”I think art is a tool to set up new questions.”
AI WEIWEI

AI WEIWEIS ARTISTRY

The conversation took place at Bio Rio in Stockholm, February 21, 2012. In English.

View the filmed conversation here:

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Ai Weiwei’s art is almost always based in cultural references, and he intentionally selects iconic objects with great cultural and symbolic value for the Chinese. In his work he combines the roles of artist, blogger and political acitvist.

As an introduction to Ai Weiwei’s artistry, Tessa Praun, curator at Magasin 3 for the Ai Weiwei exhibition, and Ulrich Wilmes, chief curator at Haus der Kunst, Munich, discuss works presented in the exhibition “So Sorry” at Haus der Kunst in 2009 and examin his visual expression, methodology and motivation.

Tessa Praun

Tessa Praun, photo: Christian Saltas

Tessa Praun, born in Stockholm 1977, is curator at Magasin 3 and for the exhibition with Ai Weiwei. Tessa has worked at Magasin 3 since 2004 and has done shows with, among others, Christian Boltanski, Annika von Hausswolff, Kimsooja, Miroslav Tichy & Julia Margaret Cameron, Marijke van Warmerdam and a number of exhibitions of works from the Magasin 3 collection, such as Thrice upon a time and Investigations of a Dog. She previously worked at Kunstverein Munich.

Ulrich Wilmes

Ulrich Wilmes and Ai Weiwei in Madrid 2009

Dr. Ulrich Wilmes, was born 1953 in Essen, Germany. Studied Art History and German Language and literature studies at the Ruhr-University in Bochum. He earned a PhD with a dissertation on “Rosso Fiorentino und der Manierismus“. 1985-87 he was intern at the Westfälisches Landesmuseum für Kunst und Kulturgeschichte in Münster, collaborating on the exhibition ”Skulptur Projekte in Münster 1987”. 1988-91 curator at the Portikus Frankfurt am Main. 1991-2000 curator for contemporary art at the Lenbachhaus in Munich, since 1995 deputy director. 2000-08 deputy director of the Museum Ludwig in Cologne. Since 2008 he his chief curator at Haus der Kunst in Munich. Ulrich Wilmes has worked with numerous exhibitions and publications on international contemporary art, e.g. Dan Graham, Jörg Immendorff, On Kawara, Ellsworth Kelly, Per Kirkeby, Matt Mullican, Gerhard Richter, Ulrich Rückriem, Ed Ruscha, Lawrence Weiner.

MICROBLOGS

THE POWER OF MICROBLOGS – WHAT IS THE SIGNIFICANCE OF AI WEIWEI AND OTHER NET ACTIVISTS FOR FREEDOM OF SPEECH IN CHINA?

The conversation took place at Kulturhuset, Panoramascenen in Stockholm, March 13, 2012.
In English.
Magasin 3 in collaboration with Kulturhuset, Hotade ord and Swedish PEN.

View the filmed conversation here:

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The first part of the evening program is a discussion on social media’s role in the democratization of China. There the use of micro blog Weibo, Chinese equivalent of Twitter, is much more prevalent than in Sweden. What does that mean for a greater freedom of speech? What does the development in China look in comparison with, for example, the jasmine revolution in the Arab world?

The Swedish government currently supports net activists in repressive regimes with huge sums of money. In the second part of the evening the implications and how Sweden can act to support Chinese netizens and freedom of speech development are discussed.

Panel:

Michael Anti (Zhao Jing), Chinese journalist, blogger and net acitivist known for his posts about freedom of the press in China.

Marina Svensson, Sinologist and China expert at Lund University with a focus on human rights, justice and the Chinese media.

Christian Christensen, Professor at the Department of Media and Communication Studies at Uppsala University.

Moderator: Ulrika K. Engström, Swedish PEN and Enact consulting firm, where she works with sustainable strategies for business development with a focus on China and human rights.

