Land of the Lustrous

2019.4.23 - 2019.9.8


Location:  UCCA Dune, Aranya Gold Coast

From April 23 to September 8, 2019, UCCA Dune presents “Land of the Lustrous,” encompassing work by ten artists both in and beyond China. Each artwork in this exhibition relates—materially or formally—to the figure of the stone, approaching this age-old object from novel perspectives. Participating artists weave their individual concerns together, drawing from, and sinking into, ancient collective memories. “Land of the Lustrous”—UCCA Dune’s first summer exhibition—has been devised to fit the unique spatial characteristics of the building, and the surrounding environment. Designed by by Li Hu and Huang Wenjing of OPEN Architecture, UCCA Dune is nestled in the sand by the BohaiSea in the Aranya Gold Coast Community, 300 kilometers from Beijing. As with all of UCCA’s endeavors, this exhibition proceeds from UCCA’s core mission ofbringing urgent positions in contemporary art, both Chinese and international, to an ever-widening viewing public. The exhibition is curated by UCCA Curator Yang Zi.

Artworks in “Land of the Lustrous” serve as explorations of a single animistbelief: that rock, a piece of seemingly inert matter, is actually endowed with life and thought. Wang Sishun’s Apocalypse 16.9.1, for example, personifies a collection of three found stones; arrayed in a line, they stand rigidly upright, in cautious dialogue, as if participating in a tense religious rite. Zhao Yao, Lin Xue, and Miguel Angel Ríos, similarly, have selected stones of unassuming appearance and brought them to life by cleverly manipulating their details, positions, and “postures”: Zhao Yao has placed an enormous red Mani stone on the margin of sand and sea surrounding UCCA Dune, like a giant cell, absorbing sunlight; Lin Xue has drawn a series of fruit pits, collected from a mountainousforest, transforming them into a set of heavenly bodies, or a life system. Ríos’s film records a cascade of tumbling spheroid stones, reminding viewers of the vigorous movements of antelope.

The proposition that stone “is alive” results in several ancillary questions—is humankind the measure of the universe? Is it shortsighted to base values solely on human needs, universalizing our limited ways of understanding the world? As urbanization and modernization progress, will such nearsighted forms of knowledge bring about a corresponding rise in alienation? After all, only humans can consume, produce, and create surplus value in the world of capital; in this game, “nature” can serve only as dead material. Timur Si-qin and Su-Mei Tsestrive to imagine models and rubrics that are separate from “nature itself.” Si-qin’s Juniper, produced in 2019, is a kind of billboard for the Anthropocene, advertising the spatial and temporal concepts attendant to this new epoch. Su-Mei Tse’s “Stone Collection,” on the other hand, reminds viewers of the Ancient Chinese custom of collecting oddly-shaped stones to serve as foci for ouryearning for nature, for mountains and water. Tse’s presentation of these stones, however, carries a touch of the existential—as we are faced with the inhuman, shaped as it has been over millennia, does our tendency to measure time by our own lifespans not seem absurd? Li Weiyi’s Cairn gives a humorous take on this absurdity: as viewers wear VR goggles, they are transported to the interior of a stone, its sturdiness fusing with that of their bodies.

Other artists use these mysterious, self-contained images to create a spectral stage on which to perform their own, fantastic tales. Lu Pingyuan has taken thestory of an art collective, “Meteorite Hunters,” scouring the earth for fallen meteorites and launching them back into outer space, and carved it on the surfaces of three stones. Yan Xing has enacted one of his own stories of industrial design in Republican Era China, featuring the radiant exchange between a piece of jade and an indoor light fixture. Wang Xiaoqu’s paintings explore the rich middle ground between two different interpretations of a photograph—that of the photographer, and that of the artist. Wang purposefully “misunderstands” photos of everyday life and of travel, and turns Chinese sayings—such as “feeling for stones as one advances”—into outlandish diagrams.

The exhibition also provides a series of myths—many from China’s deep antiquity— that center on the figure of the stone, forming an interpretive framework for the artworks. These visual misreadings closely resemble the oral transmission—and mutation—of myths. As the Chinese scholar Yuan Ke has said, “the circulation and evolution of popular myths is a complex affair, one that is difficult to investigate.” In this exhibition, a discourse based on precedent and change links to a more capacious visual system, an interchange that dependsless on precision than on inspiration. “Land of the Lustrous” hopes to uncover and awaken several possibilities often overlooked in the context of contemporary art. China has a long, fruitful history of worshiping stone deities; this most ordinary of objects has gained an aura of ineffability in popular consciousness. This aura suffuses the artworks, too, circumventing that anxiety plaguing Wittgenstein as he described “pictures placed in language.”

