Co-launched by Guangdong Times Museum and Times Art Center Berlin
Co-curated by Nikita Yingqian Cai and Mia Yu, the long-term project “Three Contested Sites—The Worldly Fables of the Long 1990s” will be first exhibited in Times Art Center Berlin from September to December, 2022. In order to fulfill the research need, we are pleased to announce the Open Call for one exhibition history researcher from Thailand, Berlin, London, Hong Kong and Mainland China respectively to form a research group.
Zooming in on three exhibitions and their transnational itinerates that map the discrepant connections across stories, artworks, cities, and thoughts, the long-term project “Three Contested Sites – The Worldly Fables of the Long 1990s” attempts to unpack the long 1990s in view of post-Cold War Europe-Asia reverberances. The exhibitions include: China Avant-garde at the Haus der Kulturen der Welt in Berlin that marked the watershed year of 1993 together with a succession of “offshore” exhibitions focused exclusively on contemporary art from inside mainland China; Die Hälfte des Himmels (Half the Sky) at the Frauenmuseum Bonn in 1998 as the institution’s rebuttal to a protest against the lockout of Chinese women artists in the China! exhibit at the Kunstmuseum Bonn in 1996; Cities On the Move, the emblematic exhibitions that toured a variety of locations in Europe, the U.S. and Asia (Vienna, Bordeaux, New York, Humlebaek, London, Bangkok) and documented the accelerated changes and urban flux occurring in global Asian cities. More than key events in Chinese contemporary art history, these exhibitions are also transnational sites of contacts, conflicts, and productive contestations, where the joint forces of social processes, art projects, cultural agents, institutional positionalities and urban spaces have intersected to create worldly fables about the canonization of Chinese contemporary art, the global rise of the Asian art market, the dualistic fixation of East-West ideologies, and the emergent millennial coordinates of gender, ethnicity, and urban identity.
Through an array of on-going interviews, re-organized archives, and historical and new artworks, “Three Contested Sites” dis-entangles the complex cultural network of exchange that had engendered these events in order to reveal the diverse agencies, and how these exhibitions about Chinese and Asian art mediated with the globalized motivations from within and outside amidst the post-Cold War zeitgeist and global flux at the time. The assemblage unpacks the ways in which the curatorial and artistic practices engaged various nationalizing frameworks and images, with de-nationalizing intentions and international imaginaries, to shed lights on itinerant exhibitions as a relational practice of world-making. A mapping-out of events, peoples and objects as a constellation ultimately brings new perspectives on the globalizing process of the 1990s as plural, relative, and contingent.
In September, 2022 at the Times Art Center Berlin, we will stage an archival revisit of these three exhibitions contextualized by artistic responses and reflections from the present moment. A multitude of institutions as well as a variety of engaged individuals, will be our partners and interlocutors, and an intergenerational mix of thinkers and researchers will be invited to interrogate the impactful cultural resonances of the long 1990s with fresh eyes.
Have a deep understanding of the history of contemporary art in China and Asia, and have a command of methods for further research
Be able to explore and integrate local research resources
Be able to build structural links between the exhibition, transnational networks and the wider historical context
Be adaptable to team research and willing to communicate and share resources with teammates
There is no restriction on the applicant’s nationality, but applicants should be able to read both Chinese and English materials and write academic essays accordingly
Project “Three Contested Sites” provides:
Professional guidance and subject workshops by the Academic Committee of Guangdong Times Museum and top international research and publishing agencies of exhibition histories;
RMB 15000 (about USD 2300) for the full project duration payable in two instalments
Presentation of the research progress on TM and TACB platforms;
Publication of the research results, and additional contribution fee will be paid;
Assistance to academic and resource development
Application Deadline: Feb 15th 2022 Interview: Feb 20th-25th 2022 Notification: Feb 28th 2022 Project Duration: 6 months Exhibition: Sep 2022 Publication: To be confirmed according to the project development
Applications must include:
Cover Letter (please detail the reasons of your interest in the position, how you would be able to contribute to “Three Contested Sites” based on your previous work and/or interests, and how the presidency would benefit your own practice and development);
It is time to change the conversation. The past had better be large and demand little. The future had better come closer. Let’s enlarge the present and the space of the world. Let’s move on. Let’s travel with crude maps. Between theory and action there may be correspondence, but there is no sequence. We will not necessarily reach the same place, and many of us will not even reach any recognizable place, but we share the same starting point, and that’s enough. We are not all headed to the same address, but we believe we can walk together for a very long time. A few of us speak colonial languages; the large majority of us speak other languages. Since only a small number of us have voice, we resort to ventriloquists, whom we call rearguard intellectuals, because they go on doing what they have always done well: looking back. But they have now received a new mission from us: to care for those of us who lag behind and bring them back into the fight and to identify whoever keeps betraying us at the back and help us find out why.
