Nina Canell




Nina Canell’s work, in general, deals with invisible energies made apparent. Inheriting core tenets from Fluxus, her work is situated somewhere between established, static sculpture and the performativity of natural events or occurrences. Her recent sculptures fragments or ‘cuttings’ from high voltage cables, which first emerged in her significant 2014 solo shows at Camden Arts Centre, London; Moderna Museet, Stockholm, and formed the core of her presentation at Art Basel, Hong Kong, have been perfectly described in a recent text from a show at the Dutch institution, Witte de With:

“The work of Nina Canell attempts to activate an intersection between humans, objects and events whereby a certain kind of material imagination might be articulated. A method of loosely combining found or unrelated materials is central to her practice. Triggering situations, they encourage us to think of a place where something can be shared, altered or set off in an unexpected direction. Nina Canell meditates upon the loss of information and energy that occurs during processes of transference in her sculptural constellation of stumps and cross-sections of telecommunication and power cables, each becoming sentences cut-off mid-flow or instances of material forgetfulness.”

Canell’s solo exhibitions include Leo Xu Projects, Shanghai (2016); Galerie Barbara Wien, Berlin (2016); Arko Art Centre, Seoul (2015), Moderna Museet, Stockholm (2014), Camden Arts Centre, London (2014), Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art, Newcastle (2014), Lunds Konsthall, Sweden (2014), Midway Contemporary Art, Minneapolis (2013), Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin, (2012), Kunsthalle Fridericianum, Kassel (2011), Museum fur Moderne Kunst, Vienna (2010). Her work has also featured in major international group exhibitions, including La vie Moderne, 13th Biennale de Lyon; 18th Biennale, Sydney; La Triennale, Intense Proximity, Palais de Tokyo, Paris; On Line, Museum of Modern Art, New York; Liverpool Biennale, Tate Liverpool; Manifesta 7, Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol; 7th Gwangju Biennale, Gwangju. Canell’s work is held in major private and public collections worldwide and featured in monographs and publications.

Born Sweden, 1979, lives and works in Berlin.

Download the complete artist biography.

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NINA CANELL, "Thins", 2015, Nails, magnet, Photograph Robin Watkins

NINA CANELL, "In Absence of Satin Ions (detail)", 2014, Chewing gum, fitted carpet, ioniser, plexi, underfloor heating carpet,
Photograph Robin Watkins

NINA CANELL, "Foam-Skin Insulated Jelly-Filled Vowel", 2016, Barbara Wien Galerie, Berlin, Installation view, Photograph Nick Ash

NINA CANELL, "Shedding Sheaths (B) (detail)", 2016, Fibre-optic cable sheaths, Photograph Nick Ash

NINA CANELL, "Tip of the Tongue", 2016, Dictaphone, bouncy ball, silicone, paper, tape, Photograph Nick Ash

NINA CANELL, "Shedding Sheaths (B) (detail)", 2016, Fibre-optic cable sheaths, Photograph Robin Watkins

NINA CANELL, "Shedding Sheaths (B) (detail)", 2016, Fibre-optic cable sheaths, Photograph Robin Watkins

NINA CANELL, "Brief Syllables (detail)", 2014, High voltage and telecommunication cables, steel, wood, Photograph Robin Watkins

NINA CANELL, "Free-Space Path Loss", 2014, Fingerprints and heat on copper, nails, Photograph Terje Östling / Lunds Konsthall

NINA CANELL, "Satin Ions", 2015, Arko Art Centre, Seoul, Installation view, Photograph Robin Watkins

NINA CANELL, "Shedding Sheaths (H) (detail)", 2015, Fibre-optic cable sheaths, Photograph Hyejin Park

NINA CANELL, "Shedding Sheaths (H) (detail)", 2015, Fibre-optic cable sheaths, Photograph Robin Watkins

NINA CANELL, "The Promise of Moving Things", 2014, le Crédac, Paris, Installation view, Photograph André Morin / le Crédac

NINA CANELL, "Treetops, Hillsides and Ditches", 2011, Mastic gum, logs, Photograph Robin Watkins

