Yang Beichen

  • “Meditations in an Emergency”

    In devising countermeasures to some crises, we ignore others. During the global outbreak of Covid-19, the need to quarantine and to social-distance has become a consensus view. Giorgio Agamben’s much-criticized arguments have touched on this point: The novel coronavirus has normalized the state of exception, resulting in the sacrifice of freedoms previously taken for granted and throwing humanity into a long-term state of fear and uncertainty. Post-lockdown, can we forge new kinds of social relationships?

    Contemporary art institutions are responsible for engaging in cultural reflection, yet in

  • Chen Chieh-jen

    In his solo show “A Field of Non-field,” the Taiwanese artist Chen Chieh-jen elaborates on what he calls “dhammic leftism,” a term he’s been using for some time. The concept is based on Nagarjuna’s Madhyamaka (“middle path”) school of Buddhism, in which Chen sees a kind of negative dialectic manifested through its so-called eight negations––“neither birth nor death, neither end nor permanence, neither identity nor difference, neither coming nor going.” The doctrine calls for a synthesis of strict criticism and speculative consciousness, which is also embodied on the level of visuality: The

  • Li Ran

    In Li Ran’s new exhibition “Same Old Crowd,” the city of Singapore has been rendered almost entirely abstract. The Beijing-based artist, who spent three months in residence last year at Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University Centre for Contemporary Art, takes a “participant observer” approach—using the tourist map as a starting point to craft a dehistoricized, flattened visual model of his subject. The two-channel video It Is Not Complicated, A Guidebook (all work, 2016) presents footage Li shot during a preplanned route through the city’s Gardens by the Bay while accompanied by an

  • Li Ming

    “New Directions,” Li Ming’s recent exhibition at the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, had a cultish atmosphere. In a dark corner of the gallery, an ominous sculptural light box flashed the word me in severe white block letters; below the installation was a man-made pond that reflected the pulsing letters as the word WE, creating an entrancing symmetry. At the opposite end of the space was the video essay MeIWe #1 (all works 2015), comprising a minimal electronic sound track and interwoven clips of runners pulled from films, home videos, and product advertisements. The video also features a

  • Shi Qing

    Shi Qing’s “Hinterland Project” was not a solo exhibition in the strictest sense: Some twenty participants were involved in the undertaking (2015–), which assumed a shape akin to activism or fieldwork. The presentation was divided into nine distinct units, each documenting a subproject engaging questions surrounding the relationship between globalization and the local. Including Night of the Courier, Bus Line, Interior River Courier Service, British Pavilion, Tea Factory, Mobile Plants, Huangbian Village Council, Crimson, and Gallery, these themes evolved from the artist’s proposition for a

  • Hu Xiangqian

    A central concern of Beijing-based artist Hu Xiangqian’s oeuvre seems to be: Is the body a performance artist’s only tool, and are the performative acts of a single body enough to constitute a resonantly critical practice? As if to explore these questions, Hu introduced a second body to Reconstructing Michelangelo, 2014–15, the predominant work in “A Performance a Day Keeps the Doctor Away,” his recent exhibition of four new projects.

    Reconstructing Michelangelo considers what the relationship between a master and an apprentice might be in the context of performance art, and attempts to articulate

  • interviews April 14, 2015

    Guan Xiao

    Guan Xiao (关小), a Beijing-based artist, is known for her mixed-media works that incorporate images and videos sourced online. Her installation The Documentary: Geocentric Puncture, 2012, which juxtaposes camera and surveillance equipment with fake artifacts, is currently on view in third New Museum Triennial, “Surround Audience,” which is on view in New York through May 24, 2015. Here she discusses the evolution of this work.

    SINCE MY FIRST SOLO SHOW at Magician Space in Beijing, my work has attempted to use various means of weaving to convey my comprehension of my surroundings—which could be