Anahita Razmi, 'Wall Links Floor Links', (2017). Installation view. Courtesy the artist + Project:1, Beijing.
Lee Hilbrink, 'Ersatz Romans' (2017) Installation view. Courtesy the artist + Project:1, Beijing.
Martin Kohout, 'Skinsmooth-Soyshades' (2017) Installation view. Courtesy the artist + Project:1, Beijing.
Martin Kohout, 'Smoothmint' (2017) Installation view. Courtesy the artist + Project:1, Beijing.
Nina Wiesnagrotzki, 'Cooler Warmer' (2017) Installation view. Courtesy the artist + Project:1, Beijing.
Nina Wiesnagrotzki, 'Nongfu Spring' (2017) Installation view. Courtesy the artist + Project:1, Beijing.
Wu Ding, 'An occasional content and a form of necessity' (2017) Installation view. Courtesy the artist + Project:1, Beijing.

Anna-Viktoria Eschbach shares her favourite Chinese artists ahead of the Berlin debut of Beijing’s I: project space

, 4 April 2017

Curatorial duo Anna-Viktoria Eschbach and Antonie Angerer’s I: project space functions as a place for connecting different cultures and multiple perspectives. The Beijing-based residency and exhibition programme provides an environment for the initiation and exchange of ideas, one that they’ll be taking with them across continents, from China to Germany, for upcoming exhibition Its blueness soothes the sharp burn in your eyes, opening at Berlin’s Loris, opening April 7 and running to May 1.

Shen Xin, ‘Counting Blessings’ (2014). Video still. Courtesy the artist.

The group show — which features work by previous I: project space residents Wu Ding, Martin Kohout, Lee & Michiel Hilbrink, Anahita Razmi and Nina Wiesnagrotzki — will ‘incubate’ the Potsdamer Straße building, acting as a satellite project that functions as a form of hybridity between the two places. Formed out of ungraspable fragments, post-factual information and social/economic uncertainty, the participating artists will imagine alternate realities and play with the concept of a re-arrangement; a premise that Eschbach and Angerer are exploring in their curatorial endeavours. 

Founded in 2014 and devoted to international exchange, the non-profitI: project space seeks to “to start new dialogue independent from the already existing one,” while fostering artists’ practices’ outside of the commercial art market. Some previous projects of theirs include conferences On Display – Curating in China at the CAFA Museum and Overwhelming Imagination at the Si Shang Museum. They have also, in collaboration with Jannis Schulze, developed Beijing22; a platform set up to analyze and document “the urban development in Peking towards the Winter Olympics in 2022.” They also run Tria Publishing Platform with Sonja Zagermann and produced the first app for Beijing’s independent art spaces (IAS) with the Hexiangning Museum.
He Xiangyu, ‘Finish’ (2010). Courtesy the artist.
In advance of the Its blueness soothes the sharp burn in your eyes exhibition opening, Eschbach shares with us her favourite Chinese artists and takes us through their diverse practices. They reflect on multiple realities, ranging from the internet censorship of the GWF (Great Firewall of China), the re-staging of staging through performance, ever-changing environments and augmentation, to the Beijing electronic music scene and the subversions within a ‘strongly State-run’ art system.

Miao Ying

Miao Ying’s works inhabit multiple forms (the browser, apps, print, and installation) and are all meticulously cataloged on her website, titled ‘the dead pixel of my eye.’ The source and focus of her research is the online culture behind the so-called Great Firewall, specifically its strange and original GIFs and viral media. As part of her project Chinternet Plus, Miao explores the notion that the Chinternet (the Chinese internet) and the emancipated global internet exist as a set of binary oppositions. They’re characterized by the dichotomies of avant-garde artist, versus the state and repression, versus emancipation, a much-exercised stereotype in writings on contemporary Chinese art.

Miao’s work highlights that the internet in China is rich with humor, subversive strategies for evading censorship and often playful critiques on the predominantly insane and banal content which the GFW actually ends up restricting. Her works illustrate that, in many ways, China’s internet is in fact fertile ground for creative expression, and a humorous and playful outlet for critical discussion that blends satire with popular cultural and social commentary.

