Year Ahead 2023 | Where Are 11 Art Travelers Starting Their Journey From?
Where did you spend the Lunar New Year this year?
This is the first Lunar New Year after China announced the cancellation of quarantine policies, and international travel is also recovering. On their travels, Qiao Zhibing, founder of the Oil Tank Art Center, visited art institutions in Basel, Antwerp, and Paris, while curator Long Xingru returned to London to continue pursuing a doctoral degree. Lin Han and Wan Wan, founders of the MUMU Art Museum, shared their experiences of returning to Los Angeles, and artist Wu Ziyang, who just finished his trip in the United States, plans to head to Southeast Asia for the next stop.
In addition to these art travelers embarking on their next artistic journey, artists Cao Shuyi, who currently resides in New York, curator and writer Weng Xiaoyu, who works between New York and Toronto, gallery owner Liu Yiyuan, who travels between London and Beijing, artist Liu Xin, who currently resides in London, artist He Xiangyu, who works in Berlin, and curator Li Zhenhua, who travels between Zurich, Berlin, and Hong Kong, talked about their perspectives in different places and upcoming collaboration plans.
As the beginning of the 2023 art journey, we follow the footsteps of more than ten artists, curators, collectors, and gallery owners to Paris, Berlin, London, New York, Los Angeles, and other places to understand the changes happening in the recovering art world and the journeys they will embark on in 2023. We hope that in the new year, art can breathe, grow, and recover in an environment of free communication, and we can welcome a closer connection in the art world.
Collector. He has been collecting contemporary art since 2006, and his personal collection covers a group of iconic artists from China and abroad. Since 2013, Qiao Zhibing has been listed on the “ARTnews” annual global top 200 art collectors list. He is also a graduate supervisor at the China Central Academy of Fine Arts and founded the Shanghai Oil Tank Art Center in 2019.
Where did you spend the Lunar New Year in 2023? In Paris, the art center returned to Paris. There are many good art institutions in Paris. I also went to see Fashion Week. Many friends from China were in Paris, so I could meet up with them.
Pablo Picasso, Naked Woman with Cat, 1964, at the “Collection & Palimpsest” exhibition of the Beyeler Foundation.
During your recent international travels, what have you seen that left a strong impression on you? I went to Basel, Switzerland and visited the 25th anniversary collection exhibition at the Beyeler Foundation. Then I went to Paris and saw Cyprien Gaillard’s exhibition at the Palais de Tokyo, as well as Anri Sala’s exhibition at the Bourse de Commerce—Pinault Collection. I tried to see as many exhibitions as possible before they closed, and also visited some artists’ studios. I always want to see good exhibitions and good art. During my travels, I noticed that every country has its own problems, and we need to face our own problems while having confidence in contemporary Chinese art.
Qiao Zhibing with artist Luc Tuymans at the Royal Museum of Fine Arts Antwerp.
Where do you hope to travel for art this year? Are there any special art exhibitions you can recommend? I hope to go to Africa this year to see the local art. I am currently planning a trip to the United States in February, where I will visit Los Angeles, Miami, and New York. I will also attend the Zona Maco contemporary art fair in Mexico from February 8th to 12th. It’s a very spontaneous decision.
I recommend the Royal Museum of Fine Arts Antwerp in Belgium, which has the largest collection of Peter Paul Rubens’ works and important pieces by Jan Van Eyck. The museum recently reopened after ten years of renovation.
After the lifting of quarantine policies, who would you like to invite to China to collaborate on an art project with you? I hope to invite artists to China to hold exhibitions together, such as solo exhibitions of important artists or group exhibitions focusing on specific regions, like the “Convex/Concave: Belgian Contemporary Art Exhibition” held at Tank Shanghai before. Many artists, such as Damien Hirst, have visited Tank Shanghai before the pandemic to see the venue.
Anne Imhof’s “Youth” exhibition at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam.
Do you want to go back to the pre-pandemic era? If not, what improvements or changes do you hope to see in the art world? This is a major era of change, and the art world has certainly changed as well. The methods of doing things and the mindset of viewing art have already changed. I don’t necessarily want to “go back” to the pre-pandemic era. I hope that art exhibitions can be bolder, more open, and more free. I hope that the art world can continue to foster people’s passion for art.