Boaventura de Sousa Santos, Manifesto for Good Living / Buen Vivir
Pigs and Poison is a comprehensive survey of Candice Lin’s recent projects, including a group of new works focused on the history of southern migration and the spread of viruses. These new works demonstrate how Chinese migrants were incorporated as cheap free labor in the emergent global market of the 19th century, and were involved in the cultivation and distribution networks of tobacco, sugar cane, poppy, and fungi. Long devoted to the study of material connections between human histories and various inhuman life-forms, the artist pays particular attention to how racial rhetoric shapes our understandings of infectious diseases, living organisms, and sensory perceptions. Candice Lin will examine British colonialism and American imperialism with the focal points of labor migration, border control, virus contamination and containment, and other global issues rooted in colonial modernity yet closely related to our present urgency. The exhibition will make use of virtual reality technologies, sculptures, textiles, paintings, and large-scale kinetic installations to recontextualize the speculative shadows of marginalized histories.
The new works in Candice Lin: Pigs and Poison are jointly commissioned by the Times Museum, Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, and Spike Island. The first stop of the exhibition opened in New Plymouth, New Zealand in August 2020. After its second stop in Guangzhou, the exhibition will tour to its third stop in Bristol, England.
*This exhibition was originally programmed for 2020, and was postponed to 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Uselessness as Usage Operation Delta #3: Architects in Action
June 12 to August 8, 2021 Participants: Atelier Bow-Wow (JP), Didier Fiuza Faustino (FR), O Office (China) Curator: Hou Hanru Assistant Curator and Researcher: Zhou Zheng, Liang Jianhua
Ever since the Pearl River Delta was intergrated into globalization, it has set off waves of rapid urbanization and lifestyle transformations. The Guangdong Times Museum is an institutional invention born in such context. In terms of architecture and urban planning, this expansion process of the city took on stunning speed and creativity, essentially lending to practical results that often appear random. After more than a decade of growth and experimentation, now is the time to explore and apprehend the significance of this unique historical change. The present is also a critical moment to envision what comes next, which allows us to imagine other forms of experiments: to open up a kind of possibility for the “impractical,” ideas and practices of the “useless.” In light of this, we invite three groups of architects from France, Japan, and Guangzhou—all of whom will jointly initiate a design-related project in the Pearl River Delta. It will be an on-going exhibition that would eventually provoke new modes of communication, dialogical behavior, and socio-cultural grouping, and will open up a new platform to further expand the museum’s mission as an active agency of community public life.
*This exhibition was originally programmed for 2020, and was postponed to 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Huang Xiaopeng, a Chaozhou native, entered the Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts in 1978 and was an honors student. Due to his penchant for drinking, smoking, growing long hair, and listening to rock music, he was reputed to be one of the biggest “slackers” in art school. In the 1990s, Xiaopeng moved to England and obtained a master’s degree from the Slade School of Fine Arts, University of London. He devoted himself entirely to creating art but never became a professional artist. In 2003, Xiaopeng returned to Guangzhou and garnered an invitation to teach at his alma mater. From 2005 to 2012, he presided over the Fifth Studio in the Oil Paintings department of GAFA and became the first few pioneers to experiment with contemporary pedagogy inside the institutional setting of arts academy in China. On October 6, 2020, Xiaopeng suddenly died of a heart attack in Berlin at the age of 60.
