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Wall, No Wall

On September 23, 2016, the United Art Museum in Wuhan launched the Wall, No Wall exhibition, curated by Zhang Ting. It was the inaugural exhibition of the "Young Curator Exhibition Project” open call for curatorial projects. Its main purpose was to build an academic exhibition platform for young curators, while discovering new and emerging artists and mid-career artists who may have been overlooked. The call for proposals was announced nationally at the end of 2015, and received a total of 45 curatorial proposals sent by young curators from across China. The curatorial team of the United Art Museum were impressed by the professional sensitivity and talents of young exhibition planning practitioners. The plans included exhibition themes, academic explanations, exhibition content, developed designs, publishing plans, marketing plans, public programmes, implementation plans, and detailed budget. After repeated reviews and comments of the museum’s academic jury, led by the Executive Curator Huang Liping, Zhang Ting’s Wall, No Wall exhibition was selected to be the first exhibition of the project.

The curatorial concept of "wall, no wall" related to China’s Great Internet Firewall and the resulting services enabling one to "climb the wall", a pair of interdiction and digestion technologies generated in the virtual era, as well as the physical history and importance for national protection and unity of walls, and the wall a metaphor, so as to create a collective exhibition of "walls". The exhibition featured 14 artists and art groups participating, including Zhang Dali, Weng Fen, Ni Weihua, Liu Jianhua, Ji Wenyu + Zhu Weibing, Zhang Minjie, Shen Ye, Luo Yongjin, Chen Xiaodan, Yang Mushi, Xie Aige, Lu Pingyuan, Zhang Qiwei, and Yuyangxian Group, and combined 40 works including photography, prints, videos, installations, soft sculptures, and documentary works, many of which were new works by artists and special commissions created for the exhibition.

Some of the exhibits paid witness to the urbanization process that developed from the social transformation at the end of the 20th century, and some described the aesthetic attitude in the social life of the new generation. Regardless of the medium in which this motif was explored, all participating artists brought out their own perception and thinking of the material wall and the idealized wall that acts as a foundation for the developing Chinese social experiment and real-time sharing of information globally. The curator hoped, through the connection and combination of these works, spanning decades, a visual and conceptual conversation about the wall could be created. That the relationships of seeing and being seen, security through surveillance, and safety and constraint would all be brought to mind in the viewer, and that the audience, within the walls of the museum, would see the parallels with this particular institution, museums themselves being places which both contain, constrain, secure, and surveil.

Partners: Wuhan United Art Museum
Date: 2016
Service: Curator