Li Ming, Rendering the Mind, 2017, video still
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Honest, upright, at ease, strolling everywhere as he pleased, In the urban noise, applying brush to walls, electrical boxes, and lampposts, He surpassed them all, writing the epic of Kowloon. Sweat and ink, a jumble of fonts large and small, With steady smile from start to finish, He loved nothing more than an ice-cold coke….

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The artist He Xiangyu (born 1986) has made a quick name for himself in the contemporary art world. His reputation, for the most part, owes itself to the scale and grandeur his work has taken on, both uncommon for an artist his age. The huge, post-apocalyptic landscape mountains of black crystalline residue seen in his…

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Stretching from photography to video and installation, WAZA’s latest multimedia work Social Youth divides three spaces into different layers of depth. First, the audience notices small posters of photography works arranged in line in a hallway. Immediately after, a pitch-black screening room resembling the video halls popular in China in the 1980s follows, while the…

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Xu Qu gained a certain degree of recognition after his contribution to “51m²” at Taikang Space: the single-channel video work Upstream, in which the artist and a friend navigate a rubber dinghy along Beijing canals starting outside of the city center and ending in the vicinity of the central government’s headquarters in Zhongnanhai, where they…

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Tokyo has long been known for its cultural exports, and the present is no exception. However, in terms of contemporary art, the city’s galleries are faced with the decision to either move ahead into a truly cosmopolitan future, or remain behind in an antiquated past. Japanese art is at an international high just now. Yayoi…

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The critic and scholar Boris Groys is a household name in the international contemporary art world, including in China, where his writings have found a great number of faithful readers. Before these readers get a chance to see his work as co-curator of this year’s Shanghai Biennale, however, LEAP made sure to sit down for…

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Dubai On the press bus bound for the Madinat Jumeirah and Art Dubai one late March morning, it was impossible not to overhear a healthy chorus of eight or nine Mandarin voices; perusing the materials distributed a few minutes later, names like Zhang Huan, Melissa Chiu, Richard Chang, Cai Guo-Qiang, and Carol Yinghua Lu jumped…

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                  1. KLARA LIDÉN Klara Lidén, a Berlin-based Swede working through installation, architectural interventions, and video, suffuses her practice with both the unbridled energy of a young urban adventurer and the resourcefulness of a hardened street urchin. Her work, resolutely, is “street”: via the reallocation of scavenged…

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Having missed the Hou Hanru-curated photography exhibition “The Power Of Doubt” this spring at La Fabrica gallery in Spain, we were fortunate to find it this past December at the Times Museum in Guangzhou. On the occasion of the show, we took the opportunity to interview this curator. LEAP Why did you decide to bring…

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THE SUBJECTS OF my paintings are all familiar places and people, and that is because knowing them well, I feel confident in drawing them. Recently I made some small paintings on the streets of Beijing, chatting with the old men and women living in the hutongs, whose accents are so familiar to me. The scenes…

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NARI WARD IS a Jamaican-born installation artist whose work forges new semiotic possibilities for our relation to objects. Ever since his breakthrough work Amazing Grace (1993), in which he amassed nearly 300 abandoned baby carriages from Harlem streets and bound them together with fire hose in a disused firehouse, the “reinvention” of found materials has…

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WESTERN PHILOSOPHY, especially Kantian philosophy, is consistent on one point: the distinction between noumenon— the thing in and of itself— and phenomenon— the thing as perceived. Traditional Chinese philosophy, however, holds no such distinction; if anything, the two are combined in the arching concept of the bengen (literally, the “root” of all things). If one…

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The Frac des Pays de la Loire invited the Chinese artists Duan Jianyu, Jiang Pengyi, Yang Xinguang, Yang Guangnan, Huang Xiaopeng, and Kan Xuan to visit the French city of Nantes for a two-month residency program. The outcome of this artistic venture then appeared in the exhibition “Be Natural, Be Yourself,” curated by Hou Hanru….

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In Chinese medicine they say that those who won’t make it through the following year tend to leave for good in the winter. It’s a theory that may sound folksy but that this winter was borne out by a string of monumental passings that seemed never to end. And no sooner had Christopher Hitchens, Václav…

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                  1. NINA BEIER Take Danish artist Nina Beier’s sculpture series, “The Demonstrators”: posters of stock images, such as of a light bulb or rope, are dipped in glue and draped upon various found objects, which sometimes hang from the ceiling. The slick, color-blocked industrialism of the…

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DANCING WITH STILLNESS Text: Chen Zhou / Translation: Marianna Cerini In Beijing one can still find a few ballrooms that cropped up at the end of the 1970s. In today’s society, these ballrooms have come to represent a specific trait of that era, and together with the people who frequented them, they have kept the…

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Located in Berlin’s Kreuzberg district, Künstlerhaus Bethanien is an exhibition space, publishing organization, and center for international artist residency programs. Last year, the establishment moved from its former historical building to a new privately owned location. Every one of the past 38 years, Künstlerhaus Bethanien has offered 12-month studio residencies and exhibition opportunities to dozens…

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1. SARAH BRAMAN At the age of 43, Sarah Braman has finally made her mark on the international contemporary art world. A long-time presence in the downtown Manhattan scene, Braman co-owns the well-respected Lower East Side gallery CANADA with her husband Phil Grauer, in addition to making sculpture. Supporting her two children, artistic practice, and…

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Consisting of artists Song Dong, Xiao Yu, Hong Hao, and Liu Jianhua, and critic/curator/gallerist Leng Lin, Polit-Sheer-Form Office (PSFO) was originally charted to seek out “collective form.” This book chronicles this six-year search, and in a very detailed manner: in a nod to the absurdist connotations the name PSFO holds in Chinese (translated literally, the…

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Yan Xing adores Hans Belting. He doubts so-called “innovation” in contemporary art. He prefers his work to be visually pure in classic black and white, and as beautiful as possible, as sharp as a knife. He might not even object to being called less an artist than a raconteur, a carefully voiced plurality of the…

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LEAP 47 | Spring/Summer 2018

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