Events and Exhibitions: September 4 – September 10, 2015


Happy Labor Day weekend and hello from Prague where we were impressed by the Asian art collection at the National Museum in Kinský Palace and had a glimpse of how Czech artists have been inspired by Asian art.  We hope to explore this in the future.

Cinema on the Edge: The Best of the Beijing Independent Film Festival 2012 – 2014 returns this week after a short break.  The (New) Trial continues.  NYU’s Asian/Pacific/American Institute explores Pacific mythologies, and a Booker Prize finalist looks at British colonization in India and China.

There are a couple of exhibitions closing this weekend.  Be sure to see them before they end, especially Geng Xue: Borrowing and Easterly Wind and Ying Zhu: Live Like and Astronaut (see our review and interview here)  at Klein Sun Gallery and the Met’s lavish China: Through the Looking Glass which will be open until midnight on September 4 and 5.

Coming up:

Photography pop-up Photoville opens next weekend and includes an exhibition of works by Yuyang Liu and Souvid Datta and presented by ChinaFile and Magnum Photos that looks at migrant workers and environmental pollution and another of works by Li Qiang that document Chinese World War II veterans, who now average 90 years of age.

Cloud Dance Theater of Taiwan comes to BAM presents Rice, a production that takes the  grain, field, and flower as verdant muse in this celebration of the life cycle and natural beauty of the island’s essential crop.

In October, the New York Film Festival presents U.S. premieres of Hou Hsiao-hsien’s The Assassin 《聶隱娘》 and Jia Zhangke’s Mountains May Depart 《山河故人》,   hosts talk with both directors, and screens King Hu’s A Touch of Zen 《俠女》.

We add listings to our one-time and short term event and ongoing exhibition calendars as we learn of them.  If you know of anything or would like to contribute photos or an article, shoot us an email at

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Coming up this week…

1) The Last Moose of Aoluguya 《犴达罕》– Award winning filmmaker Gu Tao’s weirder-than fiction documentary is a portrait of Weijia, a hunter-poet with a tumultuous life. Weijian is a member of the Ewenki minority, whose homeland is near Siberia in far northeastern China. Forbidden to continue hunting, the Ewenki have been forced to move from their forests into dreary Chinese government-designed permanent villages. Deprived of means of livelihood like many of his people, Weijia spends his time drinking and being a poet… when all of a sudden, as in a fairytale, a young teacher from Hainan, the tropical paradise island in China’s far south, comes to marry him and sweep him away. Weijia, clad in tropical print shirts, doesn’t quite fit into paradise, and his story turns dark, with intimations of madness and violence.

Part of Cinema on the Edge: The Best of the Beijing Independent Film Festival 2012 – 2014 

Wednesday, September 9, 6 PM
Weatherhead East Asian Institute, Columbia University, 420 West 118th Street
Free, but RSVP required.


2) Willie Yao – 2 Opening Reception – Opening reception for Willie Yao’s newest painting and installation works that combine his personal life experience and full of rich colors, imagination expression, and far-reaching implication of the portrait. This is the continuation of BLUSH exhibition in Sanlitun

Wednesday, September 9, 6:30 PM
Carma Restaurant, 38 Carmine Street


3)  The Archival Impulse: Collecting and Conserving the Moving Image in Asia – Organized by Asia Art Archive, Collaborative Cataloging Japan, and MoMA’s C-MAP initiative, this three-panel event provides a forum to rethink and share the methods, philosophies, and challenges in archiving moving image and time-based media works in Asia.

Hiroko Tasaka (Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography), Farah Wardani (National Gallery Singapore), Fang Lu (Video Bureau, Beijing and Guangzhou), and Stuart Comer (MoMA, New York) introduce collection strategies and compare archiving practice at their organizations in Japan, Singapore, China, and New York. The panel will explore the impetus behind the development of these collections, the urgencies to which they respond, and how they expand upon existing art historical narratives.

David Smith (Asia Art Archive, Hong Kong), Sen Uesaki (Keio University Art Center, Tokyo), Alf Chang (ETAT Lab, Taipei), and Ben Fino-Radin (MoMA, New York) explore the transition from a static physical archive to a digital infrastructure that is open, nonlinear, web-like, and constantly evolving. As the modes of access continue to change, how do we effectively preserve moving image and time-based works in the digital age, and bring this material into a rhizomatic network of knowledge?