Born in China in 1986, He Xiangyu is an artist and filmmaker who lives and works in Berlin. As a member of the group of artists who have experienced the enormous changes in Chinese society, economy, and international relations, He Xiangyu’s work is based on his unique cultural experience. He works in various media, including painting, sculpture, installation, film, and publishing, and uses a broad time span and creative scale to reflect on and respond to the macro upheavals of geopolitical and historical patterns in the micro conflicts of specific individuals. In his works, the material materials that are displaced and transformed, the intimate perception of the body and mind, and the detached historical perspective coexist in a state of tearing, reflecting the cognitive dilemma of the generation of historical fault lines and the struggle to break through them. Through a non-linear structure, He Xiangyu analyzes and criticizes the cultural collisions, assimilations, and digestions in the above-mentioned struggles.
Where did you spend the Lunar New Year in 2023? Berlin. In your recent international travels, what have you seen and experienced that has left a strong impression on you? Because the production process of my works is distributed in different countries such as France and Belgium, I have a more personal experience of the shortage and price increase of raw materials in the European continent. I hope that the international situation can be eased this year and return to normal as soon as possible. Where do you hope to travel for art this year? Are there any special art exhibitions you can recommend? Paris and Antwerp. I recommend Donatello’s sculpture exhibition at the Gemäldegalerie in Berlin in September 2022.
At the exhibition site of “Donatello: Inventor of the Renaissance”, there is a picture of the exhibition hall.
If you are able to return to China this year, what kind of art project would you like to undertake? I plan to hold a solo exhibition at the Oil Tank Art Center in Shanghai this year.
Do you wish to return to the pre-pandemic era? If not, what improvements or changes would you like to see in the art environment? I hope that Chinese artists can receive more attention and support in the future, and continue to emerge and thrive on the international stage, creating a more diverse art system and environment together. There is also an image attached to this response.
Born in Beijing in 1975, Li Zhenhua currently works in Zurich, Berlin, and Hong Kong. Since 1996, he has been active in the contemporary art field, mainly focusing on curating, art creation, and project management. He is currently the on-site curator of the Hong Kong Basel Art Fair (since 2014), a recommended person for the Paul Klee Summer Academy in Switzerland, and a recommended person for the Prix Pictet Photography Festival in Switzerland. He has served as an international consultant for the “Digital Revolution” exhibition at the Barbican International Exhibition in the UK (2014), and as an international consultant for the Australian SymbioticA Institute and the Hong Kong Video Art Advisor in 2015. Li Zhenhua has edited publications for artists such as Yan Lei, Feng Mengbo, Hu Jieming, and Yang Fudong. In 2013, his book “Text” won multiple domestic and international art awards. He won the Russian Innovation Award for Regional Contemporary Art Programs at the 3rd Ural Contemporary Art and Industrial Biennial Exhibition (2015) and has also served as a translator for the German Transmediale Media Art Festival (2010), the CCAA Chinese Contemporary Art Award (now the M+ Museum Hugo Boss Prize 2012), the Swiss Fantoche Animation Festival (2012), and the Modern Car Blue Prize (2018).
Where did you spend the Lunar New Year in 2023? I decided to travel to Hong Kong recently and will be celebrating with a few close friends in Berlin by making dumplings. In your recent international travels, what have you seen and experienced that left a strong impression on you? In April 2022, I visited the Venice Biennale for “Liu Jiaying: A Small Goal 2.0.” It was very cold and rainy, and the biennale was much quieter than in previous years. The waves and architecture remained unchanged. In May 2022, I visited “Angela Lyn: The Edge of Time” in Milan, which showcased architecture and interior design from the 15th to 17th centuries. Leonardo da Vinci once studied hydraulics here, and the changes in Baroque architecture during different periods were also on display. The weather was hot, but my travel and daily life remained unchanged.
Curator Li Zhenhua with artist Angela Lyn
Photography by Hanspeter Schweizer.
In June 2022, at the 15th Kassel Documenta, discussions on collective communities and anti-Semitism began and ended with no changes.
