aaajiao

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

BIOGRAPHY | SELECTED WORKS | RECENT EXHIBITIONS | SELECTED PRESS | INTERVIEW
_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

BIOGRAPHY

Active online as a media artist, blogger, activist and programmer, aaajiao is the virtual persona of Shanghai-based artist Xu Wenkai. Born in 1984 in one of China’s oldest cities, Xi’an, aaajiao’s art and works are marked by a strong dystopian awareness—his year of birth being the synonym of George Orwell’s classic allegorical novel—, literati spirits and sophistication. Many of aaajiao’s works speak to new thinkings, controversies and phenomenon around the Internet, with specific projects focusing on the processing of data, the blogsphere and China’s Great Fire Wall. aaajiao’s recent projects extend his practice to various disciplines (among them architecture, electronic music, performance, product design, and medicine) to capture the pulse of the young generation consuming cyber technology and living in social media.

Aaajiao’s work has been featured in numerous exhibitions around the world, upcoming and recent shows include “Art in the Age of the Internet, 1989 to Today”, The Institute of Contemporary Art Boston, Boston (2018); “unREAL”, Haus der elektronischen Künste, Basel (2017); “Temporal Turn: Art and Speculation in Contemporary Asia”, Spencer Museum of Art, Kansas (2016); “Take Me (I’m Yours)” (curated by Hans Ulrich Obrist, Jens Ho mann and Kelly Taxter), Jewish Museum, New York (2016); “Overpop”, Yuz Museum, Shanghai (2016); “Hack Space” (curated by Hans Ulrich Obrist and Amira Gad), K11 Art Foundation Pop-up Space, Hong Kong and chi K11 art museum, Shanghai (2016); “Globale: Global Control and Censorship”, ZKM | Centre for Art and Media, Karlsruhe (2015); “Thingworld International Triennial of New Media Art”, The National Art Museum of China, Beijing (2014); and Transmediale, Berlin (2010). His solo exhibition includes: “Remnants of an Electronic Past”, Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art, Manchester (2016); OCAT Contemporary Art Terminal Xi’an, Xi’an (2016), among others. He was awarded the Art Sanya Awards in 2014 Jury Prize and was nominated for the first edition of OCAT-Pierre Huber Art Prize in 2014.

Download the complete artist biography.

[back to top]

SELECTED WORKS

aaajiao, "Observed", 2015, Inkjet print, acrylic case, 150 x 150 cm

aaajiao, "Karesansui", 2014, Sponges, metal insert, Dimension variable

aaajiao, "Karesansui", 2014, Sponges, metal insert, Dimension variable

aaajiao, "Obj 4", 2014, LCD screen, wood frame Installation: 16.5 x 24.5 x 6.5 cm, Video 8 min in loop

aaajiao, "Obj 1", 2014, LCD screen, wood fittings, Size variable, Video 8 min in loop

aaajiao, "Obj 1", 2014, LCD screen, wood fittings, Size variable, Video 8 min in loop

aaajiao, "The Screen Generation", 2013-14, Site-specific installation, algorithmic video, metal structure, Dimension variable

aaajiao, "The Screen Generation", 2013-14, Site-specific installation, algorithmic video, metal structure, Dimension variable

aaajiao, "The Screen Generation", 2013-14, Site-specific installation, algorithmic video, metal structure, Dimension variable

aaajiao, "The Screen Generation", 2013-14, Site-specific installation, algorithmic video, metal structure, Dimension variable

aaajiao, "Meta", 2013, LCD screen, wood frame, electronic components, Installation: 42.5 x 28 x 4.5 cm, Video: 12 min 23 sec in loop

aaajiao, "Meta", 2013, LCD screen, wood frame, electronic components, Installation: 42.5 x 28 x 4.5 cm, Video: 12 min 23 sec in loop

aaajiao, "Gfwlist", 2010, Corian, thermal printer module, thermal paper, 76 x 30 x 280 cm

aaajiao, "Gfwlist", 2010, Detail, Installation, 76 x 30 x 280 cm

aaajiao, "BlogArchaeological", 2010, Vitrine, electronic balances, SD memory cards with archives of screenshot and html files from everyday updates of RobotWisdom.com between 1999 and 2010, 240 x 150 x 40 cm

 

For more works and projects by the artist, download the portfolio in pdf.

