Three to see: new shows at 798

Three newly opened shows to check out at 798 this Spring

The New Normal
Spring is here, and with the blossoming of flowers comes the bloom of a new season of contemporary art. Here's our pick of what to check out in 798 before the season is over.

The New Normal


The UCCA, Beijing’s most esteemed private institution for contemporary art, has a major group show open now that’s well worth a look. The New Normal starts with the question, 'What is the place of art in China today?', and attempts an answer by way of showcasing new work from more than 20 artists from China and elsewhere colonising all four of the UCCA’s gallery spaces. The exhibition title refers to an official PRC euphemism introduced in 2015 to describe China’s breakneck technological-economic acceleration; the show’s Chinese title translates to 'State of exception', 'a political situation in which the normal laws and regulations of a society are abruptly suspended'. Curators Guo Xi, Yang Zi, Alvin Li, and Wenfei Wang aim to trace the particularly disorienting turbulence of the present moment through art spanning different media, including Lawrence Lek’s Sinofuturistic video game animation works. The UCCA has mounted a major group show like this every four years since 2009, starting with that year’s Breaking Forecast: 8 Key Figures of China’s New Generation of Artists, and continuing with ON | OFF: China’s Young Artists in Concept and Practice in 2013. We recommend this latest entry as an authoritative, if not necessarily definitive, presentation of the state of Chinese art.

Marching in Circles

courtesy come inside and long march space

Put together at Long March Space by curator Robin Peckham, former editor of Beijing-based art magazine Leap, Marching in Circles is a response to the grind of art, the forces of professionalisation and globalisation that threaten to turn 'the act of looking at art… into a nine-to-five slog like data entry, telemarketing or dental hygiene'. To provide an alternative, Peckham has enlisted a few individuals and collectives on the fringes who are attempting to break the experience of art out of the prison of the white cube. Marching in Circles features such alternative aesthetic displays as a poster mini-exhibition from Asian Dope Boys, the club night launched last year by artists Chen Tianzhuo and Yu Han; a popup stand presenting a curated selection of books and magazines produced by Shanghai bookstore Closing Ceremony; and an app providing a direct line of patronage to starving artists, developed by Hong Kong collective Come Inside.

Cristof Yvoré

m woods

Don't miss M Woods’ retrospective for French painter Cristof Yvoré. Curated by M Woods co-founder Wanwan Lei, Cristof Yvoré covers the titular artist’s career from an early experimental phase to the dense impastos of flowers, curtains, plates and bowls he made later on. This is the first ever solo exhibition outside of Europe and North America for Yvoré, who died in 2013 aged 47, as well as the second in a series of solo exhibitions by M Woods – after last year’s Warhol show – as part of their mission to present fresh perspectives on both established and overlooked artists.

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Area guide: 798

Beijing's famous art district has world-class galleries as well as restaurants, bars and shopping

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