Li Ming, Rendering the Mind, 2017, video still
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Features

“Real things are not absolute things. Real things are the embodiments of a dictatorial system of coercion which maintains that they are real.”(1) In the paranoid milieu of the post-war order, Akasegawa Genpei’s “Thesis on Capitalist Realism” made sense: for many, discovering that the televisions, coffee tables, advertisements—the entire world—around them were a construction could…

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Contemporary Chinese artists and the worker’s experience In 1972, a 16-year-old Sui Jianguo took the place of his mother as a worker at the Tongyao Workshop of Qingdao National Cotton Mill No. 2; in 1977, a 20-year-old Wang Guangyi left a farm in Heilongjiang province, where he had worked as a sent-down youth, to become…

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Indépendamment du désir que l’on éprouve, lors des heures brûlantes du vernissage de la Biennale de Venise, de s’abriter à l’ombre de l’Art, on est toujours saisi par l’excitation à l’idée de pénétrer dans l’Arsenal et les Giardini. Les possibilités sont infinies, mais circonscrites par les murs des édifices, et par Venise elle-même. Durant ces…

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Current events in the international sphere, including the emergence of the Islamic State, invite us to think about de-westernization after the Cold War and decoloniality after decolonization. If a point of reference is needed, the 1955 Bandung Conference is a good one. China was under the leadership of Mao Zedong, and Zhou Enlai, first Premier…

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Scholar Dai Jinhua, in his discussion of the ideological constructs of mass culture in the 1990s, says that, at that time,“farewell to revolution” became the profound and tragic social consensus. This turn occurred alongside the end of the Cold War and Fukuyama’s “end of history,” originating in the disruptive influence of market reform on intellectual…

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Rock and roll first made its way to Chinese audiences as reference materials for the critique of capitalism, before it began to spread among the children of officials and musical families. Memories of early-1990s rock exist only in the communities of expats and elite intellectuals, who forged friendships in the Kempinski Hotel and Song Huaigui’s…

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“Entropy Wrangler,” Ian Cheng’s 2013 exhibition at Off Vendome in Dusseldorf, was an excellent introduction to the logic behind this artist’s practice. The centerpiece was a large projection in the gallery’s basement described as “a live computer simulation that changes and evolves, forever.” Like all of Cheng’s simulations, it was programmed with motion capture techniques…

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The Big Bang After the immense success of Grosse Fatigue, which caused a sensation at the 2013 Venice Biennale and brought Camille Henrot the Silver Lion, the French artist, born in 1978, has become one of the most sought-after names for curators and institutions. The Venice exhibition, curated by Massimiliano Gioni, was fittingly titled “The…

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It is difficult to talk about Maria Taniguchi’s work. Like an archaeologist piecing together artifacts, she unpacks knowledge and experience connecting material culture, technology and natural evolution. Beyond her objects, we are asked to look at their context. Who sees an object? How are we seeing this object? What associations can we make? A lesser-known…

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Zhang Ding’s work conveys objects and phenomena that are impossible to describe through language alone. Perhaps the essence of these things is too primal, to the extent that language—artificial and pretentious—cannot touch them. Perhaps the system of these things is too complex, and language cannot communicate their complexity. Substances overcome their physical properties, removing the…

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Anthropologist Claude Levi-Strauss was a fan of painter Nicolas Poussin. He analyzes Poussin’s use of light and composition in painting Echo and Narcissus, and expands on its subject matter. The concept of the echo holds different meanings in different cultures. To the Greeks and Romans, the echo was an impediment to communication; to Native Americans, the…

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Artists in many parts of the world spent the 1990s caught up in the historic moment that was the end of the Cold War—what would be claimed as the end of history. Some, like those in the Chinese mainland, were under a prevailing spell as economic as political, which lasted almost to the end of…

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Every two years, the Guggenheim Museum administers the Hugo Boss Prize. Funded by the eponymous German clothing company, the prize is presented to an artist “whose oeuvre constitutes an outstanding co…

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LEAP 47 | Spring/Summer 2018

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