[back to top]

RECENT EXHIBITIONS

“Art in the Age of the Internet, 1989 to Today”, The Institute of Contemporary Art Boston, Boston, USA, 2018
“unREAL”, Haus der elektronischen Künste, Basel, Switzerland, 2017
“Body Media II”, Power Station of Art, Shanghai, China, 2017
“Shanghai Project Chapter 2: Seeds of Time”, Shanghai Himalayas Museum, Shanghai, China, 2017
“All happens after sunset”, MOCA Pavilion, Shanghai, China, 2017
“Create Spaces”, A4 Art Museum, Luxelakes Arts Exhibition Centre, Chengdu, China, 2017
“Temporal Turn: Art and Speculation in Contemporary Asia”, Spencer Museum of Art, Kansas, USA, 2016
“Time Based / Non-places”, The 3rd Shenzhen Independent Animation Biennale, OCT-Loft, Shenzhen, China, 2016
“Heavy Artillery”, White Rabbit Gallery, Sydney, Australia, 2016
“Take Me (I’m Yours)”, Jewish Museum, New York, USA, 2016
“Overpop”, YUZ Museum, Shanghai, China, 2016
“aaajiao: Remnants of an Electronic Past” (solo), OCAT Contemporary Art Terminal Xi’an, Xi’an, China, 2016
“aaajiao: Remnants of an Electronic Past” (solo), Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art, Manchester, UK, 2016
“Hack Space”, curated by Hans Ulrich Obrist and Amira Gad, K11 Art Foundation Pop-up Space, Hong Kong, 2016
“Globale: Global Control and Censorship”, ZKM | Center for Art and Media, Karlsruhe, Germany, 2015
“Alias: aaajiao” (solo), Leo Xu projects, Shanghai, China, 2015
“The 2nd ‘CAFAM Future’ Exhibition: Observer – Creator · The Reality Representation of Chinese Young Art”, Central Academy of Fine Arts Art Museum, Beijing, China, 2015
“The Screen Generation @ 9m²-Museum” (solo), 9m²-Museum (Goethe Open Space), Shanghai, China, 2014

[back to top]

SELECTED PRESS

Artnow by Noblesse, “AAAJIAO: The Crisis of Individuals in the Digital Age”, by Mao Judan, Issue 05, December 2016 [download pdf]
Artsy, “Art-World Insiders Select Art Basel in Miami Beach’s Must-See Works”, by Molly Gottschalk, December 2016 [download pdf]
The Art Newspaper, “Human Bodies”, by San San De, issue 41, September, 2016[download pdf]
Artforum, “Aaajiao: Remnants Of An Electronic Past”, by Zhu He, July, 2016 [download pdf]
Artsy, “20 Chinese Emerging Artists You Should Know”, by Frances Arnold, July, 2016 [download pdf]
Vice, “Aaajiao Created A Consumed Internet Ruins”, by Sherry, July, 2016 [download pdf]
Leap, “Metaphysical Questions About ‘Remnants Of An Electronic Past’”, July, 2016 [download pdf]
Zao Jiu, “Aaajiao: VR Is Not Fresh, It Decreases The Imagination”, by Nuan Da Ren, July, 2016 [download pdf]
Art Review Asia, “Untitled”, by Edward Sanderson, Issue 2, Spring, 2016 [download pdf]
K11 Artoid, “Art Basel Hong Kong Highlights”, Issue 7, 2015 [download pdf]
Harper’s Bazaar Art, “Both Artist And Internet Aborigine”, by Nuo Yi, Issue 371, September, 2015 [download pdf]
The Bund, “Find My Methodology After Burning The Fantasy”, by Han Jian, Issue 655, August, 2015 [download pdf]
Art China, “Blue Is The Color Acquiesced By Computer”, by Chen Zian, Issue 112, April, 2015 [download pdf]
Art World, “Wander”, by Wang Yiquan, Issue 293, February, 2015 [download pdf]
Modern Weekly, “Deduce ‘Alias aaajiao’”, by Yan Bing, Issue 842, February, 2015 [download pdf]
Numéro, “A Mixture of the Tangible and the Intangible”, by Yu Bingxia, February, 2015 [download pdf]
ART289, “Aaajiao, From Creator To New Media Artist”, by Qian Qian, Issue 3, January, 2015 [download pdf]
Art China, “COSMOS at Shanghai 21st Minsheng Art Museum”, by Bai Jiafeng, Issue 110, January, 2015 [download pdf]
Kleidoscope, “He Found The Cycle of Piracy – Sharing – Reinventing Generated A New Circle of Creation”, by Leo Xu, Launch Issue, January, 2015 [download pdf]
Kleidoscope, “AAAJIAO”, by Leo Xu, January, 2015 [download pdf]
The Bund, “Watching the Scenery Through the Vanity”, by Agnès, January, 2015 [download pdf]
Iart, “Xu Wenkai: The Screen Generation”, by Wang Zhen, January, 2014 [download pdf]
The Bund, “The Generation Modulated and Demodulated by Digits”, by Mu Yu, Issue 576, January, 2014 [download pdf]
Randian, “The Static Generation”, by Iona Whittaker, January, 2014 [download pdf]
THERE IS NO THERE, “aaajiao: Turritopsis Nutricula and Cloud.data” , HUNTER BRAITHWAITE, November, 2011[download pdf][download pdf]



