Curation is an act of mutual dreaming that I share with collaborating artists, as our diverse beats and rhythms dance together in the exhibition space. As curator I bring this collaboration together, focused especially on emerging artists from lesser known and remote areas, such as nomadic homelands in the mountains, grasslands, and deserts of the world. By working with artists to engage our exhibition spaces and the local environment, we can share the excitement of good art among artists, visitors, and clients alike.
Exhibiting contemporary art provides opportunities to bring voices from many different cultures together in dialogue, and introduce guests to new perspectives while enriching the local community. I believe that a curator should not only respond to popular taste; but rather, that I have a responsibility to seek out emerging artists from distant places, and showcase new and experimental work in gallery and museum spaces. My vision and taste as a curator are crucial to this process, honed by years of study, museum visits, international art fairs, and collaboration with colleagues around the world. From this accumulated experience, I have an instinctual eye for quality that I use when selecting artwork, but I also seek to build connections and get to know artists individually. These relationships lend deeper insight into their work, and confidence in its importance.
Photo by Wei Hong
Developing a compelling concept is essential to the success of any show, providing direction and encouraging experimental and challenging work. My concepts have evolved over time, but now I focus on contemporary art inspired by and emerging from Global Indigenous cultures. The guiding idea of each show helps me to select artists and their works while directing our collaborative efforts to make each show a reality. I use my exhibition skills to clearly express the underlying concept throughout an exhibit. I believe that the entire subjective experience is important, and seek to appeal to all the senses. I use sound, smell, video, color, texture, and varied media to engage viewers as holistically as possible. I work with artists to find the right combinations of art, and use different exhibition techniques, layouts, and lighting to meet the particular needs of each curatorial concept. My objective is always to create a compelling space in which visitors enjoy their experiences, but are also challenged by the work that they see. A good exhibition design is like music, with its varied melodies and rhythms bringing pleasure and excitement to visitors.
My desire to connect with artists and communities, to share new experiences by exhibiting their work, and the personal enrichment that I gain from this process are what motivate me. Working as an independent curator allows greater freedom to explore the art world and get to know interesting artists. Good art adds value and interest to the lives of those who experience it, and I hope that visitors will learn from my exhibitions, but also be challenged by the artwork and engaged by the concepts. I myself learn from the process, and curation provides opportunities explore myself and grow in my own knowledge. I am especially excited by artists who transgress traditional boundaries and explore the world beyond art, of science and technology, and of ecology and environmental protection.
Collaboration is essential to my curatorial methodology. Through my residences, I work with numerous art organizations to create workshops, launch art events, and connect visiting artists with local communities. These interactions expand my own knowledge and open further opportunities and connections. Getting to know artists allows me to better understand their work, and find the best ways to exhibit it. My studio’s location in Songzhuang Art Village is especially conducive to these goals, since I live and work around almost ten thousand other artists in various stages of their careers. Although we have different styles and studio manners, we live a life of easy comradely and artistic production. Casual studio visits and discussions are part of my everyday life, and these interactions are crucial to my own practice as a curator and growth as a creative artist. Not only am I fulfilled in this work, but it is also important to other people and through my curatorial collaborations I have been able to educate and contribute to the lives of people who enjoy our shows together.