JEAN-FRANÇOIS CÔTÉ—ALEXANDRE DAVID—DONG DAWEI—REN JIE—YAM LAU—MIREILLE LAVOIE—LI MING—ZHANG QINGFAN—XU TAN—ZHANG XIAO
Yan Zhou is a curator, a critic, a poet and a translator of art and literature who currently lives in Toronto. She holds a Master of Museum Studies from the University of Toronto and is currently pursuing a Ph.D. at the same school. Zhou is the curator of several high-profile international exhibitions including Transformation of Canadian Landscape Art: Inside and Outside of Beijing, a touring exhibition in China in 2014-2015. Her shows participated in festivals including 2017 Lianzhou Foto Festival, Scotiabank Contact Photography Festival (2018 and 2014), and the 6th Beijing International Art Biennale. Yan’s curatorial practice covers a range of interests, including environment, gender, social spaces, art history topics re-examination, etc. She prefers to explore contemporary issues situated in places and times together with artists and often opens up to cross-disciplines and cross-cultures dialogues. She believes that personal and collective experience will be shared most effectively when participants in art activities can create a layered aesthetic and conceptual experience when they confront most immediate artistic and social issues. This, she calls as “creating a depth of aesthetic interests.” She is the recipient of Joseph-Armand Bombardier Canada Graduate Scholarships-Doctoral, numerous Canada Council for the Arts grants and International Council of Museums Fellowship. Her books, articles, and reviews have been published internationally.
Since 2009, I have traveled back and forth between Canada and China every year to do art projects and to visit. Over the years, I have been deeply disturbed by the smog phenomenon that affected most of China for about two decades and its impacts on people and the society. Profound changes in political, economic, social and technological spheres in China and the world in recent years also disclose fundamental dilemmas that beset the people. The analogical appearance and movement of the smog are mirroring that of the global “state-capitalism-techno mechanism”. There is a prevalent feeling of suffocation. Everything is interwoven, and the general existential conditions affect people’s health, sensibility, language, and expressions. Recognizing the severe smog problem and the worsening climate issues in China and the world, and the chronic trauma that people suffers from it on a daily basis, from the beginning of 2017, I began to work with a group of Canadian and Chinese artists to explore these existential problems in order to seek understanding and to make creative responses to our contemporary state of being.—The project is an immersive research and creation project. It wagers to circumvent an abstract and mediated re-presentation of smog. It aligns the human body and smog on a shared experiential frontier, exposing and implicating the one with the other. Though the project arises from this intense environmental pressure on human life, it does not embrace environmental activism or speculative solution to smog problems as its prescribed aim. Instead, the project operates “amorphously” out of the Chinese philosophical/aesthetic belief in the body being a micrometeorological system, sharing the same behavioral principles and character traits with its macro-counterpart (weather). Hence, it promotes the search of an ethical/aesthetic response to the creation of new meaningful forms of life (and art) that are intricately enmeshed with an all-pervasive, yet hostile and ominous environment. Therefore, the project envisions an enlarged expression of the artist's power and art under this premise. The project invited the artists to explore individually from their own embodied perspectives to invent the breathable space in a physically and abstractly stagnant and suffocating environment.
Galerie B-312 would like to thank the ENCADREX team for their contribution to the realization of this exhibition.