Displaying Fragments: Ten Years of OCAT (2005--2015)

Opening: October 31, 5:30pm

Exhibition Period:October 31, 2015 –  January 31, 2016   


OCAT Institute

Jinchanxilu, Chaoyang District, Beijing,China

Hours:Tuesday – Sunday   10 – 5pm


E  info@ocatinstitute.org.cn

T  +86 10 6737 5518



Established in 2005, OCAT became a registered, independent non-profit organization in April 2012, and has built a group of contemporary museums of art across China. With its headquarters in Shenzhen, the museum group comprises OCAT Shenzhen, OCT Art & Design Gallery (Shenzhen), OCAT Shanghai, OCAT Xi’an, and OCAT Institute (Beijing). OCAT takes the research and display of contemporary visual art as its primary focus, but its activities also extend into other fields such as experimental theater, music, film, design, and architecture. It emphasizes research related to modern and contemporary art, and academic exchange on art history, theory, and criticism between China and abroad. In celebration of its tenth anniversary, OCAT Institute will organize a retrospective exhibition entitled Displaying Fragments: Ten Years of OCAT (2005--2015) that begins on October 31, 2015.


Using the institutional development of OCAT as a prism to observe the currents of Chinese contemporary art, the exhibition mobilizes the polysemy of the notion “fragment” as both part of a whole and a monad. As exhibitions can be both objects of historiographical research as well as the means to study history, the first of three sections comprising Displaying Fragments, “Economy of Presence,” revisits two of OCAT's past research-based exhibitions, Create History: Commemoration Exhibition of Chinese Modern Art in the 1980s (2005), State Legacy: Research in the Visualization of Political History (2009), that respectively revolve around the history of Chinese contemporary art and the visualization of political history. “Economy of Presence” approaches the history of Chinese contemporary art as examined in Create History by tracing the links between translation, publication, and intellectual debates happening in the 1980s. Piecing together the context or interpretive framework for certain modes of thinking and practices at the time, it seeks to delineate a critical current in the development of Chinese contemporary art that originated in the 80s and extended into the 90s. “Economy of Presence” also expands on the transdisciplinary approach of State Legacy by investigating the political history of modern China through an archeology of visualization that includes the distribution of perception, discursive formation, and memory production. Parallel to the explorations of OCAT’s past research-based exhibitions, the second section, “Disciplinary Drift,” deals with the transformation of art practices that evolved from the production of aesthetic objects to a unique form of thinking and acting in a globalized world; artists began to reference methodologies and investigative models from other disciplines in order to use their forms of knowledge, but without attempting to overtake them. Finally, the third section of the exhibition, “Embodying Space,” interrogates the role museums play in a shifting urbanity by focusing on the discursive and experiential confluence and clash that transpires within the exhibition space. No longer just the neutral vessel that houses works of art, it becomes the site of an implosive dynamism that evokes a renewed understanding of co-inhabitation and hospitality as reflected in the institution’s struggle for autonomy and openness. 


Displaying Fragments, in addition to revisiting Create History and State Legacy, reconsiders Looking Through Film: Traces of Cinema and Self-Constructs in Contemporary Art (2010). Participating artists include: Xin Kedu Group, Wang Guangyi, Wang Jianwei, Wu Wenguang, Xu Tan, and others. A series of related academic activities and events will be held during the exhibition, including a forum discussion, public lectures, seminars, and workshops.