Poster of OCAT

With the ongoing support of Oversea Chinese Town Co., Ltd. (OCT), the OCAT Institute will open to the public in June 2015, after a two-year preparation that began in April 2013. As a member of the OCAT Museum Group, the OCAT Institute is dedicated to research in the history of art and related discourses. Its main areas of activity include research, publication, archives, and exhibition. It is also a platform that showcases the overall operation and projects of the OCAT Museum Group.

Founded in 2005, the OCT Contemporary Art Terminal (OCAT) has developed from the Shenzhen OCT Contemporary Art Center (now OCAT Shenzhen) into a group of museums that consists of five members, including OCAT Shenzhen, OCAT Art and Design Gallery (Shenzhen), OCAT Shanghai, OCAT Xi’an, and OCAT Institute (Beijing). The OCAT Museum Group is headquartered in Shenzhen.

As dictated by the overall planning of the OCAT Museum Group, the founding of the OCAT Institute has arisen out of the need for a more focused initiative dedicated to the history of art that deepens and extends the research, publication, and exhibition projects undertaken by OCAT from the past ten years. The scope of its research encompasses the investigation of artists, artworks, schools of art production, exhibitions, art discourses, as well as art institutions, publications, and other aspects of art’s overall ecology. It will establish a research archives and facilitate dialogue and exchange between China and abroad.

OCAT Institute is divided into five departments, including Administration, Research and Publication, Public Programs, Archives, and Exhibition.

The Administration Department is in charge of the overall operation of the Institute and general maintenance.

The Research and Publication Department collects research information, expands the research network, and oversees the research, publication, and exhibition projects of the Institute.

The Public Programs Department is responsible for organizing the OCAT Annual Lecture Series, scholar residence and other initiatives related to public education and promotion.

The Archives Department manages the OCAT Archives, and works together with the Public Programs Department in organizing archives related events.

The Exhibition Department is responsible for organizing the OCAT Institute annual exhibition.

Main Components

1. Annual Lecture: The OCAT Institute invites a speaker of international recognition and professional excellence to give a series of public lectures on his or her current research projects. The 2015 speaker is the French philosopher and art historian Georges Didi-Huberman, and the title for his lecture program is COMMOTIONS: Images, Emotions, and Communities. As an open initiative dedicated to research in art history, the Lecture Series intends to delineate the contours of contemporary thought, reexamine potential histories of contemporary art, and create a platform of exchange and dialogue between the academic communities in China and aboard.

Georges Didi-Huberman (b. 1953) is a French philosopher and art historian. He is also a professor at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (EHESS) in Paris. Born in Saint-Étienne in 1953, he completed his doctoral research at the EHESS under the supervision of Louis Marin. His main publications include: Devant l’image: questions posées aux fins d’une histoire de l’art, L’image survivante: Histoire de l’art et temps des fantômes selon Aby Warburg, and Invention de l’hystérie: Charcot et l’iconographie photographique de la Salpêtrière.

George Didi-Huberman’s work as an art historian encompasses the ancient, the medieval, the modern, and the contemporary, and embraces the visual arts, the historiography of art, psychoanalysis, and philosophy. Three main currents may be detected in his work: a critical reading of the tradition of art history, the location of an alternative philosophy of images in the work of Freud and Warburg, and studies in the poetics of contemporary art.

George Didi-Huberman has also organized many exhibitions, including L’Empreinte (Centre Pompidou, 1997), Fables du lieu (Centre d’Art Contemporain, Tourcoing, 2001), and Atlas: How to Carry the World on One’s Back? (Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid, 2010).

2. Seminar: The Institute organizes between four and six seminars every year. The purpose of the seminars is to reexamine the transformation, significance, and impact that ideas, methodologies, and theoretical paradigms of the history of art generate as they move across different disciplines, historical periods, and geographical locations. During 2014 and 2015, it plans to organize the Georges Didi-Huberman Seminar Series and Ten Years of OCAT (2005-2015). The first installments of these two series have already taken place on October 12 (Legacy of Aby Warburg) and December 14 2014 (Archive Fever).

3. Exhibition: The Institute plans to organize three research-based exhibitions every year. In 2015, it presents La Memoire Brule (June 27 to September 27, 2015) curated by Georges Didi-Huberman and Retrospective: Ten Years of OCAT (2005-2015) (October 2015 to January 2016).

4. Archives: The 2014-2015 Chinese Contemporary Artist Archives Project features the artist Sui Jianguo.

5. Publication: The Institute’s 2014-2015 publication projects are OCAT Art and Thinking Series (in collaboration with Commercial Press), World 3 History of Art Publication Series (in collaboration with Lingnan Fine Arts Publishing Company ), and annual exhibition catalogs. The OCAT Art and Thinking Series features the Chinese translation of L’image Survivante: Histoire de l’art et Temps des Fantômes Selon Aby Warburg (Georges Didi-Huberman, Minuit, 2002), Phalenes-Essais sur L’Apparition, 2 (Georges Didi-Huberman, Minuit, 2013), and Collection of Georges Didi-Huberman China Lectures. World 3 History of Art Series features World 3: The History of Art as Ideas and the upcoming World 3: The Opening Iconology (to be published in December 2015).


The OCAT Institute is a non-profit research center dedicated to modern and contemporary art practices. It is also a member of the OCAT Museum Group. The Institute has three main areas of activity: publication, archive, and exhibition. The scope of its research encompasses the investigation of artists, artworks, schools of art production, exhibitions, art discourses, as well as art institutions, publications and other aspects of art’s overall ecology. It will establish a research archive and facilitate dialogue and exchange between China and abroad. In addition, it will serve as an exhibition platform in Beijing.

The OCAT Institute aims to establish a paradigm of valuation, a system of academic investigation, and modes of applying historical research methodologies to modern and contemporary Chinese art. Through an interdisciplinary approach that bridges contemporary art research, critical theory, and the history of ideas and culture, it promotes an integrated methodology that seeks to cultivate an open spirit of academic research.

The OCAT Institute will open to the public in June 2015.

About World 3

World 3 is a Chinese annual academic journal that focuses on the theories and concepts of art history, its reference to the philosophical notion “world 3” indicates its academic orientation. It aspires to explore the origin, methods, and current stage of development of art history with other denizens of the world of knowledge in an atmosphere of total openness.

The scope of World 3 is not limited to areas of inquiry internal to art history, such as the history of visual arts, architecture, images, design, and their connections, but also extends to the realm of cultural history, history of philosophy, religions, languages, and ideas. Open toward divergent conceptual formulations and methods, Worlds 3 is premised on the belief that theoretical exploration, like other sectors of human life, can only seek advancement by maintaining a critical stance towards its own presuppositions and assumptions.

To research is to search; we search for the passage where researches converge.

OCAT Institute Official Opening and World 3 Launch Joint Press Release

Time: January 29, 2014, 14:00-17:00

Venue: University of Chicago Beijing Center, 59 Zhongguanchundajie, Haidian District


Yin Jinan, Dean of School of Humanities, Central Academy of Fine Arts, member of World 3 History of Art Publication Series Editorial Board

Shen Yubing, Director of Research Institute of Aesthetics and Critical Theory, Zhejiang University, member of World 3 Editorial Board

Huang Zhuan, Executive Director of OCAT Institute and OCT Contemporary Art Terminal, World 3 Editor-in-Chief

Moderator: Dong Bingfeng, Artistic Director of OCAT Institute, Head of Research and Publication Department

Organizer: OCAT Institute

Supported by: Oversea Chinese Town Co., Ltd. (OCT)

Courtesy of OCAT Institute.

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