currents - art and music

2017-2018 program

TROPOSPHERE - Chinese and Brazilian Contemporary Art

December 9, 2017 – February 2018
Beijing Minsheng Art Museum
Museum Hall 1/2
Universal Creative
798 Art District, Chaoyang District

Tunga, Eu, Você e a Lua
(Me, You and the Moon), 2014
Iron, steel, petrified wood, bronze, plaster, terracotta, parabolic mirrors, quartz crystal;
installation: 3.2 x 5 x 7 meters
Courtesy: Galeria Millan, Sao Paulo
Huang Yong Ping, Circus , 2012
Wood hand and cylinder, taxidermy, animals, and bamboo cage installation
Courtesy: Red Brick Art Museum, Beijing

CURRENTS Art and Music is pleased to announce TROPOSPHERE – Chinese and Brazilian Contemporary Art, an exhibition opening at Beijing Minsheng Art Museum on December 9, 2017. Organized by the Museum and China Minsheng Bank, in cooperation with CURRENTS Art and Music, Embassy of Brazil in Beijing, and Beijing Minsheng Culture and Art Foundation, TROPOSPHERE will mark the first large-scale exhibition of contemporary Brazilian art in China.

The TROPOSPHERE is the lowest layer of Earth's atmosphere, and, as such, it connects the entire world, including countries as far apart as China and Brazil.

Amidst profound political, social, and economic shifts within both China and Brazil in recent decades, TROPOSPHERE examines points of connection among leading contemporary artists from these two countries. Co-curated by CURRENTS Founder and Director Sarina Tang and art critic Bao Dong, the exhibition presents the work of twenty-one Brazilian artists in juxtaposition with that of twenty-one contemporary Chinese artists in direct, one-to-one pairings. Although the artists are not aware of their counterpart, their works express an astonishing interconnection. Through painting, sculpture, photography, video, and installation, this presentation exposes synergies across aesthetic solutions, working methods, and historical narratives.

TROPOSPHERE was announced at the 9th BRICS Summit, which took place in Xiamen, China, on September 5-7, 2017. During the press conference on September 7th, co-curator Tang stated, "TROPOSPHERE – Chinese and Brazilian Contemporary Art" is held to focus on the parallels between Chinese and Brazilian artists. I am honored to have the opportunity to bring about this exhibition, whereby the Chinese audience, for the first time, can be exposed to contemporary art from Brazil" Fellow curator Bao Dong echoed the exhibition's aim of emphasizing common ground between Brazil and China, speaking of shared circumstances of everyday life reflected in the participating artists' work. Titled in reference to the closest, most fundamental layer of the Earth's atmosphere, in which all human activity takes place, TROPOSPHERE aims to frame these exchanges in contemporary art on a global scale, in "promoting a direct exchange between these two countries – and a mutual understanding of each other's culture."

Following the exhibition at the Beijing Minsheng Art Museum, TROPOSPHERE – Chinese and Brazilian Contemporary Art will probably travel to Brazil. An educational component will be provided by the Brazil Cultural Center of Peking University.


Participating Artists

Rodrigo Andrade
Leda Catunda
Carlito Carvalhosa
St. Clair Cemin
Marcos Chaves
Felipe Cohen
Jonathas de Andrade
Antonio Dias
Lucia Koch
Andre Komatsu
Vik Muniz
Henrique Oliveira
Abraham Palatnik
Ana Prata
Caio Reisewitz
Miguel do Rio Branco
Afonso Tostes
Adriana Varejao
Luiz Zerbini
Cai Lei
Fu Zhangwang
Hu Xiaoyuan
Huang Yongpin
Jiang Zhi
Li Songsong
Liang Quan
Lin Tianmiao
Liu Wei
Luo Dan
Ma Qiusha
Ouyang Chun
Shang Yixin
Shi Qin
Song Dong
Sui Jianguo
Wang Guangle
Wang Ningde
Yang Maoyuan
Yang Zhenzhong
Yu Youhan

2016 program

Curators from China, contemporary art survey in Brazil

Four curators from China visited Brazil: Bao Dong 鲍栋, Zhu Zhu 朱朱, Zhang Li 张离, and Felicia Chen. The visit was a Currents Art and Music initiative, co-hosted by Latitude and the Brazilian Ministry of Foreign Relations.

During the trip, the curators researched contemporary art in Brazil, so that they can include Brazilian artists in future exhibitions in China.

Highlights of trip:

  • Inhotim, a vast complex with 27 art installations, each of which had its own custom pavilion designed by architects in cooperation with the artists. Three additional spaces were made for temporary exhibitions
  • meireles-1
    "Red Room", Cildo Meireles installation
    "Magic Square #5", Hélio Oiticica
  • The grounds at Inhotim, in the midst of a privately-owned mining district in Minas Gerais, were designed also as a Botanical Garden
    "Narcissus Garden", Yayoy Kusama
  • ArtRio – art fair in Rio de Janeiro
  • 32nd Sao Paulo Bienal – Chinese curators met with Bienal's chief curator, Jochen Volz
  • Visits to museums, met with Directors and curators, as well as galleries
  • 20 artists' studio visits, in Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro
    Antonio Dias
    Carlito Carvalhosa
    Leda Catunda
    Luiz Zerbini

This was a first time for all 4 curators, and they were both surprised and impressed by Brazil's environment, culture, and especially the myriad practice and agency in contemporary art.

Curator Bao Dong published a blog of this visit in ArtForum China, which elicited great interest.

2015 program

SONG DONG in 4 cities in Brazil

Song Dong created his "Eating the City" architectural installation—and saw it devoured by audiences—in Sao Paulo, Belo Horizonte, and Brasilia. A production team of 16 built it each time in 4 days using crackers, cookies, candy, chocolate, and Nutella.

