New Century Art Foundation and art historian and curator Mia Yu jointly launch the workshop “Locality and Mobility: Curating Geography.” The workshop takes “curating geography” as a kind of stimulus for thought, as well as a practical condition and conceptual perspective for exhibition planning, and invites curators to rethink their work within the geographical relationship between the global and diverse local. Can “curating geography” become a concept and method for artistic and exhibition practice? Can developing a positive geographic imagination be a way to reorganize the relationship between center and periphery? Can we implement a new curatorial model within decentralized cross-network connections? Here, “curating” is not limited to exhibition planning, but rather refers to an interdisciplinary research, exhibition, publishing, alternative education and spatial practice, constituting a loose framework for knowledge exchange.Since the late 1980s, a series of major exhibitions such as the Havana Biennial andMagiciens de la Terre opened up a wrestling field between the Western art center and the non-Western periphery. The international biennials of the 1990s that followed presented further opportunities for a redistribution of geographic imaginations of the global and local. The first generation of globally mobile curators such as Okwui Enwezor and Hou Hanru adopted geographically symbolic terms such “intermediate zones”, “trade routes” and “emergency zones” as curatorial concepts. At the same time as they aimed to reverse Western-centric art historical perspectives, these curators also situated artists’ work within changing geographical relationships for consideration and exhibition. In recent years, a new generation of curators has more consciously established a global Southern alliance outside of the traditional center, starting from such geographically significant entities such as “South of the South”, the Belt and Road Initiative, and the Silk Road to further explore new artistic relations and exhibition models. Under the influence of “new institutionalism,” small and medium-sized research-oriented art institutions emerging around the world are more concerned with the establishment of transnational networks, publications, seminars, resident projects, and alternative education in the context of community-based practice. Diverse mobile networks between localities are now replacing a single homogeneous notion of “globalization,” and “contemporaneity” is also being injected with a multi-dimensional, superimposed, and scattered genealogy of place.
On October 26th, the first unit of the workshop will bring together guest speakers Cosmin Costinas, executive director and curator of Para Site, Hong Kong, Hicham Khalidi, director of the Jan Van Eyck Academie in Maastricht and 2017 Sharjah Biennial project curator Hicham Khalidi, and curator Mia Yu to present a forum on locality, mobility and curating geography.
Cosmin Costinas will present curatorial insights about A beast, a god, and a line, an exhibition which explored systems of knowledge, visual worlds, as well as economic and ethical issues behind the representation of indigenous communities and formerly colonized contexts across the Asia-Pacific region. He will also discuss The world is our home. A poem on abstraction, co-curated by Costinas and Inti Guerrero, which featured works by Robert Motherwell, Bruce Nauman, Tomie Ohtake, and Tang Chang. The three abstract painters in the show were active outside of East Asia but their experimental practices incorporated artistic traditions of this region. Costinas will share in-depth how the curatorial research took into account the respective artists’ contexts, artistic position-taking, as well as how different levels of marginality were and still are operated by art historical narratives.
Hicham Khalidi will discuss his curatorial work for the upcoming Chandigarh Biennial in India, as well as an earlier exhibition he organized for the 13th Sharjah Biennale in Beirut, An unpredictable expression of human potential. With his work for these two biennials as starting points, Khalidi will discuss the pitfalls of thematic exhibitions, how to work together with the invited artists, colonial issues and power relationships in regard to making exhibitions, and more.
