David Diao: Which Way Up?
Exhibition Symposium

David Diao (b. 1943, Chengdu) was a key figure in the history of conceptual painting during the second half of the twentieth century. After entering the New York art world in the late 1960s, he turned from an artist based on the process of creating abstract art to a more conceptual one in the early 1980s. His work incorporated text, iconography, and narrative subject matter as a means of addressing themes such as the complex and varied histories of Modernism, the legacies of utopian political movements, the racially inflected tensions of identity politics, and the poignancy of his own political family story. David Diao’s works are a manifestation of his personal experiences, the history of the era, and art history.

In this conversation, held on the occasion of the opening of the retrospective David Diao, UCCA invites David Diao, Pi Li, Christian Bjone and Zhao Gang to discuss the complex and intertwined histories of modernism, utopianism, masculinity, ethnic identity, autobiography, and critique that run through Diao’s work.


Ticketing: Free


*Collect your ticket from reception 30 minutes before the event begins.

* Please no late entry.


David Diao (Artist)


Christian Bjone (Architect and Writer)

Designer of the exhibition “David Diao,” Christian Bjone has a professional career spanning multiple fields in design and architecture. Also writer, his latest work Philip Johnson and His Mischief: Appropriation in Art And Architecture examines the legacy of one of America’s most controversial architects.


Pi Li (Senior Curator, M+)

(b. 1974, Wuhan) graduated from The Central Academy of Fine Arts (CAFA) where he taught in the department of arts management. Since March 2012, he has been senior curator of M+ and currently lives in Hong Kong and Beijing.


Zhao Gang (Artist)

(b. 1961, Beijing) made his artistic debut as a member of the Stars Group, one of the first avant-garde artist groups to open the era of contemporary art in China, when he was just 18 years old.  Shortly thereafter he pursued formal art education in Europe then New York, where he lived for over two decades, developing a diverse body of work as his perspective became distinctively international.  Over the course of his wanderings, Zhao Gang has been featured alongside prominent Chinese painters David Diao and Liu Wei.


Philip Tinari (Director, UCCA)

  • 2015.9.19
  • 14:00-16:00
  • Auditorium
  • English with Chinese translation