Michael Anti

Michael Anti (a.k.a. ZHAO Jing) is a veteran journalist and popular political columnist for various of Chinese and English media outlets. He won M100 Sanssouci Media Award in 2011. He was a Chinese war reporter in Baghdad in March 2003 and then worked with Beijing Bureau of the New York Times for 4 years. His well-known MSN blog on Chinese politics was removed by Microsoft in December 2005 under the pressure of Chinese government. He also received Wolfson Press Fellowship at Cambridge University (2007), Nieman Fellowship at Harvard University (2008), and was a visiting scholar at University of Tokyo, invited by Japan Foundation in 2010. As a public advocate for Internet freedom and online public diplomacy, he is one of the most influence bloggers/microbloggers in China. He taught International Reporting at Journalism School of Shantou University 2008-2009. He served as International Jury Member for Blog Competition of Deutsch Welle in 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2010.

Marina Svensson

Marina Svensson is an Associate Professor at the Centre for East and South-East Asian Studies, Lund University. Her research focuses on human rights, legal issues and protests, the role of the media in society, as well as cultural heritage issues. Major publications include Debating Human Rights in China: A Conceptual and Political History (Rowman and Littlefield, 2002), and co-edited books such as and The Chinese Human Rights Reader (M. E. Sharpe, 2001); Gender Equality, Citizenship and Human Rights: Controversies and Challenges in China and the Nordic Countries (Routledge 2010); and Making Law Work: Chinese Laws in Context (Cornell University Press 2011).

Christian Christensen

Christian Christensen is Professor of Media and Communications Studies in the Department of Informatics and Media at Uppsala University, Sweden. Christian’s primary area of research is in the use of social media during times of war and conflict, but he has also published on the representation of Islam, post 9/11 documentary film and international journalism. Christian is the editor or co-editor of a number of books, including “Twitter Revolutions: Political Activism and Dissent in an Age of Social Media” (forthcoming 2012) and “Online Territories: Mediated Practice and Social Space” (2011), and has another edited book on WikiLeaks in progress.

Ulrika K Engström

Ulrika K Engström is on the board of Swedish PEN, where she is responsible for China issues. Previously she worked as a journalist for many years, particularly as China correspondent for the Swedish newspaper Svenska Dagbladet, where she wrote about current affairs, human rights and freedom of expression. She is the author of the book The harmonious revolution – Rebels, Patriots and common Chinese people (Norstedts, 2008) and is a frequent China Expert on radio and television. Ulrika now works for Enact Sustainable Strategies, with leadership training and business development focusing on China and human rights.

FREEDOM OF SPEECH

FREEDOM OF SPEECH, DEMOCRACY, HUMAN RIGHTS – CHINA IN RELATION TO THE REST OF THE WORLD

The conversation took place at ABF, Zetasalen, in Stockholm, March 27, 2012.
In English.

View the filmed conversation here:

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Ai Weiwei has devoted his life and art to the issues of freedom of speech, democracy and human rights in China. What significance do these issues have in China today, both historically and for the future? Although free speech is limited, the boundaries are extended by internet access, micro-blogs and lively internet debates between citizens about the Chinese leaders. Are these forces that Chinese authorities will struggle to contain? How should we in the West relate to a country that denies human rights while also providing a large part of our manufacturing industry? The panel will also discuss the relationship between the dissidents in China and those that live abroad.

Panel:

Börje Ljunggren, Swedish diplomat and expert on Asia, the former ambassador in China.
Andrew J. Nathan, Class of 1919 Professor of Political Science at Columbia University, New York, teaching and research on Chinese politics and human rights.
Malin Oud, sinologist with a focus on human rights and sustainable development.
Moderator: Dominic Ziegler, London-based Asia editor of The Economist and the magazine’s former China correspondent.

Börje Ljunggren

Börje Ljunggren was during the years 2002-06 Swedish Ambassador to China and Mongolia, ten years earlier Ambassador to Vietnam and the 1970′s aid chief in Laos and Bangladesh. He has been director of the Foreign Ministry’s and Sida’s Asia units. Parallel, Börje Ljunggren has engaged in research on Asia and a PhD in political science with a dissertation on the reforms in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. He is now the Foreign Ministry’s coordinator of the Stockholm China Forum, Chairman of SEB’s Asia advisory council, a member of the Board of Lund University and the Raoul Wallenberg Institute, advisor to the Sweden-China Trade Council, writer, lecturer, and tied to the China Center at the Stockholm School of Economics, Harvard University Asia Center and Nordic Institute of Asian Studies. In autumn 2009, a second edition of his acclaimed book “China – Contemporary Drama” was released. Börje Ljunggren, is perhaps the person in Sweden who has the broadest knowledge of developments in China and Asia.

