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

STATION I: China Art Academy, Hangzhou, China
Envisioning the Future of Contemporary Art From Different ‘Glocal’ Positions
March 25 – 26, 2004

The title of this symposium Envisioning the Future of Contemporary Art From Different ‘Global’ Positions sets up a daunting proposition: the subject is huge and certainly demands a commensurate vision. To date, the evolution of contemporary Chinese art has been dogged by small, complex issues of both global and local origin that have exerted disproportionate impacts. Where it takes time for sleeping dogs to be let lie completely, what does the impact of these issues indicate for the future?

To look at the future does first require an examination of the past. In terms of China, the past has been clearly divided between “global” and “local”: the situation in one being a catalyst for activities and responses in the other. Here again, to look to the future demands an analysis of these variant environments. The intersecting, interaction and even repulsion between the “global” and the “local” has been chaotic. As time passes, it will of course diminish in importance. But that is the future, and we have first to consider how the past has resulted in the present climate. – Karen Smith, Chinese Art Historian, UK

Organized by Zhang Peili (Artist and Director of New Media dept., China Art Academy, Hangzhou), Lorenz Helbling (Founder of ShanghART, Shanghai, China), Laura Zhou (Former Director of ShanghART, Shanghai, China) and Eloisa Haudenschild. All participants toured Zooming into Focus exhibition at the Shanghai Art Museum before being transported via bus to Hangzhou’s China Art Academy.

Moderated by Hou Hanru (Former Director of Exhibitions and Public Programs, SFAI and Independent Curator) and Pi Li (Independent Curator and Founder, Boers-Li Gallery, Beijing) with works shown by Bill Voila (courtesy of Britta Erickson; presented by Eloisa Haudenschild), Wang Gongxin, Qiu Zhijie, Zhang Peili, and Yang Fudong.

Presenters included:

Pi Li (Independent Curator and Founder, Boers-Li Gallery, Beijing)
Presentation: Chinese Contemporary Video Art

Fan Di’an (Director, National Art Museum of China)
Presentation: Meeting and Traffic

Hans Ulrich Obrist (Curator, Paris)
Presentation: The Museum of the Future – Art, Architecture, Science and Technology

Mami Kataoka (Senior Curator, Mori Art Museum, Tokyo & International Associate Curator, Hayward Gallery, London)
Presentation: New Media as New Experience

Li Xu (Curator, China)
Presentation: The Relationships Between New Media Art and Museum Systems in China

Huang Du (Ph.D., China)
Presentation: New Events and Culture Space

Zhang Zhiyang (Professor, China)
Presentation: Where is the Space for Art in the Era of Technological Globalization?

Rudolf Stoert (Curator, Germany)
Presentation: Switch Media Project in Thailand

Gridthiya Gaweewong (Curator, Thailand)
Presentation: Regional Strategies and Global Impacts: A Southeast Asian Perspective

Hu Fang (Writer, China)
Presentation: Pseudo-Machine of Writing

Evelyn Jouanno (Curator, France)
Presentation: Under the Earth, There is the Sky

Martina Köppel-Yang (Art Critic, Germany)
Presentation: The Pingpang Policy of Chinese Contemporary Art

Zheng Shengtian (Curator & Managing Editor, Yishu Journal, Canada)
Presentation: Non-Local and Non-Mainstream

Karen Smith (Art Historian, UK)
Presentation: The Future: In Whose Hands?

Waling Boers (Curator and Founding Director of Buro Friedrich-Berlin and Boers-Li Gallery)
Presentation: Art Between the State and the Market, A Challenge?


STATION II: San Diego Museum of Art, San Diego, California

An International Discourse on New Chinese Video and Photography
January 31, 2004

Contemporary art in China reflects that country’s surging influence as an economic, political and cultural force in the global arena. Chinese artists, especially those working in photography and video, are gaining international recognition for their powerful artworks that comment on the consequences of a rapidly changing society. To encourage awareness and consideration of topics relevant to contemporary art, An International Discourse on New Chinese Video and Photography, brings together world renowned artists, curators and scholars for a series of presentations and open discussion. This symposium, the first of its kind on the West Coast and one of the first in the United States, will provide a new lense through which to better understand China’s transformtive development, as expressed especially through the dynamic work of a younger generation of experimental artists.

The exhibition’s lead title, Zooming into Focus: Contemporary Chinese Photograph and Video from the Haudenschild Collection (2003 – 2005), refers to three major concepts quintessential to the exhibition and the symposium: Chinese artists’ use of photographic and video camera to examine the quick transition in their culture, the incredible pace of growth in China’s urban centers, and the current attention being paid to China by the rest of the industrialized world, especially the West. Most of the artists represented in Zooming into Focus live and work in China’s swiftly expanding southern megalopolises and frequently address those issues that directly affect young urbanites – the social impact of burgeoning consumerism, the meteoric rise of youth culture, the threatening loss of identity amidst the city swirl, the persistent sense of time speeding by. Exploring contemporary Chinese art in light of these concerns, the symposium will provoke a fresh perspective on China’s role in the international milieu. -Tina Yapelli, Director, University Art Gallery, San Diego State University

Organized by Eloisa Haudenschild and Tina Yapelli (Director, UAG, SDSU).
Moderated by Britta Erickson (Independent Scholar and Curator, Palo Alto).

All participants toured Zooming into Focus exhibition at the University Art Gallery at San Diego State University prior to the symposium at the San Diego Museum of Art and video screening at the Museum of Photographic Arts.

Presenters included:

Betti-Sue Hertz (Director, YBCA)
Presentation: Performance, Masculinity and Photographic Approaches in East Asian Contemporary Art

Barbara London (Curator, MOMA)
China Now

Christopher Phillips (Curator, ICP, New York)
Presentation: New Photography in China: Between Past and Culture

Xu Bing (Artist)
Presentation: Space Between: The Art of Xu Bing


Chinese Video and Film NOW!

January 31, 2004, Museum of Photographic Arts, San Diego
Introduction by Christopher Phillips; Yang Fudong present in cooperation with the Museum of Modern Art, New York.

The works screened included:

-Song Dong, My Motherland Made the Scene for Me, 1999

-Wang Gognxin, Fly, 2000

-Yang Zhenzhong, I Will Die, 2003

-Cao Fei, Rabid Dogs, 2002

-Yang Fudong, Seven Intellectuals in Bamboo Forest (Part I), 2003



Let’s Pray by Yang Zhenzhong

January 31, 2004, Museum of Photographic Arts, San Diego
Let’s Pray was commissioned by the haudenschild Garage and filmed during his residency at the haudenschild Garage.
It was produced in association with the University Art Gallery at San Diego State University.