[back to top]

INTERVIEW


Interviewed by The Creators Project, at aaajiao’s studio. thecreatorsproject.vice.com, Jan 2013.

[back to top]

offsite | A NEW BALLARDIAN VISION

 

CINDY SHERMAN, "Untitled", 1987

A NEW BALLARDIAN VISION
Organized by Leo Xu
June 29th through August 4th, 2017
Metro Pictures, New York, USA 
 
As a part of CONDO Complex New York, a gallery swap between New York galleries and national and international partners, Metro Pictures hosts Leo Xu’s two-part exhibition A New Ballardian Vision. The show brings together a selection of works that reflect recent social, technological and environmental developments through the lens of author J.G. Ballard’s (1930–2009) writings. Xu conceived the exhibition as two distinct chapters; the first features Metro Pictures artists Nina Beier, Camille Henrot, Martin Kippenberger, Oliver Laric, Robert Longo, Trevor Paglen, Jim Shaw and Cindy Sherman. The second chapter focuses on a younger generation of Chinese artists represented by Leo Xu Projects, including aaajiao, Chen Wei, Cheng Ran, Cui Jie, Li Qing, Liu Shiyuan and Pixy Liao.
Details »

current | AAAJIAO: USER, LOVE, HIGH-FREQUENCY TRADING

aaajiao, Candy wrappers (twitter), 2017

AAAJIAO: USER, LOVE, HIGH-FREQUENCY TRADING

May 27th through July 2nd, 2017
Opening reception: Friday, May 26th, 6-8pm

“User, Love, High-frequency Trading” marks the second solo exhibition with the gallery by Shanghai and Berlin-based young new media artist aaajiao. Aaajiao, the artistic persona of Xu Wenkai, was first created as his internet handle. As a user of many websites, social media and applications, aaajiao has been exploring the notions about such role and new identities and personalities a user may assume through his or her operation of one specific medium. This two-year long research has crystalized into the exhibition “User, Love, High-frequency Trading”. It goes through multiple aspects—for instance, user’s alter ego, social media communication, and new economies driven by algorithms and networking of users—and arrives at a particular moment in current social and technological development, which has both resonated and contrasted with many of Sci-fi cinema and literature’s Ballardian or cyberpunk fantasies of an early 21st century.

Details »

fair | LISTE – ART FAIR BASEL 2017

Booth: 1-7-G3
June 12th through 18th, 2017

The gallery’s debut in LISTE – Art Fair Basel 2017 will feature a solo presentation by Copenhagen-based young Chinese female artist Liu Shiyuan.