About UCCA Dune

UCCA Dune is an art museum buried under a sand dune by the Bohai Sea in Beidaihe, 300 kilometers east of Beijing. Designed by OPEN Architecture, its galleries unfold over a series of cell-like spaces that evoke caves. Some are naturally lit from above, while others open out onto the beach. As a branch of UCCA, China’s leading independent institution of contemporary art, it presents rotating exhibitions in dialogue with its particular site and space. UCCA Dune is built and supported by UCCA strategic partner Aranya, and located within the Aranya Gold Coast Community.

About the Artists

Zhao Yao

Zhao Yao (b. 1981, Sichuan, lives and works in Beijing) graduated from the Sichuan Fine Arts Institute in 2004. His solo exhibitions include “51m: 3# Zhao Yao” (Taikang Space, Beijing, 2010); “Zhao Yao: I Am Your Night” and “Zhao Yao: You Can’t See Me, You Can’t See Me” (Beijing Commune, 2011 and 2012); “Spirit Above All” (Pace Gallery, London, 2013); “A Painting of Thought” (Pace Gallery, Hong Kong, 2015); “The Power of Nature: A Ten Thousand Square Meter Painting in Beijing” (Beijing Workers’ Stadium, 2018); and “Signals from Heaven, Signals from Heaven” (Beijing Commune, 2018). His work has also been exhibited at Tate Modern (London, 2010), Fremantle Arts Centre (Australia, 2011), Rubell Family Collection (Miami, 2013), Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum (Michigan, 2013), Pinchuk Art Centre (Ukraine, 2013), ZKM Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe (Germany, 2013), and UCCA Center for Contemporary Art (Beijing, 2013). Most recently, he was selected to participate in “Focus Beijing: the De Heus-Zomer Collection” (Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, Netherlands, 2014); “Inside China” (Palais de Tokyo, Paris, 2014), and “Adventures of the Black Square: Abstract Art and Society 1915–2015” (Whitechapel Gallery, London, 2015).

Lu Pingyuan

Lu Pingyuan (b. 1984, Zhejiang, lives and works in Shanghai) has held solo exhibitions including “HOME ALONE” (MadeIn Gallery, Shanghai, China, 2017); “Hidden Treasure” (The Galaxy Museum of Contemporary Art, Chongqing, China, 2017); “James Stanley-The Seventh Earl of Derby” (Center for Chinese Contemporary Art, United Kingdom, 2016); “ON KAWARA” (MadeIn Gallery, China, 2016); “Unexpected Discoveries” (MadeIn Gallery, Shanghai, 2015); “Waiting for an Artist” (Goethe Open Space, Goethe Institute, Shanghai, 2013); “Not Included” (Hemuse Gallery, Beijing, 2012); “Time Capsule” (Gallery Box, Gothenburg, Sweden, 2011). His recent group shows include “GUCCI x Maurizio Cattelan” (Yuz Museum, Shanghai, China, 2018); “ZHONGGUO 2185” (Sadie Coles HQ, London, UK, 2017); “A Beautiful Disorder” (Cass Sculpture Foundation, England, 2016); “Mountain Sites: Views of Laoshan” (Si Fang Art Museum, Nanjing, 2016); “3rd Ural Industrial Biennial of Contemporary Art” (Ural, Russia, 2015); and “Reflections of Minds” (Museum of Contemporary Art, Shanghai, China, 2010). His work has also been included in the 11th Shanghai Biennale and the 9th Liverpool Biennale.

