Tales of Our Time
Published by Guggenheim Museum Publications.
Text by Hou Hanru, Xiaoyu Weng.
A heterogeneous view of contemporary Chinese art between individual narrative and the constructions of history
Tales of Our Time presents works by seven artists based in mainland China, Hong Kong or Taiwan: Sun Xun, Zhou Tao, Chi-En Jao, Kan Xuan, the Yangjiang Group, Sun Yuan & Peng Yu and Tsang Kin-Wah. Working in video, sculpture, installation, mixed media on paper and participatory intervention, these artists poetically balance politics and aesthetics. The exhibition and accompanying catalogue offer a heterogeneous view of contemporary art from China and highlight tensions between individual narratives and the constructions of mainstream history. A conceptual extension of the exhibition, the catalogue functions as a hybrid of a traditional exhibition publication and a fiction collection. Featuring scholarly essays and artwork descriptions, it presents an unconventional examination of the artists whose practices challenge current dialogues about Chinese art. In seven commissioned short stories, Chinese and American writers explore contemporary society through the art of storytelling.
Hou Hanru is the Artistic Director of MAXXI, National Museum of the 21st Century Arts, Rome. Over the past two decades, he has curated and cocurated more than one hundred exhibitions at institutions and events around the world, including biennials and triennials in Shanghai, Guangzhou, Gwangju, Istanbul, Venice, Lyon, Auckland, and Johannesburg. Hou consults for numerous cultural institutions, frequently contributes to journals on contemporary art and culture, and lectures at many international institutions. He is the author of such publications as Curatorial Challenges: Correspondences between Hou Hanru and Hans-Ulrich Obrist (2013), On the Mid-Ground (2012), and Paradigm Shifts (2011). He is also a founding member of the Guggenheim’s Asian Art Council, a curatorial think tank.
Xiaoyu Weng is former Founding Director of the Kadist Art Foundation’s Asia Programs, Paris and San Francisco. There, she launched the Kadist Curatorial Collaboration, which organizes exhibitions that stimulate cultural exchange, and she also oversaw artist residencies and the building of the contemporary Asian art collection. Previously, she worked as Program Director of the Asian Contemporary Art Consortium in San Francisco and as a curator at the Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts at the California College of the Arts (CCA). Educated at the Central Academy of Fine Arts (CAFA) in Beijing and the CCA in San Francisco, she has organized exhibitions and public programs for venues including the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco; CAFA Art Museum, Beijing; Guangdong Times Museum, Guangzhou; Minsheng Art Museum, Shanghai; University of California, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive; Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art, Rotterdam; and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco. She is a contributing editor of Leap, a bilingual magazine dedicated to contemporary Chinese art. Her essay “Working with Archive” won the Artforum Critical Writing Award in 2011. Her writing also appears in prominent art periodicals, books, and exhibition catalogues, including those published for the 5th Auckland Triennial, 2012 Gwangju Biennial, and 7th Shenzhen Sculpture Biennial. Weng is The Robert H. N. Ho Associate Curator of Chinese Art."