Born in 1985 in Beijing, Liu Shiyuan lives and works in Copenhagen after having studied in New York and Beijing. Traveling and living between cities and across multiple cultures, Liu has developed an artistic sensibility to the new forms of language and expressions on cybersphere and its ensuing patterns of everyday communication across the globe. The works on view at the booth also underlines the nuances and influences of the new internet rhetoric between different regions and media.

Details »

past | PLEASE FASTEN YOUR SEAT BELT AS WE ARE EXPERIENCING SOME TURBULENCE

Please fasten your seat belt as we are experiencing some turbulence

March 18th through April 30th, 2017
Opening reception: Friday, March 17th, 6-8pm

David Kordansky Gallery and Leo Xu Projects are pleased to present “Please fasten your seat belt as we are experiencing some turbulence”, a collaborative group exhibition held at Leo Xu Projects, Lane 49, Building 3, Fuxing Xi Road, Xuhui District, Shanghai. The show will be on view from March 18 until April 30, 2017. An opening reception will take place on Friday, March 17 from 6:00pm until 8:00pm.

Featuring artists from both of the galleries’ programs, Please fasten your seat belt as we are experiencing some turbulence will examine how a wide and heterogeneous array of aesthetic positions can reflect, refract, and bear witness to an uncertain state of global affairs. The exhibition will include work by Kathryn Andrews, Andrea Büttner, Chen Wei, Heman Chong, Sam Gilliam, Zach Harris, Evan Holloway, Rashid Johnson, Gabriel Lester, Li Qing, Liu Shiyuan, Pixy Liao, Jonas Lund, Tala Madani, Chris Martin, Torbjørn Rødland, Sissel Tolaas, Tom of Finland, Wei Jia, Ming Wong, and Betty Woodman.

Details »

news | CHEN WEI: THE CLUB AT HORSHAM REGIONAL ART GALLERY

Chen Wei, "Disco #1004", 2015

CHEN WEI: The Club
Horsham Regional Art Gallery, Horsham, Australia
24 June 2017 - 13 August 2017

Chen Wei’s solo exhibition “The Club” is to open on June 24, 2017 and runs until August 13, 2017 at Horsham Regional Art Gallery.

Being one of China’s leading artists exhibiting in London, New York, Melbourne and numerous cities across Europe, Chen Wei is presenting photographs and installations that fabricate a visual archive of Chinese club culture in Horsham, Australia. Curated by Elias Redstone, The Club explores an undocumented subculture, reflecting on wider social changes that have taken place in modern China.

Details »

news | LIU SHIYUAN IN .COM/.CN AT K11

Group Exhibition: .com/.cn
K11 Art Foundation, Hong Kong 
21 March through 30 April 2017

Liu Shiyuan is selected to be included in the group exhibition .com/.cn, co-presented by the K11 Art Foundation and MoMA PS1. Co-curated by Klaus Biesenbach and Peter Eleey of MoMA PS1 in New York, this project is part of an ongoing research partnership of two institutions.

Details »

fair | FRIEZE NEW YORK 2017

Li Qing, "Window · The Sea in the Museum", 2016-2017

Frieze New York
Booth B23
Randall’s Island, Manhattan
May 5th through 7th, 2017
Preview: Thursday, May 4th, 2017

Located at booth B23, the gallery will be exhibiting a solo presentation of Shanghai-based artist Li Qing, who was recently shortlisted for the sixth edition of Prix Jean-Francois Prat (2017), a prestigious international contemporary art prize mainly focuses on painting.
Details »

news | AAAJIAO IN BODY MEDIA II AT PSA

Group Exhibition: Body·Media II
Power Station of Art, Shanghai, China
April 29 through July 30, 2017

 

Artist aaajiao is selected along with other 23 artists/art groups from 12 countries to be included in the group exhibition “Body·Media II” at Power Station of Art, Shanghai,  co-curated by Gong Yan (China) and Richard Castelli (France). The exhibition continues the theme of 2007’s exhibition Body Media, re-discusses the close ties between new media and body within the new era context totally revolutionized by advancing technologies. It contains installation, performance, photography, video, and other hard-to-be-defined art forms, introduces cross-disciplinary cooperative patterns and exceeds boundaries of interactive art exhibitions.

