Venue：Guangdong Times Museum Main Exhibition Hall, 19Fl.
Observers: Nikita Yingqian Choi, Hu Bin, Li Yifan, Liang Jianhua, Shi Qing
Organiser：Guangdong Times Museum
Special Thanks: Times Property
Exhibitions Info: Participating Art Spaces: The North Village Independent Workshop (Chengdu), Floor #2 Press (Beijing), Gland (Beijing), Observation Society (Guangzhou), HB Station (Guangzhou), Arrow Factory (Beijing), ORGANHAUS Art Space (Chongqing), Am Art Space (Shanghai), Art Praxis (Chengdu), Sabaki Space (Guangzhou), Yangtze River Space (Wuhan), Store Space (Guangzhou) Positive Space is a term originally used for analyzing relationship between architectural spaces and people. Spaces that are structured within some frameworks and organized according to certain disciplines and functionalities are considered “positive”, vice versa, architectural spaces that are lack of the aforementioned organization are considered “negative”. The positivity of spaces might be furthered translated as the conscious relationships between people, when rituals are formed and consolidated within a space, the space itself disappears and its original momentum faded as well.
If the art system is to be deemed as a space in the sociological sense, with the museum-gallery system taking shape in China, the practice of contemporary art is gradually institutionalized internally and enclosed externally. In other words, the “space” of Chinese contemporary art is losing its initial positivity and turning negative. Under such a backdrop, the emergence of self-organized practice initiated by artists and small-scale self-organized institutes has been witnessed in many cities in China. In comparison to artist groups in the 80s, artist collectives in the 90s and non-profit institutes in early 20th century, the self-organized institutes emerging since 2008 show some new dimensions. Some treat the art system as a point of departure and see themselves as a kind of plug-in to intervene; others put an emphasis on the relation between art institute and its surround community and the linkage between artistic practice and social research, trying to immerse themselves in the public sphere. They often appear in the form of salon (living room), attempting to foster a bond with the local art community; and they aim to promote research, artistic creation and active production of art in the broader sense. These distinctive self-organized institutes imbue new vitality into the once stagnant areas within the art system and the art-society relation, endeavoring to lead the increasingly institutionalized artistic practice from a negative state to a positive state, and to further the transformation and reconstruction of contemporary art space. In this regard, they constitute the “positive space” in the sociological sense.
Art museum needs to play a part in this new landscape. It should be motivated to actively embrace, participate in and inspire the reconstruction of the contemporary art system so as to maintain the “positivity” of museum culture as well as the surrounding communities. This is particular pertinent to museums like the Guangdong Times Museum which have always been committed to actively intervening and interacting with public life/sphere since their establishment.
“Positive Space”, for the first time, puts the small but active self-organized institutes in China on display within the museum’s context. The curatorial concept behind the exhibition intends to probe into the different points of departure, focuses, structures of organization and methodologies of different institutes. The 12 participating institutes would present their self-perception and self-imagination as “institutional pavilions”. Five curators, critics and artists who pay close attention to and have insightful experience of the situation and problems self-organized artistic practice and art institutes are faced with will take the role as “observer” and initiate five seminars to further the discussion inspired by the exhibition.
Theme: Between Excuse and Purpose Time: 13:00-15:00, March 30 Venue: 19F West Wing, Times Museum Moderator: Li Yifan Speakers: Man Yu, Shi Qing, Bao Dong, Yu Ji, Anthony Yun
Theme: On the “Locality” of Self-Organization Time: 15:30-17:30, March 30 Venue: 19F West Wing, Times Museum Moderator: Shi Qing Speakers: Bao Dong, Liang Jianhua, Li Yifan, Hu Bin, Nikita Yingqian Choi, Wang Wei, Anthony Yung, Gong Jian, Liu Huatong, Sun Dongdong
Theme: The Instant of Proposal Conception Time: 10:00-12:00, April 19 Venue: 19F West Wing, Times Museum Moderator: Nikita Yingqian Choi Speakers: All members of HB Station
Theme: Space Experiment as “School” Time: 13:00-15:00, April 19 Venue: 19F West Wing, Times Museum Moderator: Hu Bin Speakers: Chen Tong, Huang Xiaopeng, Zheng Hongbin, Liu Ke, Fan Lin, Yang Yifei, Wen Yau, C&G Apartment
Theme: What is “Study”? Time: 15:30-17:30, April 19 Venue: 19F West Wing, Times Museum Moderator: Liang Jianhua Speakers: Huang Xiaopeng, Zheng Hongbin, Feng Junhua, Huang Shan, Anthony Yung, Zhang Jiaping