Huang Xiaopeng is an outstanding figure of his era. The exhibition will be composed of two main, horizontal and vertical, axes. The vertical one combs through Xiaopeng’s works and manuscripts to outline his artistic trajectory defined by his seminal ideas about life and arts, spanning from his early oil paintings, to installations in the 1990s, and culminating at the pluralistic forms created after his 2003 return to China. The horizontal axis specifically elaborates on the pedagogical experiments conducted in the Fifth Studio, which embodies Xiaopeng’s lifelong idealism and yearning for freedom. His lived experience in the Fifth Studio epitomizes such spirit under the constraints of current social situations, and the exhibition will invite former students of the Fifth Studio to participate in its conception and realization.
One song is very much like another, and the boat is always from afar November 27, 2021 to January 23, 2022 Curator: Nikita Yingqian Cai
Either being the translational cultural elites or exiles or the migrant laborers exploited by colonial trade and globalization in the long 20th century, people can always find their life trajectory and cultural identity mirrored in songs and rhythms. The world of music is a world of negotiation, participation, and sharing. As dual vehicles of belonging and mobility, music has never been a cultural form that is immune to political and historical changes. The global domain it constitutes is not merely the result of technological modernization and consumerism but also that of memories and concepts overlay the mutual appropriations of divergent ideas and cultural influences. With changes in sampling, recording, and broadcasting techniques, the production and circulation of music has increasingly become a mediated, discrete experience divorced from authenticity. Through the fusion of technology, sound and image, solidified spatial differences are compressed into the temporal flow of sonic infrastructure and, in turn, integrated into cross-regional and translingual social processes.
One song is very much like another, and the boat is always from afar will use the flow of music and spatial memory as threads that weave together a chart of constellations that includes playlists and research scenarios created by artists and curators, anthropologists and cultural scholars, musicians, and bar owners, filmmakers and members of the contemporary gentry/literati. They tune into the multiple identities and dynamic processes carried by music to present a decentralized communication network, a map not necessarily consistent with geographical and national borders, a kind of cosmopolitanism that flees from printed media or textual documentation.
Tsk-Tsk in the Streets (tentative title)
March to May 2022 (specific opening dates to be determined) Research/Curatorial Group: Li Xiaotian, Liang Jianhua, Lu Chuan
In the 1990s, the coastal city of Yangjiang in Guangdong was engulfed in a socio-economic transition where the new supplanted the old, and chaos coexisted alongside opportunities. The new order brought about by the modernization process drastically transformed daily life. “Yangjiang Youth” and their friends forged self-sufficiency when local cultural resources were relatively scarce. They raised the necessary funds to found design firms, bookstores, galleries and studios. They wandered around residential neighborhoods, streets, construction sites, and entertainment venues. The boundaries between living and working, creating and entertaining were completely blurred. This resulted in tight-knit creative communities and spaces that rely on each other to connect to the outside world.
Straying from the usual trajectory of development, these practices have not turned toward the direction of professionalizing. Instead, they have retained a freeform posture of gameplay, firmly embedded in the street life of Yangjiang, deploying guerrilla tactics to occupy the spaces between individuals and the public, and finding alternative responses to expectations of the future.
The exhibition intends to be a researched exposition of the artistic practices and self-organizing that took place in Yangjiang and its surroundings from the 1990s to the beginning of the millennium. These gestures provide a contrast to the gradual fissures of today and showcase their energetic embrace of critical practice in social situations as well as their spirit of sourcing provocative power from mutual aid, forming a certain guide to action that corresponds to common positions.
The Yangjiang Youth Research Project was initiated by Huangbian Station in August 2017 and later jointly supported by the Times Museum.
Maritime Portal Residency
All the Way South X As you go…roads under your feet, towards the new future
In order to foster a knowledge field that intervenes within the conundrum of globalization, and to pursue connectivity across oceans and borders, we are pleased to announce the Maritime Portal Residency, as a collaborative initiative of All the Way South x As you go…roads under your feet, towards the new future. It bridges many understandings of the south that only overlap partially with the geographical South and engages the histories and realities emerged from long lines of maritime mapping and entanglement. We are looking for artists, researchers, or cultural practitioners living in southern port cities or regions, to work remotely and digitally to explore alternative maritime historiographies and cartographies from various locales. We encourage mediatized readings, articulations and documentations that sink the abstracted mode of globalization into different forms of embodiment, be it foods and textiles, sounds and architectures, folk rituals and myths. The selected applicants will receive a research fee of 15000 RMB funded by Times Museum and present their thought processes on the digital platforms of “On Our Times” and “As you go…”.
