SINCE June, contemporary artworks and projects created by 37 Chinese artists and groups are on display at the “The Curation Workshop” exhibition in OCT Art and Design Gallery in Nanshan District. The display was arranged by event initiator and independent curator Cui Cancan. During the exhibition, eight young Chinese curators were invited to present their curation proposals. They could increase or reduce the exhibited works and re-arrange the display in their proposals.
As the exhibition draws to a close, a two-day forum was held last weekend at the gallery with domestic art museum directors, critics and curators sharing their thoughts on curation.
“We believe curation as an academic subject should not only be studied or researched at universities but also at art museums due to its multidisciplinary nature. Since the opening of OCT Art and Design Gallery in 2008, we have tried to add experiments to our exhibitions to have a cross-disciplinary approach and respect the different ways presented by different curators. Through ‘The Curation Workshop,’ we are exploring other possibilities and varieties in curation,” said Feng Feng, executive director of OCT Art and Design Gallery.
Directors of several public and private art museums also shared their views on the relationship between art museums and curation. Wang Huangsheng, chief director of the Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts’ art museum, said that public art museums have the advantage of connecting with the public more than smaller private ones, but that Chinese public art museums lack a mature curation system.
Wang Shaoqiang, director of Guangdong Museum of Art, believes in the role of scholars in curation and stressed that an art museum should have its own academic plan. Zhao Qie, director of Times Museum in Guangzhou, and Liu Lin, director of Sifang Art Museum in Nanjing, proposed that private art museums should keep their unique site-specific features in mind, find their positioning and contribute artistic value to the public.
From the point of view of Bian Ka, director of the exhibition department of UCCA Center for Contemporary Art in Beijing, preparing exhibitions in UCCA is similar to making Hollywood movies. “In UCCA, we have a fixed process and many departments working together. Turning a project into an exhibition is not an academic process but more or less a labor production process. Artists not only deal with exhibition staff but also the personnel from souvenir shops and the publicity and educational departments.”
The forum also discussed issues like the roles of critics and the contexts of curation. “The Curation Workshop” ends this Sunday.