Go Hirasawa (Meiji Gakuin University, Tokyo), Mariam Ghani (Artist, New York), Huang Chien-hung (Taipei National University of Arts), and Jane DeBevoise (Asia Art Archive, Hong Kong and New York) discuss research projects that develop out of archival materials. Pointing to sources ranging from personal archives to commercial and state-sponsored media production, these projects attempt to expand and nuance ways of thinking about history, politics, and collective memory.

Thursday, September 10, 10 AM – 1 PM
The Celeste Bartos Theater, The Lewis B. and Dorothy Cullman Education and Research Building, Museum of Modern Art, 4 W. 54th St.
Free, but RSVP required


4) Visualizing Pacific Mythologies: Alexander Lee and Jason Wing – California-born and Tahiti-raised artist Alexander Lee’s interests in storytelling, mythology, the anthropic process, and post-colonial transformation are explored in his works of site-specific installations and murals, drawings, paintings, and sculptures. In his latest project, The Botanist, Lee revisits the uru (breadfruit) and how its migration through colonial history has helped in the construction of the myth around Tahiti. He is currently Guest Artist Lecturer at the Centre des Métiers d’Arts de Polynésie Française where he is preparing the second edition of Manava, a workshop-exhibition project opening at the Musée de Tahiti in 2017.

Jason Wing, a Sydney-based Chinese-Aboriginal artist, calls into question our understandings of history and current socio-political realities by repurposing everyday objects and imagery. His works of street art, photography, installation, and painting explore the themes of indigeneity, mythology, colonization, migration, and racism, particularly as they relate to history and everyday life in Australia. Wing, who is currently an artist-in-residence at the International Studio & Curatorial Program (ISCP), will present a talk entitled, “In-between Two Worlds.”

Thursday, September 10, 6 PM
The Asian/Pacific/American Institute at NYU Gallery, 8 Washington Mews, New York, NY 10003, United States
Free, but RSVP requested


5) Cinema on the Edge Animation Series – Eight animated shorts that couldn’t be screened at the Beijing Independent Film Festival come to MoCA.

Perfect Conjugal Bliss / 花好月圆
Zhong Su, 6’ 2014
A gorgeous 3D animation unscrolling through Chinese history, from grey urban collapse to ultra-colored consumer dystopia.

How / 在哪儿
Zhang Yipin, 5’ 2013
Traditional pen-and-ink drawings, animating a fuzzy-haired ruddy-cheeked girl’s imaginative world of terror and freedom.

The Hunter and the Skeleton / 猎人与骷髅怪
Bai Bin 26’ (prize) 2012
A spectacular animated version, flash plus thangka, of an Eastern Tibetan folk tale: when a hunter meets a fearsome skeleton monster, are they friends, or enemies? (Jury Award, BIFF 2012)

An Apple Tree / 苹果树
Bai Bin, 11’ 2013
A Tibetan fable, in vivid colours, of an indomitable tree, assailed yet triumphant.

Double Act / 双簧
Ding Shiwei, 5’ 2013
A black-and-white vision of the industrial surreal: bodies float between familiar bureaucratic monuments above; sunflowers grow beneath the earth.

Mirror Room / 镜室
Zhou Xiaohu 8’ 2012
Master clay animator Zhou fashions a bathroom of hallucinatory reflections, where Lacan meets fascism.

The New Book of Mountains and Seas Part 2 / 新山海经
Qiu Anxiong 29’ (2007) 2012
Animating classic-styled ink and pen drawings, and filling them with quasi-nightmarish animal-machine forms, Qiu suggests a world under ecological collapse, where genetically tampered animal forms expire on earth and colonize the stars.