Para-curatorial and Rolling Congee
In 2020, para-curatorial has become a paratactic mode of thinking and working, which connects the curated events of symposium and online publishing with pop-up modules of hidden curriculum and minor inquiry. In 2021, Para-curatorial will unfold new formats of online or offline presentation, and inquire into the constellation and knowledge network of All the Way South. Please stay tune to our organic thoughts and conversations on the Rolling Congee, and follow us for the latest updates on BiliBili and Apple Podcasts!
“People’s Park” is due to wrap up the renovation works and re-open to the public with a new look in early 2021. As a new form of autonomous interactive space, neighborhood center and extension of streets, “People’s Park” is an integration of open-call based experimentation in small spaces and a platform for multi-functional displays, community exchanges, public discussions and community practices. Museum visitors and community members are encouraged to “occupy” this space and to collectively develop rules of use that shape the museum’s relationship with the public and the community.
Curator: Luya Yang Liu
From the Pearl River Delta to the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, South China remains a highly anticipated testing field. From a cluster of ancestral villages to home to the City of Design, Huangbian continues to break down boundaries in the course of urban planning and development. In China’s contemporary urbanization, development of new towns, upgrading of old ones, and rejuvenation of rural areas are the most common themes. Planning, construction, transportation, environment, communities, and individuals are all intertwined, shaping the most commonly seen landscape alternations and queries on ordinary people’s living conditions in the context of high-speed urbanization. The 2021 “Urban Lab” project looks to kick off interactive experiments among artists of various expertise and physical experiences, and incorporate human alienation and co-existence in the key factors of urban development and imagination. Through art, it also sets to bring the discovery and thinking of city-human relation back to the level of everyday life.
Greater Bay Area Keywords
Over the past few decades, with the development of technology and its high industrialization, we have arrived today to a globalized and universal imagination toward technology: in the context of urbanization, it was once called the “generic city”; in art, the contemporary art market. As the driving force for various industries, technology has gradually replaced geography with efficiency and speed, while sacrificing various practices and imaginations. The Times Museum’s Media Lab develops around the diversity and locality of technology, positioning the “Great Bay Area” as the subject of research and site for imagination. It focuses on the relationships in between technology, social reformation, and social transformation, as well as the forms of control under technology. Through research and exhibition, we aim to advance various topics under the digital environment, including virtual reality, digital community, economic model, innovation, environmental ecology, ethics, media, science fiction, art, etc. The project will be released consecutively in the middle of 2021 via digital publication, commissioned creations, etc.
In the past few decades, the established museum system that relies on globalization is facing systematic transformations, from curation, exhibition production, and display, to collections, space, and architecture. Even staff composition is reviewed. From art to the everyday, how to imagine and tackle with the digital future? “Digital Future”, initiated by the Media Lab, is a long-term project that orients toward technology and art experiments in the foreseeable years. The project promotes continuous observation and discussion through podcasts, residencies, and workshops. Find more about the lab’s bimonthly podcast “Neo-Portal” on platforms such as Apple Podcast, Himalaya, and Xiao Yuzhou. Stay tuned for our upcoming residency and workshop series.
On Our Times – Digital Publication
Chief Editors: Nikita Yingqian Cai, Jianru Wu Contributing Editor: Mia Yu Contributing English Editor: Andrew Maerkle Assistant Editor: Yujia Bian
The #2 issue of On Our Times“Constellation of Intimacies” focuses on pan-Asian exchange of images, bodies, and thoughts. These focuses trace back to the pre-colonial era, intertwining with nonconcurring movements and thoughts emerged during the Pacific War, the 20th-century nationalism, and modernist movements. The launch and related events will be released in January, 2021, stay tuned to us.
