Li Ming, Rendering the Mind, 2017, video still
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THE CALL OF HOME The cover feature of this issue of LEAP, “The Call of Home,” examines China’s countryside from the angle of artistic practice and purposely avoids making the countryside simply an object of longing and homesickness. Instead, it identifies the countryside as an entity that is unable to fit into modernity and its…

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What is sound? From within the frameworks of visual and conceptual art, how can one successfully portray and comprehend sound? We should begin, of course, by listening. For this issue of LEAP we have commissioned Lou Nanli to create Dwelling in the Fuchun Mountains (Ziming Scroll) Spectrogram, which invokes the dichotomies of “visual-audio” and “seeing-listening”…

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ARTISTIC PHARMACOLOGY At last year’s Venice Biennale, five Chinese artists set out to represent their country through the olfactory. Visitors to the state-sponsored China Pavilion were confronted with a country abstracted into tea, baijiu, lotus, medicinal herbs, and incense. Even by the standards of contemporary art’s very own Olympics, this reliance on cultural signifiers was…

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“AMONG COMRADES” Philosophy (theory) is often abstruse. Even when reading the works of celebrity philosophers like Žižek, it is impossible to avoid the obscure (specialized) element of philosophy. Strip out the Hitchcock references, political jokes and raunchy remarks, and what remains of a Žižek essay is a specialized text interlaced with all kinds of concepts….

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“Abstract art” in China has reached a new high-water mark since its popularity during the ’85 New Wave. This revival can be recognized in the growing and increasingly active groups of young artists that practice abstraction in their works, with each developing in unique directions. Correspondingly, exhibitions on “abstraction” have grown in number— as have…

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LUIS CHAN: A STRANGE LITTLE ISLAND No matter whether to a Western or a Chinese audience, nearly all of Luis Chan’s paintings have the mystical, illusory quality of a foreign place. But to true Hong Kongers, they possess a familiarity that is as aesthetically pleasing as it is difficult to articulate. A DISTANT SPIRIT OF…

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ENMESHED IN MID-AIR: THE NANJING SIFANG ART MUSEUM When Steven Holl laid eyes on his first commission in China, the site was “overgrown with vegetation— no roads, site boundaries, no clear site plan.” Initial plans called for an “Art and Architecture Museum.” That day, he “began making sketches . . . based on [his] understanding…

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ONCE UPON A CLOUD: OUR 1980s ART SCHOOL LIVES It’s no coincidence that the elite produced by the art education system of the 1980s have become a galaxy of stars in today’s art world. The unique thirst for knowledge of that era allowed “universities” to transcend space and time. In the words of art critic…

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  WANG JIANWEI: MAN IN-BETWEEN If there is one artist apt to leave pundits chewing their pencils, it is Wang Jianwei. He is surely the first to have occupied a 2,500-square-meter exhibition hall— indeed any exhibition hall— with several thousand basketballs in the name of art. “He’s complicated,” remarked a curator on recent mention of…

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  A YEAR OF INTERVENTIONS As New Yorker correspondent Evan Osnos recently wrote, struggles over demolition have become “the national psychodrama, the defining battle over power and fairness.” Today, questions of land come to the fore in urban development plans, government revenues, and in the inclusion of real estate in GDP figures. Sun Dongdong weighs…

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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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[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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[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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