Family Reunion / 馬拉自在
Chen Li-hua 18’ 2012
A-mei, a Taiwanese aboriginal woman working in a factory, is called home for the Harvest Festival, but her boss refuses. In Chen’s imaginative tale, illustrated with cut out and line drawn animation, a daughter’s powerful dreaming saves all. (Outstanding Fiction Film Award, BIFF 2012)

Part of Cinema on the Edge: The Best of the Beijing Independent Film Festival 2012 – 2014 

Thursday, September 10, 7 PM
Museum Of Chinese In America, 215 Centre Street
$12/Adult; $7/Students and Seniors


6) The Empire Strikes India & China: Amitav Ghosh – It’s 1839. China and Great Britain stand on the brink of the First Opium War. By the time it’s over, the Western powers will have torched the Emperor’s summer palace, legalized the Opium trade in China, and reduced China to a semi-colony carved up by the colonial powers. More than a decade ago, Booker Prize Finalist Amitav Ghosh began the Ibis trilogy, a 1,600-page triad of novels that told the story of British colonialism on both sides of the Indian Ocean. If the first volume, Sea of Poppies, alighted on the poppy fields of India, the next installment, River of Smoke, took us to the ports of Canton, where the British sought to push the narcotic on the Middle Kingdom. The Ibis trilogy now concludes with Flood of Fire, a rip-roaring tale of sexual politics, global commodities trade, and pan-Asian imperialism.

Encompassing the onset of the First Opium War, the British acquisition of Hong Kong, and China’s “hundred years of humiliation,” Flood of Fire follows a funky cast of characters: an American freedman who passes as white, a bankrupted Raja working for the Chinese, a politically ambivalent sepoy working for the East India Company, and the strangest character of all: British colonial English infiltrated by the diction of Anglo-India (“It’s my turn now to bajow your ganta!”). A linguistically playful, structuralist retelling of the colonization of Asia, the Ibis Trilogy shows how the British conquest “redrew the map of the region, prompting, among other things, the transformation of the backwater port of Hong Kong into a globally influential centre of enterprise” (The Guardian). Flood of Fire paints a vivid, intimate portrait of the First Opium War–what Ghosh calls “one of the most iniquitous things that has ever happened in the history of mankind.”

One of India’s best-known writers, Amitav Ghosh has sold more than 30 million books worldwide. His novel Sea of Poppies was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize in 2008, and his other works have earned the Dan David Award, the International Grand Prix of the Blue Metropolis Festival, and the Padma Shri. His work has been translated into more than 30 languages. This event is co-sponsored by Verso Books.

Thursday, September 10, 7 PM
Verso Books, 20 Jay Street, Suite 1010, DUMBO, Brooklyn

Ongoing Films and Shows

The (New) Trial – “The (New) Trial,” adapted from Peter Weiss’s same titled play and directed by Dennis Yueh-Yeh Li, presents a surreal look at the life of Joseph K, an attorney in an international corporation that explores K’s obsessive idealism and his self-destructive methodology in helping others. Confined in his own docile body, K is manipulated as the public mask for the corporation to win the “war” current global market expansion competition, and eventually is abandoned by the corporation once the victory is obtained.”The (New) Trial” attempts to deconstruct the docile nature of the self and the hierarchical power relations among the characters of the play, hoping to stimulate changes to the society. To manifest this essential concept, actors will explore power dynamics among different characters, and will break the fourth wall to share their real life experience of being an actor with monologues. A giant mirror will also cover up the stage floor for actors to be fully aware of the power relations to the self.

Through September 6.

For more information, see our earlier coverage.


Just added and opening:

1) Willie Yao – Solo Exhibition (Carma Restaurant, 9/9 – 10/31) – Willie Yao’s newest painting and installation works that combine his personal life experience and full of rich colors, imagination expression, and far-reaching implication of the portrait. This is the continuation of BLUSH exhibition in Sanlitun.


2) Ji Zhou (计洲) – Civilized Landscape 《文明的景观》(Klein Sun Gallery, 9/10 – 10/10)  – In his multimedia practice, Beijing-based Ji Zhou initiates a critical dialogue between reality, perception, and possibility. Themes from the artist’s previous series of photography largely dictate and inspire these new works for Civilized Landscape. For example, in the Dust series (2010), photographs of organized landscapes covered in dust were conceived after a fire in the artist’s studio. With the click of his shutter, he framed the still-settling ashes atop domestic objects, creating an image dense with temporal dimensions and fine layers of sediment. Ji Zhou honors the quiet aftermath of the fire, rather than the trauma itself, questioning the obvious forms of composition and documentation. His prior series, Event (2007), examines a similar concept where the artist critiques the genre of documentary photography and the blurred lines separating fiction and nonfiction.