Introduction of the speakers
Cosmin Costinas (b. 1982, Romania) is the Executive Director/Curator of Para Site, Hong Kong since 2011. He was a Guest Curator of Dakar Biennale 2018 – La Biennale de l’Art africain contemporain-DAK’ART, Dakar (2018), Guest Curator at the Dhaka Art Summit ’18 (2018); Co-curator of the 10th Shanghai Biennale (2014), Curator of BAK-basis voor actuele kunst, Utrecht (2008-2011), Co-curator of the 1st Ural Industrial Biennial, Ekaterinburg (2010), and Editor of documenta 12 Magazines, documenta 12, Kassel (2005–2007).At Para Site, Costinas oversaw the institution’s major expansion and relocation to a new home in 2015, and curated or co-curated the exhibitions: ‘An Opera of Animals’ (2019); ‘A beast, a god, and a line’ (touring at Dhaka Art Summit ‘18, TS1/The Secretariat, Yangon, and Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw, 2018); ‘Movements at an Exhibition, Manuel Pelmus’ (2017-2018); ‘Soil and Stones, Souls and Songs’ (touring at MCAD, Manila and Jim Thompson Art Center, Bangkok, 2016-2017); ‘Afterwork’ (touring at ILHAM, Kuala Lumpur, 2016-2017); ‘The World is Our Home. A Poem on Abstraction’ (2015-2016); the conference ‘Is the Living Body the Last Thing Left Alive? The new performance turn, its histories and its institutions’ (2014; the homonymous major volume of original essays was published in 2017 with Sternberg Press, Berlin); ‘Great Crescent: Art and Agitation in the 1960s—Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan’ (touring at the Mori Art Museum, Tokyo, 2013-2015 and MUAC, Mexico City, 2016); ‘A Journal of the Plague Year’ (touring at The Cube, Taipei; Arko Art Center, Seoul; and Kadist Art Foundation and The Lab, San Francisco; 2013-2015); ‘Taiping Tianguo, A History of Possible Encounters: Ai Weiwei, Frog King Kwok, Tehching Hsieh, and Martin Wong in New York’ (touring at SALT, Istanbul; NUS Museum, Singapore; e-flux, New York; 2012-2014), a.o. At BAK in the Netherlands, he curated ‘Spacecraft Icarus 13. Narratives of Progress from Elsewhere’ (2011). He co-authored the novel Philip (2007) and has edited and contributed his writing to numerous books, magazines, and exhibition catalogs and has taught and lectured at different universities, art academies, and institutions across the world.
Hicham Khalidi (MA, 1972) is currently the director of the Jan Van Eyck Academie in Maastricht. Prior to this, he was an associate curator of Lafayette Anticipations (Fondation d’entreprise Galeries Lafayette) in Paris. In this capacity, he was involved in commissioning work in the disciplines of fine art, design and fashion. In the period 2013–15, he was responsible for programming exhibitions and the Artefact Festival at the STUK House for Dance, Image and Sound in Leuven, Belgium. From 2003 to 2011 he was the artistic and general director of TAG, institute for contemporary art and music in The Hague, the Netherlands. Khalidi was the curator of the ACT II group exhibition in the Beirut Sharjah Biennial in 2017, served as a cultural attaché to the Biennale of Sydney in 2016, and was chief curator of the Marrakech Biennale in 2014.
Introduction of the curator Mia Yu
Mia Yu is a Beijing-based art historian and curator. Her research is centered on transnational modernism, inter-Asian cultural exchange and the exhibition history of global contemporary art. She is particularly interested in transcultural models and histories that provide new structures for understanding and reconfiguring the global. Mia Yu’s videos and installations—based on her art historical research—have been exhibited at Time Art Center Berlin, Villa Vassilieff Paris, Times Museum, Asia Society Hong Kong, Shenzhen Art Museum and Jiangsu Provincial Museum. As a curator, Mia Yu’s recent curatorial projects include Floating Constellations: Border-Crossing Exchanges Within and Beyond Asia, Liquid Collective, In the Name of Archive, and the retrospective exhibition Ni Jun: An Inconvenient Case. Mia Yu was the guest editor of special issues for Yishu: Journey of Contemporary Chinese Art. She was the winner of Yishu Award for Critical Writing on Contemporary Art in 2018 and the winner of CCAA Art Critic Award in 2015. She is on the jury committee for the Hyundai Blue Prize for emerging curators and the Porsche Young Artist Awards. Currently, Mia Yu is collaborating with Afterall Research Center on the Exhibition Histories book series.