Details »

news | PIXY LIAO IN NSFW: FEMALE GAZE AT MUSEUM OF SEX

 

NSFW: Female Gaze
June 21, 2017
Museum of Sex, New York, USA

Pixy Liao is participating in the group exhibition “NSFW: Female Gaze” at Museum of Sex on June 21.

NSFW: Female Gaze, co-curated by VICE Media’s Creators, showcases over 25 emerging female artists from various disciplines dedicated to powerful feminine narratives. From Instagram and GIF platforms to textile and photography, these artists bring a fresh, eclectic, and unconventional approach to sexuality.

Details »

news | AAAJIAO, CHENG RAN, LI QING IN MOCA PAVILLION


Group exhibition: All happens after sunset…
MOCA Pavilion, Shanghai, China
April 22nd through May 25th, 2017

Artists aaajiao, Cheng Ran and Li Qing participate the group exhibition “All happens after sunset” at MOCA Pavilion, Shanghai, curated by Xⁿ Office, a contemporary art curating group launched by researcher of art history Penny Xu and artist Ni Youyu. The exhibition is also part of the first phase of MOCA’s 2017 “+Follow+” young artist group exhibition project, to follow young Chinese artists in their development, observing them as they mold through their early stages and blossom into maturity.

Details »

fair | ART BASEL HONG KONG 2017

 
Art Basel Hong Kong
Stand C20
Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Center
March 23rd through 25th, 2017
Preview Wednesday, March 22nd
 


news | CITY OF STARS

 

Leo Xu Projects and Art Project CZ co-presents
Group Exhibition: City of Stars
April 19th through June 19th, 2017
MINGO
No. 1690 Huaihai Road, Xuhui District, Shanghai

 

The collaborative group exhibition “City of Stars” between Leo Xu Projects and Art Project CZ runs from April 19th to June 19th, 2017. The exhibition aims to capture the nightlife and living experience in the former French concession area in Shanghai, and to project a broader encapsulation of the Chinese youth’s status quo. Artists on view include aaajiao, Chen Wei, Cheng Ran, Guo Hongwei, Li Qing and Liu Shiyuan.

 

news | AAAJIAO AND LIU CHUANG IN SHANGHAI PROJECT CHAPTER 2

Shanghai Project Chapter 2
Envision 2116
Exhibition: “Seeds of Time”
April 22 – July 30, 2017

Venues: Shanghai Himalayas Museum, Envision Pavilion, Zendai Zhujiajiao Art Museum

 

Artists aaajiao and Liu Chuang are invited by Shanghai Project to participate in the exhibition’s second chapter as researchers. Curated by Yongwoo Lee and Hans Ulrich Obrist, the Shanghai Project Chapter 2 exhibition ”Seeds of Time” will be inaugurated on April 22, 2017. Taking its title from the documentary of the same name, which shares the project’s call for action regarding the climate situation, the exhibition seeks to explore sustainability so as to better understand possible solutions for urgent environmental and social problems.

Details »

news | CUI JIE IN PAST SKIN AT MoMA PS1

CUI JIE, S House #5, 2016

Past Skin
April 6 – September 10, 2017
MoMA PS1
22-25 Jackson Avenue, Queens
Long Island City, NY 11101

Cui Jie will participate in the group exhibition “Past Skin” at MoMA PS1, New York, running from April 6 to September 10, 2017. In today’s technological environment, we can style, extend, and broadcast ourselves at will, projecting into digital realms that in turn shape us. The six artists in ”Past Skin” take up science historian and cyber-feminist Donna Haraway’s provocation, “Why should our body end at the skin?,” testing the growing porosity between our bodies and habitats in a contemporary world where virtuality is ubiquitous and surreality is increasingly normalized. As much as we exert influence on our bodies and surroundings, the technologies that enable this influence also influence us. Details »

news | CHEN WEI: THE CLUB AT CCP MELBOURNE

CHEN WEI: The Club
March 24 – May 7, 2017
Opening: Thursday 23 March, 6–8pm
Centre for Contemporary Photography
404 George St, Fitzroy
Melbourne, Victoria 3065
Australia

Titled “The Club”, Chen Wei’s first institutional solo exhibition in Australia is to open on March 23, 2017 and runs until May 7 at Centre for Contemporary Photography, Melbourne.