NINA CANELL, "Brief Syllable (Contagious) (detail)", 2014, Telecommunication cable, acrylic, concrete, Photograph Robin Watkins

NINA CANELL, "Perpetuum Mobile (25 kg)", 2009, Water, basin, ultrasound generator, concrete, Photograph Robin Watkins

NINA CANELL, "Flexions (detail)", 2016, Memory wire, pegboard, frequency generators, loudspeakers, cables,
electrical connectors, DC generators, relay-timers, proximity sensor, wood, steel,
Collaboration with Robin Watkins, Photograph Robin Watkins

NINA CANELL, "Near Here (1 Microsecond)", 2014, Photocopying toner, nylon, 1,000,000 volt during 1 microsecond,
Collaboration with Robin Watkins, Photograph Robin Watkins

NINA CANELL, "Melters", 2016, Fibre-optic cable sheaths, Photograph Nick Ash

NINA CANELL, "Soft Corner", 2013, Neon, copper, cable, 5000 volt, Photograph Mother’s Tankstation / Leo Xu Projects,
The Mud of Compound Experience, Leo Xu Projects in collaboration with Mother’s Tankstation, Hong Kong, 2016, Installation view

NINA CANELL, "Brief Syllable (Blue)", 2016, Telecommunication cable, acrylic, concrete,
Photograph Mother’s Tankstation / Leo Xu Projects, The Mud of Compound Experience,
Leo Xu Projects in collaboration with Mother’s Tankstation, Hong Kong, 2016, Installation view

NINA CANELL, "Telepath (detail)", 2013, Neon, copper, cable, 3000 volt, Photograph Robin Watkins

NINA CANELL, "Days of Inertia", 2015, Water, hydrophobic nano coat, stone tile, Photograph Robin Watkins

NINA CANELL, "Ode to Outer Ends", 2010, Wood, coconut, electromagnetic device, epoxy, Photograph Robin Watkins

NINA CANELL, "Halway Between Opposite Ends", 2013, Stick, saline, 4000 volt, Photograph Robin Watkins

NINA CANELL, "Halway Between Opposite Ends (studio)", 2013, Stick, saline, 4000 volt, Photograph Robin Watkins

NINA CANELL, "Affinity Units", 2012, Neon, stone, cable, 5000 volt, Photograph Robin Watkins

NINA CANELL, "Overcoming the Current Resistance", 2012, Neon, copper, cable, 152,000 volt, Photograph Robin Watkins,
Installation view at 18th Biennale of Sydney

NINA CANELL, "And So Entangled", 2012, Neon, cable, 5000 volt, Photograph Robin Watkins,
Installation view at 18th Biennale of Sydney

NINA CANELL, "And So Entangled", 2012, Neon, cable, 5000 volt, Photograph Robin Watkins


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

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“Reflexology”, Leo Xu Projects, Shanghai, China, 2016
“Foam-Skin Insulated Jelly-Filled Vowel”, Galerie Barbara Wien, Berlin, Germany, 2016
“Shedding Sheaths”, Unlimited, Art 47 Basel, Switzerland, 2016
“Satin Ions”, Arko Art Center, Seoul, South Korea, 2015
“Brief Syllable (Flat)”, Rond-Point Projects, Marseille, France, 2015
“Dimensions Withheld”, Daniel Marzona, Berlin, Germany, 2015
“Free-Space Path Loss”, Lunds Konsthall, Sweden, 2014
“Mid-Sentence”, Moderna Museet, Stockholm, Sweden, 2014
“Near Here”, Lulu, Mexico City, Mexico, 2014
“O Little Drops”, Mother’s Tankstation, Dublin, Ireland, 2013

“Stray Warmings”, Midway Contemporary Art, Minneapolis, USA, 2013
“Nina Canell & Rolf Julius”, Hamburg Bahnhof Museum für Gegenwart, Berlin, Germany, 2012
“Tendrils”, The Douglas Hyde Gallery, Dublin, Ireland, 2012

