The Curatorial Method of Urban Nomadism

By Gu Zhenqing

It is currently going through the all-time crisis of the dominating thinking image of global capitalism and the inertial thinking of political correctness. The culture conflict intensifies; the international Nationalism and Populism are raising their heads. The future of global economic development has become more and more whirling during the process of recession. While walking on the way of resisting the centralization and institutionalization of Europe and American culture, has China Contemporary Art constructed its own spirit and value? Also has it found its own methods of organizing and change while facing the difficulties of the recession of art market and the overstock of artworks?

Urban Nomadism is not just a brand new thinking mode of inpouring Nomadic spirit into modern world, and it’s more like a new curatorial practice to challenge of the thinking traditions, the Western centralism, in this international art society. As the economic development and culture prospering of several developing countries in recent years, the international art ecology is becoming more and more flattening posture of de-centralism, non-unification and non-hierarchy. However, the contradiction and conflicts are getting more and more severe between the decoding and re-coding, the delocalization and re-localization towards European and American mainstream culture. Urban Nomadism is doubtless another road to transcend and escape the traditional political texts. The features of space shifting and geographic transferring, which Urban Nomadism emphasizes, has helped the contemporary art acquiring its freedom to consecutively produce otherness, derived diversities, connectivity and inter-activities. The global art is not integrated, nor hierarchical under the context of Urban Nomadism. Instead, it is with planarity and boundlessness. The global art does not belong to one linear developing logical structure, but presents as the random connection and free galloping of individual artist, art communities and organizations from various places and different backgrounds. The global art is not evolving, Genealogical, easy to predict, but fluid, discrete, irregular and unpredictable. With the features of inter-connecting, heterogeneities mixing, multi-element developing, consecutively fissile and endless reproducing, Urban Nomadism is decomposing the concept structure and order based on the European and American traditional thinking. There is no subject nor object, no center nor boarder in the thinking picture of Urban Nomadism, instead, it comes with countless entrances and exits, and the factors, calibration results, the dimensions that decide the creation and flowing of art.

The dynamic state of Urban Nomadism is a system with no destination, no border, and no blocking. It does not dig the meanings, nor does it interpret meanings. It instead creates the meaning. What it presents is exactly the free will of art.

The Characteristics and Solutions of “Urban Nomadism”

By Zhang Haitao

The nomadic culture has the characters of un-centralism and anti linear-developing. The living status of the Nomads is also a free will and spiritual state to question the European Centralism. The root theory of the Nomadic Spirits Thinking is not the structure of tree root, but a status of the potato root that is equal and intertwining with each other. The nomadic culture is also a multi-culture method by deconstructing binary oppositions and constructing the tolerance. Its un-linear evolving characteristic

Is also the vital difference between the Modernism and the contemporary culture

What the solution of the nomadic culture emphasizes are: Connecting and sharing, parallel trans-boundary, playing on its own, questioning if the capital could change the value judgment, and the transforming of traditional resources like Chinese “Original Home Awareness”.

The modern scientific technology is a double-bladed sword, and the thinking of human is also a complicated carrier. Human beings always have this contradictive psychology request, which would experience the unnatural psychological rebound by the current artificialization and technicalization, and then are longing for the eternal topics like the natural original motivation, pondering upon life, the view of time, materialization, and the natural state of mind. This is also one of the spiritual compensation for human heterization resulted from this current economic consumption age. It has become the urgent needs of human beings to live harmonically with the nature. Urban Nomadism is to infuse the free, equal and natural spiritual concepts into our modern society, that the nature and the artificialization super-nature could develop parallel with multi-elements.

The curatorial cases related with Urban Nomadism curated by Teacher Gu Zhenqing and me in recent years include: “Original Home” Contemporary Art Exhibition, “Spiritual Searching” Plan, Inner Mongolia Contemporary Art Biennale, Ulan Bator Chinese Short Film Exhibition in Mongolia, Xi’an Media City Contemporary Art Exhibition. Please see the brief logic sorting as below.

Jia Pingwa Culture Museum of Art promoted the special opening edition of “Original Home” Contemporary Art Exhibition on its opening ceremony at 9:30 am on April 8th of 2014 in Xi’an, the ancient capital city of thirteen dynasties. The exhibition were jointly curated and planned by curators Gu Zhenqing, Zhang Haitao, and Wang Yifan, which has presented nearly one hundred artworks by 35 artists. The “Original Home” exhibition is the contemporary transforming and recreation of Chinese traditional classics and local cultures, so is it a spiritual pursuit of root-searching.

