curated by qiu zhijie, the chinese pavilion at the 2017 venice art biennale presents ‘continuum – generation by generation’ – an exhibition focused on the theme of eternity and the profound essence of chinese wisdom. the showcase brings together contemporary art and folk craft through an interactive interpretation of chinese culture and art. 

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qiu zhijie

 

 

the overall aim of the chinese pavilion exhibited at the venice art biennale, strives to capture the energy of continuum or ‘bu xi’ in chinese, to convey the stories about regeneration in ancient texts and new vitality in today’s art making, and to capture the transformation and renewal of traditional artisanship. in relation to this theme, two folk artists and two contemporary artists were commissioned to convey the meaning of this subject by establishing a collaboration which would explore the relationship between folk and contemporary art fields.

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wang tianwen, wu jian’an, tang nannan, yao huifen continuum – removing the mountains and filling the sea, shadow play screen, 2015

 

 

the images of ‘mountain/sea1’ and ‘ancient/new’ representing ‘yin/yang’ are the framework for the narration of this exhibition. two song dynasty paintings, li song’s ‘skeleton fantasy show’ and ma yuan’s ‘twelve images of water surging’ were chosen as the ‘foreword’ for this exhibition. the two works both touch upon the unique characteristics of the chinese spiritual world, especially the outlook on life, death, and time, which all point to the concept of ‘bu xi.’

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wu jian’an, the birth of the galaxy, 2012

 

 

the exhibition provides a multi-dimensional experience through different kinds of public interaction as well as exploring multiple themes related to the subject matter. a section of archival documents is dedicated to one section of the pavilion, showing the educational lineage of all four artists. unlike the previous chinese pavilions, this section is not a mere supplement, but the spiritual essence of the display. 

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wu jian’an, the birth of the galaxy, 2012

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tang nannan, ‘what’s the sea’ workshop


‘what’s the sea’ workshop


wu jian’an, the forests of the daydreams series, 2016-17


yao huifen, the skeleton fantasy show, 2017


installation view


wu jian’an, the heaven of nine levels, 2008-9


collaboration between yao huifen and tang nannan, removing the mountains, 2017


yao huifen, 12 images of water surging, 2017


educational lineage


educational lineage


tang nannan, the southern under world, 2017


tang nannan, marrow return, 2017

 

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