“Into the Eyes as Ends of Hair”, Cubitt Gallery, London, UK, 2012
“Ode to Outer Ends”, Kunsthalle Fridericianum, Kassel, Germany, 2011
“Matter of the Heart / Heart of the Matter”, Konrad Fischer Galerie / Galerie Barbara Wien, Berlin, Germany, 2011


“We Are The Centre For Curatorial Studies (Phase 1)”, Hessel Museum of Art, New York, USA, 2016
“Inflected Objects #2 Circulation – Otherwise, Unhinged”, Future Gallery, Berlin, Germany
, 2016
“A Thousand Horsepower”, Trinxet Factory, Barcelona, Spain
, 2016
“The Distance of a Day”, The Israel Museum, Jerusalem, Israel
, 2016
“Third Nature”, CCS Bard, New York, USA
, 2016
“The Mud of Compound Experience”, Mother’s Tankstation in collaboration with Leo Xu Projects, Hong Kong, China
, 2016
“Life Itself. On the question of what it essentially is; its materialities, its characteristics considering that the attempts to…”, Moderna Museet, Stockholm, Sweden, 2016
“Matter Fictions”, Museu Coleção Berardo, Lisbon, Portugal
, 2016
“Die Kräfte hinter den Formen / The forces behind the forms”, Galerie im Taxipalais, Innsbruck, Austria, 2016
“Accrochage”, Pinault, Punta della Dogana, Venice, Italy
, 2016
“FluxesFeverFuturesFiction”, Azkuna Zentroa, Bilbao, Spain, 2016
“Accueille-moi paysage”, Marcelle Alix, Paris, France, 2016
“La Vie Moderne”, 13th Biennale de Lyon, Lyon, France, 2015
“All Our Relations”, 18th Biennale of Sydney, Australia, 2012
“La Triennale – Intense Proximity” (curated by Okwui Envezor), Palais de Tokyo, Paris, France, 2012
“On Line: Drawing through the twentieth Century”, MoMA, New York, USA, 2010
“Touched”, Liverpool Biennale, Liverpool, UK, 2010

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Artforum, “Nina Canell”, Text/Arthur Solway, P288, March 2017 [download pdf]
Lyon Biennale, “Nina Canell”, by Ralph Rugoff, September, 2015 [download pdf]
ArtAsiaPacific, “Satin Ions at Arko Art Centre”, by Jayoon Choi, May, 2015 [download pdf]
ArtReview, “Satin Ions at Arko Art Centre”, by Aimee Lin, May, 2015 [download pdf]
Bom Dia Boa Tarde Boa Noite/Arko Art Centre, “Satin Ions”, by Hyunjin Kim, May, 2015 [download pdf]
Artforum, “Mid-Sentence at Moderna Museet”, by Neringa Cerniauskaite, March, 2015 [download pdf]
Sternberg Press and Midway Contemporary Art, “Crosstalk (conversation)”, by Dieter Roelstraete & Monika Szewczyk, May, 2014 [download pdf]
Artforum, “Critic’s Picks”, Kate Sutton, March, 2014 [download pdf]
Lunds Konsthall, “Free-Space Path Loss”, by Chris Sharp, 2014 [download pdf]
Mother’s Tankstation, “O Little Drops”, by Rebecca O’Dwyer, 2013 [download pdf]
AMC Collezione Coppola in Solo, “Every Distance Is Not Near”, by Fionn Meade, No.3, 2012 [download pdf]
Frieze Magazine, “Into the Eyes as Ends of Hair”, by Martin Herbert, May 1, 2012 [download pdf]
Cubitt Gallery, “Sistine”, by Steven Connor, March, 2012 [download pdf]
Monopol Magazine, “Unter Strom”, by Silke Hohmann, May, 2011 [download pdf]
Distanz Verlag, “Under Destruction”, by Piper Marshall, April, 2011 [download pdf]
Kaleidoscope, “Nina Canell”, by Leah Whitman-Salkin, 2010-11 [download pdf]
Phaidon, “Creamier”, by Adam Szymczyk, May, 2010 [download pdf]
Tate Liverpool, “Touched – Liverpool Biennial”, by Peter Gorschlueter, 2010 [download pdf]

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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.

