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Inside China - L’Intérieur du Géant


Artists: Cheng Ran, Mathis Collins, Renaud Jerez, Li Gang, Edwin Lo, Jonathan Martin, Nadar, Aude Pariset, Wu Hao, Yu Ji, and Zhao Yao


Curators: Jo-ey Tang and Victor Wang


chi K11 art museum, Shanghai
Co-Produced by K11 Art Foundation and Palais De Tokyo
01 August, 2015 - 31 August, 2015


[Installation view] Inside China - L’Intérieur du Géant
chi K11 art museum, Shanghai


















Inside China - L’Intérieur du Géant
chi K11 art museum, Shanghai
Co-Produced by K11 Art Foundation and Palais De Tokyo
01 August, 2015 - 31 August, 2015


Artists: Cheng Ran, Mathis Collins, Renaud Jerez, Li Gang, Edwin Lo, Jonathan Martin, Nadar, Aude Pariset, Wu Hao, Yu Ji, and Zhao Yao

Curators: Jo-ey Tang and Victor Wang

In 2014, K11 Art Foundation and Palais de Tokyo (Paris) began a three-year collaboration, with a series of large-scale exhibitions and artist residency exchanges of emerging artists from China and France.

The travelling exhibition Inside China - L’Intérieur du Géant introduced to international audience the works of six emerging Chinese artists (Cheng Ran, Li Gang, Edwin Lo, Wu Hao, Yu Ji, Zhao Yao) in a dialogue with four French artists (Mathis Collins, Renaud Jerez, Jonathan Martin, Aude Pariset) and the 19th-century photographer Nadar. It marked its debut at Palais de Tokyo (Paris) in October 2014, and travelled to the K11 Art Foundation Pop-Up Space in Hong Kong in March 2015, and is now presented at the chi K11 art museum Shanghai from August 1-31, 2015, with the participation of additional French artists and the K11 appointed curator Victor Wang. The new wave of Chinese artists represents a distillation of over 100 studio visits across ten cities in China by curator Jo-ey Tang, appointed by Palais de Tokyo to conduct this special project.

The emerging Chinese artists in the exhibition share a commonality, in the way they negotiate over-production, monumentality, and rapid development, by abiding by their own temporalities and by turning internal investigation into the strangeness of material fact. Deeply connected to the self and engaged with their immediate surroundings and the world, they capture something ineffable: a spirit, an attitude, a sensitivity, and an individual mode of existence. Their works, placed in new contexts and in dialogue with those of emerging French artists, formed new adjacencies and productive interferences.

The title of the exhibition provides dual entry points to experience the exhibition. Inside China – to confront the myth of China and the expectations of contemporary Chinese art. L’Intérieur du Géant – a metaphoric journey into the interior of The Giant, the namesake of Nadar’s 60-metre-high hot-air balloon, which is self-reflective of the myth of a giant, of China itself. L’Intérieur du Géant, Nadar’s 1863 photograph, of the inflating interior of his hot-air balloon, which would soon bring Nadar to produce some of the earliest aerial photographs, serves as a beacon, a viewing device, a framework and an inspiration for the installation of the artworks at Palais de Tokyo. This enigmatic image-before-image resembles an aerial view of an unknown space, signals that what we seek might originate from the depths of within. Like Nadar’s visionary image, works of art are enablers of perception, conveyors of subjectivity, and compressors of time. They chart out a space of seeing before seeing, of being before being, of renewed subjectivity.

As Le Géant elevated Nadar, the artists in this exhibition likewise propel us to new perspectives: from weight to levity, from mental perception to physical manifestation, from the past to the hallucinatory future. Placing Nadar in the context of emerging artists points to that sense of discovery that these artists must engage in, in the mental action of looking at the periphery, and in the search within one’s subjectivity towards a new perception. They entrench in the present to reach far into the span of time; they search intensely in peripheral visions to unravel or cinch our systems of knowledge. Imbricating temporality and materiality, their works equip us with new senses to perceive anew, as in Nadar’s words: “In that very second, the slightest ray of light would dissipate the tenebrous depths and enable the eye to take measure of the darkest corners.” *

* Nadar F., À Terre & en l’air... Mémoires du Géant, Paris, E. Dentu, 1865.


Public Workshop:
Wu Hao 'Watermarks Project', chi K11 Art Museum.
This event was a public workshop held as part of the 'Inside China - L’Intérieur du Géant' exhibition, Shanghai.

Public Talk:
'A Few Minds Are Better than One: Exhibition as a Potential Site of Shared Knowledge Production'
2nd August, 2015 (15:00-17:00).
Speakers: Jo-ey Tang, Victor Wang, Yu Ji

*Images courtesy of chi K11 art museum

VICTOR WANG
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