Zooming into Focus: Chinese Contemporary Photography and Video from the Haudenschild Collection

Contemporary art in China reflects the country’s rising influence as an economic, political and cultural force in the global arena. Chinese artists are gaining international recognition for their potent artworks that address a rapidly changing society; influenced by Western ideals and art practice, their creative production nevertheless remains distinctly Chinese in its content and aesthetic.

Marking many important milestones, Zooming into Focus: Chinese Contemporary Photography and Video from the Haudenschild Collection (2003 – 2005) was the first exhibition of its kind in San Diego and Singapore and the first contemporary Chinese photography exhibition at the Centro Cultural Tijuana, Mexico. It was the first time the Shanghai Art Museum exhibited works on contemporary Chinese video and photography from a private collection and most importantly, it was the first retrospective exhibition of Chinese photography and video ever held at the National Art Museum of China, Beijing.

Zooming into Focus investigated the effects of accelerated change in China through the work of the country’s most talented emerging artists. The swift transformation of Chinese culture is reflected in the work of each of these represented artists who comment on contemporary Chinese urban life with intelligence, wit, foreboding and nostalgia.

The works of Cao Fei, Chen Shaoxiong, Feng Mengbo, Geng Jianyi, Hong Hao, Hu Jieming, Kan Xuan, Lui Wei, Lu Chunsheng, Shi Yong, Song Tao, Tang Maohong, Wang Youshen, Weng Fen, Xiang Liqing, Xu Zhen, Yang Fudong, Yang Yong, Yang Zhenzhong, Zhao Bandi, Zheng Gougu and Zhu Jia were included in this exhibitions. Other artists in the collection include Gu Dexin, Hai Bo, Wang Jin, Yang Jiechang, Yu Youhan, Zhao Nengzhi, and Zhou Tiehai.

Lorenz Helbling and Laura Zhou supported all exhibitions. Shi Yong was responsible for the installation design of Zooming into Focus at the National Art Museum of China, Beijing and he also designed the Zooming into Focus catalog.

In addition to the traveling exhibitions, two symposia were held: An International Discourse on New Chinese Video and Photography at the San Diego Museum of Art and Envisioning the Future of Contemporary Art from Different Glocal Positions at the China National Academy of Art in Hangzhou, China.

The haudenschild Garage launched its residency program in 2003 which invited Chinese artists and curators for the first time to the United States. Shi Yong and Yang Zhenzhong were the first artists in residence and Hou Hanru, Cao Fei, Yang Fudong, Laura Zhou, Lorenz Helbling, Evelyn Jouanno, and Victoria Lu were also invited to the Garage. Both Shi Yong and Yang Zhenzhong produced new works commissioned by the haudenschild Garage while in residence.

Exhibition Schedule

STATION I: San Diego, California
University Art Gallery, San Diego State University
October 25, 2003 – April 21, 2004

STATION II: Shanghai, China
Shanghai Art Museum
February 18 – March 30, 2004

STATION III: Tijuana, Mexico
Centro Cultural Tijuana
June 25 – August 23, 2004

STATION IV: Singapore
Institute of Contemporary Art, Earl Lu Gallery LASALLE-SIA
August 11 – September 11, 2005

STATION V: Beijing, China
National Museum of China
November 5 – 20, 2005