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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

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.

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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?

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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.
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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.
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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.
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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

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Take Me (I’m Yours)

September 16th, 2016 through February 5th, 2017

Jewish Museum
1109 5th Ave at 92nd St, New York, NY 10128

Aaajiao presents a new installation in “Take Me (I’m Yours)” at the Jewish Museum. “Take Me (I’m Yours)” was originally conceived by Christian Boltanski and Hans Ulrich Obrist in 1995. The New York show is curated by Jens Hoffmann, Deputy Director, Exhibitions and Public Programs, the Jewish Museum; Hans Ulrich Obrist; and Kelly Taxter, Assistant Curator, the Jewish Museum.
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Times Heterotopia Trilogy III:
The Man Who Never Threw Anything Away
Guangdong Times Museum
January 8th through February 19th, 2017
Opening: January 7th, 2017


Liu Chuang is featured in the group exhibition “The Man Who Never Threw Anything Away” at Guangdong Times Museum. The exhibition is curated by Nikita Yingqian Cai and will run from January 8th through February 19th, 2017.

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Cheng Ran: Diary of a Madman

October 19th 2016 through January 15th 2017
New Museum, New York

Curated by Helga Christoffersen and Massimiliano Gioni.



September 4th, 2016 through January 15th, 2017

Yuz Museum
No.35 Fenggu Road, Shanghai

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Vitamin P3 – New Perspectives in Painting

Publisher: Phaidon Press, 2016
Hardcover: 352 pages
550 color illustrations
11.38 x 9.88 in
28.9 x 25.1 cm

Since the publication of the first Vitamin P in 2002, painting has continued to evolve and excite, with new generations responding to its historic importance and taking it in unexpected directions. A central pillar of artistic practice, painting also has enduring appeal, dominating the art market. Vitamin P3 takes the conversation forward, spotlighting more than 100 outstanding artists who are engaging with – and pushing the boundaries of – the medium of paint.

For the full article on Cui Jie, please [download pdf]


Art Basel Miami Beach
Stand N13
Miami Beach Convention Center
December 1st through 4th, 2016
Preview Wednesday, November 30th

LEO XU PROJECTS is pleased to announce its participation for the first time at Art Basel | Miami Beach. Located at stand N13, the gallery brings a group presentation of three artists; aaajiao, Cui Jie and Liu Shiyuan, each articulating a different vision of their experiences living, working and exhibiting in the city of Shanghai.
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fair | ART021 Shanghai Contemporary Art Fair 2016

ART021 Shanghai Contemporary Art Fair
Stand W28
Shanghai Exhibition Center, 1376 West Nanjing Road, Jing’an District, Shanghai 

November 10th through 13th, 2016
Preview Thursday, November 9th

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fair | WEST BUND ART & DESIGN 2016

West Bund Art & Design
Stand C2
West Bund Art Center, 2555 Longteng Avenue, Xuhui District, Shanghai

November 9th through 13th, 2016
Preview Tuesday, November 8th

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Cui Jie, Building of Cranes #1, 2014. Oil on canvas. 150 x 110 cm.


November 9th, 2016 through December 8th, 2016
Opening: November 8th, 2016 | 5pm

chi K11 art museum, Shanghai
Level B3, K11 Art Mall, 300 Middle Huaihai Road, Huangpu District, Shanghai

Aaajiao and Cui Jie are included in the new edition of the group exhibition “Hack Space” in chi K11 art museum in Shanghai, co-curated by Amira Gad and Hans Ulrich Obrist. The K11 Art Foundation (KAF) and the Serpentine Galleries are pleased to continue their collaboration, which begun with the presentation of the group exhibition HACK SPACE during Art Basel Hong Kong 2016, by presenting a new edition of the HACK SPACE exhibition at the chi K11 art museum in Shanghai. The exhibition runs from 9 November to 8 December 2016.

