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Boasting numerous museums and array of outstanding cultural institutions, the artistic and cultural landscape along the Rhine and Ruhr is unique worldwide. Events staged during the European City of Culture “RUHR2010″ proved to be a key milestone in boosting the national image of this culturally rich region. To ensure a lasting legacy from the RUHR. 2010 festivities, the region’s museums then explored the possibility of launching a joint international exhibition project on the initiative of the Foundation for Art and Culture. With “CHINA 8 – Contemporary Art from China on the Rhine and Ruhr”, they have now succeeded in bringing this idea to fruition: eight cities along the Rhine and Ruhr, nine museums and around 120 artists – in the most comprehensive museum-based survey of contemporary Chinese art worldwide. Visitors planning to attend the various venues of this exhibition, will also be embarking on a journey through the Ruhr region. Fritz Pleitgen, former CEO of RUHR.2010 GmbH: “The European City of Culture RUHR.2010 demonstrated that in terms of forging collaborative partnerships, the cultural metropolis of the Ruhr is internationally competitive. Consequently we are confident that one week after the inauguration of the Venice Biennale, CHINA 8 is set to mark a further highlight in Europe’s art calendar. ” Under the patronage of the Vice-Chancellor and Federal Minister for Economics and Energy Sigmar Gabriel, CHINA 8 was inaugurated on 13 May at the central inauguration ceremony being staged in the MKM Museum Küppersmühle für Moderne Kunst in Duisburg and the exhibitions will remain on view till 13 September, 2015.

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“Contemporary Chinese art has enriched and energized the international art scene, as visitors to the CHINA 8 exhibition will confirm. Simultaneously presenting contemporary positions from China in eight cities and nine museums is a marvellous idea. And this concept not only reflects the diversity of modern art, but also furnishes the various genres, be it painting, photography or sculpture, with the ideal setting,” explained Federal Minister Sigmar Gabriel. From Ascension Day onwards, May 14, 2015, the exhibition will be open to the general public. Local opening events, artist conversations and live-performances are also being staged on May 14, and over the subsequent weekend. Thanks to the support of our airline partner Finnair, up to 30 artists are expected to attend the inauguration.

Ferdinand Ullrich, Director Kunsthalle Recklinghausen; Georg Elben, Director und Curator Skulpturenmuseum Glaskasten Marl; Dan Xu, Curator Kunstmuseum Gelsenkirchen; Thomas Hüser, Spokesman CHINA 8; Wiliam A. Ewing, Curator Museum Folkwang; Walter Smerling, Director MKM Museum Küppersmühle für Moderne Kunst.

Ferdinand Ullrich, Director Kunsthalle Recklinghausen; Georg Elben, Director und Curator Skulpturenmuseum Glaskasten Marl; Dan Xu, Curator Kunstmuseum Gelsenkirchen; Thomas Hüser, Spokesman CHINA 8; Wiliam A. Ewing, Curator Museum Folkwang; Walter Smerling, Director MKM Museum Küppersmühle für Moderne Kunst.

Overall artistic responsibility for the exhibition project CHINA 8 has been jointly entrusted to Walter Smerling (spokesman for the curatorial committee and Director of the MKM Museum Küppersmühle), Ferdinand Ullrich (Kunsthalle Recklinghausen), and Tobia Bezzola (Director of the Folkwang Museum). In close consultation with the directors of all the participating museums, the curatorial committee has elaborated the overall artistic concept.

The Chinese consultant to the curatorial committee is Fan Di’an, President of the Central Academy of Fine Arts (CAFA) in Beijing. Responsibility for the individual exhibition venues lies with the respective project curators: Georg Elben for the Skulpturenmuseum Glaskasten Marl, William A. Ewing and the co-curators Holly Roussell Perret-Gentil for the Museum Folkwang, Walter Smerling for the NRW-Forum Düsseldorf, the Lehmbruck Museum, the MKM Museum Küppersmühle für Moderne Kunst, the Osthaus Museum Hagen and the Kunstmuseum Mülheim an der Ruhr, Ferdinand Ullrich for the Kunsthalle Recklinghausen and Dan Xu for the Kunstmuseum Gelsenkirchen.

Unveiling the steel sculpture ” China Scene No. 4 ” by Chen Wenling at Dusseldorf Airport. Ludger Dohm, Chairman of the Management Board Flughafen Düsseldorf; Jan Pellinen, Sales Manager Finnair; Walter Smerling; Spokesman for the curatorial committee; Hans-Georg Lohe, Cultural Affairs Düsseldorf.

Unveiling the steel sculpture ” China Scene No. 4 ” by Chen Wenling at Dusseldorf Airport. Ludger Dohm, Chairman of the Management Board Flughafen Düsseldorf; Jan Pellinen, Sales Manager Finnair; Walter Smerling; Spokesman for the curatorial committee; Hans-Georg Lohe, Cultural Affairs Düsseldorf.

The Museums and the Focus of their Exhibitions

In line with their collecting history, their own particular spatial conditions and programmatic focus, each museum is exhibiting different genres of contemporary Chinese art: Under the title “New Figuration”, the Lehmbruck Museum will be showing sculptures, the Kunstmuseum Mülheim an der Ruhr installations and sculptures as “Models of Irritation”, and the Kunstmuseum Gelsenkirchen is devoting itself to ink painting and calligraphy under the title “Tradition Today”. The Kunsthalle Recklinghausen is projecting a “Panorama of Painting” with its presentation of emerging and socially critical painting. Exploring “The Vocabulary of the Visible World”, the MKM Museum Küppersmühle für Moderne Kunst is specialising in Chinese painters who have already gained national and international acclaim. Video and sound as a medium of “Arrested Time” are being presented in the Skulpturenmuseum Glaskasten Marl, whilst the Osthaus Museum Hagen is featuring installations and objects as “Paradigms of Art”. Under the title “Works in Progress”, the Museum Folkwang in Essen is exhibiting a collection of modern photography, which is also being shown in China simultaneously. With its “Overview – Views of China”, the NRW-Forum Düsseldorf serves as the “entrée” to the exhibition and has assembled works by several of the participating artists from across various genres. Their vibrant interaction resolves into a multifaceted snapshot of the prevailing artistic landscape in the People’s Republic of China.

Students support the Preview as translators.

Students support the Preview as translators.

CHINA 8 – Invitation to a Cultural Dialogue

From a cultural and political perspective, CHINA 8 is also of great significance to the state of North-Rhine Westphalia. For the first time since RUHR.2010, nine museums in eight cities are collaborating to mount an international exhibition project and foster a cultural dialogue between Asia and Europe, China and Germany. And there are many parallels: The Ruhr metropolis, Germany’s largest conurbation, with some 5.1 million inhabitants, is currently undergoing a structural transformation. China too is in the grip of a structural transformation in societal, economic and cultural terms, which is progressing at an astonishing pace. This is reflected by the artists in their works.

CHINA 8 is being organised by the Stiftung für Kunst und Kultur e.V. On the Chinese side organisational support is being provided by the China Arts and Entertainment Group. The exhibition is sponsored by the Brost-Stiftung and Evonik Industries AG. Exclusive partners of the exhibition are BILD, DB Regio NRW, the Duisburger Hafen AG, Finnair Plc, the Flughafen Düsseldorf, FUNKE MEDIENGRUPPE and Ströer Media SE.

Courtesy of the artists and CHINA 8, for further information please visit http://china8.de/en/.

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