December 18, 2018 – Shanghai – At 15:00, December 12, the First Shanghai Curators Lab (SCL) came to an end in Shanghai Academy of Fine Arts, which, nevertheless, marked the official launch of the group curatorial program — “It was a Dream of a Trip.” This group program would last from December 2 to December 13. Wang Dawei, the Executive Dean of SAFA, Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev, the Director of the Castello di Rivoli Museum of Contemporary Art, Yongwoo Lee, the professor of SAFA at Shanghai University, have attended onsite and handed the course certificate of completion to every curator. There were many collaborators, experts, artists, teachers and students from SAFA gathering together to witness and celebrate the opening of SCL’s group curatorial program-“It was a Dream of a Trip”, including Gong Yan (Director of Power Station of Art), Zhou Tiehai (Artistic Director of West Bund Art and Design), Biljana Ciric (Independent Curator), Li Naihan(Architect and Artist), Lorenz Helbling (Founder of ShanghART), Qiao Zhibing (Founder of Qiao Space& Tank Shanghai), Jin Jiangbo (Associate Dean of SAFA).
Driven by SAFA and BAOWU Group, Shanghai International Art City (SIAC) research institute serves for the construction of 2035 Shanghai city sub-center under the background of the overall transformation of Shanghai Wusong industrial zone. Wang Dawei, the Executive Dean of SAFA gave the opening speech to introduce SCL, hoping it could take advantages of the early stage of SIAC to provide younger talents a space of boundless imagination, as well as a platform and an experimental field to demonstrate intelligence and to realize their ideas. This first edition of SCL will continuously develop and expand for the future of Shanghai and all the curators will bring endless vitality.
Wang Dawei, Executive Dean of Shanghai Academy of Fine Arts, gave the closing speech. He first expressed congratulations to every curator’s successful completion of the SCL program, and pointed out that this program symbolized the first attempt of interactive teaching between curators and lead professors and lectures. He also reiterated the goal of the SCL, that was, to build a Shanghai-based global circle and platform for curators from home and abroad, to seek in-depth cooperation with curators in the construction process of the Wusong International Art City, and to jointly create the international art ecosphere.
Carolyn Christove-Bakargiev, the lead professor of this program, participated in the whole preparation process of this curators’ group program. Her involvement in discussions of curators provided curators with effective suggestions and guidance. She firstly expressed heartfelt thanks to all curators, for the new generation of young curators gave her many inspirations. Meanwhile, she was very satisfied with the outcome of the curators’ group program, which demonstrated the unique expression forms and emotional output forms of art in the digital era. To conclude, she sincerely hoped that audiences could enjoy this visual feast.
Yongwoo Lee, another lead professor, also made a summary of this program. He hoped the sharing and discussions in class could be historical life moments of the SCL and keep on fermenting. In Lee’s opinion, this curators’ group program, “It was a Dream of a Trip,” represented feelings of curators gathering in Shanghai and a “revolutionary” trip in their long career as a curator. Thus, he wished that audiences, after visiting this exhibition, could gain a more diverse artistic thinking of the cosmopolitan city, Shanghai.
The lead professors handed the course certificate of completion to every curator and took a group photo to commemorate the exciting moment. Yang Tiange from China and Giulia Colletti from Italy, as curators’ representatives, shared the thoughts of great challenges in the short-term preparation of this group project of SCL. They also expressed thanks for the support from all aspects.
The one-month tense but well-organized lectures, seminars, visits to artists’ studios, biennial exhibition and art fair, as well as cultural tours provided curators with an infinite curatorial thinking and resources from all different industries. Through constant discussions, the curators successfully accomplished the jointly-curated exhibition, “It was a Dream of a Trip.” This exhibition is about what is present and what is absent and the traffic and crossing of what moves in between. It brings together a variety of visual materials delimiting real from unreal, actual from virtual, past from present. It is an experiment of love and care in the face of an impossible dialogue and an attempt at finding harmony in the dissonant voices of 21 curators asked to collaborate and work together on a single exhibition. Participating artists: Aaajiao, Diego Ascencio, Ramiro Ávila, Richard Brautigan, Feng Chen, Zhang Ding, Display Distribute, Adelita Husni-Bey, Yan Jun , Chen Leng, Hanne Lippard, Qinmin Liu, Lu Pingyuan, Mo Shaolong, Mountain River Jump! (Huang Shan & Huang He), Quiet Kate, Klara Ravat, Alvin Tran, Evelyn Taocheng Wang, Steven Warwick, Funa Ye, Yin Yi, Xu Zhen.
Curator have planned three art performances at that opening day to bring a unique audiovisual experience to the audience, including “The Best Is Yet To Come”(Performance by Alvin Tran, with Garth Art and Hank Yu) , ”You Live In The Desert Of The Real, But I Live In Beautiful”(Artist: Ye Funa) and “The Real as Imaginary”(Composer: Peter Ablinger and Performer: Viola Yip).
Let us make the first edition of Shanghai Curators Lab as a starting point to invite more young curators to join us, to constantly inject vigor in the construction of Shanghai Wusong International Art City, and to integrate art education, art practice and curatorial practice to shape a unique ecology of art and culture.
The Best Is Yet To Come
Performance by Alvin Tran, with Garth Art and Hank Yu
The Best Is Yet To Come explores the unnoticed ways empathy can be extended. Through improvised structures and an exploration of movement language found in public parks, the performers look at how certain sites become places for gathering and how suppressed desire can be processed collectively. However, on the other hand, the performance also explores the experience of loss when spaces of intimacy lose their ground.