Exhibition of "My City" at Cultural Center of the Bank of Brazil, Rio de Janeiro, including launch of bilingual book Song Dong in Brazil.

"Eating the City" in Belo Horizonte
"Eating the City" in Brasilia

Photos of "My City":

"My City" at Cultural Center of the Bank of Brazil in Rio de Janeiro

2014 program

SONG DONG: REGENERATE at Baro Gallery in Sao Paulo

  • Song Dong and Yin Xiuzhen were invited to Brazil to visit museums, art galleries, and artists' studios in Sao Paulo, Rio, and Inhotim. As a result of this trip, Sarina Tang was asked to curate an exhibition for Song Dong at Galeria Baro, in 2014.
  • This major exhibition is of special significance to the artist. At age 48, he is at the beginning of his fifth 12-year cycle and finds a new beginning. Song Dong profoundly feels the loss of the old neighborhoods in Beijing of his childhood, and he created this exhibition as his rebirth in a new city in a new country. His installation, "My City", represents this rebirth and follows the format of the map of old Beijing. All the materials for this installation were sourced in Brazil, with the exception of the red door, which was in fact, the door to his home in Beijing.

2012-2013 program

  • Marcelo Moscheta (born 1976) and Rodrigo Bivar (born in 1981)
  • Residencies with the artists were centered in Sichuan province, and impacted them with new experiences and diverse cultural references.
  • Leshan, the largest extant Buddha – 71 meters high, from the Tang dynasty, San Xingdui, the 3,000 year-old bronze culture and ancient towns contrasted with the Juizhaigou natural scenic reserves, and Emeishan, mist moving up and down mountains depicted by classical Chinese brushstroke artists, culminating in the sunrise floating at a parallel latitude.
  • They were also invited to make presentations of their work at UCCA in Beijing, and then at the Sichuan Academy of Fine Art in Chongqing.
    San Xingdui
    San Xingdui
  • Currents is producing a multi-year Chinese contemporary music and art project with major institutions in New York City, starting in 2012. (details below)
  • The first element of the project is the co-production of Guo Wenjing's Feng Yi Ting, which opened at the Spoleto Festival in Charleston, South Carolina, on May 27, 2012.
    • Four-star Review of Toronto, Canada performance by the Toronto Star, June 20, 2013
    • Review of Lincoln Center performance by The New York Times, July 29, 2012
    • "Into the Music" article by The New York Times, July 22, 2012
    • Review of Spoleto Festival performance by The New York Times, June 4, 2012
    • Review by The Wall Street Journal, June 4, 2012
    • Review by Charleston's oldest daily newspaper, The Post and Courier, May 28, 2012
    • See photos below
  • Shared and Divergent project (2009-2014): An exhibition in 2014 will feature works of art created by the artists' exchange residencies whereby Brazilian artists produce new work in China and Chinese artists do so in Brazil.
    • Barrao, a Rio de Janeiro-based artist, a sculptor using ceramic and porcelain objects, was in residence in Jing Dezhen, in October–November, 2012 (details below)
    • Leda Catunda, a Sao Paulo-based painter who is known for her works using fabrics, from Sao Paulo, was artist-in-residence at Currents in October–November, 2012 (details below)
    • Past artists-in-residence: Marcos Chaves (2011) and Caio Reisewitz (2009-2010)
  • Sarina Tang, founder of CURRENTS - Art and Music, in the media:
    • Sarina Tang interviewed by Yuhan Liu, of China Daily USA (watch on YouTube)
    • Report by Yuhan Liu at Dress Rehearsal performance, Lincoln Center Festival (watch on YouTube
    • Profile in O Estado de S. Paulo, a major Sao Paulo newspaper (see link)
    • Profile in Stream magazine (see PDF)
    • Review written by Sarina Tang for ArtInfo on the eighth edition of Mercosul, the bienal representing South America (see link)

2012-2013 Program Details

Contemporary and traditional multi-disciplinary project

Currents Art and Music has embarked on a multi-disciplinary project, linking contemporary music and art to traditional literature, history, music and art from China. This started with a new production of Feng Yi Ting, a chamber opera by renowned composer Guo Wenjing, directed by Atom Egoyan. Featuring Shen Tiemei (沈铁梅), the Sichuan opera diva, and famous Beijing opera performer Jiang Qihu (江其虎), the opera is co-produced by Currents with Spoleto and Lincoln Center Festivals. The US premiere took place in Charleston, South Carolina on May 27, 2012, and performances in New York City begin at the Lincoln Center Festival on July 24th, 2012.

Feng Yi Ting photos

Guo Wenjing
Guo Wenjing
Atom Egoyan
Atom Egoyan
Shen Tiemei (沈铁梅) as Diao Chan
Jiang Qihu (江其虎) as Lu Bu

Barrao, artist in residence

Barrao is a well-established artist based in Rio de Janeiro, working with found ceramic and porcelain vases, figurines, depictions of animals, etc. He cuts these objects, re-uses fragments and parts, transforming them into humorous re-configurations distorting and twisting their original use and aesthetic.

Barrao working in atelier in Jingdezhen
Barrao surveying ceramic objects
before they are fired in the kilns

Leda Catunda, artist in residence

Leda Catunda is a Sao Paulo based artist who uses paint and fabrics, or fragments of clothing items, sewing them into shapes that morph into wall hangings. Her soft sculptures betray an enticingly tactile multiple-perspective re-imagination of landscape. The negative space between the fully covered surfaces emphasize the organic forms which are paintings, assemblages and sculptural forms.

Leda Catunda visiting exhibition of Tony Cragg, at the new Himalaya Museum in Pudong