Tales of Our Time
Hou Hanru and Xiaoyu Weng
The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Chinese Art Initiative presents Tales of Our Time, an exhibition and accompanying catalogue of commissioned works by seven artists based in mainland China, Hong Kong or Taiwan. The exhibition’s title is inspired by Lu Xun’s Old Tales Retold, a 1930s collection of short stories that use narrative and myth to comment on times of political and social upheaval. Working in a range of mediums, including video, sculpture, installation, mixed media on paper and participatory performance, these artists are unified by their distinctive and independent practices that poetically balance politics and aesthetics. The exhibition offers a heterogeneous view of contemporary art from China and highlights tensions between individual narratives and the constructions of mainstream history. The catalogue serves as a key conceptual extension of the exhibition, functioning as a hybrid of a traditional art exhibition publication and a fiction collection. Featuring two scholarly essays, artwork descriptions and artist biographies, this volume presents an unconventional examination of the artists whose practices actively reposition and challenge current dialogues about Chinese art. In seven commissioned short stories, Chinese and American writers explore contemporary society through the art of storytelling.
Hou Hanru is Consulting Curator, The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Chinese Art Initiative at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; and Artistic Director of MAXXI, National Museum of the 21st Century Arts, Rome. Xiaoyu Weng is The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Associate Curator of Chinese Art at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York.