“Spiritual Search” Contemporary Art Plan curated by chief curator Gu Zhenqing and joint curator Zhang Haitao, which aims to search the “Essence, Energy, and Spiritual” of the natural landscape in Libo of Guizhou province and to experience the traditional Wu Nuo Culture of the minority nationalities like Shui, Yao, and Buyi, started from Small Seven-hole Scenic Area and Big Seven-hole Scenic Area in Libo town, Qian Nan State of Guizhou Province. Artists Chen Wenbo, Gao Huijun, Guan Wei, Han Lei, Hong Hao, Qi Zhilong, Li Zhanyang, Shi Jin, Shi Xinning, Sun Liang, Tong Yan Ru Nan, Wu Xiaochuan, Xu Ruotao, Xu Wentao, Yang Shu, Professor Sha Manxue, and Guo Shuyun have participated this 5-day art experiencing, creating and communication activity in Libo. By April 25th, the 1st batch artists and academic observation and study project of Guizhou Libo “Spiritual Searching” Contemporary Art Plan successfully closed. This 5-day observation and study program includes: Lung washing experience with the Landscape, Visiting Libo Archive Museum (Discussing and Researching Shui Shu), Experiencing the ritual and necromancy, Seminar of Sa Man Culture, Creating, Visiting Yao stockade village (Observing and inter-acting, researching of the original art). Then the artists recreated via various media and entered the exhibitions. The publications were archived in the end.

The 1st Inner Mongolia Contemporary International Art Communication Biennale opened on December 14th of 2015. This exhibition, presided by Gu Zhenqing and Zhang Haitao, was held in 3 plates of artists from international, artists from domestic China, and artists from local Inner Mongolia. It has shown how the Inner Mongolia ethnic, as an minority nationality with strong nomadic culture, got its genetic recombination during the urbanization of modern culture and the evolvement of globalization. Therefore, this exhibition is different than other biennales which were run by modern capital. It is the geographic and ecologic otherness that motivated us to participate in the exhibition. As the epitome of contemporary culture, this International Communication Biennale in Inner Mongolia has touched the core-value question of the modern culture un-linear development.

2016 Ulan Bator Chinese Short Film Exhibition opened in the Mongolia National Art Museum at 2 pc on June 10th, 2016. This film exhibition was curated by Chinese famous curator Gu Zhenqing, with the National Art Museum President Mr. Bartle Bart as the exhibition director, Chinese Independent Films Exhibition Director Mr. Cao Kai and Curator Zhang Haitao as the film selectors, exhibiting 60 films by 50 active Chinese experimental film artists. 2016 Ulan Bator Chinese Short Film Exhibition aimed to help the audiences in Mongolia to understand Chinese experimental films, as well as the current developing environments and status in China. Experimental film is one of the branches of Contemporary Art, so is the creative practice of languages and conceptions. The exhibited films in this show were also about the topic of “The Relationships between Human Traditions and Modern Culture, Globalization and Otherness, Technology and Nature”.

Solutions of Nomadic Culture: Colliding, Transforming and Reconciling

The nomadic ethnic is currently in this embarrassing status of how to inherit local culture and absorb western culture. It’s extremely critical of keeping balance in the relationships between inheriting, transforming and innovation. This concept even touches the core-value questions of the human modern culture un-linear development.

It contains a special meaning with this “Urban Nomadism — 2017 Hangzhou Liangzhu Motive Picture Exhibition” which has invited important motive picture artworks from various areas of the domestic and international to exhibit at Hanzhou Liangzhu Culture and Art Center. The Liangzhu culture is the origin to explore Chinese Civilization, which is the “Holy Land” to prove Chinese Civilization with five thousand years history. The Liangzhu society has stepped into civilized society. Also as a city with deep accumulation of traditional culture, it is a very important topic of how Hangzhou could keep and transform the Original Home Awareness in our traditional culture during this modern globalization age. Nomadism is not return to the primitive savage status, it is instead to infuse the free nomadic spirits into urban. The experimental motive picture exactly carries this characteristic and spirit with free expression.

November 4th, 2017

About the exhibition

Dates: Dec 9, 2017 – Jan 9, 2018

Venue: Liangzhu Center of Arts

Courtesy of artists and Liangzhu Center of Arts.

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