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Hong Hao in "THE GLOBAL CONTEMPORARY ART WORLDS AFTER 1989" at ZKM | Museum of Contemporary Art. I 2011-9-17

Date: September 17, 2011 - February 5, 2012

Venue: ZKM I Museum of Contemporary Art

Exhibition: “Kassel City Defense Vertical View Map”

"At exhibitions of contemporary art the question of why works of certain artists should be shown is often subsequently overridden by the question why they were not shown – and whether behind this exclusion lay merely negligence or rather political calculation. When the documenta X was being organized in Kassel in 1997, the question was particularly relevant for the Chinese art world why, among the 118 positions exhibited, there was only one from China. Didn’t this imply that current Chinese art was either not contemporary or had been excluded for some other reason?
The artists Hong Hao and Yan Lei took this as the occasion for a sarcastic intervention. Using an appropriate letterhead and writing in semiofficial German, they distributed a bogus invitation from the documenta management to take part in a special exhibition of contemporary Chinese art in Kassel as, in the words of the letter, “a sign of recognition” of its special position in the art world. The point pricks all concerned: the organizers of documenta X and their picture of the art world, which shows only a corner of it, just as much as the Chinese art scene, which was all too happy to succumb to the false hope of worldwide recognition. The letter is shown against the backdrop of a fictional battle plan for the documenta grounds: the restricted access to venues of representation cannot be achieved through peaceful negotiations, but must rather be fought for again and again. (JB)"