Aranya Art Center 2023 Exhibition Programme

Aranya Art Center is pleased to announce its 2023 exhibition programme featuring: the first solo museum exhibitions in China of Mexican artist Gabriel Kuri and Indian artist Shilpa Gupta, as well as the group exhibition The Land of Exile, co-organised by guest curators Leo Li Chen and Mijoo Park.

In 2023, Aranya Art Center will launch ‘Gallery 0’, a new independent exhibition space that creates a more flexible exhibition programme. In Gallery 0, Aranya Art Center will present the first solo exhibition of Chinese artist Michelle Wang Yiyi, the first exhibition of Soviet-born Swedish artist Alina Chaiderov in China, and the first institutional solo exhibition of Chinese artist Wang Zhibo.

Meanwhile, Aranya Art Center will launch a new exhibition series Videos by the Sea in collaboration with Aranya Library. The first projects in this series will feature solo exhibitions of Chinese artist Han Qian and Vietnamese artist Nguyễn Trinh Thi, which will be on view in the spring and autumn of 2023.

2023.03 - 06

Gallery 1 – 5: Gabriel Kuri

Gabriel Kuri’s practice employs the use of the everyday. By weaving forms forged and manipulated by his hand, along with found objects, Kuri investigates rational structures of value, function and exchange. Interested in numerical categorisation, both in economic and hierarchical structures, Kuri filters and extracts visual and linguistic value through a process of physical construction and conceptual selection, with the objective of understanding the present world.

Gabriel Kuri was born in 1970 in Mexico City and currently lives and works in Brussels, Belgium. Recent solo exhibitions include sorted, resorted, WIELS, Brussels (2019); with personal thanks to their contractual thingness, Aspen Art Museum, Aspen (2014); Bergen Kunsthall, Bergen (2012); Before Contingency After the Fact, South London Gallery, London (2011); nobody needs to know the price of your saab, The Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston (2011); join the dots and make a point, Kunstverein Freiburg, Freiburg, Germany (2010). 

Gabriel Kuri, Untitled (Tongues and Holes III), 2021
Photography Mareike Tocha
Courtesy of the artist

Gabriel Kuri, Thank You Tray (wedges 1), 2022
Courtesy of the artist and Sadie Coles HQ

Gallery 0: Michelle Wang Yiyi

Humans often engage with nature from an outsider’s perspective. How do we shift our approach to form more symbiotic relationships with trees, collaborate with ants or build an underground network for interspecies communications? Michelle Wang Yiyi sees fungi as mediums with the capacity to bridge the disconnections between humans and the inner world of nature. Through hyphae (branching filaments of a fungus), fungi bio-hack into host organisms to break down, digest and translate their secrets. The extraction of the reconstructed message is then presented in the form of mushrooms. Her works take the form of unconventionally cultivated plants and mushrooms, creating ceramic-based mixed-material sculptures, as well as video and photography.

Michelle Wang Yiyi was born in 1988 in Nanjing and currently lives and works in Shanghai. She received her BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2011 and her MFA from the University of Pennsylvania in 2015. Exhibitions include The Language of Mushrooms: The Interspecies Internet, Contemporary Gallery Kunming (2022); Towards a New Land: Tales of the Ancient Pavilion, Suzhou Garden Art Festival (2021); Project C2C-Melody of Virtual Love, Untitled Art Fair, Miami (2015). She has lectured at Design Shanghai (2015) and the ICA Philadelphia (2015).

Wang Yiyi, Stoneware-Pleurotus Citrinopileatus (detail), 2021
Courtesy of the artist

Videos by the Sea: Han Qian

Artist and writer Han Qian's work focuses on intertwined time and identity deriving from the interplay of reality and imagination, of everydayness and otherness. Using clues drawn from memory, dreams and history, the artist reflects on personal identity and its construction, in an attempt to present her creative projects as a journey that oscillates between the past and the present. Personal experience and memory become intimate clues in this journey, incessantly searching for symbiotic and conversational possibilities with the outside world as well as collective history. The artist employs a variety of mediums such as video, installation, performance and text. Han Qian received her BA in Fine Art Printmaking from the Accademia di Belle Arti di Roma in 2016, and her BA and MA from the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-arts de Paris in 2021.

