With Lu Peng as General Curator and Letizia Ragaglia as Joint Curator, the 3rd Nanjing International Art Festival will formally begin on June 1, 2016. This edition of the festival will open to the public at 3 pm on November 12, 2016. It will run from that day until February 12， 2017. The exhibition venue will be the Baijia Lake Museum.
Ⅰ、The Development of the Nanjing International Art Festival
Since 2014, the Baija Lake International Culture Investment Group has worked hard to build the Nanjing International Art Festival, with the first two exhibitions being highly successful. On October 8, 2014, Baijia Lake opened the 1st Nanjing International Art Festival, the first privately run major international art exhibition in China, at the Nanjing International Expo Center. Over 5,000 artists actively responded, a total that included those from nearby areas and also foreign artists from over 20 countries. In total 1011 works were shown and the attendance reached 200,000. The first festival had a method of combining invitational exhibition with open call exhibition, having three exhibition sections: "Homage to the Masters - World Art Masters Exhibition," "Weighty Footsteps - Senior Invited Artists Exhibition," "Scenes of the Moment- Global Collection of Works." It strived to openly, fairly, and publicly unearth and nurture talented and ambitious artists with great potential.
From September 16 to September 26, 2015, the 2nd Nanjing International Art Festival was formally held in the Nanjing International Exhibition Center. The festival successfully attracted the positive response of more than 8,000 artists from over 40 countries, with the attendance exceeding 210,000. Compared to the 1st Festival, the biggest changes were in professionalism and academic value The most important change was using a curator system, inviting Avantgarde Contemporary Art Center director Zhu Tong as General Curator, renowned curators Yu Ke and Xia Kejun, and Italian curator Eleonora Battison as Joint Curators. The theme was "Beautiful New World" with three major sections, "Homage to the Masters II - Exhibition of International Masters" "Beautiful New World - International Contemporary Art Exhibition", Diversified Colors/Leading Trends - Global Collection Exhibition". whatever one looks at it from the perspective of curators, theme, participating artists, the types of work, or the exhibition structure, it clearly was a very contemporary and international exhibition.
With the experience of the two previous exhibitions, it can be concluded that the Nanjing International Art Festival has already become a major cultural activity for Nanjing and even for Jiangsu Province, an event with major domestic and international influence that has not only raised the openness and integration with the outside world of China's art and culture, but even more importantly helped unearth and cultivate internationally recognized Chinese and foreign artists, promoting the growth plans of artists, comprehensively raise the status and influence of Chinese artists and their work on the global stage, and play a role in valuable experimentation and exploration.
Ⅱ、The Curatorial Philosophy and Main Features of the 3rd Nanjing International Art Festival 2016
The 3rd Nanjing International Art Festival will be based on the overall experience of the previous two festivals, while being even more committed to professionalism, academic value, and international promotion. From the main framework of the exhibitions to the specific topics and academic orientation, all areas will be subject to detailed planning, with the aim being to conduct dialogue with the international art community, so as to stimulate the creative spirit and enthusiasm of artists.
For this year's Nanjing International Art Festival, "HISTORICODE: Scarcity and Supply" will be the main theme. Through different art forms from different countries and regions, it will contain suggestions and performances that respond to the challenges of globalization, while at the same time trying to have the exhibition make an impact on academic issues currently faced by the field of contemporary art. General Curator Mr. Lu Peng's interpretation of the exhibition's academic theme is as follows:
The theme of this exhibition is not an attempt to promote a single direction in art, but rather to bring up questions regarding history and reality that relate to art, while focusing on the period from the 1990s to the present. The General Curator merely goes through the process of exploring and providing his personal opinion on the meaning of "examining the historical background of today" and "HISTORICODE" to provide exhibition judges and artists who hope to participate with a possible way of thinking. What question about art today do we care most about? How do we look at previous "contemporary art" and the historical factors involved in contemporary art? In today's world, what exactly is the mission of art? The General Curator does not conceal his own views: for a fairly long period, contemporary art has been in the situation of resembling lukewarm water that does little to produce a positive reaction and has featured thinking that is manifestly devoid of meaning, losing the passion and curiosity about art that it featured prior to the 1980s. Perhaps, just like at the end of the 19th century and beginning of the 20th, humanity has changed its view of art. However, could it be that the diversity of views making up contemporary art constitute flourishing on the surface, but also a lack of underlying legitimacy？In the era of globalization where economic might determines all, does the "wealth" of art simply cover up the lack of "spirituality"? Or, when we are discussing art today should we not use the word "spirituality"？What about discussing the fate of the humanistic and intellectual tradition that has sustained human civilization from the renaissance on? HISTORICODE is concerned with the orientation and goals of values, with the continued existence of humans and reasons for development; it uses the economic terms "depression" and "supply" in the hope of discussing problems that will continue to exist and bring out solutions to these problems. In short, regarding the theme of the exhibition we can summarize it as follows: if the creation of history is still our mission, filtering and analyzing problems that humanity faces today and unearthing a wealth of possible solutions are the artistic motivations and themes that this exhibition desires to bring out.