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fair | ASIA NOW 2016

PIXY LIAO, "A Collection of Penises", 2013-present

Asia Now
Stand A207
9 Avenue Hoche, Paris

October 19th through 23th, 2016
Preview Wednesday, October 19th

LEO XU PROJECTS is pleased to present “Girls: Portraits, Fantasies and Troubles”, a group exhibition curated for gallery’s second-year participation in Asia Now. The booth includes a selection of photographs, installations, sculptures and videos created by Chen Wei, Cheng Ran, Guo Hongwei, Pixy Liao, Liu Chuang, Liu Shiyuan, and others, which carefully study individual and collective emotions, experiences and expressions of young female Chinese in their everyday and professional life.

New to the gallery stable, Shanghai-born Brooklyn-based young female artist Pixy Liao attempts to smash the stereotypes of hierarchies in relationship and gender roles by presenting a body of bold and experimental works — “A Collection of Penises” (2013-present) shows a collection of nineteen pink soft fabric models of male genitals in various possible shapes created by the artist’s partner; “Start your day with a good breakfast” (2009) is a selfie of the artist and her partner interacting in explicit and provocative manners. Having studied and lived in Beijing and New York, Copenhagen-based Liu Shiyuan presents a playful sculpture “But My Apple…” (2015) that captures a subtle second-thought on female’s sensibility.
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September 24th through October 25th, 2016
Opening reception: Saturday, September 24th, 6-8pm.

“Pixy Liao: Venus As A Boy” marks the first solo exhibition of Shanghai-born Brooklyn-based young female artist Pixy Yijun Liao with the gallery, running from September 24th through October 25th, 2016. Having studied photography at University of Memphis and lived in the States for over a decade, Liao is highly influenced by the style of New American Color Photography in her practices, yet spinning off from the critique of “the American dream” to focus on the contemporary lives of Asian immigrants in the western society, presenting portraits and relationship hierarchies of the youth and the minorities with a rare observational wit.

The title of the exhibition is taken from one of the greatest hits of Icelandic musician, singer, and actress Björk Gumundsdottir, in which she questions masculine and feminine gender identities as socially constructed and breaks down the popular conceptions of gender binaries. Sharing a similar objection against the conventional assumptions of gender roles, Pixy Liao uses language of contemporary American photography of deadpan portraits, seemingly unmemorable objects, and staged scenes in her photographic practices to challenge the preconceived notions about characteristics and behaviors of different genders in heterosexual relationships in the Asian American society, throwing tradition out the window in an often humorous effect.
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fair | FRIEZE LONDON 2016

Frieze London
Stand H20
Regent’s Park, London

October 6th through 9th, 2016
Preview Wednesday, October 6th

Titled after Arthur Rimbaud’s eponymous poem, “Le Bateau Ivre (Drunken Boat)” is young Chinese artist Chen Wei’s solo project that features his photographs of various formats and installations across multiple media. A time capsule on China’s disco and relevant youth cultures since the early 1990s onwards, the project outlines the growth of Chen’s generation through artist’s fabricated visual and literal materials which are informed by then British publications like i-D and the Face (once circulated underground in Beijing and Shanghai). Chen explores the mystery of Chinese disco, an apparition in most celebrated films by Jia Zhangke and Lou Ye, but barely made to the discourse of Chinese visual art. An unlicensed institution of Chinese youth cultures and generational concerns, Chen commented.
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Museum of Contemporary Art Yinchuan

Yinchuan Biennale
For an Image, Faster Than Light

September 9th through December 18th, 2016

Museum of Contemporary Art Yinchuan
No.12, HeLe Road, Xingqing District, 750101 Yinchuan, China

The first edition of the Yinchuan Biennale which will open on September 9, 2016 with the participation of 74 artists from 33 countries including China and will culminate on December 18, 2016. The YC Biennale 2016 is contextualizing some of the most important issues confronting the world from the scientific to the spiritual, from the psychic to the philosophical, from the catastrophic to the celebratory.
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