Artists Historians Curators

Feng Boyi

Feng Boyi

Feng Boyi (b. 1961, Beijing) is an eminent independent art curator and critic of Chinese contemporary art. After his graduation in 1984 from the Department of History at Beijing Teachers’ College (now Capital Normal University), Feng Boyi was assigned to work as an editor of The Artists’ Bulletin, an internal publication sponsored by the Chinese Artists Association, a government-controlled organization based in Beijing. In the early 1990s, Feng studied at the Art History Department of the Central Academy of Fine Arts, where he became involved in contemporary Chinese art. He was the editor of The Black Book (1994) and The White Book (1995), the first privately sponsored publication in China about contemporary art, published by Ai Weiwei. In 1996, he was one of the five organizers of “Reality: Present and Future”, the first show of contemporary art ever associated with the auction market (see auctions (art and antiquities)). He has been assistant editor of the Chinese Artists Association newsletter “Artist's Communication” since 1988. He has also edited and published numerous catalogues and papers on art and established the [ Artists' Alliance] a major online forum for contemporary art in China.

His first independent curatorial work was “Traces of Existence: A Private Show of Contemporary Chinese Art’ (1998), where local Beijing artists Wang Jianwei, Song Dong, Gu Dexin and others, and returned artists from overseas, such as Wang Gongxin, Lin Tianmiao and Cai Qing, had their first chance to exhibit in a semi-public space. In 2000 during the Second Shanghai Biennial, Feng Boyi co-organized the controversial show “‘Fuck Off”, which was ordered to close the day after its opening because of the presence of the photographic works of real baby corpses by Zhu Yu, Sun Yuan and Peng Yu. In 2002, “Beijing Afloat” was the opening exhibition of the inside a 400 m² division of Factory 798's main area. This was the first renovated space featuring the high arched ceilings that would become synonymous with Beijing's 798 Art Zone. The show drew a crowd of over 1,000 people and marked the beginning of the popular infatuation with the area. Group exhibition “Left Hand - Right Hand” curated by Feng Boyi, which showcased Chinese and German sculptors at 798 Space and Daoyaolu Workshop A, in 2003. Among the works was Sui Jianguo's enormous concrete sculpture “Mao's Right Hand”, which is just what the name suggests, and an example of modern Chinese art's ironic reflections on history.

Feng Boyi has been active and independent in the curatorialcircles of Chinese contemporary art for many years, with an experimental and critical attitude, and is respected by artists and organizations for his performance of a serious, specific and persistent style. As an important link to the Chinese contemporary art ecosystem, Feng Boyi experienced different stages with the “Wild” Chinese contemporary art, including the tough survival of the folk, which was gradually accepted by the official system, and the current hustle and fluctuant art market under the background of frequent interactions between capital operations and organization. In the late 1990s, underground Chinese experimental exhibitions were refused to be on display at the official art museums or art spaces. Feng Boyi was famous for displaying artworks in some unidentified spaces, such as the junctions of city and suburban, bookstores, uncultivated spaces of the real estate developers. On the other hand, the experience to show works in a non-exhibition space, inspired the imagination of an artist.

At the same time, Feng Boyi is good at planning a small exhibition on a particular issue. In his view, the curator should not propose to have the exhibition as large as Corps, a good curator is capable to “express the problems and curatorial concepts”. In addition to being an independent curator, Feng Boyi also serves in the Chinese Artists Association, which has not affected his independent judgment of art, it is “because discovering the problems in the organization system, I turn to work on the art of folk, which challenges the official art.” For his dual identities, Feng seems to be more peaceful when facing the struggle between “the orthodox” and “the edge”, he said: "Now the power of contemporary art in folk is growing, but the Chinese Artists Association is still the mainstream. The folk promote the Association. Therefore Chinese art has fusion and development.”

Since the 1990’s, Feng has planned and presided over some important exhibitions in China, such as the “Exhibition of Chinese Figure Painting in the late of the 1990s”, “Group Exhibition of Oil Painting in the Fall of 1993”, “Survival Traces: Observing Exhibition of Chinese Contemporary Art 1998”, “China Dream – Chinese Contemporary Art Exhibition 1997”, and “Platform – Youth Sculpture Exhibition 1998”, etc. Till today, he has witnessed several key shifts in the ecology of contemporary art and he has used his judgements and made choices and practices, in face of different situations and problems, recording these problems through a large number of exhibitions and text. Although currently, independence is generally concerned and questioned with the contemporary art world, Feng seems to be anything but gloomy, completing his programs with his unique alienation, sober, optimistic and flexible attitude and as for method, practicing the curatorial method of cultural relevance.