My project in Tuscany, exploring the possibilities between climate change and art, found no blur. The mountains and plants remained unchanged.
In September 2022, the exhibition “Dao Fa Berlin, Er You Yu Wai” at the KINDL Art Museum, which I curated with Thomas Eller, was affected by the gloomy weather and social concerns, but remained unchanged.
In November 2022, I visited Lisbon for the first time to see Professor Zhou Qinghui’s exhibition and enjoyed the scenery and cuisine of Portugal. However, I suddenly missed Hong Kong and Macau. The sunshine and warmth of the locals remained unchanged.
I returned to Seoul, South Korea in November 2022, where I gave several lectures and discussions. The new art institutions and art market were thriving, but remained unchanged.
At the end of November 2022, I returned to Shanghai and underwent an eight-day quarantine, which remained unchanged.
The exhibition “Liu Jiaying: A Small Goal 2.0” is shown in the attached image.
Photography: Alessandro Zambianchi
Where do you hope to go for your art travels this year? Are there any special art sights you can recommend? In late February 2023, I will be going to Finland to screen my film “Prisoner,” which I shot in Finland in 2017. It’s been five years, and I’m really looking forward to it. Art is a long-term focus, it’s about devotion and waiting.
Every year, I hope to go to Venice, Arles, Basel, Kassel, London, Paris, and other places.
Everything that seems unchanging is changing.
If you are able to return to China smoothly this year, what kind of art projects do you hope to undertake?
I have always returned smoothly, and my exhibition “Small Universe: Emotions Dominated by Technology,” which has already been shown in Chengdu, will reach its true climax in March 2023 with the collaboration of Song Yuzhe and Zhang Zengzeng. I hope my work is in the mechanism, contributing more international insights and understanding of exhibition strategies. Let’s learn and progress together.
Do you hope to return to the pre-pandemic era? If not, what kind of improvements or changes do you hope to see in the art environment? Learn to accept and say goodbye. People need to adapt to the environment and make changes every moment. In 2020, I did some woodworking, continued to write articles, went to forests and lakes with friends, and started traveling in Europe.
Improvements and changes do not come by waiting. We need confidence, love, and courage to try to change, starting with small things.
Iris Long is an independent curator and writer, currently pursuing a PhD in the field of cutting-edge practice at Goldsmiths, University of London. She is also a 2022-23 Boghossian Fellow. Her curated exhibitions include “Sophia the Liar and Alexa the mocker” (Hyundai Blue Prize Curator Award, sophialexa.com), “Stones from Other Hills, New Agents” (PSA Young Curators Program Award), “Robots Among Us” (3rd Today Art Museum Future Pavilion), “Geothermal Flow: Visitors to the Time of the Sun” (Art and Technology Unit of the 1st Beijing Art Biennale), and she has also curated the first solo exhibitions in China for artists such as Liu Xin and Lauren Lee McCarthy. In 2019, she served as an international judge for the ISEA Electronic Art Symposium. In 2020 and 2022, she served as an international judge for the art section of the SIGGRAPH ASIA Computer Graphics Conference. Her research has been published in conferences such as “Art and Artificial Intelligence” at the ZKM Center for Media Art, the International Symposium on Computational Media Art at City University of Hong Kong (ISCMA), the International Forum on Digital Humanities and Art Research at the University of Greenwich, and the ISEA Electronic Art Symposium. In 2021, she initiated the “Port: Guizhou Under the Cloud” project, a long-term research and curation project on China’s technological infrastructure. Personal website: irislong.xyz.
Where did you spend the Lunar New Year in 2023? I had a PhD project course on Lunar New Year’s Day, so I will still be in London, hoping to have some dumplings. In your recent international travels, what have you seen and experienced that left a strong impression on you? It’s hard to talk about “strong impressions” now, as I’m still in the chaos of suddenly returning to the UK. The strongest impression was probably the smell of Heathrow Airport – in fact, many airports have their own smells, and this smell reminded me that it’s been so long since I’ve traveled internationally.