Ji Zhou’s new photographic works for Civilized Landscape further subvert the object as a vehicle for visual representation and interpretation; maps and books become landscapes of possibility. The process tells as much of a story as the final image does: Ji Zhou collects maps, hand-sculpting them into peaks and troughs to mimic mountaintops. He includes books that are assembled into cantilevered towers resembling city skyscrapers. These ‘rural’ and ‘urban’ illusions are then photographed, further augmenting reality. As always, Ji Zhou chooses to question rather than offer his own conclusions: What is civilization – a constructed illusion created by man or an inevitable product of evolution? What is the truly ‘civilized landscape’– tautology or oxymoron?


3) Wang Dongling (王冬龄) – New Works 《新作》 (Chambers Fine Art, 9/12 – 10/24) – In the new body of works dating from 2015 in the present exhibition, Wang has achieved a new level of freedom of expression. Although they refer to poems and texts from the Tang and Song dynasties, sometimes just focusing on several characters, the meaning resides in the unmistakable character of Wang’s calligraphy. Whether nearly filling the sheet of paper or canvas with dense accumulations of brush strokes or less densely applied skeins of strokes of varying degrees of intensity, Wang’s calligraphies are immediately recognizable. In a discussion of this form of calligraphy, critic Gao Shiming has observed that “writing becomes pure trace. Thus the corporality and the gesture of writing becomes the essence.”

Contrasting with the traditional medium of the works in ink on paper and canvas will be a new series of works in acrylic on polyvinyl, in which the transparent nature of the ground creates a new spatial dimension for the artist’s calligraphy. The skittering traces of Wang’s calligraphy exist not in the fictive space of his works on paper but in the environment in which the spectator views them and are consequently affected by changes in light and other chance occurrences. The artist will give a demonstration of his calligraphy in acrylic on polyvinyl at the opening reception September 12th.


Closing soon:

Ying Zhu: Live Like and Astronaut (Klein Sun Gallery, 8/13 – 9/5)

The Great Ephemeral (New Museum, 5/27 – 9/6)

China: Through the Looking Glass (Metropolitan Museum of Art, 5/7- 9/7)

Water to Paper, Paint to Sky: The Art of Tyrus Wong (Museum of Chinese in America, 3/26 – 9/13)

The Moment: Taiwanese American Contemporary Arts (New York Hall of Science, 8/8 – 9/13)

Being Here: Mei-Ling Liu and HsiangLu Meng New Work in New York (Cuchifritos Gallery, 8/14 – 9/13)

Visit the exhibition calendar ( for details for the following shows below.  As always, check the museum or gallery’s website for hours of operation.

Geng Xue: Borrowing and Easterly Wind  (Klein Sun Gallery, 8/13 – 9/5)

Ying Zhu: Live Like and Astronaut (Klein Sun Gallery, 8/13 – 9/5)

The Great Ephemeral (New Museum, 5/27 – 9/6)

China: Through the Looking Glass (Metropolitan Museum of Art, 5/7- 9/7)

Water to Paper, Paint to Sky: The Art of Tyrus Wong (Museum of Chinese in America, 3/26 – 9/13)

The Moment: Taiwanese American Contemporary Arts (New York Hall of Science, 8/8 – 9/13)

Being Here: Mei-Ling Liu and HsiangLu Meng New Work in New York (Cuchifritos Gallery, 8/14 – 9/13)

Fertility, Blessings and Protection – Taiwanese and Asian Cultures of Baby Carrier (Taipei Cultural Center of TECO, 7/29 – 9/20)

Jun-Te Hwang (黃榮德): From Mountains to Monuments: The Hidden Corners of China (Hwang Gallery, 8/11 – 9/30)

Mary Ting: Compassion – For the Animals Great and Small (Gallery 456, 8/12 – 9/27)

Ishu Han: Memory of Each Other (ICSP, 7/8 – 10/2)

Ji Zhou (计洲) – Civilized Landscape 《文明的景观》(Klein Sun Gallery, 9/10 – 10/10)

Wang Dongling (王冬龄) – New Works 《新作》 (Chambers Fine Art, 9/12 – 10/24)

Willie Yao – Solo Exhibition (Carma Restaurant, 9/9 – 10/31)


Lead image: “Color Landscape Image-Landscape” by Flickr user HuaTunan, licensed through Creative Commons