LEAP 12

Ever since the debate on abstraction broke out in the pages of Meishu in the early 1980s, abstraction has been one of the key questions for contemporary art in China, namely the place of expression that is not directly tied to representation. In our final issue of 2011, the cover package stares into the long-forgotten “Bamboo Curtain,” wonders at the arrival of the “third abstract,” calls for a cognitive revamp of the concept of abstraction in the face of the market, does justice to the early abstractionists of Shanghai, and, in an array of dialogues, gives textual voice to a younger generation for whom abstract appearances are actually the product of incredibly concrete processes of formal and social inquiry. Elsewhere in the middle section is a contemplation of the cross-border migration of cultural heritage, investigations into the impetus behind the latest creations of Lin Tianmiao and Wu Shanzhuan and Inga Svala Thorsdottir, and an outspoken critique of the ubiquitous “Little Movements” project. In the top section, readers will find an interview with Arte Povera pioneer Jannis Kounellis, a dizzying linguistic sculptural foray from Mao Tongqiang, an amusing synopsis of the life of the Künstlerhaus Bethanien, and a mutual gauging of two short films by their young, respective auteurs.