Contributors of the journal may unfold their thoughts around the constitution or fiction of intimacy in three tropes: “Inter-Asia Intimacies” critically interrogates the social network and cultural worlds emerged from the transformation of Asia in negotiation with the postwar and postcolonial scheme; “Storytellers on the Road” gives literati voices to subjects of opacity and thoughts of dislocation that challenge the regionality and fixed identity of Asia; “Artistic Fabulation” accommodates expressions in incubating forms such as scripts, field notes, visual essays, sonic samples, concepts or works-in-progress, which explore the technological potential of the digital platform.
It is with profound sadness and the deepest condolences that we learned about the passing of artist Huang Xiaopeng in Berlin on October 7, 2020.
Huang Xiaopeng (born 1960 in Shanxi) was a renowned contemporary artist and art educator. Huang obtained his MA from the Slade School of Fine Art of the University College London in 1992 and was a professor at South China Normal University and a university fellow at Hong Kong Baptist University. He founded the HB Station (Contemporary Art Research Centre) in Guangzhou, and was the head of the fifth studio of Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts between 2003 and 2012. His video and public installation works explore the problem of (mis)translation arising from cultural copy-transformation in the course of modernization; they also look into how we project others in (dis)location, and how such projection relates to the dilemma of globalization. Besides, his works push the relationship between language and everyday images to its limits to challenge the boundaries of meanings and, ultimately, the ‘correctness’ of our daily experiences.
Before his unexpected death, Huang Xiaopeng had been working closely with Times Art Center Berlin to plan for a new collaborative project, entitled FEAR, NO FEAR, to take place from January to May 2021. Initiated by Huang Xiaopeng, co-curated by Dorothee Albrecht, Antje Majewski, and Stefan Rummel, the project intends to present a prism of new perspectives on fear in our current era. It plans to unfold in three chapters and brings together artists of diverse international backgrounds, primarily from Berlin and Guangzhou.
Huang Xiaopeng’s death is a tragic loss not only for his family, friends, and students but also for his colleagues and the art scene, which have been enormously influenced by him over the past decades.
Hou Hanru, Huang Xiaopeng’s lifelong friend and the artistic director of MAXXI – National Museum of 21st Century Art, wrote the following article in memory of Xiaopeng.
Unexpectedly, Xiaopeng has – as the title of one of his works K.O.H.D. reads – knocked on Heaven’s door and left us without saying goodbye last night. Words like “shock” and “grief” are not enough to describe our feelings at this moment. We are simply speechless.
Xiaopeng wandered about in the world throughout his entire life, and made himself at home wherever he was despite all odds. From Shantou to Guangzhou, from Hong Kong to London, he eventually almost settled down in Berlin. He had formed a family, but then had to restart from zero. Wherever he was, he was always trying to make a living in a sort of transitional state, to deal with different languages and all sorts of cultural differences, working hard to find a place where he could settle down, while at the same time being in the process of constant translations. It was this eternal seeking that gave him the exciting and elusive inspiration to tackle the most important problem in life, and this problem was art. His favorite line was “Art is a problem”. He concluded that the best way to solve the problem was to translate back and forth between languages, until the original meaning was completely lost, thus allowing the possibility of “fresh new meanings” to emerge. Rock n’ roll music video tapes and Google Translate’s “ability to create” provided him with the best materials and tools. Ultimately, through a post-Duchampian trick, he could “deconstruct these texts, and re-encode the time and space, resulting in mutual redefinition, constant accumulation and extension, so that these different contexts under the independent and unrelated elements collide with each other, and finally expand into the fragments of a whole, ending up being trapped in a language gap and lost in the infinite transmission of meanings. When translations all become political statements, Chinese and Western love songs will completely lose their original meanings in the new context, just like poetry in our age of absurdity.”All of Xiaopeng’s works consisted of transforming “Far East” to “法·伊斯特” (Fa-Yi-Si-Te, the phonetic translation in Chinese and “Far West” to “法·威斯特” (Fa-Wei-Si-Te). In a post-colonial, global and AI-dominated “age of absurdity” that only generates more absurdities, we are eternally doomed in this “contemporary utopia” and are falling into an ever-deeper abyss. And in this abyss, fear of fear has lost its meaning, we can only “climb the mountain together, with each doing his or her best.” Thus, when he was looking for the Chinese title for the exhibition he was curating in Berlin, he came up with “畏無所畏” (Fear No Fear). I believe that he feared no fear when he unintentionally knocked on Heaven’s door last night.
