Nanjing International Art Festival
Nanjing, Jiangsu, China
12 November 2016 to 12 February 2017 

“We do not want to always use words like ‘Eastern’ and ‘Western’ or ‘Nation’ and ‘World’ to discuss differences and problems.”  

The annual Nanjing International Art Festival (NJIAF), one of the leading contemporary art festivals in China, it runs from 12 November 2016 to 12 February 2017, and with over 200,000 visitors, 400 artworks and projects, and 315 participating artists, offers an unprecedented opportunity for visitors and art lovers to become immersed in China’s thriving art scene and to explore contemporary works by emerging artists from Asia and around the world.

For its third edition, the Festival will explore the theme HISTORICODE: Scarcity and Supply, co-curated by renowned Chinese curator Lü Peng and Letizia Ragaglia, director of Museion, the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art of Bolzano, Italy. Participating artists have been asked to respond to the notion: what kind of history do we choose to shape?

Lü Peng, chief-curator: “The theme reflects on a shift of perception and production in the art world in recent years – namely after the 1990’s. Artworks and artists have been affected by the role and place the art market has taken. What are the codes for art assessment and what makes art history in this time frame? We do not want to always use words like ‘Eastern’ and ‘Western’ or ‘Nation’ and ‘World’ to discuss differences and problems, but rather we should seek the juxtaposition of experiences from both the local and from different regions, while observing and making judgments under the contemporary backdrop of globalisation.”

Held in Nanjing, the capital of China’s eastern Jiangsu province, at the new Baijia Lake Museum, which was recently renovated by award-winning architect Zhang Can, the Festival will feature a dynamic mix of prominent art exhibitors and leading art galleries, alternative art practices and a rich cultural program that includes talks with distinguished artists, curators, critics and collectors.

The Festival features more than 400 artworks and projects by 315 artists from 42 different countries and regions. Highlights include works from acclaimed Chinese artists such as Qiu Anxiong, Zeng Fanzhi, the Gao Brothers, Wang Jianwei, Qiu Jiongjiong, Yang Maoyuan, Yue Minjun, Wang Qingsong, Wang Renzheng (a.k.a. Nut Brother), Li Shan and Xie Xiaoze; South Korean artists Lee Changwon, Lim Minouk, Lee Wan, Jung Yeondoo and Lee Yongbaek, as well as artists from around the world, including Adel Abdessemed (Algeria, 1971), Jennifer Allora & Guillermo Calzadilla (Philippines & Cuba), Joseph Beuys (Germany), Claire Fontaine (France), Anna Maria Maiolino (Italy), Teresa Margolles (Mexico), Adrian Paci (Albania), Chim Pom (Japan), Walid Raad / The Atlas Group (Lebanon), Pratchaya Phinthong (Thailand), Santiago Sierra (Spain) and Francesco Vezzoli (Italy).

Co-curator Letizia Ragaglia: “An important criterion in the selection of the Chinese, Korean and Western artists for the show was their potential ability to merge with one another. Their artistic perspectives offer new readings of recent history and emphasise how being contemporary is characterised by a stratification of different and specific cultural and social traditions.”

The Festival’s programme and artist selection has been supported by an international curatorial committee that includes Heidi Ballet (Belgium), Du Xiyun (China), Fu Xiaodong (China), Katie Geha (USA), Gu Chengfeng (China), He Guiyan (China), Lee Janguk (South Korea), Carol Yinghua Lu (China) and Nathalie Boseul Shin (South Korea).

Yan Lugen, Chairman of the Nanjing International Art Festival and Founder of the Baijia Lake International Culture Investment Group: “Our curators have identified and confirmed a brilliant list of artists and works that explore our theme. It is an honour to provide a platform for these to be exhibited in Nanjing. Our goal is to create bridges between Western and Eastern artists and to showcase how contemporary their work is. Bringing such a diversity of exemplary works to Nanjing, we aim to share a slice of recent art history with the local audience as well as to bring Nanjing to the attention of the art world at large.”