Alternatives to Ritual at Goethe Open SpaceAlternatives to Ritual invited artists to develop projects over a half-year period. The artists invited have shown an interest in discussing art systems and their values, different levels of relations in contemporary art, and exhibition making through their practice. They also have used display strategies as a tool for engagement. One of the main questions that we pose, through working together with artists, curators and all other participants, is how exhibitions can serve as an open and dynamic resource today?

The artists will reflect on cultural constructions and social frameworks in the special context of China and how all these form individual identities and artistic practices as well as define relations in the system that we urgently need to question. The artists will also explore how different formats of exhibitions, contexts and conditions of appearance can reflect individual attitudes towards our social constructions.

The exhibition tries to open up the discussion on the relationship between institutions, institutional formats and exhibition making in China that has existed since the 80s, which was interrupted after 1989, and had a short appearance again in the mid 90s. It was then interrupted again after the year 2000 due to an institutionalization of the art scene and its market driven existence which are till today its strongest forces.

Alternatives to Ritual attempts to find a way to resist current rituals of production and dominant ways of looking at the art system through proposing alternatives in the form of individual practices and new ways of engagement.


Artists’ Museums

Alternatives to Ritual will be presented in a format of constant change, between solo and group exhibitions. The group presentation takes its point of departure from one of the most important exhibitions in history of exhibition making: Questioning Reality – Image Worlds Today, 1972 curated by Harald Szeemann as a part of Documenta 5. “A concentrated version of life in the form of an exhibition”, with the aim of being presented as a 100 day event, provided at that time, a new reading of artists’ production and its relation to institutions and exhibition making. The so-called Artists’ Museum section of Documenta 5 will be taken as point of departure for Alternatives to Ritual to invite artists to present their own artists’ museums.

Individual solo presentations will be on display in the main project space while Artists’ Museums will be presented in office spaces as a group show. Every month artists will leave the Artists’ Museum space in order to present independent project in the main Goethe Open Space and later leave the exhibition.

While each artist has his own presentation in the group exhibition section of the Artists’ Museum, archival material of the Artists’ Museum presentation from 1972 will also be on display.

Besides archival material of Artists Museum from Documenta 5, in the last stage exhibition will present unrealized project Kunst in der Torte by Daniel Spoerri that originally suppose to be the part of documenta 1972.

The artists will deal with the different aspects of the Department for Culture and Education (DCAE) as an institution and structure through public talks, utilizing its online platform, and employing a specific approach to its library and its history to name only a few. Every space of the DCAE will be used – from the project space to the offices.

Besides being an exhibition space, DCAE will serve as a space for closed door discussions after gallery hours, turning the gallery space into a semi private place for gathering. Discussions organized will be held between small groups of invited individuals with the aim of reflecting on our system and its practices.

Discussions will be organized in collaboration with, PDF artists independent e-journal.

This format of the exhibition will be held over a long period, providing space for reflection and on-going discussions, inviting artists not only to produce and exhibit their works but also to slow down and provide the time needed to reflect on our current cultural conditions and the over production so common in the art field today. The exhibition re-engages institutions which are working together with artists to act as provocateur of thought, giving critical reflections on our system.

"Alternatives to Ritual" --Artists' Museum

About Goethe Open Space

Goethe Open Space is a project of the Department for Culture and Education (DCAE) of the General Consulate of the Federal Republic of Germany in Shanghai. It aims at providing space for young and emerging artists to present their practice and at the same time stimulating the dialogue between China and Germany in the field of contemporary art.

About the exhibition

Curator: Biljana Ciric

Curatorial assistant: Grace Tng, Gao Mingyan, Hu Yun, Li Ran, Lu Pingyuan, Hu Xiangqian, Song Ta

Duration: September 30, 2012–ongoing

Art Worlds in the Making: From Utopia to Reality

a project by Alexandra Hodby, Seng Yujin, and Biljana Ciric, among others

Opening: September 30, 19.30h

Venue: Goethe Open Space, Shanghai

Address: 101 Ascendas Cross Tower, Fu Zhou Lu 318, Shanghai

Hours: Mon–Fri, 10.30–18h; Sat 13–17h

T +86 21 6391 2068

Presented by Department for Culture and Education (DCAE) of the Consulate General of the Federal Republic of Germany in Shanghai

For more information contact: Gao Jing, or visit .

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