Berlin Transmediale 2023
Where do you hope to go for your art travels this year? Is there any special art you can recommend? This year, I hope to go to Berlin in February to see the Transmediale Media Art Festival “A Model, a Map, a Fiction”. The curator is a friend I have worked with before, and during a previous phone call, he mentioned a thematic phase called “Sensing the Scale”, which I resonated with. It also happens to be related to my research on infrastructure. Interestingly, this year’s art festival is also under this theme, attempting to establish a concrete connection with Berlin’s urban network/infrastructure. I also want to see the exhibition “Matter, Non-Matter, Anti-Matter” at the Karlsruhe Center for Art and Media (ZKM).
Karlsruhe Center for Art and Media (ZKM) “Matter, Non-Matter, Anti-Matter”
After the isolation policy is lifted, who do you particularly want to invite to China to work on art projects with you? Claudia Schnugg, a curator in the field of science and art, is also a good friend of mine. We collaborated on the “Cosmological Elements” project last year, but she has not been able to come to China. This year, coincidentally, I will be doing some work related to astronomy/astrophysics and art in China, and I really hope to do some research with her in China.
Do you want to go back to the pre-epidemic era? If not, what improvements or changes do you hope to see in the art environment? Hoping or not hoping cannot rewrite the timeline. It’s better to give each practitioner a share of the wish for the environment. I hope everyone who is still in the field can think freely, happily, and freely, of course, occasional entanglement and frustration are also okay.
, also known as Tabula Rasa, is a gallery owner who currently works in London and Beijing, and is also the host of the Art Have podcast.
Where did you spend the Lunar New Year in 2023?
I spent it in London.
In your recent international travels, what have you seen and experienced that left a strong impression on you?
International travel has mostly returned to normal in the second half of 2022, and I attended exhibitions in South Korea, the United States, and Singapore. These were all places I had never been to before, and I was overconfident in my approach without fully understanding the local market, especially in South Korea where it was difficult to expand my business without a “guide”. The “always positive and hot sales situation” reported by many media outlets also made me realize that there was a big gap between reality and expectations.
Where do you hope to travel for art this year? Are there any special art exhibitions you can recommend?
I want to go to countries or cities without art exhibitions. The Grand Egyptian Museum in Egypt has been postponed indefinitely for at least five years, and I don’t know if there is any hope of seeing it open this year.
After the quarantine policy is lifted, who do you particularly want to invite to China to collaborate on art projects with you?
Due to the pandemic, many newly opened art institutions have not had the opportunity to be visited. I have never been to the Tianmuli Art Museum in Hangzhou, the Longlati Foundation in Shanghai, the Star Art Museum, or the X Museum in Beijing. In addition, I also look forward to launching more pop-up exhibitions in different cities outside of the physical space of my Beijing gallery.
Do you want to return to the pre-pandemic era? If not, what improvements or changes do you hope to see in the art environment?
Even my memory of the so-called “pre-pandemic era” is a bit fuzzy now, but frequent international travel in recent months has awakened some memories. I don’t think it’s necessary to fly to a different country every month to attend a flash sale at an exhibition, as the high cost of exhibitions often does not correspond to the profits. In the future, I may choose exhibitions that are more suitable for my gallery more accurately, and actively cooperate with galleries in other countries to share artists and cultivate local markets, so that the gallery business can be more sustainable and healthy.
