In UCCA Dune’s first exhibition in 2021, twelve Chinese and international artists search for hope in a weary world and reimagine paradigms for future human civilization with planetary perspectives.
UCCA Dune presents “Space Oddity” from March 7, 2021 to June 20, 2021. The first exhibition UCCA Dune in 2021, the group show brings together twelve Chinese and international artists and groups who adopt a more planetary perspective in their practice, including Alan Bogana, Cao Shu, Yin-Ju Chen, Chen Zhe, Chu Yun, Ohlsson/Dit-Cilinn, Hu Wei, Shao Chun, Anton Vidokle, Yu Bogong, Zhou Junsheng, and Zhang Wenxin/Chen Xin. The exhibition is curated by UCCA Director of Public Practice Liya Han.
At the dawn of the twenty-first century, as information technology develops at breakneck speed, our globalized world has entered into an unprecedented era of political, economic, and cultural acceleration, until the sudden halt upon the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. In turn, we have reawakened to the latent potential catastrophes of anthropocentrism, as well as the systemic failures that have long lurked beneath fracturing geopolitical and ethnic conflicts. As global economies become increasingly and irrevocably intertwined, forging a collective way forward becomes a question that perhaps requires transcending current paradigms and modes of operation. As one of Earth’s many inhabitants, humanity has an ineluctable fate—the evolution of a planetary consciousness, one that transcends state, religion, race, and species. Far from a mystical philosophy, planetary consciousness points to the intrinsic interconnectedness between all earthly beings and our common, symbiotic survival, underscoring the fact that human beings are not unique in their claim to the universe. To possess planetary consciousness is to admit decentralized connections and the possible coexistence of complex and diverse multitudes. In our epoch of world-homogenizing technocracy today, planetary consciousness recalls an utopic ideal in an older spirit of cosmopolitanism, exploring, examining, and embracing the potentials of systems of knowledge outside human civilization.
With planetary consciousness in view, the artworks in “Space Oddity” weave together an expansive panorama of the universe. They confront the dispersal of identity, a byproduct of the constantly accelerating operational systems of human civilizations today, and trace the formation of a collective unconscious. Some of the artworks take the perspective of a satellite, examining from a distance human understanding of our planet and space-time: Chu Yun’s Planet without Visa depicts Earth’s singular natural attributes in the universe and suggests the planet’s ontological significance beyond human definition; Cao Shu and Chen Jie’s digital simulation and mixed media installations create dreamscapes that spark new reflections on human memory and the energy of the universe. Others turn to history and documentary video for harbingers of the future: Anton Vidokle’s film trilogy on Russian cosmism unthreads the impact the philosophical movement had on the twentieth century and its relevant legacy today; reinterpreting fragments of history, news, and historical footage in an investigation of space physics, cosmography, and extraterrestrial myths, Yin-Ju Chen’s Extrastellar Evaluations III: Entropy: 25800 choreographs a hypothesis for doomsday and humanity’s future; Zhou Junsheng raises questions on the essence of the medium of video itself, in attempt to uncover the entropy behind tangible, surface reality.
Through lenses both micro and macro, artists retrace the flow of energy and examine our self-cognition as human beings. Inspired by prayer beads, Zhao Cun’s hanging e-textiles sculpture brings viewers into a paradoxical ambience that prescribes a rapidly moving but tranquil energy, while Yu Bogong invents a set of symbols to depict the interconnected cognitive paths between human, nature, and the universe in a mandala. The artworks also suggest ways to reacquaint with the world around us through the five senses: Alan Bogana’s Transmutations tells an abstract, visual narrative of the universe in a space configured by composite light projections; integrating nature, sculpture, and philosophy, There is a Secret Song at the Center of the Earth by the duo Ohlsson/Dit-Cilinn boldly portrays the negative consequences bought on by mainstream culture with the shock of scent and visual impact; Zhang Wenxin and Chen Xin’s Slimy Blues and Speckled Shores takes up an instrumental algorithmic composition to construct a new, decentralized system that departs from human-centric consciousness. In his video installation, Hu Wei samples footage from early commune spaces and reflects on the standardizing effect digital technology and societal relationships have exerted on life itself.