Lu Yang

Lu Yang has produced a series of boundary-pushing multimedia works that explore neuroscience, mortality and religion. In ‘Uterus Man’ (2013), she collaborated with musicians, manga artists and others to create a project centered on an anime-style character called Uterus Man who rides a pelvis chariot and skateboards on a winged sanitary pad.


Menghan is an electronic music producer from Beijing. Her style is a mix of minimal beats, spherical developments, and subtly pounding deep techno as welcome on the dance floor as it is in a contemplative headphone space out. Menghan has a background as a singer/songwriter and is deeply immersed in Beijing’s electronic and experimental music scenes. Her music is a personal account of urban spaces and a reflection on the individual in an ever-changing environment.

Lin Ke

Mixing images he is finding on social media platform and electronic music, Lin Ke is creating videos where he is researching new forms of visual aesthetic in our daily use of computer operating systems. Together with tria publishing platform Lin Ke published an augumented artist book ‘lin_ke’ in 2016 that makes it possible to use the book as a documentation of Lin Ke’s videos in chronological order from 2010 to 2016 and link it to the original videos itself. Via a free augmented reality app, the reader can bring the files to life and watch the videos. The years are divided through text pages and pages with full-bled pictures from Lin Ke’s videos which let the reader immerse into the artist’s world. This way of viewing Lin Ke’s aesthetic universe is mimicking the intended way of viewing the videos and stresses the important aspect of manual movements in the work of the artist. It also allows the augmented reality content to be always updated and so stay in an ongoing exchange with technological development. The reader will be guided through the book with text messages of the artist which will be displayed at the end of a video. With using the app, the reader is also implementing a digital performance.

Wu Ding

Wu Ding’s practice is quintessentially the gigantic undertaking of an ontological reflection upon art and the world. He aspires to explore the perceptible but indescribable ‘inner order’ hidden in the world — perhaps the only fulcrum that can move the it.

In a world made up of matter and phenomena, how does matter become entities that we perceive with our senses and yet exist as a part of phenomena? Does matter truly exist? What is our understanding of the nature of the phenomenal world?

Wu Ding, ‘A plane without surface’ (2012-2015). Install view. Courtey the artists.

He Xiangyu

He Xiangyu is best known for sculptural works combining comedy and high concept. In 2008, He Xiangyu launched his Cola Project, for which he boiled down 127 tons of Coca Cola over the course of a year to extract a crystalline residue resembling soil and a black liquid. He then put lumps of the corrosive mass in museum display cases and used the liquid to paint landscapes in the style of the Song dynasty.

Fang Lu

Fang Lu’s practice focuses on strategies of staging, re-staging and performance through the medium of video. From karaoke style sing-a-longs to reenacted events amd instructional ‘How To’ vignettes, Fang Lu’s work seeks to uncover the space between mimesis and veracity, repetition and singularity. It dissects and literally re-presents specific actions and behaviors in front of the camera as a way of elevating the mundane to the realm of performance and merging real-time action or making to the act of recording itself. Fang Lu is also a co-founder of Video Bureau, an independent video archive resource in Beijing and Guangzhou.

Fang Lu, ‘Canton Novelty’ (2016). Video still. Courtesy the artist.

Shen Xin

Shen Xin is a so-called (yi’erdai) or second-generation artist, born in artistic families with strong connections to the official (socialist and strongly State-run) art system. Shen Xin targets that herself and enacts an aesthetic interrogation of her father, who specialized in naturalistic portraits of Tibetan minorities. For the documentary film Counting Blessings, made between 2012 and 2014, Shen took her camera and traveled into Tibetan areas with her father. While he staged photographs with local Tibetans, she sought out the gaps between his photo shoots, where traces of Han Chinese fantasies about Tibetans could be found. She raised issues concerning visuality and power and the give-and-take between the producer and the subject of an image, as well as production and exploitation.**

Beijing’s I: project space presents the Its blueness soothes the sharp burn in your eyes group exhibition at Berlin’s Loris, Potsdamer Straße 65, opening April 7 and running to May 1, 2017.