Does collective art practice allow young Chinese artists to push the boundaries of experimental art?

In an interview with Randian Magazine, art critic Karen Smith recently talked about her new book As Seen 2011: Notable Artworks by Chinese Artists in which she approaches Chinese contemporary art trends. Several innovative artist collectives are listed and we profile them below.

Win a copy of Karen Smith’s As Seen 2011! Scroll down for details.

Karen Smith at the launch of her new book on contemporary Chinese art, As Seen 2011: Notable Artworks by Chinese Artists.

Karen Smith at the launch of her new book on contemporary Chinese art, As Seen 2011: Notable Artworks by Chinese Artists.

Talking about the recent rise in young art collectives, Karen Smith told Randian,

It’s liberating for those involved; the ultimate freedom, in fact, for no one can be at the receiving end of personal criticism for the work that results. Significantly, I find this kind of work often has an energy, a real buzz of life or craziness about it, that seems to make sense, as well as being a breath of fresh air.

Three contemporary Chinese art art collectives were singled out for their unique styles.

Win a copy of Karen Smith’s As Seen 2011! Scroll down for details.

The Museum of Unknown

The Museum of Unknown is a group of artists and art theoreticians who stage exhibitions that question the established system of exhibition and art history. According to the manifesto on their website, they believe, “Traditional museums construct a system of canons which is inevitably conservative and obsolete.” They aim to create their own standard of evaluation in contemporary art that allows for uncertainty and doubt, accepting both the “known and unknown”. They have staged several exhibitions that question established practices in the post-industrial art world, including one show “We Are the World” inspired by a failed business agreement with a French investment partner.

Double Fly Art Collective

Based in Hangzhou, China, Double Fly Art Collective is a loose group of artists formed in 2008 who stage absurd public performance art pieces. Since their establishment, they have cross dressed on the Shanghai subway, stolen materials from the construction site of an ICBC bank and played fake instruments in a pseudo-rock performance in Shanghai’s 50 Moganshan Road art district. In the summer of 2011, they were included in an exhibition of emerging artists from China at the James Cohan Gallery in New York entitled “Catch the Moon in the Water: Emerging Chinese Artists“.

Win a copy of Karen Smith’s As Seen 2011! Scroll down for details.


Founded by Chinese contemporary artist Hu Ge, WAZA is an artist collective from Wuhan focused on experimental new media art. They use sound, video and photography to create large-scale, site specific installation works. They have participated in several international film, sound and new media exhibitions, while in 2011 video work by the group was included in the show “A Lesson in Extremes” held at Osage Gallery in Hong Kong.


Image by Art Radar.

Image by Art Radar.

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To win a copy of Karen Smith’s latest book, As Seen 2011: Notable Artworks by Chinese Artists, about emerging art trends and artists in China…

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Related Topics: Chinese artists, art trends, artist groups

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By Brittney

Brittney is a writer, curator and contemporary art gallerist. Born in Singapore and based in New York City, Brittney maintains a deep interest in the contemporary art landscape of Southeast Asia. This is combined with an equally strong interest in contemporary art from the Asian diasporas, alongside the issues of identity, transmigration and global relations.

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