Currently, Han Qian is investigating the migration and reconstruction of China's iron and steel industry from the north to the south in the twentieth century, within the context of her own family history spanning three generations. She has initiated a series of long-term field-research-based creative projects examining the genealogy of natural resources and political discourses behind this historical narrative, and the changing fates of the individuals within.

Han Qian, In The Stillness Between Two Waves, 2022
4k single channel video, 40:09 min
Courtesy of the artist

2023.07 - 10

Gallery 1 – 5: Shilpa Gupta

Shilpa Gupta works across sculpture, video, installation and performance, exploring how places, people and objects are defined, and asks us to assess ideas of place and belonging. Gupta creates artworks that examine human relations, subjectivity and perception through such themes as desire, conflict, security, technology, borders and censorship. Her work is multi-faceted and often interactive, typically utilising media such as sculpture, installation, text and photography, and regularly displaying a mastery of audio and visual technologies. Considering technology as an extension of body and mind, Gupta possesses a sharp political consciousness towards the role that psychology and aesthetics of different media play in the production of fear. 

Shilpa Gupta (b.1976) lives and works in Mumbai, India where she has studied sculpture at the Sir J. J. School of Fine Arts from 1992 to 1997. Gupta’s work has been shown in leading international institutions and museums such as Tate Modern, Museum of Modern Art, Louisiana Museum, Centre Pompidou, Serpentine Gallery, Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, Mori Museum, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, ZKM, Ishara Art Foundation, Kiran Nadar Museum and Devi Art Foundation.

Shilpa Gupta, We Are Closer Than You Ever Imagined, 2020
Courtesy of the artist

Shilpa Gupta, Untitled, 2016
Courtesy of the artist

Gallery 0: Alina Chaiderov

Alina Chaiderov explores the relationship between personal and collective memory. Through displacements and movements in sculptural compositions, she addresses such themes as matter, time, body and space. Her sensitive and fragile sculptures and installations are fixed within a conceptual tradition, asserting a vigorous material presence, drawing on the artist’s own souvenirs so to highlight – through the prism of her self-representation – an atmosphere, a wider historical, social and cultural background.

Alina Chaiderov was born 1984 in Leningrad, Soviet Union, living in Sweden since the early 1990s. She lives and works between Stockholm and Gothenburg. Recent solo exhibitions feature Fugue State, Ciaccia Levi, Paris (2020); Mending a broken world, Sörmlands Museum, Nyköping (2018); Ark, Art | Basel Statements, Antoine Levi gallery, Basel (2018); A New Memory is Made, Castello di Rivoli, Museo d'Arte Contemporanea, Rivoli – Turin (2016). She received the illy Present Future Award in 2015.

Alina Chaiderov, Caress, 2018
C-print on baryta Hahnemülhe paper, silver aluminum frame
12.5 x 10 cm (print); 40 x 30 cm (frame)
Courtesy of the artist and Ciaccia Levi

2023.10 - 2024.02

Gallery 1 – 5: The Land of Exile

Mobility has never been solid; it is inherently fragile and precarious, forcing us to doubt geographic boundaries. With increased divisions of the world and mobility restrictions, we are living in a state of precarity and lingering in-between. The exhibition The Land of Exile brings the journey of the current predicament of mobility into discussion through multiple scales of community, to rethink the relations of individuality and consensus, and allows us to imagine escaping from transitional states and unpredictable timeliness.  

The exhibition is co-organised by guest curators Leo Li Chen and Mijoo Park.