Born in Xinjiang in 1991, this artist and engineer currently serves as the art curator for the MIT Media Lab’s Space Exploration Initiative and is a member of the ONX studio co-founded by the New Museum and the Onassis Foundation in New York. Starting in the fall of 2019, she worked as a resident artist for SETI conducting polar research on water bodies. She has won the X Museum Triennial Award, been named to Forbes’ 30 Under 30 lists for Asia and China, received the first Europe ARTificial Intelligence Lab Residency Award in collaboration with the Austrian Electronic Arts Festival, the Van Lier Fellowship from the Museum of Arts and Design in New York, the Sundance New Frontiers Story Lab Fellowship, the SXSW Interactive Innovation Award, and the FastCoDesign and Core77 Awards. She was also a finalist for the Huayu Youth Award and a participant in the Creative Capital On Our Radar program. Her works have been exhibited at the MoMA PS1 in New York (2022), the M+ Museum in Hong Kong (2021), the Shanghai Museum of Contemporary Art (2021), the Austrian Electronic Arts Festival (2017-2020), the Yuz Museum in Shanghai (2020), the Sundance Film Festival (2017, 2020), the Tribeca Film Festival (2017), the Boston Museum of Fine Arts (2016, 2017), the Minsheng Art Museum in Beijing (2017, 2018), the Central Academy of Fine Arts Museum in Beijing (2018), and various other institutions in Shenzhen, Beijing, and Shanghai, as well as presenting at numerous ACM and other academic conferences in the United States. She currently serves as an advisor for the LACMA Art+Tech Lab and teaches at the Strelka Institute’s Terraforming project. She has previously worked at Microsoft Research (New York, Asia Beijing) and Google’s Advanced Technology and Projects (ATAP) department.
Where did you spend the Lunar New Year in 2023? New York.
In recent international travels, what have you seen that left a strong impression on you? Last summer, I participated in a group exhibition at the MAXXI Museum of 21st Century Art in Rome. Outside of the exhibition, I wandered around the city for a long time, from the ruins to the Vatican. Beyond the various layers of civilization in the cityscape, there was a very lively side to it, where the past and present time seemed to blend together in the air. After work, I went to the center of Rome at midnight. There were many historical relics preserved there, but no tourists. I wandered around until 3am while listening to my Roman friend’s stories about growing up in this city, where famous tourist attractions were the park where he had his first kiss as a teenager. Isn’t that romantic?
Where do you hope to go for your art travel destination this year? Are there any special art exhibitions you can recommend? Greece or India. Recently, I saw a new exhibition called “The Procession” at the Tate Museum in London, which is a large-scale commissioned work by Hew Locke. It is a series of sculptural parades, each of which is made by the artist, and the whole scene is very grand. This work is about the sugar industry and tells a story related to the history of the classical British Tate Museum itself. There have been many works of this type in recent years, but I think his work is very sincere and delicate. From the costumes, accessories, and banners of each character, you can feel the artist’s presence, which is very touching.
Hugh Locke, “The Procession” exhibition site
If you are able to return to China smoothly this year, what kind of art project would you like to undertake? If I am able to return to China for a period of time in 2023, I would like to spend time conducting field research and gathering inspiration in the northwest, northeast, and southwest regions, particularly in regards to oil and natural resources. However, the most important thing is to go home and see my parents. Do you want to go back to the pre-pandemic era? If not, what kind of improvements or changes would you like to see in the art environment? No. The past three years have been filled with too many important memories, pains, and visions that I would forget if I went back to 2019. I hope that there can be fewer exhibitions, and that artists, curators, and institutions can have more time to prepare.
Cao Shuyi is an artist based in New York who explores the alchemy of creation and knowledge through speculative archaeology and ecological science fiction, as well as the diverse relationships between technology, mythology, and cosmology.
Where did you spend the Lunar New Year in 2023? I should be staying at home in Brooklyn. The Lunar New Year happens to be the first week of the spring semester, and there is a lot of preparation work for the new semester. In your recent international travels, what have you seen and experienced that has left a strong impression on you? The most recent and first international travel in several years was a residency project in the snowy mountains of Canada in the summer of 2022. The most profound feeling was the great impact that spatial transformation has on one’s mentality. The previously enjoyable New York lifestyle and its ubiquitous sense of oppression and tension, such as the high-intensity, multi-tasking work rhythm and cramped living space, suddenly seemed unreasonable and even absurd when in a different place, like the confusion of suddenly leaving an abusive relationship. In the vast mountains, the body and mind were instead occupied by a variety of vivid senses, and time flowed in a different way. After returning, I quickly returned to my original rhythm than I had imagined; the magic of the snowy mountains disappeared.
Heavy Rain in the Mountains
Where do you hope to travel for art this year? Are there any special art sights you can recommend? I want to go to a place with warm and humid climate and huge, exotic plants. If you can return to China smoothly this year, what kind of art project do you hope to undertake? I will probably do some research on material crafts. Also, I will travel around more since I have never lived in China as an artist before. I believe my perspective will be very different after six years.
