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Wuhan Club

  • SLEEPCENTER Chinatown 9 Monroe Street - basement New York, NY, 10002 United States (map)

Open Friday – Sunday, noon – 6 pm, & by appointment

SLEEPCENTER is pleased to present Wuhan Club, Juchuan Li’s first and solo exhibition in the United States, as a part of the Under the Stones: Cultural Tactics of Place-making research exhibition series.

Wuhan Club is based on the metropolis the artist resides, an old city young in capitalism, embracing unprecedented speed of urban development – as the official slogan has it, “Wuhan, Different Everyday!” Self-identified as “an architect who doesn’t build houses,” using space as the primary method and medium, and against the aggressive infrastructural expansion and housing privatization, Li constructs.

Yet unlike other provincial clubs in Chinatown, Wuhan Club does not celebrate regional identity. Instead it probes the physical, the symbolic, and the sociological conditions of communal identity. Li often combines the capacity of images to remind us of the mediated present, and the capacity of spaces to summon mediated memories of the past and imaginaries of the future. The exhibition centers on two urban spaces of images: a real estate agency from the present and a video hall (录像厅) from the 1980-90s. In the former, everything other than the price can be manipulated through representation, as housing units are often sold before the completion of construction; and in the latter, imaginations of the outside world were sustained by uneven media literacy and idiosyncratic spectatorship. Finally, Li’s works from the 1990s to the recent decade map how we have migrated from bodies in spaces to refugees in images, as he practices intimacy, in solitude and with collectives, and sometimes with a brick – to contrive a measurer, a building block, or a weapon.

Juchuan Li (Shashi, 1964) is an associate professor at Hubei Institute of Fine Arts. He graduated from Wuhan Institute of Urban Construction (now Huazhong University of Science and Technology), and had taught at Wuhan University of Technology and Nanjing University. Since the 1990s, Li’s architectural practices have involved various mediums including performance, video, photography, site-specific installation, as well as writing, teaching and curating. He was the founding editor of the independent journal Architecture Bulletin in 2001. Against a real estate developer encroaching public land, he initiated the activist art project “Everyone’s East Lake” with Li Yu in 2010.

Selected group exhibitions Li participated include: Demonstration of Video Art ’97 China (the Central Academy of Art, 1997); The 1st Liang Sicheng Architecture Biennale (National Art Museum of China, 2001); Unspeakable Happiness: A Selection of Contemporary Art from China (Museo Tamayo Arte Contemporáneo, 2005); Shenzhen Biennale of Urbanism/Architecture (Shenzhen, 2005); China Contemporary, Architecture, Art and Visual Culture (Netherlands Architecture Institute, 2006); Moving Image in China: 1988-2011 (Mingshen Art Museum, 2011); The Second Yinchuan Biennale (Museum of Contemporary Art Yinchuan, 2018).

Under the Stones: Cultural Tactics of Place-making Research Exhibition Series

In the last decade, small-scale, spontaneously formed and artistically informed alternative urban spaces have been breaking simultaneously through different cities in East Asia, and particularly in China. Unlike previous social movements, people gathering at these spaces are not that interested in macro social changes. Instead, they focus on creating new forms of life on a local communal scale, opening up the broad spectrum existing between the squashing of social awareness and heroic acts of dissidence. They also have reconfigured ideas of the public, community and collective, as the information about these physical spaces mostly circulates on digital platforms and within decentered and interpersonal networks.

Research exhibition series Under the Stones is devoted to the changing meanings and aims assigned to the concept of space, and to the spatial practices of artists who participate in but are not defined by collectives (集体). Departing from an examination of the interdependencies between the political and aesthetic strategies of social practice, this series further reflects the friction as well as the affinity between individuals and their collectives, and between the ever-morphing collectives and actual/virtual places. Under the Stone foregrounds the tension between art forms rather than their autonomies, approaching mediums as interventions in the visual, acoustic and linguistic infrastructures of our habitat. The series does not suggest any model for change. Only the clusters of organisms through their practical experimentation will determine when and how the possible becomes real.