Leo Li Chen is an independent curator and researcher based in Beijing, China. He was the Director of Research in Magician Space, Beijing, and an independent curator in Hong Kong and mainland China. His main research focuses on geopolitics, performativity and moving images, to explore the complexity of identity and subjectivity that transcends geographical barriers. He has curated the exhibitions, The Racing Will Continue, The Dancing Will Stay (Guangdong Times Museum, Guangzhou, 2019); Today Could Have Been a Happy Day (Taikang Space, Beijing, 2018); That Has Been and Maybe Again (Para Site, Hong Kong, 2016); Adrift (OCAT, Shenzhen, 2016), and so on. He was a resident researcher at Asia Art Archive in 2016 and at MMCA Korea in 2019. He gained the New York curator residency fellowship by Asian Cultural Council in 2019. 

Mijoo Park is an independent curator and researcher based in Seoul, South Korea. She’s been organizing the discursive platform the Bul-teok in Korea. Previously she managed the RAT school of ART, a self-directed artist-run school(2014-2021). Her main curatorial practice investigates modes of institutionality and the roles of different institutions in sustainable artistic practices. She curated exhibitions and projects including Endless Summer (2020-2021, Seoul and Jeju),  Neither Dark Nor Black (Weekend, Seoul, 2020), Anyang Public Art Project (APAP6, Anyang/assistant curator, 2019), Omni-presence (ONE AND J. +1, Seoul, 2018), and Wishy-washy Bodies (Centre A, Vancouver, 2017) and work as associate curator for Frequencies of Tradition (Incheon Art Platform, 2021-2022), grandmothers (Post Territory Ujeongguk, Seoul, 2022). She participated in the 7th Gwangju Biennale International Curator Course (2016), Salzburg Summer Academy(2017), ARKO Creative Academy for Curator (2017), and Mountain School of Arts (2019).

Jiangzhi, The Waves, 2022
13:37 min
Courtesy of the artist

Gallery 0: Wang Zhibo

Wang Zhibo, born in 1981 in Zhejiang Province, lives and works in Hangzhou and Berlin. Her works explore the tangibility and complexity that occurs with the distortion of time and space. Wang challenges the possibilities of these concepts not only within the two-dimensional space, but also with the viewer’s perception and participation in a specific work. Her selected solo exhibitions include Standing Wave, Armory Show New York (2013);  There is a Place with Four Suns in the Sky-Red, White, Blue and Yellow, Kiang Malingue Gallery (2016); He No Longer Looks Human, Kiang Malingue Gallery (2018); Actor, Gallery Weekend Beijing (2020). Her works have also been exhibited at Penrith Regional Gallery Sydney (2014), Villa Vassilieff Paris (2017), Guangdong Times Museum (2017), Berlin Times Art Center (2019), Schloss Oberdiessbach Bern (2021), and Rolando Anselmi Gallery Rome (2021).

Wang Zhibo, Not very Christian, even less Catholic, 2021
Oil and acrylic on canvas, 121 x 86 cm
Courtesy of the artist

Videos by the Sea: Nguyễn Trinh Thi

Based in Hanoi, Nguyễn Trinh Thi is a filmmaker and artist. Traversing boundaries between film, documentary, video art, installation and performance, her practice currently explores the potential of sound and listening, and the multiple relations between image, sound and space with ongoing interests in history, memory, ecology, representation and the unknown. Nguyễn uses montage to compose her work, drawing on different image-media, from her own audio and visual recordings to found footage and still images from postcards, photography, newsreels, Hollywood films and ethnographic footage. She is also interested in incorporating new media into current works, including organic materials and natural forces.

Recent exhibitions include installations at documenta fifteen, the Minneapolis Institute of Art, the 9th Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art, the 21st Biennale of Sydney and the 13th Lyon Contemporary Art Biennale. In 2009, Nguyễn founded Hanoi DOCLAB, an independent center for documentary film and moving images in Hanoi. 

Nguyễn Trinh Thi, Letters from Panduranga, 2015
Film still
Courtesy of the artist