The allegorical works of these twelve artists revolve around this pale blue dot in the universe, revealing our planet’s traumas and memories, hopes and disappointments. The artists explore various organic systems, transforming their individual experiences into strange objects of perception. Their works are a reflection on the operational mechanisms of our society and mark a new struggle against the frustrations of our limited knowledge.
Sponsorship and Support
This exhibition is supported by Pro Helvetia Shanghai, Swiss Art Council.
About the Artists
Alan Bogana (b. 1979, Switzerland, lives and works in Geneva) is a pluridisciplinary artist. His practice involves sculpture, computer graphics, electronics, time-based media, and holography, and his artworks are usually presented in the form of installations. During the last years, his research has focused on the exploration, real and fictional, of the behavior of light and its interactions with matter. He investigates this broad field of study through various means, such as computer graphics simulations of impossible phenomena or the manipulation of translucent, phosphorescent and holographic materials. Bogana completed a Fine Arts Diploma with honors at the Geneva University of Art and Design, and a specialization in computer graphics and artistic research methodologies at the Zürich University of Art and Design. He has exhibited in Europe, the U.S., the Emirates, and South Africa. He has been an artist-in-residence at the Swiss Institute (Rome), Cité Internationale des Arts (Paris), Sommerakademie Zentrum Paul Klee (Bern), in Cape Town with Pro Helvetia, and in Zug with the Landis & Gyr Foundation.
Cao Shu (b. 1987, lives and works in Hangzhou) is interested in using personal and historical memories as conceptual frameworks to create mixed media installations. He works with media such as digital simulation, immersive audio, and video games. Digital simulation and fragmented memories create shifting perspectives in Cao’s fictional worlds of multiple time dimensions. Cao likens his digital simulation and video game artworks to a geologist’s practice not unlike playing the role of a detective who is constantly searching for clues in a maze. Time becomes subsumed into certain geographic descriptions, gesturing towards what couldn’t happen but will soon happen. His work anticipates a sense of novel alienation as a result of encounters between different cultural contexts. Cao’s recent solo exhibitions include “The Ocean of Solaris” (Zhejiang Art Museum, Hangzhou, 2019), “Flux” (ShanghaiTech University, Shanghai, 2019), and “Monster Outside the Windows” (Koganecho, Yokohama, 2019).
Yin-Ju Chen (lives and works in Taipei) interprets social power and history through cosmological systems. Utilizing astrology, sacred geometries, and alchemical symbols, she considers human behavior, nationalism, imperialism, state violence, totalitarianism, utopian formations, and collective thinking. Recently, she has been exploring the material effects of spiritual and shamanic practices and the metaphysical potentialities of consciousness. Chen has participated in many international exhibitions and film festivals, such as the Taipei Biennial, Gwangju Biennale, Shanghai Biennial, Ural Industrial Biennial of Contemporary Art, International Film Festival Rotterdam, Transmediale, Liverpool Biennial, Forum Expanded at the Berlin International Film Festival, Biennial of Sydney, the second CAFAM Biennale, "Yin-Ju Chen: Extrastellar Evaluations" (Kadist, San Francisco, 2016), "Action at a Distance – Yin-Ju Chen Solo Exhibition" (It Park, Taipei, 2015), "The Starry Heaven Above and the Moral Law Within" (Cube Space, Taipei, 2015), "A Journal of the Plague Year" (multiple cities, 2013-2014). She was an artist-in-residence at Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten (Amsterdam) in 2010-2011 and at Kadist (San Francisco) in 2016.