Andrew J. Nathan

Andrew J. Nathan is Class of 1919 Professor of Political Science at Columbia University, New York. His teaching and research interests include Chinese politics and foreign policy, the comparative study of political participation and political culture, and human rights. He is engaged in longterm research and writing on Chinese foreign policy and on sources of political legitimacy in Asia, the latter research based on data from the Asian Barometer Survey, a multi-national collaborative survey research project active in eighteen countries in Asia. Nathan is chair of the administrative committee of the Institute for the Study of Human Rights and chair of the Morningside Institutional Review Board (IRB) at Columbia. He served as chair of the Department of Political Science, 2003-2006, chair of the Executive Committee of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, 2002-2003, and director of the Weatherhead East Asian Institute, 1991-1995. Off campus, he is co-chair of the board, Human Rights in China, a member of the boards of Freedom House and of the National Endowment for Democracy, and a member of the Advisory Committee of Human Rights Watch, Asia, which he chaired, 1995-2000. He is a member of the steering committee of the Asian Barometer Surveys; the regular Asia and Pacific book reviewer for Foreign Affairs magazine; and a member of the editorial boards of the Journal of Democracy, The China Quarterly, The Journal of Contemporary China, China Information, and others. He does frequent interviews for the print and electronic media, has advised on several film documentaries on China, has consulted for business and government. Andrew Nathan received his degrees from Harvard University: the B.A. in history, summa cum laude, in 1963; the M.A. in East Asian Regional Studies in 1965; and the Ph.D. in Political Science in 1971. He taught at the University of Michigan in 1970-71 and has been at Columbia University since 1971. He has published numerous books and articles on China and Chinese politics.

Malin Oud

Malin Oud is Founder of Track II, a consultancy specialised in dialogue and partnerships for human rights and sustainable development, with a focus on China. She previously worked at the Raoul Wallenberg Institute for Human Rights and Humanitarian Law in China for nine years in 2001-2009, and has also at worked at Sida in Stockholm and as a consultant to the UNDP and the OHCHR in China. Malin Oud has a Master in International Development from Melbourne University and a BA in Chinese language and Social Anthropology from Lund University. She studied international human rights law and Chinese law at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London and is author of several reports and articles on food safety, freedom of expression and human rights education in China.

Dominic Ziegler

Dominic Ziegler has spent over two decades with The Economist, and is currently its Asia Editor, based in London. Before that, he was the inaugural writer of the Banyan column, launched in 2009. He has also served in Washington DC, Beijing and Tokyo.

REGIMES AND ART

AUTHORITARIAN REGIMES AND THE ARTS IN EUROPE OVER THE PAST 50 YEARS

The conversation took place at Goethe-Institut in Stockholm, April 26, 2012.
In English.

View the filmed conversation here:


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In 1989, when the people in Berlin celebrated the fall of the wall and the dissolution of many authoritarian regimes in Central and Eastern Europe, the people in China mourned hundreds of dead after the massacre on Tian’anmen Square. The two events cannot be fully understood without the artworks that were created after and before the events. But the artists did not only document the effects of the political and social change, many of them also played or occupied key roles in the creation of the new orders and societies, in particular those that can be characterised as dissident.

As part of the exhibition with works by Ai Weiwei, who is today China’s most outspoken dissident artist, the legendary gallerist Folker Skulima, the writer, director and performer Ivana Sajko, and the actor Samuel Finzi examine the roles of artists, bloggers, political activists and politicians in times of social change. They are joined by independent curator Berit Schuck in a conversation that revolves around contemporary concepts of art and activism in an effort to contribute to our understanding of the relationship between authoritarian regimes and the arts: What are the effects of conflicts on body and mind, but also on art itself?

