Hanlu Zhang

  • diary June 15, 2018

    Regional Affairs

    YINCHUAN IS IN THE MIDDLE OF NOWHERE, even though the city claims itself to be the “center” of China. The Museum of Contemporary Art Yinchuan is also in the middle of nowhere; the meadow and man-made ponds outside its postmodern architecture bring to mind Iowa, the Netherlands, and Hokkaido. But inside, the second Yinchuan Biennale offers up images from everywhere else: South Africa, Dongting Lake in China’s Hunan Province, the Kachin Hills in Burma, the Karakum Desert in Turkmenistan, Chitwan in Nepal, Mexico City—the list goes on. The biennale’s invited curators and artists from across the

  • Dai Chenlian

    Dai Chenlian’s exhibition “A Bright Moon Surging upon Tide” took the viewer into an unfamiliar realm. A giant boat made of paper and wood stood toward one end of the gallery; black lines and dashes embellished the floor and columns, as if measuring and dividing the space; landscapes were drawn directly on the walls; paper signs with words such as WATER and ROCK sat on the ground or hung from ropes; and a few paintings and readymade objects occupied various corners. The entire exhibition was almost black and white, and felt like the interior of another, bigger boat resembling the one in the space.

  • Song Dong

    However much postmodern or global influence has shaped contemporary China, this Confucian maxim has not escaped people’s outlooks: “At thirty I stood firm. At forty, I had no doubts. At fifty, I knew the mandate of heaven. At sixty, my ear was an obedient organ for the reception of the truth.” This proverb is also the reference point for fifty-year-old Song Dong’s solo show “I Don’t Know the Mandate of Heaven.” The exhibition, curated by Liu Yingjiu and Xu Tiantian and replete with dense materials, provides more than enough jigsaw pieces to construct Song’s life and career, while also presenting

  • Liu Xiaodong, Carsten Nicolai, and Nam June Paik

    Combining datum and sensoria, the neologism in the title “Datumsoria: An Exhibition of Liu Xiaodong, Carsten Nicolai, and Nam June Paik” simultaneously refers to a new sensory space and a creative apparatus opened up by the information age. The three artists might seem an odd combination at first, but the exhibition offered coherent narratives that told an enthralling, thought-provoking, and, in the end, frightening sci-fi story.

    Paik’s 1993 video sculpture The Rehabilitation of Genghis-Khan welcomed visitors as they entered CAC’s exhibition space. Without the title, one would not recognize the

  • picks November 14, 2016

    Felix Gonzalez-Torres

    The first solo exhibition of Felix Gonzalez-Torres in China, at the Rockbund Museum of Art, includes not only his signature participatory works—such as the candy pieces “Untitled” (Public Opinion) and “Untitled” (Portrait of Ross in LA) and poster pieces such as “Untitled” (We Don’t Remember)—but also his photography, collage, advertisement, and tattoo works. The show’s scale and range of works make it seem much like a retrospective. Due to the museum’s architecture, visitors—as they ascend the narrow building’s five floors—find themselves on a sentimental journey through which the artist is

  • Miao Ying

    For Miao Ying’s “Holding a Kitchen Knife to Cut the Internet Cable,” a monthlong online exhibition organized by the Chronus Art Center and the Chinese pavilion at the Fifty-Sixth Venice Biennale, the artist revisited a collection of ten GIFs and browser works she produced in 2014 and 2015 that engage the aesthetics of censorship. Arranged here in a set sequence, the flashy, congested pieces could be scrolled through by a visitor such that an ambiguous narrative unfolded. The composition of each page typically consisted of a background image, a browser window, and found slangy musings about love,