Li Weiyi

Li Weiyi (b.1987) received her BFA from Tongji University in 2009, her MFA from Yale University in 2012 and her PHD from Royal College of Art in 2019. Her recent solo shows include “Hive-Becoming XXVIII Weiyi Li: Personal Statement” (Hive Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing, 2017) and “Input” (Art Data Lab, Beijing, 2015). Her recent group shows include “Pity Party” (Sleep Center, New York, 2018); “Scraggly Beard Grandpa” (Capsule Shanghai, Shanghai, 2017); “Drawing Pogo” (Taikang Space, Beijing, 2017); “The Amoy Meat Factory” (Shanghai Contemporary Art Museum, Shanghai, 2016); “Mountain Sites: Views of Laoshan” (Sifang Art Museum, Nanjing, 2016); “Extravagant Imagination, the Wonder of Idleness” (Made in Gallery, Shanghai, 2016); “Re-” (Flux Factory, New York, 2016); “Middle Ground” (C-Space, Beijing, 2015); and “Go East: 50 Contemporary Photobooks from China 2009-2014” (FORMAT International Photography Festival 15, Derby, 2015). She was nominated for the Huayu Youth Award in 2018.

Lin Xue

Lin Xue (b. 1968, Fujian, lives and works in Hong Kong) has held solo exhibitions such as “The Sixth Day” (Gallery EXIT, Hong Kong, 2011); “Whispers in the Wind” (Gallery EXIT, 2008); and “Song (pine)” (Gallery EXIT, 2018). His recent group shows include “Il Palazzo Enciclopedico (The Encyclopedic Palace)” (The 55th International Art Exhibition, Italy, 2013); “Phantoms of Asia: Contemporary Awakens the Past” (Asian Art Museum, San Francisco, USA, 2012); and “Manulife Young Artists Series” (Hong Kong Art Centre, Hong Kong, 1995). His work has appeared in Art Basel Hong Kong 2018 (Gallery EXIT, Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, Hong Kong, 2018) and the Hong Kong Art Biennial Exhibition 1998 (Hong Kong Museum of Art, 1998).

Miguel Angel Rios

Miguel Angel Rios (b.1943, Argentina, lives and works in Mexico City and New York) has participated in solo exhibitions such as “A Trilogy” (Gallery Wendi Norris, San Francisco, 2016); “Landlocked” (Arizona State University Art Museum, Phoenix, 2015); “White Suit” (Galerie Thomas Schulte, Berlin, 2008); “A Morir” (Phoenix Art Museum, Phoenix, 2006); “Concentrations 49: Miguel Angel Rios” (Dallas Museum of Art, Texas, 2006); “Miguel Angel Rios” (Galeria de Arte Ruth Benzacar, Buenos Aires, 2005); “Miguel Angel Rios” (Galerie Thomas Schulte, Berlin, 2003); and “Ni me busques…no me encuentras” (White Box, New York, 2003). His group exhibitions include “Special Projects” (P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, New York, 2001); “The Edge of Awareness” (P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, New York, 1998); and “Mapping” (Museum of Modern Art, New York, 1994). His work has been included 13th Biennale de Lyon (2015); the Liverpool Biennial (2010); and the 5th Seoul International Media Art Biennale (2008).

Timur Si-Qin

Timur Si-Qin (b. 1984, Berlin, Germany) graduated from University of Arizona, Tucson, USA in 2008. His recent solo shows include “East, South, West, North” (Magician Space, Beijing, 2018); “A Place Like This” (Team Gallery, Los Angeles, 2016); “Biogenic Mineral” (Magician Space, Beijing, 2015); and “Mainstream” (Societe, Berlin, 2011). His recent group shows include “Back to Nature?” (Salon Berlin, Berlin, 2018); “Produktion, Made in Germany Drei” (Sprengel Museum, Hannover, 2017); “History of Nothing” (White Cube, London, 2016); “Art Post-Internet” (UCCA Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing, 2014); “The Great Acceleration” (Taipei Biennial, 2014); “The Independent: Dreams That Money Can’t Buy” (MAXXI Museum, Rome, 2014); “Ways beyond the internet” (DLD 2012, Munich, 2012); and “Performance Anxiety” (Stadium, New York, 2011). His work appeared in the 9th Berlin Biennale (2016).

Wang Sishun

Wang Sishun (b. 1979, Wuhan) is a graduate of China Central Academy of Fine Arts.