Chen Zhe (lives and works in Beijing) graduated from the Los Angeles Art Center School of Design in 2011 with a bachelor's degree in photography and imagery. Chen’s artistic practice often begins with the exploration of personal encounters and psychological experiences, and finally presents as a process of continuous discovery and research. From 2012 to the present, her long-term project "Six Chapters to the Late Night,” using dusk as a motif, explores the boundary between the visible and the speakable at the intersection of vision and language. The work draws from graphic and textural materials from different cultures and histories and pay particular attention to the comparative study of reading experience and viewing experience. Each chapter of the project both stands independently and interacts with each other to weave an evolving three-dimensional network. Chen’s works have been exhibited at the Baden-Baden National Gallery (Baden-Baden, Germany), the Nineth Asia-Pacific Contemporary Art Triennial (Brisbane, Australia), Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography (Tokyo), Para Site Art Space (Hong Kong), OCAT Xi'an Pavilion (Xi’an), Central Academy of Fine Arts Art Museum (Beijing), the 11th Shanghai Biennale, Shanghai Museum of Contemporary Art, Minsheng Art Museum (Shanghai), UCCA Center for Contemporary Art (Beijing), Three Shadows Photography Art Center (Beijing), and others. She was awarded the FOAM Talent Photography Award (2018), Wuji New Photography Award (2015), Lianzhou Photography Festival New Photography Award (2012), Three Shadows Photography Award (2011), and Inge Morath from the Magnum Foundation Award (2011).
Chu Yun’s (b. 1977, Ji’an, Jiangxi province, lives in Beijing) solo exhibitions include “The Mind of Things” (Mirrored Gardens, Guangzhou, 2019), “Chu Yun” (Portikus, Frankfurt am Main, 2009), and “Chu Yun: Smile of the Matter” (Vitamin Creative Space, Guangzhou, 2007). He has participated in international exhibitions and biennials, including “Making Worlds” (53rd Venice Biennale), “Generational: Younger Than Jesus” (first New Museum Triennial, New York, 2009), “China Power Station 2” (Astrup Fearmley Museum of Modern Art, Oslo, 2007), and “Beyond” (second Guangzhou Triennial, 2005).
Hu Wei (b.1989, China, lives and works in Beijing) graduated from the painting department at CAFA in 2012 and obtained a master’s degree at Dutch Art Institute in 2016. His practice takes various media, such as video, installation, performance, and writing, to establish an artistic relationship between reality (non-artistic gestures) and “art tales.” Combining observations on individuality and social realism, his recent works explore the mediation or irreconcilable phenomenology between technology and the human condition, and the emerging political, economic, ethical issues embedded within.
Ohlsson/Dit-Cilinn consists of David Ohlsson (b.1985, Sweden) and Dit-Cilinn (b.1983, lives and works in Sweden and Thailand). They have worked collaboratively since 2007. Ohlsson/Dit-Cilinn has exhibited internationally in Los Angeles, New York, Amsterdam, Stockholm, Chiang Mai, and Brussels, among other places. In their work, natural processes merge with conceptual and sculptural gestures. The duo explores diverse subjects from mythology, ecology, secular spirituality, to altered states of consciousness and sexuality, often in a visceral manner. They are most known for reframing the nature-culture polarity in installations and ritualistic performances.
Anton Vidokle (b. 1965, Moscow, lives and works in New York and Berlin) is an artist and editor at e-flux journal. Vidokle’s work has been exhibited internationally at Documenta 13 and the 56th Venice Biennale. Vidokle’s films have been presented at Bergen Assembly, Shanghai Biennale, Berlin International Film Festival, Forum Expanded, Gwangju Biennale, Centre Pompidou (Paris), Tate Modern (London), Garage Museum (Moscow), Istanbul Biennial, Haus der Kulturen der Welt (Berlin), Tensta Konsthall (Stockholm), Blaffer Art Museum (Houston), Stedelijk Museum (Amsterdam), and others.
Shao Chun is a new media artist whose artistic practice encompasses multimedia installation, e-textiles, post-internet art, and novelistic design. Shao graduated from China Academy of Art in 2010 and obtained a master’s degree in performance art at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Between 2014 and 2018, Shao taught and pursued a ph.D. at the Center for Digital Art and Experimental Media at the University of Washington (Seattle). After completing her ph.D., Shao was an artist-in-residence at Schmiede in Austria, supported by FeralAIR. Shao’s recent work combines traditional craft with computer programming to explore the relationship between the poetics of touch and the aesthetics of interaction, as reflections upon our digitized contemporary life.
