press release

Modes of Encounter: An Inquiry
Curated by Biljana Ciric
Assistant Curator: Cai Qiaoling

With the transformation of our living conditions and relations—from the political, as citizens, and the environmental, as part of the living species, to members of the communities we each belong to—the rise of international institutions of contemporary art are failing to create the much-needed intimate spaces for their publics in response to these new challenges and orientations.

With all of this in mind, the exhibition Modes of Encounter: An Inquiry proposes to investigate our near future realities through a prism of our present encounters. Group of artists has been invited to conduct research and produce newly commissioned works over the period of the past two years. There was no given theme but through long term engagement they have been encouraged to adopt their own ways of thinking in relationship to China.

Further, the proposed idea of the encounter as a framework for interaction created a sense of openness to chance and randomness that today we rarely allow to develop thoughtfully.

The invited artists come from different places, different geographies, and belong to different generations. But what has brought them together is a specific working methodology that generally requires time and appreciates the need for time to develop relationships through the process. Each of the projects over the course of the two years developed at very different speeds, and each of them produced their own dynamics. The relatively slow mode of working that underscores this exhibition serves also as a proposal for the institutions of the future, wherein long term commitment, the notions of care and weakness, become the key characteristics of an anti-patriarchal code of practices that operates in opposition to mainstream values founded on productivity as a core of capitalism.

The set of inquiries determined by invited artists, curators, and museum teams—as well as their users—develops different processes that cultivate learning through an understanding that the discourse and the object are equally important.

This inquiry attempts to reflect on the temporality of the exhibition format and its inherent problematics, using its structure as a platform that enables ideas and actions to grow through different encounters beyond the exhibition’s frame, creating their own life cycles. The spatial design for the exhibition has been created in collaboration with artist Nicholas Paris, and in turn, in close dialogue with all of the invited artists. The design itself serves as an architectural and institutional intervention that explores the possibilities of the museum as a space of permanence, as a residual space.

Artists: Li Shuang, Marie Voignier, Mario García Torres, Kateřina Šedá, and Yunyu “Ayo” Shih in collaboration with Zhu Jianlin and Zhang Hanlu