“We came to Venice to display the difference,” remarks Wang Lin, curator of Voice of the Unseen, a collateral event of the 55th Venice Biennale to be held from June 1 to November 24 in Venice. “Chinese contemporary art on the international stage tends towards a few commonly seen icons. We want to dynamically display the complexity and diversity of Chinese contemporary art to the world - integrated but individual, historical but modern.”
Collateral exhibitions, as a formal part of Venice Biennale, are authorized by the organizing committee to use its trademarks. They feature non-profit art institutions from around the globe, and any independent curator can apply to participate. The primary criterion for entry is the academic value and originality of the exhibits.
The Chinese exhibition includes nine sections: Family, Ruins, Body, Scenery, Memory, History, Sorcery, Village and Poverty. It includes work from artists nominated by an academic committee of 12 noted critics, aiming to present an ecological cluster of Chinese contemporary art from an unofficial angle and help the world better understand Chinese contemporary art.
Wang Lin, the curator, has visited Venice many times. Once in the city, he read a book intending to introduce Chinese contemporary art, but he believes a single book is wholly inadequate in demonstrating the current situation of Chinese art. “The public, media and even art and academic circles in Europe know of only a few Chinese contemporary artists, and only few of their works,” Wang illustrates. “We need a large exhibition to display the broad scope of Chinese contemporary art.”
Wang realized his “large-scale” ambitions: The show displays over 300 works from 156 individuals and groups in an area of nearly 5,000 square meters. It is the largest Chinese contemporary art exhibition ever held overseas, covering almost every medium and style including painting, sculpture, installation, video and performance art.