In A Thousand Plateau, Deleuze and Guattari maintains that, in contrast to chess – the game of the state in which each piece is ranked with a fixed identity – Go (围棋) is the nonsubjectified assemblage of not intrinsic but situational properties: “it is a question of arraying oneself in an open space, of holding space, of maintaining the possibility of springing up at any point: the movement is not from one point to another, but becomes perpetual, without aim or destination, without departure or arrival.” A terminology of Go, “under the stones” (倒脱靴 in Chinese; or ishi-no-shita in Japanese) refers to the moves in a space that just becomes free because some of your own stones are captured. Such dynamics between territorializing and deterritorializing is further staged in the show – situated not in the north-south problems of development, nor the east-west divide of culture.

Starting from fall 2019, research exhibition series Under the Stones: Cultural Tactics of Place-making is expected to expand over 6 exhibitions, alongside with numerous of events, workshops across various form of practices.

SLEEPCENTER荣幸为您呈现,李巨川在美国的首次个展“武汉会馆”。“武汉会馆” 是Under the Stones: Cultural Tactics of Place-making 研究型展览系列的一部分。

古城武汉的资本主义历史并不长,但却迎来了空前的城市发展速率,一如官方口号所说:“武汉,每天不一样!” 李巨川自认是一位“不造房子的建筑师”,他以空间作为创作的主要方法与媒介,抵抗激烈的房产私有化与基础设施扩张。


李巨川 1964年生于湖北沙市,现任教于湖北美术学院。他毕业于武汉城市建设学院(现华中科技大学),曾任教于武汉理工大学与南京大学。1990年代起,李巨川以行为、录像、照片、场地装置等形式进行建筑实践,同时进行相关的写作、演讲、教学与展览。2001 年编辑非正式出版物《建筑学简报》。2010年,与武汉艺术家共同发起抗议某地产商在武汉东湖地区进行商业开发的“每个人的东湖”艺术计划。

他参加的主要展览包括: ’97中国录像艺术观摩(中央美术学院画廊, 1997); 首届梁思成建筑双年展(中国美术馆, 2001); 难以言喻的快乐:中国当代艺术展(墨西哥塔马约当代艺术博物馆, 2005); 首届深圳城市\建筑双年展(深圳, 2005); 中国当代:建筑, 艺术与视觉文化(荷兰建筑学会, 2006); 中国当代艺术三十年之: 中国影像艺术 1988-2011(民生现代美术馆, 2011); 银川双年展(银川当代美术馆, 2018)。 

关于 Under the Stones: Cultural Tactics of Place-making 研究型展览系列

近十几年来,在泛东亚的城市中,自发型的小规模另类/替代性空间不约而同地兴起,在中国尤其突出。与先前的社会活动有所不同的是,聚集在这些空间中的人们并不着眼于宏观层面的社会变化, 而是致力于在局部或社区层面创造新的生命形式,并在“彻底抹除社会意识”和“英雄式的反抗”这两种极端之间打开一个广阔的光谱。这些空间的相关信息,主要在数字平台与去中心化的社交网络中传播,它们的出现也正在改写我们关于公众、群落以及共同体的认知。

本研究型系列展览所关心的是,“空间” 这一概念所携带的不断变化着的内涵与目的,以及一些参与 “集体” 但其作品无法被 “集体” 定义的艺术家的空间性实践。本系列考察社会实践中,政治与美学策略之间的相互依存关系。并以之为出发点,进一步呈现个体与其所在集体之间的摩擦与联结,以及在持续变化中的共同体与真实/虚拟空间的相互作用。展览着重阐述不同艺术形式之间的紧张关系,而不是它们的自主性,并将各种媒介理解为人们栖居其中的视觉、声音和语言基础设施。本系列并不试图提出某种可实现改变的模型。唯有有机生命的星丛,通过自身实际的社会实验,决定何时以及如何让可能性成为现实。

德勒兹和加塔利在《千高原》中指出,象棋的每一个棋子都有其固定的等级和身份,而围棋则是由具体形势而非个体的固有性质决定的去主体化的集合:“这是关于在开放的空间中排列自身、占据空 间、并维持一种随时涌现的可能性的问题:运动并不是从一个点到另一个点,而是持续性的、既无目标也无目的地、既无出发也无到达。” Under the Stones (译为:脱骨、倒脱靴) 一词原为围棋术语,意指在本方棋子在被对方所吃后释放出的空间里进行的活动。在南北经济和东西文化两种差异之外,展览将进一步展开领土化与去领土化之间的对弈。

Under the Stones: Cultural Tactics of Place-making 研究型展览系列自2019年秋季展开,拟由6个展览,及数个相关的研究项目,放映,座谈和发生等形式组成。