Rome, October 7th, 2020, 4 pm.
 Huang Xiaopeng, K.O.H.D. (From Far East to Far West), in Hou Hanru and Xi Beieds., The D-Tale, Video Art from the Pearl River Delta, Times Art Center Berlin, Sternberg Press, 2018, p. 244.
 Xiaopeng’s renowned and innovative teaching not only encouraged young artists to practice bravely, but also enabled them to face up to this absurd world freely and to fight to make a living through imagination and creativity.
 In my last conversation with Xiaopeng in Wechat (on October 2), he wrote, “The Chinese title of this project, ‘問你驚未’ doesn’t seem to convey the meaning of ‘Fear, No Fear’, isn’t ‘畏無所畏’ better?”
Times Art Center Berlin is excited to present the outcome of a new collaboration: Masks by Tailor Lê. These individually designed masks, made by tailor Lê and his co-workers in Berlin, reflect a unique dialogue between the German-Vietnamese tailor and Chinese-French artist Kim Hou. For her project ABOUT A WORKER, Hou worked remotely, during the coronavirus pandemic, with Times Art Center Berlin and tailor Lê to create three hundred handmade face masks.
Masks by Tailor Lê highlights the presence of the German-Vietnamese community to Berlin’s social fabric. With a long history of multiple waves of migration to both East and West Germany in the period after the Vietnam War, Vietnamese immigrants—a high percentage of which are self-employed and self-made business owners—have significantly contributed to the city’s creative energy and independent entrepreneurial culture. Based on the idea of giving artistic agency to workers and craftsmen, the joint project between Hou and tailor Lê reflects Times Art Center Berlin’s effort to foster new collaborative and local models of creative production.
“I am not worried about the future. People always need tailoring.”
Tailor Lê, born in Vietnam, arrived in Berlin in the last year of the GDR in 1988. Originally trained as an engineer in Vietnam, he has owned a restaurant and worked in the food sector and wholesale markets in Berlin for many years, before opening his successful tailor shop on Danziger Strasse six years ago. He learned the craft of tailoring early on in his life, as his mother was a seamstress.
ABOUT A WORKER
“COVID-19 keeps exposing the weaknesses of our globalised system. In a time, when our material needs are debatable, our global population should take this opportunity to meet and value the people willing to continue working for their territory(ies) and surrounding(s).’’ –Kim Hou
Founded in 2017 by Kim Hou (Creative Director) and Paul Boulenger, ABOUT A WORKER is a design studio giving manufacturing workers the ability to become designers. Through an introduction to creative expression, workers design products inspired by their vision of the industry and personal stories, using design as a universal language. ABOUT A WORKER’s creations question connect workers, designers, consumers in order to transform their context inclusively. Graduated in 2017 from the Design Academy of Eindhoven in the Netherlands, Kim Hou created ABOUT A WORKER as her graduation project: a platform to rethink the design industry of tomorrow. Through its complementarity with Kim’s artistic vision, Paul Boulenger has joined ABOUT A WORKER in 2017. Paul focuses on garment production methods by exploring current working conditions.
Can the black woman’s theory become a theory of the Global South?
Jun 05, 2020
In response to Saidiya Hartman’s Venus in Two Acts, Huang Kun asks: “Can the black woman’s theory become a theory of the Global South, of the South of the South? Can she be translated into our language? Who are we?”
During special times like this, we demand peace, kindness, and racial justice for all. The text is now available in Times Museum’s online journal – South of the South.
Times Art Center Berlin is pleased to reopen on May 30, 2020 with summer hours: Tuesdays through Saturdays, 12 PM – 7 PM. We have also extended Zhou Tao: Winter North Summer South until August 1, 2020. To ensure a safe and healthy environment, we kindly ask you to book your visit in advance:
Times Museum recently released the first issue of online journal South of the South. It provokes multifaceted reflection on the accelerated state of the Pearl River Delta—now re as the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area—as a scalable model of modernization in Asia and a test site of globalization in China, where circulation of labor, capital, bodies, rituals, objects, images, and ideas reveals invisible undercurrents of Southern geographies and visions.