Cui Jie | “China Africa” @ Centre Pompidou


Antenna Space is pleased to announce artist Cui Jie’s participation in the group exhibition « ChinaAfrica» at Centre Pompidou, exhibits her painting works.

Thirty years after « The Magicians of the Earth », fifteen years after « Africa Remix », five years after « Multiple Modernities from 1905 to 1970 » and following on from the exhibitions devoted to Wifredo Lam, Latiff Mohidin and, most recently, Ernest Mancoba, the Centre Pompidou continues to explore the history of non-Western contemporary art, with a special focus on the ties between China and Africa. Should the China and Africa connection be seen as a form of total emancipation from colonialism or as the expression of a new relationship based on domination ? The ChinaAfrica exhibition examines the real and imaginary spaces resulting from this dialogue, which were first constructed within a framework of Marxist ideology and colonial and then de-colonial history. Yet it is also an implicit interrogation of Western history, as it relates to these regions.

At the turn of the 20th century, W. E. B. DuBois, the Pan-Africanist American thinker, advocated the idea that Asia could forge the pathway for worldwide racial liberation. As an echo to this belief, we have witnessed an increasingly strong tie between China and Africa, which has been established through political, ideological, and to a large extent, economic interests. This Afro-Asian meeting of two principal regions of the Global South sheds light on the urgency to shift away from the colonial and Western frameworks of representation. Yet, what new realities have been developed from this transcultural encounter? What mobility, public realms, or forms of expression have emerged ? And what Utopian or dystopian projections have come to light ?

This exhibition is an attempt to reveal and rethink the phenomena rooted in this Sino-African encounter, from the shared imagery of struggles to the configuration of a transcultural or globalized identity. It questions certain economic trends (through the works of François-Xavier Gbré, Pratchaya Phinthong and Yonamine) and the social transformations born out of this relationship (Wang Bing, Anawana Haloba, Marie Voignier), and propels the unleashing of critical imagination (Cui Jie, Musquiqui Chihying, Kiluanji Kia Henda, Binelde Hyrcan).

The interweaving of critical engagements from the past and the present here also leads to speculations of the future. In this context, the potentials, as well as the failures and alternatives to various forms of economic cooperation are utilised as connections to explore the socio-political realm. In her paintings, Cui Jie employs the images of Chinese telecommunication signal towers in Africa as a way to open up an imaginary space of control and prosperity.

The artists invited by the Centre Pompidou for this exhibition are not only African or Asian. Many of them regularly collaborate with the institution, and some are already represented in the collection of the Musée National d’Art Moderne. Together, their works evoke the central concern of « ChinaAfrica», which aims to question the legacy of colonialism reconfigured by post or neo-colonial political and economic alliances.

Exhibition curators: Alicia Knock and Yung Ma, curators at the Musée national d’art moderne.

Cui Jie graduated from China Academy of Art in 2006, currently lives and works in Shanghai. She has been included in Phaidon Press’s publication Vitamin P3. Her works have been placed into collection by various institution such as Centre Pompidou, Art Institute of Chicago, Astrup Fearnley Museum, Rubell Family Collection and The Kistefos Museum. Recent solo exhibitions include: The Peak Tower, Pilar Corrias, London, 2019; To Make a Good Chair, Antenna Space, Shanghai, 2019; The Enormous Space, Cui Jie: Maison Fueter, OCAT, Shenzhen, 2018; Latter, Former, Mother’s Tankstation, Dublin, Ireland, 2016; Cui Jie: The Proposals For Old and New Urbanism and Cui Jie, both at Leo Xu Projects, Shanghai, 2014 and 2012. Her works have also been included in many exhibitions, among many others, Phantom Plane, Cyberpunk in the Year of the Future, Tai Kwun Contemporary Art Museum, Hong Kong, 2019; An Opera for Animals, Para Site, Hong Kong, 2019; Cosmopolis #1.5: Enlarged Intelligence, Centre Pompidou & Mao Jihong Arts Foundation, Chengdu, China, 2018; Long March Project: Building Code Violations III – Special Economic Zone, Guangdong Time Museun, Guangzhou, China, 2018; FRONT International: Cleveland Triennial for Contemporary Art: An American City, Cleveland, US, 2018; Past Skin, MoMA PS1, New York, 2017; The New Normal: Art and China in 2017, Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing, 2017; Hack Space, curated by Hans Ulrich Obrist and Amira Gad, chi K11 art museum, Shanghai and K11 Art Foundation, Hong Kong, 2016; A Beautiful Disorder, CASS Sculpture Foundation, Chichester, 2016; My Generation: Young Chinese Artists, touring at Tampa Museum of Art and Oklahoma City Museum of Art, 2014; 1st CAFA·FUTURE: Sub-Phenomena, CAFA Art Museum, Central Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing, 2012; Face, Minsheng Art Museum, Shanghai, 2012; 4th Prague Biennale, 2009.

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