This issue attempts to trace the footsteps of Chinese artists abroad over the last thirty years, starting with Berlin and then making our way to Paris and New York. Our explorations look at their creative journeys in terms of both cultural immersion and cultural conflict, and at how the concepts of homeland, separation, struggle, and limitation impacted the formation of artistic language. Barbara Pollack reviews the American perception of Chinese contemporary art; Zheng Shengtian discusses the roles Chinese artist émigrés have played in North America over the last several decades; Yu Hsiao Hwei does the same for their compatriots in France; and Chaos Y. Chen offers a glimpse into their lives in Berlin. Finally, we take a look at the artist Li Mu, who after years of avoiding the small village that is his hometown, returned to undertake a rather curious project. Reflected in this issue’s artist features is the fact that for the Chinese artist of today, global and local no longer sit in opposition.
Commanding the first third of this issue: Hans Ulrich Obrist, Gao Shiming, Uli Sigg, and Chen Danqing offer their views on the state of Chinese art criticism following the annual CCAA awards; artist Cheng Ran offers a visual diary of his life on residency in Amsterdam; we pore through the two titillating books Art and Queer Culture and Adult Video Kakumeishi; LEAP senior editor Wu Jianru traverses the expanse of knowledge presented in Zhai Liang’s latest solo outing; the collapse of community art space Woofer Ten raises questions on the state of art funding in Hong Kong; emerging artist Liu Yaohua poses a unique challenge to the gallery system; LEAP editor Zhao Mengsha probes the identity crises, and lack-thereof, of painter Zhao Gang; artist Guo Hongwei recounts his experience visiting the latest Performa; and we gaze into the video montage of Chen Xiaoyun, and its thereafter.
Closing our first effort of 2014, four four-page exhibition reviews take us from Jogja to Paris to New York and finally to Shenzhen. The remaining eleven reviews inspect the inauguration of the Sifang Art Museum in Nanjing, a double showing from Spencer Finch and Byron Kim, solo shows from Tetsuya Ishida, Chen Fei, Li Qing, Sheng Tianhong, Jin Shan, Liang Yue, AAAJIAO, Hu Qingtai, and, back in Beijing, the small group exhibition “Once.”