Public engagement project

Hubs and Fictions | On Current Art and Imported Nearness | Shanghai Forum Series #2

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

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Start date

November 2016

Completion date

November 2016

Partner Venue: Shanghai Minsheng Art Museum

Hubs and Fictions: On Current Art and Imported Nearness

Shanghai Forum Series #2 - Characters:
The Problem of Figure-Ground Relationships

Located at a critical intersection of European and Chinese perspectives, the CURRENT: Contemporary Art from Scotland 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’, protagonists as ‘characters’, narrative strategies as ‘plots’, 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 #2 - Characters: The Problem of Figure-Ground Relationships will debate how protagonists of the art world, decision makers, producers and thinkers define and are defined by the spaces they inhabit, and how they are often conditioned by the media and production formats in which they operate and circulate. Contributors include Tobias Berger (Head of Arts at Old Bailey Galleries at Tai Kwun/ JC Central Police Station, Hong Kong), Dr JJ Charlesworth (Art critic and Publisher of Art Review, London), and Carol Yinghua Lu (Independent curator and critic, Beijing).

Hubs and Fictions: On Current Art and Imported Nearness is co-curated by Sophia Hao and Edgar Schmitz.

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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 imminently by Sternberg Press, NY/Berlin.

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Shanghai Forum Series #2 - Characters:
The Problem of Figure-Ground Relationships

Speaker Biographies


Tobias Berger is Curator based in Hong Kong. After graduating in art history and economic science from the Ruhr-University Bochum and completing the DeAppel Curatorial Training Programme in Amsterdam, Tobias Berger worked as a Curator at the Museum Fridericianum in Kassel until the end of 2001. In 2002, Berger was Artistic Director of the 8th Baltic Triennial of International Art in Vilnius, Lithuania. Between 2003 and March 2005, he was Director of ARTSPACE/NZ in Auckland. From April 2005 to December 2008, he was the Executive Director of Para/Site Art Space in Hong Kong, from 2008 to 2010 he was Chief Curator at the Nam June Paik Art Center in Seoul, South Korea and from 2010 to 2015 Curator Visual Arts at M+ Museum in Hong Kong. Since May 2015 he is Head of Arts at Old Bailey Galleries at Tai Kwun (JC Central Police Station), a new art and heritage revitalization project in Central Hong Kong.

Dr JJ Charlesworth is a writer and art critic. Since 2006 has worked on the editorial staff of the London-based international art magazine ArtReview, where he is now the magazine’s publisher. JJ studied fine art at Goldsmiths College, London, in the mid-1990s, before turning his hand to criticism. Since 1999, he has written reviews, articles and commentaries for publications such as Art Monthly, Flash Art, Modern Painters, Contemporary, Time Out London, Third Text and the Daily Telegraph newspaper. He has published numerous features and catalogue essays on artists including Roger Hiorns, David Claerbout, Sarah Lucas and Liam Gillick. He has also lectured and taught extensively, tutoring at London’s Royal College of Art, the Royal Academy Schools and Central St Martins College. In 2016 he completed a doctoral thesis at the Royal College of Art, a study of art criticism in Britain during the 1970s. He is a member of the executive committee of AICA UK.

Carol Yinghua Lu is an art critic and curator. She is a PhD candidate in art history at the University of Melbourne. She is a contributing editor at Frieze and is on the advisory board of The Exhibitionist. Lu was on the jury for the Golden Lion Award at the 2011 Venice Biennale. She also served as co-artistic director of the 2012 Gwangju Biennale and co-curator of the 7th Shenzhen Sculpture Biennale in 2012. She was the first visiting fellow in the Asia-Pacific Fellowship program at the Tate Research Centre in 2013.


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Phase Two of CURRENT | 不合时宜 : Contemporary Art from Scotland is a collaboration between Shanghai Minsheng Art Museum and Cooper Gallery, Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and 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, China-UK Connections through Culture, The National Lottery through Creative Scotland, Scottish Government, Shanghai International Culture Association 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.

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