Li Ming, Rendering the Mind, 2017, video still
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LEAP 12

Art from China is highly fashionable in New York, but attention to one or another current star too often neglects the art-historical question of how contemporary art emerged at the dawn of Opening and Reform. This exhibition looks at three distinct movements— the No Name Group, the Stars, and the Grass Society—which functioned as agents…

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The paintings of the 51-year-old French artist Marc Desgrandchamps call to mind a number of key figures in the Western artistic tradition: Manet, Cézanne, Degas, or even the sculptures and architecture of ancient Greece. Traces of the styles of past masters appear continually in his works, though they still retain characteristically modern touches. Desgrandchamps concerns…

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The predominance of a grayish-white has always been the most salient feature of Zhang JBai’s paintings. Even his depictions of concrete subjects, such as his series of portraits, possess a certain imagery. In his new exhibition, “I’ve Got Something,” he continues to ruminate on this same faintly discernible spatial relationship on the canvas. His is…

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Up until now, Huang Liang’s paintings have been dominated by narratives of illness, or more specifically, that of his own bout with a misdiagnosed case of lung cancer. Suffering from respiratory ailments, his doctor’s faulty diagnosis landed Huang in two years of treatment, a time when he says he lost all hope and lived in…

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Following the exhibition, nearly all press coverage of “Will Things Ever Get Better?” referred to the figure of the horse. At the show, the horse was portrayed as utterly dejected and sad, bearing the look of intense scrutiny and existential doubt typical of a philosopher. Even though the portrayal of this slim yet hearty-looking horse…

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“You think you can just ask Confucius?” A group of his inquisitive pupils once said, and not un-rightly. It is therefore likely that Zhang Huan’s “Question” seeks to lead the viewer in proceeding from “Confucius” as symbolic subject, discovering new facets to this signifying symbol, catching glimpses of the relationships between Confucius and the self…

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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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Porcelain chips and fragments produced by kilns across hundreds of years accumulate in piles along the banks of the Chang River in Jingdezhen, creating a tableau akin to an archeological dig of a manufacturing site. These piles are washed, rinsed, and sometimes exposed by the rise and fall of the tides in a perpetual water…

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In 2006, Hong Kong billionaire Joseph Lau purchased an Andy Warhol silkscreen portrait of Mao Zedong for USD 17.4 million at a Christie’s auction. The following year, the real estate tycoon acquired Paul Gauguin’s Te Poipoi for upwards of USD 39 million at a Sotheby’s auction. In 2010, a purportedly Chinese buyer took home Picasso’s…

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Lu Lei’s works possess an intricacy of form beckoning association with the Baroque style; invocative of the sublime and the spiritual, they are as rich with imagination and movement as they are echoing with a sort of hallowed purity. In his newest solo exhibition “Floating Ice Biography,” Lu selects to utilize materials and ideas that…

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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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DOMAIN WHEN IN THE summer of 2010 Gao Shiming invited Wu Shanzhuan and Inga Svala Thorsdottir to design the logo for the China Academy of Arts’ then newly-established School of Inter Media Art, his hope was that the logo would have a narrative quality, and not the minimalist style popular today— something similar to more…

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                LIU WENTAO, WANG GUANGLE: SPACE AND TIME LIU WENTAO My early works consisted of piling layers of pencil lines on paper, gradually producing a highly compressed surface. Like looking at a flat plane of water, at a surface that gives no clues as to its actual depth,…

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              LAO ZHU: THE THIRD ABSTRACT The unforeseen emergence of abstract art in the modernism of late-1970s China can be attributed to two major factors. One is political, one artistic. First, the political: after the founding of new China in 1949, art policy labeled abstract expression as bourgeois; it…

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When composer John Cage performed the silent composition 4’33 in 1952, his idea was that silence was never silent, but a space filled with unintentional, musical sounds. Artist and musician Su-Mei Tse’s solo exhibition “Lapses of Time” evokes this notion in the treatment of the exhibition space, here divided into two rooms. Starting with the…

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Following on Zeng Fanzhi’s major exhibition of sculptures and mural-sized paintings at the Rockbund Art Museum in Shanghai last year (see review, LEAP 6), this tightly curated show at Gagosian’s Hong Kong space— the first there dedicated to a Chinese artist— possessed all the air of a retrospective. Collating Zeng Fanzhi’s “wide-ranging depictions of the…

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The countdown to the opening of the solo exhibition has already begun, but Lin Tianmiao’s basement studio in Tongzhou, just east of Beijing proper, remains extremely quiet. Recently and nearly completed artworks render the huge space crowded, and the workers quietly attending to their tasks heighten the tension within the white walls. The moment of…

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Although the majority of the research that culminated in the “Little Movements” exhibition revolves around Chinese contemporary art, the three young researchers-cum-curators—Liu Ding, Carol Yinghua Lu, and Su Wei—do not attempt to uncover or define any so-called special Chinese characteristics in their subjects. Instead, they opt to adopt a global view of art events, a…

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For its fifth installment, the Chengdu Biennale was transformed from a privately funded exhibition into a state-run cultural event. In the eyes of many, this example of “re-nationalization” hints at an official recognition of the value of events of this kind; to adopt the vocabulary of business marketing, the Chengdu Biennale as we know it…

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The “Little Movements” research— launched by Liu Ding, Carol Yinghua Lu, and Su Wei— takes Wang Guangyi’s verbal recollection of the seminal 1986 Zhuhai Symposium as a case study. The researchers claim that the chief aim of “Little Movements” is to emphasize the self-construction of dominant trends within contemporary art. Using this stated aim as…

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LEAP 47 | Spring/Summer 2018

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