Public engagement project

Hubs and Fictions | On Current Art and Imported Nearness | Shanghai Forum Series #1

CURRENT | 不合时宜 : Contemporary Art from Scotland | Phase Two

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Start date

June 2015

Completion date

June 2015

Shanghai Forum Series #1: Settings – Nearness as A Utopian Proposition

Located at a critical intersection of European and Chinese perspectives, the CURRENT exhibition programme will be refracted through the Hubs and Fictions Shanghai Forum Series: On Current Art and Imported Nearness. This series of international forums investigates how the material manifestations of the ‘global transnational’ are irretrievably intertwined with its own fictions of ‘the contemporary’, and explores which cultural and political realities determine how today’s multiple contemporaneities are instituted and disseminated.

Key international curators, institutional directors, theorists as well as the artists featured in the CURRENT exhibitions, will borrow from the inventory of filmic productions in order to address geopolitical locations as ‘settings’, narrative strategies as ‘plots’, protagonists as ‘characters’ and finally formal and aesthetic languages as ‘figures of speech’ that resonate with and intervene in the cultural and political realities they operate within.

Hubs and Fictions Shanghai Forum Series #1: Settings – Nearness as A Utopian Proposition will examine the promise of institutionality and discuss the limitations of contemporary art infrastructures, with contributions by Simon Groom, Terry Smith, Wang Nanming and What, How & for Whom/WHW.


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Hubs and Fictions Shanghai Forum Series is the sequel to the first series of Hubs and Fictions Touring Forums: On Current Art and Imported Remoteness at Cooper Gallery (DJCAD, Dundee), BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art (Gateshead) and Goldsmiths (London) in 2012. Through invited contributions from international art world protagonists, the 2012 series addressed the status and operational horizons of cultural sites as hubs that are variously constructed, fabulated and represented in and through artistic work and curatorial practice. The proceedings of this first series are currently being edited into book form, which will be published by Sternberg Press, NY/Berlin.

Hubs and Fictions is co-curated by Sophia Hao and Edgar Schmitz.

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Shanghai Forum Series #1: Settings – Nearness as A Utopian Proposition
Speaker Biographies

Simon Groom
Simon Groom graduated with a degree in English Literature from Edinburgh University in 1989 before spending a year living and working in Japan and three years in Italy. In 1994 he returned to London to complete a Doctorate in Art History at the Courtauld Institute of Art in 1999. For three years he worked as the curator at Kettle’s Yard, Cambridge, where he curated, amongst other shows, the first UK retrospective of Mono-ha. In 2003, he was appointed Head of Exhibitions at Tate Liverpool, where he curated numerous exhibitions of modern and contemporary international art, including “The Real Thing: Contemporary Art from China” in 2007, as well as leading Tate’s acquisition strategy in Asia. In November 2007 he was appointed Director the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh.

Terry Smith

Terry Smith, FAHA, CIHA, is Andrew W. Mellon Professor of Contemporary Art History and Theory in the Department of the History of Art and Architecture at the University of Pittsburgh. In 2010, he was named Australia Council Visual Arts Laureate (Government of Australia), and won the Mather Award for art criticism conferred by the College Art Association (USA). During 2001-2002 he was a Getty Scholar at the Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles; in 2007-8 the GlaxoSmithKlein Senior Fellow at the National Humanities Research Centre, Raleigh-Durham; and in 2014 Clark Fellow at the Clark Institute, Williamstown. From 1994-2001 he was Power Professor of Contemporary Art and Director of the Power Institute, Foundation for Art and Visual Culture, University of Sydney. In the 1970s he was a member of the Art & Language group (New York) and a founder of Union Media Services (Sydney).

Terry Smith has authored several books including Making the Modern: Industry, Art and Design in America (University of Chicago Press, 1993; inaugural Georgia O’Keeffe Museum Book Prize 2009); Thinking Contemporary Curating (Independent Curators International, New York, 2012), and Talking Contemporary Curating (Independent Curators International, New York, 2015).He is editor of many others including In Visible Touch: Modernism and Masculinity (Power Publications and the University of Chicago Press, 1997), Impossible Presence: Surface and Screen in the Photogenic Era (Power Publications and the University of Chicago Press, 2001); and Culture: Modernity, postmodernity and contemporaneity (with Nancy Condee and Okwui Enwezor, Duke University Press, 2008).

