well-known classification, Chinese artist, curator, theorist, and educator Qiu Zhijie is one of the latter: a fox who knows and does many things, sometimes too many for the audience to digest at once. “Mappa Mundi,” Qiu’s second solo show in Beijing this year, will focus on a single aspect of his multifarious practice—namely, maps. More than thirty large-scale ink-on-paper works will provide a comprehensive view of the complex conceptual territories Qiu has constructed in his “Mapping the World Project,”

  • interviews March 27, 2018

    Wang Yin

    Wang Yin is a Beijing-based artist whose works carefully trace the aesthetic experience that informed the modernization of painting in China. Here, he discusses his latest exhibition, “Friendship,” at Vitamin Creative Space’s Mirrored Gardens in Guangzhou, China, which features fourteen new works illuminated only by natural light. The show is on view until April 15, 2018.

    I DECIDED TO TITLE THIS SHOW “FRIENDSHIP” because I think we need to establish a more friendly relationship with the past and with the Other. Oil painting has always been an incomplete issue in East Asia. And I am willing to

  • Yang Jian

    Near the entrance of Yang Jian’s solo exhibition “Constructing Ruins,” visitors encountered a short text typewritten on a small piece of paper attached to a length of rebar. The elliptical words tell the story of a crew of workers who run into trouble constructing a bridge. The foreman, disguised as a beggar, asks nearby villagers for two sets of children’s clothes. The workers nail the clothes to a post and, suddenly, they are able to complete the bridge successfully. Soon, however, the children to whom the clothes belonged die.

    This tale was among half a dozen stories printed on as many pieces

  • BI-CITY BIENNALE OF URBANISM\ARCHITECTURE

    The seventh edition of the Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism\Architecture, organized by Hou Hanru and two founding partners of the local architectural collective urbanus, has chosen as its main venue a unique enclave in the city: Nantou, a historical town that is gradually transforming into one of the city’s so-called urban villages. A side effect of Shenzhen’s rapid economic development, these sprawling villages-in-the-city lack central planning and enjoy limited access to city services, often providing a home for migrant populations. This biennial—through

  • “PAN YULIANG: A JOURNEY TO SILENCE”

    Among the few female painters of the Republican era in China, Pan Yuliang (1895–1977) may be the most well known. Her captivating life story, fraught with controversy and intrigue, has been told and retold in various movies, TV dramas, and novels. Yet her artistic legacy and its position in the broader project of China’s modernization remain largely unexplored. The two-part survey “A Portrait of Pan Yuliang”—split between a research platform hosted by Villa Vassilieff in Paris from May 20 to June 24 and an exhibition at Guangdong Times Museum—will be a

  • “Song Dong: I Don’t Know the Mandate of Heaven”

    In the Analects, Confucius says that fifty is a watershed year in one’s life, a time when one becomes conscious of the “mandate of heaven,” or one’s position in the universe. This has apparently not been the case for the fifty-year-old Beijing-based artist Song Dong, who has titled his midcareer survey “I Don’t Know the Mandate of Heaven.” The exhibition presents major works made since the 1990s, including paintings, photographs, installations, ceramic sculptures, and videos, offering a chance to examine Song’s eclectic yet consistent approach to art and