Cao Shuyi, Lost in the Unfathomable Deep Sea, 2022
Pottery, Stoneware, Sodium Bicarbonate, Ashes of Spruce, Pine, Birch, Poplar, Kapok, and Dandelion, Oxides, Yeast, Insect Wings, Aluminum, Cement
Do you want to go back to the pre-pandemic era? If not, what kind of improvements or changes do you hope to see in the art environment? The worst impact of the pandemic on my art career is the cancellation of exhibitions that I had been preparing for a long time, inability to return to China for a long time, skyrocketing international transportation costs, and soaring prices. However, many practical difficulties in professional development existed before the pandemic, and the pandemic only made things worse. There have also been some positive changes after the pandemic, such as the development of online work methods and the increase in diversity and normalization of cross-border collaborations during quarantine. I hope that the labor of young artists and art professionals can be respected, and that they can work and live in a more dignified and healthy manner.
Born in China in 1990, currently living and working in New York and Hangzhou, this individual is a professor at the School of Innovation Design at China Academy of Art, a visiting professor at Alfred Art Academy in the United States, and a member of the NEW INC incubator project at the New Museum in New York. They hold a Master of Arts from Rhode Island School of Design and a Bachelor of Arts from Florence Art Academy. Their videos, augmented reality (AR), artificial intelligence (AI) simulations, and interactive video installations have been exhibited in various international exhibitions, including the Philadelphia Museum of Contemporary Art, the New Museum and its affiliates in New York, the Walker Art Center, the Rochester Art Center, SXSW, the Dubai Art Fair, the Annka Kultys Gallery in London, the Eigenheim Gallery in Berlin, the Nature Morte Gallery in New Delhi, the Hatch Art Project Gallery in Singapore, the Medici Palace in Florence, Milan Design Week, the Today Art Museum in Beijing, the UCCA Contemporary Art Center in Beijing, the Chengdu Biennale, the Song Art Museum in Beijing, and the Shanghai Ming Contemporary Art Museum. Their recent awards and residencies include the Randall Chair Award at Alfred Art Academy, the “Kaiwuzhe” residency at Guangdong Times Museum Media Lab, the AACYF Top 30 under 30 Youth Elite List, the Residency Unlimited in New York, the MacDowell Foundation, the iea Electronic Art Institute residency, and selection for the Robert Rauschenberg Art Foundation’s ROCI Road to Peace project.
Where did you spend the Lunar New Year in 2023? My hometown, Xuzhou, Jiangsu Province.
In your recent international travels, what have you seen and experienced that left a strong impression on you? In early 2022, I was awarded The Randall Chair by the Alfred University School of Art and Design in the United States, which included a teaching fellowship and artist residency. I stayed in the US for six months. The strongest impression I had in my daily life was probably inflation. As for art-related experiences, the biggest contrast I noticed was the popularity of digital media art/ art and technology in China, compared to its marginalization in the US. When I worked and lived in the US before, digital media artists (including myself) were always on the fringes. Galleries, exhibitions, sales, and agents naturally favored fine arts artists, and fellowships and residencies were also more supportive of them. During my recent visit, I remember going to many exhibitions in September and only seeing one “digital art” exhibition – Urs Fischer’s “Denominator” at Gagosian (and everyone knows that Urs Fischer is not a “digital artist”). Overall, it’s still a world dominated by “identity politics,” and it will never change, haha.
Urs Fischer’s “Denominator” Exhibition on Site, 2022, Image Source: Gagosian Gallery
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2. It is hope that the art market can pay more attention to the intrinsic value of artworks, rather than just focusing on their commercial value;
- It is hope that art education can pay more attention to innovation and practice, rather than just focusing on theory and tradition,
- It is hope that art exhibitions and activities can be more diverse and inclusive, showcasing more artists and works from different cultures and backgrounds;
- It is hope that artists can express their creativity and ideas more freely, without being limited by political and social pressure.
- It is hoped that there will be less censorship/self-censorship (this is a global issue, as self-censorship seems to be prevalent in both Europe and America).