Yu Bogong (b.1970, Inner Mongolia, lives and work between Inner Mongolia, Beijing, Fuzhou, and Shaoguan Danxia Mountain). In the mid-1990s, Yu was a member of the avant-garde art movement in Yuanmingyuan Artists’ Village in Beijing. Yu’s practice involves multiple forms, such as sculpture, installation, and drawing. His projects in recent years focus on social participation, resulting in the “Mobile Academy,” “Mobile Camp,” and “Discovery-Library” projects framed by nature as a maternal perspective in a series of site-specific creative educational practice. Yu’s major solo exhibitions include “Discovery Academy” (Qingdao, 2016), “Aoluguya” (Magician Space, Beijing, 2013), “Landing, Store and Space” (Guangzhou, 2013), “At This Present Moment” (White Space, Beijing, 2011), “Cross the Riverbed,” (Magician Space, Beijing, 2009), and “Heart Moves Before Body” (Magician Space, Beijing, 2008). Selected group exhibitions and program include “Conversation Between Child and the World” (Jingdezhen, 2018), “The New Masses” (Nanjing Arts Institute Museum, Nanjing, 2018), “Genetic Memory-Projector” (Quanzhou International Art Residency Creative Project, Quanzhou, 2018), “Social Theatre: Participation and Sharing – the Fifth Chongqing Biennale for Young Artists” (Sichuan Fine Art Institute Art Museum, Chongqing, 2017), “Mobile Camp, Spiritual Nomad Across Rural, Urban, Grassland” (Beijing, 2017); “Mobile Arrow” (Fuzhou, 2017), “Discovery- Library” (Fuzhou, 2017), “What Is It That Makes Our Life So Different” (N3 Gallery, Beijing, 2017), “Encounters – Art Sanya” (Sanya, 2013), “Das Ich im Anderen” (Mercator Foundation, Essen, Germany, 2011), “Asian Landmark: Toyota Art Project” (Iberia Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing, 2010).
Zhou Junsheng (b. 1989, Beijing) lives and works in Beijing and Taipei. As a photographer, the core of Zhou’s artistic practice concerns photography about photography. Rather than producing visible and reproducible photographs, his work resolves around the performance and interactions with his photographic activities. His practice encompasses the history of photography technology, the history of photography concepts, and photography education. Studying the power of naming in photography concepts in different linguistic contexts and questions on the nature of image, Zhou’s work seeks to explore a restoration of the proto-landscape of the photographic practice. Zhou graduated from the department of photography at the Film and TV School of of the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague in 2015 and resided at Jan van Eyck Academie in the Netherlands from 2016 to 2017. His exhibitions and art projects include "Xing Ying Shen" (Prague, 2015), "Světlo Světlin" (Prague, 2015), and "Close Studio: A Viewing" (Maastrick, 2017). His long-term public artworks include "Dachun Camera" (Jan Van Eyck College, 2018-ongoing) and "Camera-Lanke" (Spicknisse Book Mountain Public Library, 2019-2079). He has planned and organized the public community art event "Kontact” (Rotterdam, 2019-present). He was the recipient of the Rotterdam Visual Arts Center Development and Research Grant, the Dutch Creative Industries Fund Digital Culture Grant, and the Mondriaan Fund.
