UCCA Beijing

“Cold Nights” Talk Series: Exhibition as Literary Form


Location:  Workshop
Language:  Chinese

“Cold Nights” is a curatorial experiment that attempts to re-write a literary work within an exhibition space. Co-curators Boliang Shen and Zhanglun Dai employed an innovative curatorial method to respond to both the literary space of Ba Jin’s novel Cold Nights and the real world. As a result, “Cold Nights” actually forges a new literary form composed by the curators, the original writer, and the four participating artists. For this panel discussion, the curators invite three guest speakers: artist Chen Zhe, whose on-going project “Towards Evening, Six Chapters” is based on a specific narrative structure; artist Yang Yuanyuan whose practice takes cues from urban space and lies at the intersection of archive, photography, and writing; fan fiction writer Zian Chen; and curator and writer Li Bowen, who focuses on the relationship between visual art and the written word. The panelists will share with the audience about their own work, and discuss how a literary form can emerge from an exhibition.

Ticketing: Free


*Collect your ticket from reception 45 minutes before the event begins;

*Please no late entry;

*Seating is limited, and tickets must be collected individually;

*Please keep mobile devices on silent.

UCCA Membership Benefits

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For this event, UCCA members will enjoy:

• Exclusive seats reservation service

• Members-only guided tour

For UCCA members, please send us your name and mobile number to RSVP (ve@ or call UCCA membership hotline: +86 10 5780 0200


Boliang Shen (“Cold Nights” curator)

Boliang Shen worked as senior editor and correspondent for Artinfo China from 2010 to 2013. He attended the Gwangju Biennale International Curator Course in 2011, and obtained his Master’s degree from the Program in Museum Studies at New York University in 2016. He was the project manager of the Art Writer & Journalist Workshop at the 9th Shanghai Biennale (Shanghai, 2012), and has curated exhibitions and projects at Kunsthalle Gwangju (Gwangju, 2011), OCAT Shenzhen (Shenzhen, 2014), and inCube Arts (New York, 2016). His writings have been published in Flash Art, Leap, Artinfo China, The Bund Magazine, The Art Newspaper China, among others.

Zhanglun Dai (“Cold Nights” curator)

Zhanglun Dai was curatorial assistant at Guangdong Museum of Art, involved in the 3rd Guangzhou Triennial “Farewell to Post-Colonialism” (Guangzhou, 2008), and editor of Contemporary Art and Investment magazine (Beijing, 2009). She was the project manager of the Art Writer & Journalist Workshop at the 9th Shanghai Biennale (Power Station of Art, Shanghai, 2012). She lived in New York in the past two years, and curated “Son: Signal of Authority” at inCube Arts (New York, 2016). Her writings have been included in artforum.com.cn, Artinfo China, Art & Design, etc.

Chen Zhe (Artist)

Chen Zhe (b.1989, Beijing) received her BFA in Photography and Imaging from the Art Center College of Design in Los Angeles in 2011. She is the recipient of the Three Shadows Award (2011), Inge Morath Award from the Magnum Foundation (2011), Lianzhou Festival Photographer of the Year Award (2012), and Xitek New Talent Award (2015). Chen is the subject of TV documentary films Chinese Viewfinder (2013) produced by ARTE, France, and China Through the Lens of Youth (2014) produced by NHK, Japan. Her latest publication Bees & The Bearable was awarded the Best Photobook of the Year by Kassel Fotobook Festival in 2016.

Chen Zhe’s practice is an ongoing process of exploration, discovery, and research. In her early work The Bearable and Bees, where the physical self-destruction of her subjects is identified as an act of spiritual cleansing, Chen searched for the possibility of “another way of telling" by expanding her photographic observations with a collection of letters and journals. In her current project Towards Evening: Six Chapters, Chen uses dusk as her motif to continue her quest of the visible and the speakable, in this case, to explore the ambiguous meeting point of visual representation and language.

Yang Yuanyuan (Artist)

(b. 1989, Beijing) lives and works in Beijing. She received a BFA in photography from London College of Communications, University of the Arts London in 2013. Yang recently received an award from Asia Cultural Council in 2017. In 2016 she was shortlisted for the Huayu Youth Award. In 2015, her book 10 Days in Kraków was shortlisted for Author Book Award at Rencontres d'Arles and Best Photobook of 2015 at Fototbookfestival in Kassel. In 2012 she received the Tierney Fellowship at Three Shadows Photography Award. Yang’s work has been exhibited and published internationally. Her recent solo exhibitions include: “At the Place of Crossed Sights” (C-Space, Beijing, 2016). Her recent group exhibitions include “Rebel Cities” (Yang Art Museum, Beijing, 2017), “Arrival City” (Galaxy Museum of Contemporary Art, Chongqing, 2017), and “Times Heterotopia Trilogy III: The Man Who Never Threw Anything Away” (Guangdong Times Museum, Guangzhou, 2017). Yang also writes extensively about art, and currently works as the Beijing-based editor of Art World magazine.

Zian Chen (Writer, art critic)

Zian Chen has been writing short exhibition-novels since 2012. In them, he introduces the subjective position of fan fiction to explore these expanded forms of review writing. In principle, fan fiction reflects the contemporary condition of mass self-education, which he thinks is spawned by the economy of relentless fandom and over-identification. He received the Contemporary Art Writing and Critical Thinking Award from the Foundation Prince Pierre de Monaco in 2015. Chen currently serves as a researcher for the Long March Project.

Li Bowen (Curator, art critic)

Li Bowen graduated from Goldsmiths, University of London. He’s a writer with a fake Northeast Chinese accent.


13:00-13:20 Ticket pick-up at the reception desk (for UCCA members who RSVPed)

13:20-13:50 Exclusive UCCA members-only guided tour

13:30-14:00 Ticket distribution at the reception desk (for UCCA members who didn’t RSVP and non-members)

14:00-16:00 Conversation

*Please arrive promptly.