Li Ming, Rendering the Mind, 2017, video still
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LEAP 14

Boers-Li Gallery has ventured into discourses of ideological hegemony and its propagation in the new group show, “Ministry of Truth.” The modest collection of works seeks to challenge narratives that sustain both political and personal power structures, featuring artists working in and across North America, Europe, and Asia. But if the exhibition’s goal is to…

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Imagine the French Revolution hadn’t come until 1949. Suppose also that the Academy established in the late seventeenth century had continued to guide art education. Assume, in addition, that when political change finally arrived, an artist trained in these old master traditions had to suddenly adapt to a new ideological climate. Instead of depicting scenes…

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In his later years, the Sui-dynasty Emperor Yang built a labyrinthine palace (“mi lou”), with “winding yards and twisting halls, each one leading to the next; hearths and rooms in the tens of thousands, all adorned with shining jade.” A place this beautiful was also a place meant to render its guests lost within its…

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The title of this exhibition,“Boy: A Contemporary Portrait,” connotes something provocative. The combination of “boy” and “contemporary” deserves particular mention, opening up the kind of discussion that could either become elevated and abstract, or be summed up briefly and succinctly. The exhibition “politely refused” the participation of female artists, thereupon automatically presenting itself as some…

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There is quite a bit of overlap between Yang Mian’s “CMYK” and He Sen’s “Conversing with The Moon,” two solo exhibitions separated by the Chinese New Year. Both artists are graduates of the Sichuan Fine Arts Institute, both invited Lü Peng to act as curator, both opted for similar publication formats (each providing one exhibition…

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For thousands of years, the book has been a vehicle for the unbounded exploration of objective knowledge and experience and subjective feeling and imagination. Often books convey truths or tenets that, although they cannot be proven, come to the author in a flash of insight. Seen this way, the concept of an “artist’s book” might…

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In 1957, the filmmaker Agnès Varda assumed the role of photographer during a two-month journey around both urban and rural China with a delegation of French dignitaries. Fifty-five years later, Varda resolved to display the photographs she took during that trip as part of the exhibition “The Beaches of Agnès Varda in China,” and in…

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In the past couple of years, performance art has seen a resurgence in popularity on the international art scene, at the same time igniting in China renewed enthusiasm for theoretical writings, especially translated texts. Li Ran’s recent solo exhibition stands at the crossroads of these two trends. The exhibition’s title is directly borrowed from Cézanne’s…

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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 decision by Ma Qiusha to call her new solo exhibition “Static Electricity” was not one born of careful deliberation. It was made after accidentally coming across the term in a book during an anxious search for a title for her new exhibition. The objects and experiences implied by the term “static electricity” themselves bear…

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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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Heman Chong’s practice, concisely stated on his website, “… involves an investigation into the philosophies, reasons and methods of individuals and communities imagining the future.” Presented at the NUS museum in Singapore, “Calendars (2020-2096)” is a full embodiment of this credo. Consisting of 1,001 color images of public interior spaces in Singapore he visited over…

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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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In 1949, as he was boarding a plane to leave China, David Diao saw a sign that read “One suitcase per person.” He later made a painting bearing those words, which provide the inspiration for the title of this exhibition. The simple phrase evokes travel, baggage and the individual. It is the starting point for…

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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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Contextually underpinning Leung Chi Wo’s first solo exhibition in London, “We Must Construct as Well as Destroy,” is Aston Webb, an architect whose text published in the book London of the Future (1921) forms the exhibition title. In Aston Webb’s Prophecy (2011), a photograph of the Webb-designed Hong Kong Legislative Council (LEGCO) Building is presented…

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“2009-05-02” was the last series of work produced by Gu Dexin before he chose to retire from the art world completely. The title of the work came straight from the designated time frame for the exhibition at Galleria Continua Beijing— Gu frequently implements this policy, naming his works after simple external circumstances in order to…

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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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LEAP 47 | Spring/Summer 2018

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