The group exhibition “N12 No. 5” is on display at the Beijing Commune from January 16 through to March 15, 2014. All participants are members of the young Chinese contemporary artist group N12, including Hao Qiang, Hu Xiaoyuan, Liang Yuanwei, Ma Yanhong, Qiu Xiaofei, Shen Liang, Song Kun, Wang Guangle, Wang Jie, Wen Ling, Xu Hualing, and Yang Jing.
N12 was established in 2003 when artist Song Kun assembled a group of congenial friends to realize their aspiration to exhibit together. This group formed the nascent N12. Chinese contemporary art in the 21st Century is still in its initial stages of development and execution. In a time when institutional structures were still unclear, N12’s establishment reflected an adaptive mechanism of self-organization for artists operating outside of the system. For young artists, linking the strength of twelve individuals can produce an immense amount of momentum. This differed from artist groups we are familiar with today, N12 is a group assembled only to exhibit; their exhibitions have no theme and no curator. The group’s twelve members undertake their artistic practice by exhibiting their individual works together.
“N12 No. 5” is the first time the twelve artists have come together since their 2006 exhibition, “N12 No. 4”. Eight years have passed, and the twelve members have all individually made a name for themselves in the contemporary art world, therefore, for “N12 No. 5”, the mood of the exhibition has also changed. As Wang Guangle said, “When N12 was established our aim was very clear: we needed more opportunities to exhibit and gain exposure. As time went on, each member’s career gradually took off, such that by the fifth exhibition, we hope to present an exhibition and structural appearance of a different kind of artist group.”
In an introduction to the first exhibition, Wang Jie wrote, “As we organized an exhibition together, meeting together, communicating, it became more important that we maintain the necessary distance and mutual independence. You could even say that this is the foundation of our collaboration.” Today, N12 still maintains their original aim. “N12 No. 5” can be seen as the release of individual works made during this stage in the artists’ practice. The twelve members’ works include painting, sculpture, and installation art, revealing each of their twelve individual explorations of art. Though it appears there is no relationship between the works, there exists certain interactions, producing occasional dialogues and connections through the fusion and construction of individual consciousness. Therefore, in the artistic context of N12, figurative and abstract, form and consciousness blend together. Through the exhibition, the creative consciousness buried within this group of twelve artists emerges formlessly, interweaving N12’s unique artistic traces. This exhibition can be seen as an open reading of the artist’s conscious construction of individual expression and unconscious production of occasional relationships and connections.
N12’s twelve members are all graduates of the China Central Academy of Fine Arts. Members include Xu Hualing (born in 1975); Wang Guangle, Hao Qiang, Shen Liang, and Wen Ling (all born in 1976); Hu Xiaoyuan, Qiu Xiaofei, Liang Yuanwei, Song Kun, Yang Jing, Ma Yanhong and Wang Jie (all born in 1977). All twelve members live and work in Beijing. Since its establishment in 2003, N12 has organized four group exhibitions, including “N12 No. 1” at the Central Academy of Fine Arts Gallery in 2003, “N12 No. 2” in 2004, “N12 No. 3” in 2005, and “N12 No. 4” at the C5 Art Center in 2006.
Photo Courtesy of the artists and Beijing Commune, translated by Chen Peihua and edited by Sue/CAFA ART INFO, for further information please visit www.beijingcommune.com.