Panel:
Samuel Finzi, Bulgarian/German theatre and film actor.
Folker Skulima, legendary Berlin gallerist, writer.
Ivana Sajko, writer, director and performer from Zagreb, Croatia.
Moderator: Berit Schuck, dramaturge and independent curator based in Berlin.

Samuel Finzi

Photographer: Thomas Schweigert

Samuel Finzi, born in 1966 in Plovdiv (Bulgaria), is a film and theatre actor, who is best known for his expressive interpretation of character roles and his close working relationship with the Bulgarian director Dimiter Gotscheff. After his studies at Sofia’s State Academy of Theatre Samuel Finzi quickly became a movie star, playing in many Bulgarian films. In four of them he co-starred with his father, the renowned actor Itzhak Finzi, i.e. in “Az grafinyata” (tr: The Countess) and “Nemirnata ptitza lyubov” (tr: Love Is a Willful Bird). In 1989/1990 Finzi decided to leave Bulgaria and moved to Berlin, where he worked with Ivan Stanev. In 1993 he started to work with Dimiter Gotscheff and appeared in some of his most successful dramatic productions, i.e. “Die Möwe” (tr: The Seagull), “Woyzeck”, “Don Quixote” and “Das Pulverfass” (tr: The Powder Keg) and “Ivanov”. Finzi also worked with Werner Schroeter, Stefan Moskov, Jürgen Gosch, Benno Besson, Frank Castorf, Stefan Bachmann and Ivan Panteleev. He played at the theatres of Cologneeeeeeeee, Düsseldorf, Bochum, Hamburg, Vienna and Berlin (Volksbühne am Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz, Deutsches Theater), but also appears in German television and film productions, i.e. by Oliver Hirschbiegel, Jan Schütte and Sönke Wortmann.

Folker Skulima

Photographer: Anonymous

Folker Skulima is a legendary gallerist and writer who has had a huge influence on the Berlin art scene. In the late 1960s he was one of the first gallerists, who opened a new space for the arts in the city. He collaborated with Andy Warhol and introduced environment artist Edward Kienholz as well as painter Cy Twombly or the conceptual artist Lawrence Weiner to the European art scene. He discovered Marcel Broodthaers (1970) and Gilbert and George (1970), Daniel Buren and Christian Boltanski (1970-71), Jannis Kounellis and Mario Merz (1971-72). In the late 1970s he discovered and supported the so-called new-expressionists “Neue Wilden”. He also always followed the discussions and debates around East-German artists like Werner Tübke and A.R. Penck. Among his many achievements is the founding of the ART FORUM and the transformation of the city into a place that attracts today international artists, curators, art dealers and gallerists alike. In the 1990s he sold his gallery to create time for curating and working on his collection. Folker Skulima lives in New York and Berlin.

Ivana Sajko

Photographer: Anonymous

Ivana Sajko, born 1975 in Zagreb (Croatia), is a writer, director and performer. She studied Dramaturgy at Academy of Drama Arts, after which she obtained M.Sc. in Humanistic science at Faculty of Philosophy in Zagreb. She worked as editor on the TV-show V-EFFEKT, which was the first show on Croatian Television dedicated to contemporary performing issues. Since 1996 she is a member of editorial board of FRAKCIJA – Performing Arts Magazine. In 2000 she co-founded the theatre group BAD co. where she worked as dramaturge and director until 2005, when she started to perform as individual artist. She performs and directs her own plays with musicians, experimenting with interdisciplinary approaches to the problems of drama writing and performing. Her books include collection of plays Executed Faces (2001), trilogy of monologues Woman-bomb (2004), novel Rio bar (2005), theory book Towards the Madness (and Revolution) (2006), novel History of my family from 1941 till 1941, and beyond (2009) and collection of plays Trilogy on Disobedience (2012). In 2004. she published CD Mass for election day silence together with American composer David Simons. Some of her last plays were commissioned by Festival Steirischer Herbst Graz (Rose is a rose is a rose is a rose, 2008), Stadttheater Bern (Scenes with Apple, 2009) and Stadttheater Braunschweig (Landscape with the Fall, 2012).