- As emerging Asian artists, it is hoped that there will be more opportunities beyond creating works that focus solely on being “victims of bullying or historical neglect” in order to gain visibility and support. Of course, this statement is a bit too direct and absolute, but I’m sure you understand what I mean. You can either use this narrative (which has proven to be a successful strategy), or you can steadfastly refuse to do so and continue to exist on the margins (such as the long-abandoned “Chinese narrative”), but perhaps someone will persist and create an amazing work.
- Weng Xiaoyu
Weng Xiaoyu is a curator and author based in New York and Toronto.
Where did you spend the Lunar New Year in 2023? I was probably in Toronto or New York. In your recent international travels, what have you seen and experienced that left a strong impression on you? I went to Vietnam last year and had some interesting experiences doing artist visits in Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi. I also visited the Bangkok Art Biennale and Ghost: 2561 in Bangkok, which were both great.
Phi Phi Oanh, Specula, Photo by Weng Xiaoyu
“Ghost: 2561” exhibition, Photo by Weng Xiaoyu
Where do you hope to travel for art this year? Are there any special art exhibitions or events you would recommend? I don’t have any specific plans yet, but I would like to go somewhere outside of Europe and North America. If you are able to return to China this year, what kind of art projects would you like to pursue? I am currently working as a consultant with the Kadist Foundation and hope to collaborate with Chinese institutions on some projects this year. We are also recruiting a colleague to be in charge of our China projects. Do you wish to return to the pre-pandemic era? If not, what kind of improvements or changes would you like to see in the art world? I think different countries and societies have different situations, so it’s hard to compare. The current art environment is quite pessimistic, but I will continue to work and hope that the pace can slow down a bit.
Lin Han & Wan Wan
M WOODS Founder
Where did you spend the Lunar New Year in 2023? Los Angeles and Mexico. In your recent international travels, what have you seen and experienced that left a strong impression on you? We haven’t been to Los Angeles in six years, and we were amazed by its vitality and energy. The art industry in Los Angeles is very active, and we visited at least ten artist studios in two weeks. We’ve been to most of the art museums in Los Angeles and visited some newly emerging galleries. We had a long conversation with Stephen Little, the head of the Asian department at LACMA (Los Angeles County Museum of Art). LACMA is currently hosting a lacquerware exhibition (The Five Directions: Lacquer Through East Asia), which is displayed in an interesting and unconventional way by putting lacquerware and porcelain of the same shape together. The most impressive experience was visiting Henry Taylor. Before that, we went to MoCA (Museum of Contemporary Art) to see his retrospective exhibition, which was very rewarding. On the one hand, his art is very touching, and on the other hand, the exhibition can awaken people’s conscience. He is a particularly casual person, and having dinner and chatting with him is like watching his exhibition, which can create a resonance between human beings, a relationship that transcends cultural background and race through art, which is very beautiful.
Photo of Wan Wan and Henry Taylor
Where do you still hope to go as an art travel destination this year? Are there any special art sights you can recommend? In Mexico, we particularly want to see the church built by Luis Barragán, and we will also arrange to visit some artist studios. We will return to China at the end of January or early February. Although we cannot attend the contemporary art fair in Mexico, we can still visit gallery exhibitions. Mexico may have more experimental, younger, and more fun art projects.
Visiting the Studio of Young Artist Asuka Anastacia Ogawa
After the lifting of quarantine policies, who would you like to invite to China to collaborate on art projects with you? Paul McCarthy. We held his solo exhibition in 2018, and after all these years, we met him again in Los Angeles. We also hope to collaborate again with Ryuichi Sakamoto, as his exhibition at M Woods was of great significance to us, but he couldn’t come to China due to health and pandemic reasons.
Revisiting Paul McCarthy after Five Years
Do you want to go back to the pre-pandemic era? If not, what improvements or changes do you hope to see in the art environment? We live in a three-dimensional world that is linear, and even if we want to go back, we can’t. However, we still hope to return to that state, and we are confident that we will, but it will take time. We hope for a more inclusive and diverse environment, with more genuine dialogue and connections with the world, rather than just business. The core of art is still the communication between people.