From the perspective of the exhibition, HISTORICODE could be seen as "historical code", "civilizational code" or "humanistic code". At the heart of these different phrases is a core notion: what kind of history do we choose to shape? Protecting the achievements of mankind is the responsibility of humanity today and a precondition for the future of humanity. This is the question that this exhibition hopes to discuss.
According to General Curator Lu Peng, "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 globalization.
This year's edition will add several new distinctions. First, the exhibition will continue to use the General Curator responsibility system. The General Curator is responsible for the general planning and overall implementation while cooperating with the Joint Curator and academic committee. Second, this exhibition will set up a specialized Academic Committee. On the basis of Academic Committee nominations, this session retain the method of open call like the previous two sessions. The goal is to give more artists the opportunity to receive widespread attention.
Ⅲ、3rd Nanjing International Art Festival Exhibition System and Selection Method
1、Implementing The Curator System
This edition of the festival will continue with and also strengthen the curator system. There will be one General Curator and one Joint Curator. Suitable artists will be selected based on the theme determined the General Curator, the exhibition structure, the Joint Curator chosen by the General Curator, the topics of the exhibition that the Joint Curator is independently responsible for, and under the framework of individual topics. The goal is to ensure that the exhibition’s field of vision is complete and unlimited.
The General Curator is Chinese Art Historian Lu Peng. He has extensively researched the history of Chinese modern art and participated in the practice of new China’s new art from the 1980s on. He has a deep understanding of contemporary Chinese art, while also working on translating and researching Western art history, participating in planning different kinds of exhibitions, and collaborating with curators of international stature. As this exhibition will be held in China, he was chosen to lead it.
The Joint Curator Letizia Ragaglia has rich work experience in the field of European art and also has a very close relationship with North American colleagues, thus providing a truly global view. She has sharp critical facilities with regards to art, having once served as a judge for the Venice Golden Lion Award. She brought a small art gallery into eyes of the international art world and has excellent academic and organizational ability. Thus, for the selection and judgment of works from Western countries she will be accurate and precise, while also ensuring the integrity of academic aspects of the exhibition.
2、Establishing the Academic Committee
In light of the international nature of the exhibition, the Organizing Committee invited nine jury curators to form a specialized Academic Committee. They are: Carol Yinghua Lu(China), Du Xiyun(China),Fu Xiaodu(China),Gu Chengfeng(China),He Guiyan(China),Heidi Ballet(Belgium),KatieGeha(USA),Lee Janguk(Korea), Nathalie Boseul Shin(Korea). The main responsibility of the Academic Committee is to nominate participating artists and write academic reports on the participants and art-related questions. More challengingly, they must select ten artists out of the hundreds of participating in the exhibition, while at the same time expressing their views on contemporary art in an academic forum at the exhibition. the diverse cultural background and intellectual thoughts will benefit the exhibition’s selection of international artists.
3、Collection and Selection of Works
This session of the festival uses both open calls and nomination by members of the Academic Committee as means of selecting works. On one hand, the Organizing Committee will extensively publicize the exhibition in domestic and foreign media to collect a wide range of outstanding Chinese and foreign artworks . Artists can use the online application system to submit materials. Separately, nine jury curators will nominate artists to participate and the general curator will select artists to present in the festival after review. The festival plans to exhibit around 800 works of diverse types and media.
This festival plans to set up ten academic awards with no rank, as a result of the distinctive characteristic of contemporary art (form, materials, theme, effects) which determines that should not be judged by mechanical criteria. The jury curators should review the works comprehensively based on their artistic and academic knowledge and experience.
Address: Phoenix Mountain Art Park, 646 South General Road, Jiangning District, Nanjing