Berit Schuck

Photographer: Mattias Horn

Berit Schuck, born in 1970 in Bremen, is a dramaturge and independent curator based in Berlin. She studied Comparative Literature, French, Theatre and Women’s Studies at the Free University Berlin, Université Paris VIII and Duke University NC/USA. From 2005-2008 she worked as dramaturge at Thalia Theater Halle in East Germany. From 2008-2010 she conceived, organised and directed interdisciplinary programmes, conferences and workshops worldwide, i.e. in Frankfurt, Berlin, Alexandria, Dubai, New York, Paris and Stockholm. In 2011 she was artistic director of the international festival “Heimspiel 2011” at Schauspiel Cologne and host resident curator at Ashkal Alwan in Beirut.

In connection with the exhibition Magasin 3 has organized a series of events in collaboration with ABF, Bio Rio, Goethe-Institut, Moderna Museet and Swedish PEN/Kulturhuset, Hotade ord. With the generous support of Kulturrådet and Svenska PostkodLotteriet. Special thanks to the Culture Without Borders Foundation.

All talks were filmed and can be seen here on this page. © Magasin 3. Films may not be reproduced without permission.
For more information, contact program coordinator Sara Källström, Curator Program & Education, kallstrom@magasin3.com, 08-545 680 52

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”To express yourself needs a reason, but expressing yourself is the reason.”
ART IN CHINA

PRECONDITIONS FOR CONTEMPORARY ART IN CHINA

The conversation took place at Moderna Museet, Stockholm, May 8, 2012.
In English.

View the filmed conversation here:


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The panel discuss the following questions:
What is unique for the Chinese contemporary art scene? What makes it different from the West? The relationship individual / collective – it is possible to “read” that in the art? The personnel resources that exist in connection with the creation of art in China – it is a strength or a weakness? Can art be free in a non-democracy?

Panel:

Lars Nittve, Executive Director of M+, Hong Kong.
Jérôme Sans, international curator and Director of Creation and Chief Editor of the magazine L’Officiel Art. Former director of Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing.
Uli Sigg, significant collector of contemporary Chinese art.
Karen Smith, writer, critic and curator based in Beijing.
Moderator: David Neuman, founding director of Magasin 3, Stockholm, and affiliated professor at Stockholm University.

Lars Nittve

Lars Nittve was born in Stockholm in 1953. After studies at the Stockholm School of Economics and a M.A. at Stockholm University he served as lecturer in art history at the University of Stockholm during the period 1978-85. During the same period he held a post as Senior Art Critic at the daily Svenska Dagbladet, Stockholm, and contributed regularly to Artforum magazine, New York. In 1986 Nittve was appointed Chief curator at the Moderna Museet in Stockholm, where he curated a large number of high profile exhibitions – among them Walter De Maria, Kandinsky in Sweden, Hilma af Klint and the seminal Implosion – a Postmodern Perspective. 1990-95 he served as founding Director of Rooseum – Center for Contemporary Art – in Malmö, Sweden. In 1995, Nittve became Director of the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Humlebaek, Denmark, where he also curated the exhibition Sunshine & Noir – Art in L.A. 1960-1997. In the spring of 1998, he was named the first Director of Tate Modern, London, which opened in May 2000.

In 2001, he took up his post as Director of Moderna Museet in Stockholm where he also, in 2004 co-curated the thematic exhibition Fashination about the dialogue between art and fashion, and Time and Place: Los Angeles 1957-1968 (2008); Antony McCall (2009) and Ed Ruscha: Fifty Years of Painting (2010). During his time at the Moderna Museet he initiated a campaign for strengthening the collection – including The Second Museum of Our Wishes, which focuses on bringing more works by women artists into the collection and raising 70 million USD. The creation of the Renzo Piano designed Pontus Hultén Study Gallery, The American Friends of the Moderna Museet Inc. and the Moderna Museet Malmö, opened in 2009.

Lars Nittve has served on the jury of numerous international prizes and been on the board of large number of international art organizations. He is the author of several books on art, as well as articles in journals and catalogues in Sweden and abroad. In 2009 he was awarded a Ph.D. H.C by Umeå University, Sweden, where he also since 2010 is Professor in Art History. He is a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Fine Art. In the end of 2010 Lars Nittve left his post as Director of the Moderna Museet. Since January 2011 he is the Executive Director of M+, the future innovative museum of visual culture in the West Kowloon District in Hong Kong.