Zhang Wenxin (b. 1989, lives and works in Hangzhou) graduated from Jinan University in 2010 with a bachelor's degree in management, majoring in landscape planning, and in 2013, from California College of the Arts with a master's degree in fine art. Zhang uses video, computer animation, photography, and installations, combined with writing and music, to construct process-oriented perceptual experiences. Zhang has exhibited in solo and group shows including “Personal Project: Filling Klein Bottles,” (InterAccess, Toronto, 2020), “Mapped Place” (Guangdong Museum of Art, Guangzhou, 2019), “Fanyin” (Taikang Space Terrace Project, Beijing, 2019), “Time Bonfire” (Remaining Space, Wuhan, 2017), “Behemoth by the Waterfall Guest House” (Artist Telivision Gallery, San Francisco, 2014), "Those who see all things and those who know all things are all things" (798 Art Center, Beijing, 2020), "Flies Museum" (Datian Xiuze Gallery, Shanghai, 2019), “Lying Sophia and the mocking Alexa” (Modern Automobile Cultural Center, Beijing, 2019), “Unexposed” (K11, Guangzhou, 2018), “Ecstasy of Time” (He Xiangning Art Museum, Shenzhen, 2017), “Set Scenery Club” (Hongkun Art Museum, Beijing, 2017), “Number of Dreams” (Goethe-Institut, Beijing, 2017), and “Very In” (Clemente, New York, 2016). She has been in residences and exhibitions at the Wasack Project (New York), Woodstock Photography Center (New York), Thicket (Georgia), and Muffatwerk (Munich). She was awarded the Magnum Foundation Atlantic Philanthropies in 2015 and was selected as New Talent by the British Journal of Photograph in 2016.
Chen Xin (b. 1997, lives and works in Hangzhou) is a post-graduate student in the Media Arts program at China Academy of Art and a media art and computer graphics worker. His recent works mainly focus on recursive and meta-fictional thoughts, human-machine integration, and group emergence effects. As an undergraduate student, he established the NO.E.ZA media art group, with main research directions in audio-visual live performances, virtual reality and interactive installations, sound art, and social media art. His recent exhibitions and performances include "Game Society: Wolf, Lynx, and Ant Colony" (Hyundai Motor Cultural Center, Beijing, 2020), Off Script Electronic Music Festival (Loopy, Hangzhou, 2019), Meet the End Sound and Visual Art Festival (Jingdezhen Ceramic Factory, Jingdezhen, 2019), "Black Mirror Season 8" (China Academy of Art Design Museum, Hangzhou, 2019), "Black Mirror Season 8" (Xiangshan Art Commune, Hangzhou, 2019), “Youth Art 100 Kick-off Exhibition” (Guardian Art Center, Beijing, 2019), "Where did we meet?" (National Agricultural Exhibition Center, Beijing, 2019), "Infinite Cosmic Expansion" (Xintiandi Huanyuhui, Shanghai, 2018), "Sounding Beijing” (Times Art Museum, Beijing, 2018), "Old Fairy Performance Season" (Ming Contemporary Art Museum, Shanghai, 2018), "Nine Tomorrows" (Powerlong Art Center, Hangzhou, 2018).
About UCCA Dune
UCCA Dune is an art museum buried under a sand dune by the Bohai Sea in Beidaihe, 300 kilometers east of Beijing. Designed by OPEN Architecture, its galleries unfold over a series of cell-like spaces that evoke caves. Some are naturally lit from above, while others open out onto the beach. As a branch of UCCA, China’s leading independent institution of contemporary art, it presents rotating exhibitions in dialogue with its particular site and space. UCCA Dune is built and supported by UCCA strategic partner Aranya, and located within the Aranya Gold Coast Community.
Video and LED installation
Interactive game and video installation
Resin skull with embedded LED light, hand-carved
Chairs: 63 x 58 x 139 cm, 58 x 58 x 142 cm
Skull: 16 x 15 x 12 cm
Disco ball, terrestrial globe stand
45 × 33 × 30 cm
Video, birch, cloth, steel, acrylic, fog machine, wood, LED screen, transparent fi lm, print
Yew tree pollen, ETA silk, aluminum, lichen, hemp
twine, brooms, high voltage isolators
430 x 250 x 600 cm
HD video, color, sound
HD video, color, stereo
Interactive sound installation, speakers,
3D printed resin, acrylic, silicone
LED light bar, generator, stainless steel
Acrylic, metal, electronic components, lens,
space blanket, optical breadboard
35 x 10 x 9 cm