A foundation Board member of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, he is currently a Board member of the Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh. See

Wang Nanming

Wang Nanming is an independent curator, critic and artist based in Shanghai, China. His artworks have been exhibited and collected in the British Museum (London, UK), Annie Wong Art Foundation (Vancouver, Canada), the National Art Museum of China (Beijing, China) and other international venues. Although he has a background in art history and law, Wang Nanming is best known for his research and writing on contemporary art in China. Because of his bold, incisive style and pragmatic approach, he is considered one of the most distinctive voices in Chinese contemporary art; his paper ‘Shanghai Art Museum Should Not Become a Market Stall in China for Western Hegemonism’ delivered at the 3rd Shanghai Biennale in 2000 and gained praise from all quarters (In Wu Hong (ed.) Chinese Art at the Crossroads: Between Past and Future, Between East and West, 2001). Wang Nanming is an active advocate of “Avant-garde”, “Post Avant-garde” and “Metavant-garde” art within a Chinese context. Wang Nanming’s curatorial concepts are focused on transforming art exhibitions into a public forum for social debates, which draw on examples from cross-disciplinary practices in Chinese contemporary art to demonstrate an artistic shift in China since 1989; from aesthetic-oriented practice to social-political? criticism. His recent work examines how Chinese contemporary art responds to the world and how it contributes its specific perception of Contemporary art within a global context.

Wang Nanming has authored several books including Art Must Die: from Chinese Painting to Modern Ink Painting (Shanghai Fine Arts Publishing House, 2006); After Concept: Art and Criticism (Hunan Fine Arts Publishing House, 2006); The Rise of Critical Art: Chinese Problem Situations and Theories of Liberal Society (Alte Brücke Verlag, 2011); Art, System and Legislation: China's International Exchange (Alte Brücke Verlag, 2012); and A Post-colonial Honour: the Chinese-ness of Art and the Chinese identity of Artists (Alte Brücke Verlag, 2012).?


What, How & for Whom/WHW
What, How & for Whom/WHW is a curatorial collective formed in 1999 and based in Zagreb and Berlin. Its members are Ivet ?urlin, Ana Devi?, Nataša Ili? and Sabina Sabolovi?, and designer and publicist Dejan Krši?. WHW organizes a range of production, exhibition and publishing projects and directs Gallery Nova in Zagreb.

Since its first exhibition titled What, How & for Whom, on the occasion of 152nd anniversary of the Communist Manifesto, that took place in Zagreb in 2000, WHW curated numerous international projects, among which are 11th Istanbul Biennial What Keeps Mankind Alive?, Istanbul, 2009 and One Needs to Live Self-Confidently...Watching, Croatian pavilion at 54th Venice Biennial, 2011. Recent projects by WHW include the festival Meeting Points 7 that took place in Zagreb, Antwerp, Cairo, Hong-Kong, Beirut, Vienna and Moscow under title Ten thousand wiles and a hundred thousand tricks in 2013 and 2014, and exhibition Really Useful Knowledge, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia in Madrid in 2014.


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CURRENT | 不合时宜 : Contemporary Art from Scotland is a collaboration between Shanghai Himalayas Museum and Cooper Gallery, Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design, University of Dundee and organised in partnership with the British Council.

CURRENT | 不合时宜 : Contemporary Art from Scotland is kindly supported by the British Council, British Council China, China-UK Connections through Culture, The National Lottery through Creative Scotland, Scottish Government and Goldsmiths College, University of London. CURRENT | 不合时宜 is a direct result of the Research and Development Trip (January 2014) funded by Creative Scotland.

CURRENT | 不合时宜 : Contemporary Art from Scotland is an Official 2015 UK-China Year of Culture Exchange Event.

Related groups

Cooper Gallery