Jérôme Sans

Jérôme Sans is an internationally renowned curator, cultural agitator and pioneer. Jérôme Sans, former director of the ground breaking Ullens Center for Contemporary Art in Beijing and co-founder and founding director of the acclaimed Palais de Tokyo, Paris. Currently he is the Director of Creation and Chief Editor of the magazine L’Officiel Art.

Uli Sigg

Uli Sigg, born 1946, grew up in Switzerland. He completed his studies with a Ph.D. of the University of Zurich’s Law Faculty. He then worked as journalist and editor for various Swiss newspapers and magazines. From 1977 to 1990 he joined the Schindler Group where he held positions as Area Manager for Asia Pacific and later Member of the Group Executive Committee and Shareholders Board. In 1980 he established the first joint venture between China and the West and remained its Vice Chairman for ten years. He then served on the boards of a number of global companies until 1995 when the Swiss federal government appointed him the ambassador to China, North Korea and Mongolia for four years. Upon his return to Switzerland he re-assumed the chairmanship or board membership of several multinational companies such as Ringier Media Group, Vitra Design Co. Infront Sports and advisor to Herzog De Meuron architects. Presently he also serves as member of the Advisory Board of China Development Bank and other Chinese entities. Altogether he spent many years in China, following the opening up of China and its contemporary art scene from day one, and he has formed a substantial collection of contemporary Chinese art with over 2000 works. In 1997 he established the Chinese Contemporary Art Award (CCAA), an art award for Chinese contemporary artists living in China, and, in 2007, the CCAA Art Critic Award. He is a member of the International Council of New York MoMA and International Advisory Council of Tate Modern, London. Works from the Sigg Collection will next be exhibited in National Portray Gallery, Canberra, September 2012.

Karen Smith

Karen Smith moved from England to Beijing in 1992. Since that time she has become known as a writer, critic and curator, specializing in China’s new art; contemporary practice in the post-Mao era. In January 2006, she published Nine Lives: The Birth of Avant-Garde Art in New China (Scalo, Zurich; updated edition Timezone 8, Beijing, August 2008). She has written widely on photography, including The Chinese; Photography and Video Art from China, pub. Kunstmuseum Wolfsberg 2004, Reinterpretations: A Decade of Experimental Art in China, for Guangzhou Triennial, 2002, China Portrait of a Country, pub. Taschen, 2008; Chen Man, a monograph on China’s leading fashion photographer, pub. 3030 Press. Other books include a monograph titled Ai Weiwei for Phaidon Contemporary Artist Series, and Bang to Boom: Chinese Art in the 1990s.

Her curatorial work includes The Real Thing at Tate Liverpool, 2007, as well as museum projects including the Watarium, Tokyo (Crack in the Continent, 1997), Kunstmuseum Wolfsberg, Germany (The Chinese, 2004), and Queen’s Museum, New York (Yue Minjun solo show, 2007). Work with arts organizations and galleries include Revolutionary Capitals: Beijing in London, ICA, 1999, Illumination; Ai Weiwei and Tibetan Plateau, Beijing Girls: Liu Xiaodong both at Mary Boone Gallery 2008. Recent exhibitions include Subtlety, at Platform China Beijing 2008, China Portrait of a Country (December 2008); Music to My Eyes (April 2009); Hive (April 2011): Penetrate: Shi Jinsong Solo Exhibition (May 2011) all at Today Art Museum, Beijing. Karen’s latest book As Seen: Seminal Works by Chinese Artists is out May 2012.

Moderator: David Neuman

David Neuman is one of the founders and the director of Magasin 3. After 25 years the institution has evolved into one of Europe’s leading venues for contemporary art and with it’s collection created a major art museum.

During his years at Magasin 3 David Neuman has created a number of important exhibitions of artists like Bruce Nauman, Agnes Martin, Fred Sandback, and also the Swedish artists Annika von Hausswolff and Lars Nilsson. David Neuman is affiliated professor at Stockholm University’s education for aspiring curators.

”Words can be deleted but the facts won't be deleted with them.”