You Live In The Desert Of The Real, But I Live In Beautiful
Lecture performance by Ye Funa
Using the mobile phone application Meitu that instantly edits portraits to look beautiful, this lecture performance explores contemporary concepts of beauty and self-projection in the digital age.
The Real as Imaginary
Composer: Peter Ablinger
Performer: Viola Yip, solo voice
Peter Ablinger’s The Real as Imaginary is a composition for a solo speaker and noise. The performer can have any voice type; however, the text should be translated into a language that the audience can understand. The performance noise track should be generated by the sum of frequencies in the recording of the performer’s recitation of the text. The noise track, then, needs to be further filtered through oscillated frequency bands to create “windows”. As a result, this noise track is played at a volume that is just loud enough to envelop the performer’s voice; but with the oscillated “windows”, the voice floats between the foreground, background and space in between.
The Real as Imaginary questions whether the “imaginary” and the “real” oppose each other in our perception. Ironically, perceiving reality relies on our imagination, as Ablinger expressed, “I had asked whether it would ever be possible to reach the real, whether it would ever be possible to break through the prison of my imaginations onto the real.” The monologue allows Ablinger to search for the idea of the “real”, and the relationship between the “real” and the “imaginary”. At the end of the text, he concludes that: “The imaginary as real, and equally the real as imaginary – this would then be, so to say, a formula for the interpenetration of the two, a formula for the living and for the being-here.”
21 internatioanl curators gathering at the Shanghai Curators Lab (SCL)
Since the open call for applications, Shanghai Curators Lab has attracted 168 candidates from over 28 countries (around 50 regions), including the United States, UK, Italy, Germany, France, Russia, Canada, Australia, China, etc. Most of the candidates are in art related industries, including gallery and museum curators, independent artists and art academy students. Through the comprehensive inspection and evaluation by lead professors and the representative from the collaborative partner, 21 candidates with an average age of 28 from more than 10 countries including China, UK, Germany, France, Australia, etc. were selected as the participating curators for the 1st SCL.
The name list of SCL curators as below (in alphabetical order):
Olivia Aherne (UK)
Paulina Ascencio (Mexico)
Celina Basra (Germany)
Canan Batur (Turkey)
Anais Castro (Portugal)
Jiaying Chen (China)
Giulia Colletti (Italy)
Kate Davis (Australia)
Cecilia Giurgevich (Italy)
Thomas Laval (France)
Rosanna Lee (UK)
Margarita Leonenko (Russia)
Luyao Li (China)
Yasemin Keskintepe (Germany)
John Kenneth Paranada (Philippines)
Thomas Patier (France)
Ana Salazar (Portugal)
Tiange Yang (China)
Wilson Yeung Chun-wai (Hong Kong)
Seda Yildiz (Turkey)
Viola Yip (Hong Kong)
27 guest lecturers being invited to the Shanghai Curators Lab (SCL)
Apart from the lead professors Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev, the Director of the Castello di Rivoli Museum of Contemporary Art, and Yongwoo Lee, professor of SAFA at Shanghai University, other 27 well-known guest lecturers from the art circle were invited to this project. They have provided a good opportunity for curators to communicate with experts from various interdisciplinary fields. The SCL has designed 9 on-site visits and communications, including: The 12th Shanghai Biennale; The 5th West Bund Art& Design; Artist Liu Jianhua’s Studio; ShanghART Gallery (Taopu Space); Zhujiajiao Town; Artist Ding Yi’s Studio; Qiao Space and Tank Shanghai; Wuzhen and Shanghai International Art City (formerly BAOWU Group). Curators will explore the enormous potential of curatorial expansion within different lectures and field trips.
The List of Lecturers is as follows (in no particular order):
Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev: Director of the Castello di Rivoli Museum of Contemporary Art
Yongwoo Lee: Professor at Shanghai Academy of Fine Arts (SAFA) and artistic director of SIAC (Shanghai International Art City) Research Institute
Li Naihan: Architects and artist
Cuauhtémoc Medina: Chief curator of 12th Shanghai Biennale
Shi Hantao: General coordination of the project of the 2018 12th Shanghai Biennale
Liu Jianhua: Artist
Hans Ulrich Obrist: Artistic Director of the Serpentine Galleries London
Carol Yinghua Lu: Director of Beijing Inside-out Art Museum
Aric Chan: Curator-at-Large for M+
Sunjung Kim: President of Gwangju Biennale Foundation
Yu Ding: Dean of the School of Arts Administration and Education
Zhang Haimeng: The head of McKinsy’s Asia Pacific organization
Gong Yan: Director of Power Station of Art
Larys Frogier: Director of the Rockbund Art Museum in Shanghai
Wiyu Wahono: Art art collectors in Jakarta, Indonesia
Karen Smith: Director of OCAT Xi’an
Li Xiangning: Deputy Dean of CAUPTJU (College of Architecture and Urban Planning, Tongji University)
Biljana Ciric: Independent curator
Ding Yi: Artist
Wang Dawei: Executive Dean of SAFA
Gao Shiming: Vice President of China Academy of Art
Katie de Tilly: Founding member and President Emeritus of the Hong Kong Art Gallery Association
Claire Hsu: Co-founder and Executive Director of Asia Art Archive
Akira Tatehata: President of Tama Art University, Tokyo; Director of Yayoi Jusama Museum, Tokyo
Danny YUNG: Co-Artistic Director of Zuni Icosahedron