His solo exhibitions include “Apocalypse” (Long March Space, Beijing, 2016); “51m2” (Taikang Space, Beijing, 2010); and “Truth” (New Galerie, Paris, 2015). His artwork has been included in the Thailand Biennale, the Japan Echigo-TsumariART Triennial, the Yinchuan Biennale, the Romania Biennale, the Ural Industrial Biennial of Contemporary Art, and the Manchester Asian Art Triennial. His work has been exhibited at Tai Kwun Contemporary, the Salomon Contemporary Art Foundation, Georgia National Gallery, CASS Sculpture Foundation, Austria Graz Gallery, Daimler Art Center, Istanbul Borusan Contemporary, UCCA Center for Contemporary Art, National Art Museum of China, and Centro per l'ArteContemporanea Luigi Pecci. He is the recipient of a nomination for the 2015 Huayu Youth Award, and the 2016 Asian Cultural Council prize.

Wang Xiaoqu

Wang Xiaoqu (b.1987, Guilin, China) received her B.A and M.A. from the Sichuan Fine Arts Institute in 2009 and 2014. Her recent group shows include “Spiral Stairs” (AIKE-DELLARCO, Shanghai, 2018); “The Latch” (C-Space+Local, Beijing, 2017); and “Atmosphere” (Inside-Out Art Museum, Beijing, 2015). Her recent solo shows include “Condo Shanghai: Wang Xiaoqu” (AIKE-DELLARCO, Shanghai, 2018).

Su-Mei Tse

Su-Mei Tse (b. 1973, Luxembourg) graduated from Ecole Nationale Superieuredes Beaux-Arts in 2000. Her recent solo shows include “Su-Mei Tse: L’Echo” (Portland Museum of Art, 2018); “Elegy” (Edouard Malingue Gallery, Hong Kong, 2017); “Distant Voices” (Galerie Tschudi, Zuoz, 2011); “Words and Memories” (Peter Blum Gallery Chelsea, New York, 2009); “Su-Mei Tse” (Art Tower Mito, Mito, 2009); “East Wind” (Seattle Art Museum, Seattle, 2008); “P.S.1” (Contemporary Art Center, New York, 2006); and “Su-Mei Tse: Video Works” (Franklin Artworks, Minneapolis, 2005).

Her recent group shows include “Steichen! Making Meaning of a Legacy” (Palaisdes Beaux-Arts, Bruxelles, 2015); “Rhythm in it: Vom Rhythmus in der Gegenwartskunst” (Kunsthaus, Aarau, 2013); and “Quiet Attentions: Departure From Women” (Art Tower Mito, Mito, 2011). Her work has also appeared in the 21st Biennale of Sydney (2018). Tse received the Prix International d’ArtContemporain, Fondation Prince Pierre in Monaco (2009); the Golden Lion for Best National Participation in the 50th Biennale di Venezia (2003); and the Prix d’Art Robert Schuman (2001). Her work has been collected by the New Museum of Contemporary Art (New York) and has been published in the catalogue for the 50th Biennale di Venezia.

Yan Xing

Yan Xing (b.1986, Chongqing, lives and works in Los Angeles and Beijing) graduated from Sichuan Fine Arts Institute in 2009. His solo exhibitions include “Dangerous Afternoon” (Kunsthalle Basel, Switzerland, 2017); “Nuit et brouvillard” (Galerie Urs Meile, Switzerland, 2016); and “Thief” (Galerie UrsMeile, Beijing, 2015). His recent group shows include “The 8th of Paths” (Uferhallen, Germany, 2014); “China China” (Pinchuk Art Centre, Ukraine, 2013); “Future Generation Art Prize” (Pinchuk Art Centre, Ukraine, 2012); and “You Are Not a Gadget” (Pekin Fine Arts, Beijing, 2011). His work has appeared in the 3rd Ural Industrial Biennial of Contemporary Art” (Russia, 2015); the 3rd Moscow International Biennale for Young Art” (Central House of Artists, Russia, 2012); and the 7th Shenzhen Sculpture Biennale” (OCT Contemporary Art Terminal, Shenzhen, 2012). He is the recipient of the Chinese Contemporary Art Award, Best Young Artist category, and a nomination for the Future Generation Art Prize in Ukraine.

Works in the exhibition

View All

Wang Xiaoqu

Green Screen

oil on canvas
60 X 80 cm

Miguel Angel Rios

Piedras Blancas


Lin Xue

Untitled (2012-3)

ink on paper
45 x 5 x 83 cm

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Land of the Lustrous



Land of the Lustrous


Installation Views

Installation Views

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