Beijing-based artist Chen Wei’s practice actively blurs the boundaries between reality and fiction through the construction of carefully staged scenes and handcrafted objects. The Club – his first solo exhibition in a public institution in Australia – comprises a series of photographs and installations that fabricate a visual archive of Chinese club culture. Chen has meticulously recreated the architecture, interiors and culture of nightclubs to celebrate this previously undocumented subculture and to provide a commentary on wider social changes that have been taking place in China.

Details »

news | CUI JIE IN THE NEW NORMAL: ART AND CHINA IN 2017 AT UCCA

The New Normal:Art and China in 2017
March 19–July 9, 2017 
Ullens Center for Contemporary Art (UCCA) 
798 Art District
No. 4 Jiuxianqiao Road, Chaoyang District
100015 BeijingChina 

What is the place of art in China today? Or rather, in a world where the underpinnings of the post-World War II consensus have come suddenly loose, a world whose most prosperous corners find themselves in thrall to sectarian populism, a world increasingly unable to deny the changes wrought to its ecosystem by the last hundred years of human emissions, and a world in which, despite it all, China continues to grow in output and influence, what is to be done?

Details »

news | GABRIEL LESTER IN KOCHI-MUZIRIS BIENNALE 2016

Gabriel Lester, Dwelling Kappiri Spirits, 2016

Kochi-Muziris Biennale:
Forming in the Pupil of an Eye
December 12th, 2016 through March 29th, 2017 

 

Gabriel Lester is featured among 97 artists who have been invited to create new works in this year’s Kochi-Muziris Biennale, the largest contemporary art biennial in South Asia. Curated by the eminent Indian artist Sudarshan Shetty, the third edition of the Biennale is titled Forming in the Pupil of an Eye. The Biennale will run from December 12, 2016 until March 29, 2017.
Details »

news | HE AN, SOLO EXHIBITION AT ACCA, MELBOURNE

He An:
Do You Think That You Can Help Her Brother?
February 11th, 2017 through April 23rd, 2017 
Australian Centre for Contemporary Art (ACCA)
111 Sturt Street, Southbank VIC 3006, Australia

 

He An’s neon light installation, Do You Think You Can Help Her Brother?, will be presented on the northern façade of ACCA’s iconic architecture as a keynote public project for Asia TOPA, comprised of Chinese characters gleaned from shopfronts and various sites throughout the city of Beijing, telling a dark story about love, desire and power in.

Drawn from popular news stories and online social media, Do You Think You Can Help Her Brother? combines found texts to create a narrative poem that relays the experience of marginalized labour workers, popular Chinese novels, the sex industry and criminal underground networks in Chinese society.
Details »

past | NINA CANELL: REFLEXOLOGY

Nina Canell: Reflexology

November 9th, 2016 through January 15th, 2017
Opening reception: Wednesday, November 9th, 5-8pm

Nina Canell: “Reflexology” is the first solo exhibition of Berlin-based artist Nina Canell (b.1979, Sweden) to take place in China. Set across all three floors of the gallery space, Canell’s characteristically concise sculptural works of found and functional objects explore the often-overlapping networks and natural phenomena that surround us, probing the connections between material objects and immaterial forces. For this exhibition, Canell presents a series of new and recent works, incorporating site-specific elements and objects that have been sourced locally in Shanghai.

Taking the practice of reflexology as her starting point, Canell uses the exhibition format to investigate how the varying meanings of the term might be interpreted through the relationship between the work and its viewer.
Details »

news | GABRIEL LESTER SOLO EXHIBITION AT CONTEMPORARY ART CENTRE (CAC), VILNIUS

Gabriel Lester: The Nine Day Week
November 25th, 2016 through January 15th, 2017
Opening November 25th, 6pm

Contemporary Art Centre, Vilnius
Vokiečių 2
LT-01130 Vilnius
Lithuania

Details »