Cao Fei, Utopia Factory, 2006. Courtesy of Sigg Collection, Schweiz.

Chinese Contemporary Art at a Nexus with Traditional Practices

Yang Fudong, East of Que Village, 2007.

Chu Yun, Chu Yun's work, 2006. Photo: Bonniers Konsthall.

Liu Wei, As Long as I See It, 2006. Photo: Bonniers Konsthall.

Cao Fei, UN-Cosplayers, 2006. Courtesy of Vitamin Creative Space.

Curator Zhang Wei. Photo: Vitamin Creative Space.


Bonniers Konsthall
Torsgatan 19
+ 46 8 736 42 48
Sprout from White Nights –
A Meeting with Chinese Contemporary Art

September 17-December 21, 2008

Sprout from White Nights – A Meeting with Chinese Contemporary Art presents 17 young Chinese artists at the interface of thousand-year old traditions and new technology. In order to open up a dialogue and an exchange, Chinese curator Zhang Wei has produced an exhibition that provides an insight into contemporary China, not only through the works by the artists, but also through workshops, lectures, conversations, film screenings, design and an extensive publication.

The exhibition at Bonniers Konsthall reflects a China in transition and focuses on the artists’ experiences of their social space in contemporary China. In the exhibition, you encounter paintings as well as new media, conceptually coloured methods and visually impressive installations and sculptures.

There is a fascination for the most contemporary urban Chinese society as well as for older traditional Chinese artistic traditions such as calligraphy and garden art. Sprout from White Nights includes Yang Fudong’s cinematic narrative from the Chinese countryside, and the Yangjiang Groups’ large, artificial indoor garden.

Another participant is Cao Fei, whose work is based on popular and youth culture. Another important part of the exhibition is a workshop in which the artist Xu Tan extends an invitation to a discussion on today’s China from different perspectives.

The artists participating in Sprout from White Nights were born in the 1970s and live and work mainly in the large industrial and economically expanding cities on China’s east coast: Shanghai, Beijing and Guangzhou. Many of them are well-known on the international art scene and have exhibited at, among other places, the biennials in Venice, Istanbul and Lyon.

Zhang Wei is a curator working in Ghuangzhou and Beijing. She is the director and co-founder of the much-acclaimed Vitamin Creative Space in Guangzhou in south east China. In 2007 Zhang Wei was curator of projects for Art Basel Miami, Frieze Art Fair in the UK and Art Basel 38 in Switzerland.

Participating artists include Cao Fei, Chu Yun, Hipic Group (Xu Zhen, Yang Zhenzhong, Huang Kui), Hu Xiaoyuan, Kan Xuan, Lee Kit, Liu Wei, Xu Tan, Yan Jun, Yang Fudong, Yangjiang Group (Zheng Guogu, Chen Zaiyan, Sun Qinglin), Zhang Da, Zheng Guogu.

Cao Fei works with performance, photography, sound, text and film. Recently she has developed projects that take place in the virtual world Second Life. In 2007 she participated in the biennials in Lyon, Istanbul and Venice. Cao Fei was born in 1978 in Guangzhou, and lives and works in Beijing.

Chu Yun works above all with installations. He participated in the exhibition China Power Station II at the Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art in 2007. Chu Yun was born in 1977 in Jiangxi, and lives and works in Beijing.

Hipic is an art project initiated by the Shanghai-based artists Xu Zhen, Yang Zhenzhong and Huang Kui. The web-based project, which centres on pictures, was initiated in September 2007, and is also displayed at public places in Shanghai and at exhibitions in China and Europe.

Hu Xiaoyuan’s installations often comprise everyday material such as sewing-thread, hair and fabric. Her work has been exhibited at Documenta 12 in Kassel and at Kunsthaus Graz in 2007. Hu Xiaoyuan was born in 1977 in Harbin, and lives and works in Beijing.

Kan Xuan works primarily with video, but also with photography and installation. Her work has been exhibited in the Chinese pavilion at the 2007 Venice Biennale and at the Istanbul Biennial the same year. Kan Xuan was born in 1972, and lives and works in Beijing and Amsterdam.

Lee Kit’s works function as utility goods and artworks at the same time. His hand-painted pieces of fabric become both table cloths and wall decorations. Lee Kit was born in 1978 in Hong Kong, where he lives and works.

Liu Wei works with painting, installation, sculpture and video. His work has been shown in the exhibition China Power Station II at the Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art in 2007. Liu Wei was born in 1972 in Beijing, where he lives and works.

Xu Tan’s research-based projects originate in interviews and workshops. By inviting participants at different places in the world, Xu Tan opens up for a discussion on our perception of today’s China. Xu Tan was born in Wuhan in 1957, and lives and works in Zhuhai and Shanghai.

Yan Jun is a sound artist and poet. He has participated in exhibitions such as Seoul International Media Art Biennale 2006, and in China Power Station I at Battersea Power Station and has published several books and collections of poetry. Yan Jun was born in 1973 in Lanzhou, and lives and works in Beijing.

Yang Fudong takes contemporary China as his starting point for his filmmaking, but often refers to Chinese history and older films. His work has been exhibited at the 2003 and 2007 Venice Biennales. Yang Fudong was born in 1971 in Beijing, and lives and works in Shanghai.

Yangjiang Group is an artist group founded in 2002 in the city of Yangjiang in southern China. With calligraphy as the point of departure, the members of Yangjiang Group, Zheng Guogu, Chen Zaiyan and Sun Qinglin, work with performance, installation, video and photography. Yangjiang Group has exhibited at Tate Liverpool and at Kunsthaus Graz in 2007.

Zhang Da is a fashion designer. Inspired by traditional Chinese techniques, he is also interested in the contemporary wear-and-throw-away culture. Zhang Da was born in 1970, and lives and works in Shanghai and Beijing.

Zheng Guogu works with photography, objects, performance and calligraphy. His works are often based on collaborations in which a performance may be the starting point for a photographic series. Zheng Guogu participated in Documenta 12 in Kassel 2007 and Kunsthaus Graz the same year. Zheng Guogu was born in 1970 in Yangjiang, where he lives and works.

Liu Wei, Purple Air, 2008. Photo: Bonniers Konsthall.

Chu Yun, Unspeakable Happiness, 2003. Photo: Bonniers Konsthall.