Li Ming, Rendering the Mind, 2017, video still
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I ran into him the other day at the Element Fresh near the Lido Holiday Inn hotel in northeastern Beijing, not the sort of place you’d necessarily expect to find the first true superstar of Chinese art. But if that’s where Uli Sigg, the man at least indirectly responsible for a good part of that…

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1a Space www.oneaspace.org.hk Founded in 1998 in Hong Kong, 1a Space is a non-profit visual arts organization. It is operated by a program committee and governed by a board of directors. For operating capital, it relies on donations and other financial aid, whereas part of the administrative fees are funded by the Hong Kong Arts Development Council. The space…

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In the 1980s, of course, no one talked about art spaces. Sure, artists intervened in the public realm, looking to bend it to their purposes. And of course there were always institutions, and the logic of coopting them for newer, bolder purposes was a motivation that then, as now, loomed large. (Look no further than…

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CHEN HUI-CHIAO Taipei/IT Park Initially, the motivation behind IT Park came from the artists and students who would return from studying abroad full of thoughts and ideas, but without a place to unleash their creativity. At the time, there was virtually no space for modern art exhibition or performance. I wanted a space simply to…

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A particular and much remarked upon characteristic of the Chinese art scene is the hyper-commercialized, gallery-based system. By and large an import from the West, the Chinese gallery system over the last ten years has swiftly matured, serving as an important point of connection between Chinese artists and the outside art worlds. For better or…

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[portfolio_slideshow timeout=7000 exclude=”5167,5171,5503″] A BRIEF HISTORY OF SPACE Art spaces in China have evolved the hard way, through a long process of selection and replacement. We look at some of the places and people who have made this happen. BACK IN THE DAY: ALTERNATIVE SPACES IN THE EARLY YEARS LEAP chats with some of the…

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Arrow Factory A spatial limitation forces a turn to other approaches. It was the spring of 2008, and the city of Beijing was scrambling to prepare itself for the Olympic Games. Off the Airport Expressway, 798 and Caochangdi—infamous hubs of galleries and museums exhibiting contemporary Chinese art— were experiencing unprecedented growth. Meanwhile, in the center…

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The little town of Jincheng is built around a paper mill. The mill, erected in 1939, has survived many periods—from the Japanese occupation to the civil war to the Cultural Revolution. It was first called Jinzhou’s “Barbu” Co. Ltd. and then went through a string of names as a state-run Jinzhou paper mill, before finally ending on its current name:…

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Inside the Chinese art world, people tend to think of the Sichuan artists (which we should define as those coming from the southwestern area of China centered on Chongqing and Chengdu) as belonging to a tight, perfectly ordered community. This impression might initially come from their easily recognizable accents and common love of hot pot—a shared sensorium based on a rich,…

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[portfolio_slideshow timeout=7000 exclude=”5852″] In this issue, we ask ourselves a few questions: Is there any connection between the places artists come from and the art they make? Why do artists leave their homes, and how do they return? What does being from a particular place mean for an artist’s self-construction, artistic creation, and career development?…

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Simon Kirby had just called in a food delivery. Kirby, director of the gallery Chambers Fine Art Beijing, was sitting in the Ai Weiwei-designed gallery courtyard out in Caochangdi on a summer afternoon, plotting an exhibition with his visitors. He asked Yangzi about the origins of their group, the Wangjing Painting Society (WPS). Then Dong…

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QIU XIAOFEI & HU XIAOYUAN Qiu Xiaofei and Hu Xiaoyuan have been living together for fifteen years now. Best not to think about how long it’s been, Hu says. “It gets scary.” They grew up with no access to computers, and didn’t find out about the Internet until after university. Today, Qiu has little faith in digital images. The aversion…

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A China Youthology x LEAP Special Report For over two years, China Youthology conducted an ongoing study of China’s young people. They are a generation affected by the Internet, a rapidly developing economy, a transforming social structure, the onset of globalization, and the arrival of consumer culture. There are a lot of changes going on. That’s true for China’s youth. What…

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Whenever the topic of “art youth” comes up, many are eager to throw cold water on it. Some keep quiet, reflecting on the now seemingly unfounded optimism and heedless idealism of earlier generations, while others, reacting more to a current situation, fear that the young can only become pawns in someone else’s chess match. This…

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[portfolio_slideshow timeout=7000 exclude=”5710″] THE RISE OF CHINA’S “NEW ART YOUTH” Produced in collaboration with the Zhang Anding and Lisa Li’s consulting office “China Youthology,” this report looks to come to sociological terms with the phenomenon of the “art youth.” PROFILES IN YOUTH Visits with six extraordinary individuals, couples, and collectives who demonstrate the range of…

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China’s ever and rapidly increasing prominence on the world stage is no secret, and recently, that world has begun to pay attention to rapid developments in a special relationship: that between China and Africa. And just as China celebrated a milestone moment of global emergence in 2008 with the Beijing Olympics, this month Africa prepares to host the…

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LEAP 47 | Spring/Summer 2018

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