Feng has published widely on contemporary Chinese art. He tends to showcase what he believes to be natural and truthful in the artist’s presentation of issues relating to existence, cultural power, fashion, postmodernism within the context of contemporary Chinese culture. His publications include “The Name and Real of Figurative Painting”,“ Looking for a New Aesthetics of Correspondence”, “Thinking of Real aspect of Life”, “Reflecting the Burden and Vigilance of Culture”, and “Dilemma of Contemporary Arts”, etc.

Selected Exhibitions Curated by Feng Boyi

2012 It Takes Four Sorts: A Cross-Strait Four-Regions Artistic Exchange Project, He Xiangning Art Museum, Shenzhen, China

2012 Qin Chong Art Works 2000-2012: Endless Polarity, He Xiangning Art Museum, Shenzhen, China

2012 Crossing Memory: Opening Exhibition of Suzhou Jinji Lake Museum, Suzhou, China

2012 Since: Works by Chen Wenji (2008-2012), He Xiangning Art Museum, Shenzhen, China

2012 Visual Synthetic of the Debris Times: Exhibition of Contemporary Art by Ten Persons, Old Courthouse of South Bay, Macau, China

2012 The Virtual Placement of Truth: Shi Xinning’s Paintings, White Box Museum of Art, Beijing, China

2012 Foreign To Oneself, Works by Chen Xiaowen (2001-2011), He Xiangning Art Museum, Shenzhen, China

2012 How Earth Is Earth – Oil Paintings by Yu Huijian, He Xiangning Art Museum, Shenzhen, China

2011 Hustling World: Works by Wang Yuping, He Xiangning Art Museum, Shenzhen, China

2011 Fleeting Time: Works by Shen Ling, He Xiangning Art Museum, Shenzhen, China

2011 Northeast Market: Contour of the Contemporary Art in the Northeast of China, Soka Art Center, Beijing, China

2011 Detached - Case Series of Three Decades of Chinese Contemporary Art: Guo Wei (2000-2011), K Space, Chengdu, China

2011 Taking Off the Shell: Works by Peng Wei, He Xiangning Art Museum, Shenzhen, China

2011 Beyond – Fan Zhengming’s Works (2003-2011), PIFO Gallery, Beijing, China

2011 I Have a Dream – Mao Tongqiang’s Works, CAAW, Beijing, China

2011 Heterotopia – Jiang Hai’s Exhibition, Today Art Museum, Beijing, China

2011 One Man Theater – Works by Post-80s Artists, He Xiangning Art Museum, Shenzhen, China

2011 Recurrent Shadows – Selected Works from the Three Shadows Photography Award 2008-2011, He Xiangning Art Museum, Shenzhen, China

2011 Laughing and Talking: Works By Zhang Chunyang, He Xiangning Art Museum, Shenzhen, China

2011 Heterotopias – Jiang Hai’ Works (1990-2010), Shanghai Duolun Museum of Modern Art, Shanghai, China

2011 1+1 - The Butterfly Effect – An Artistic Communication Project of Cross-Strait Four-Region, He Xiangning Art Museum, Shenzhen, China

2011 Picking up the Old Dream – Jia Juanli’s Works (1999-2010), Today Art Museum, Beijing, China

2011 Repair • Action - Zhang Yu’s Works of Fingerprints 1991-2011, Today Art Museum, Beijing, China

2010 Stranger - Fei Jun’s Works (2010), OffiCina Art Studio, Beijing, China

2010 Dharma Bums - Jia Aili’s Solo Exhibition, Hartle Gallery, USA

2010 Compound Eye – Works by Rongrong & inri (2000-2010), He Xiangning Art Museum, Shenzhen, China

2010 The Butterfly Effect – An Artistic Communication Project of Cross-Strait Four-Region, Shenzhen, China

2009 The Edge of Chaos: Works by Liu Qinghe, Shenzhen, China

2009 How Far Apart: Works by Chen Shuxia, Shenzhen, China

2009 Xu Bing: Primer For “Mu • Lin • Sen” Project, He Xiangning Art Museum, Shenzhen, China

2009 Visual Temperature - Cao Hui’s Solo Exhibition, PIFO Gallery, Beijing, China

2009 Fresh Eyes’ 09: Falsification: 6th Annual Exhibition of Dissertation Works of OilPainting from National Art Academies Across China, He Xiangning Art Museum, Shenzhen, China

2009 Opportune Moments: Works by Chen Xiaowen (1999-2009), Today Art Museum, Beijing, China

2009 The Fifth Dimension: Art of Fiber and Space, He Xiangning Art Museum, Shenzhen, China

2009 Domino Plan in the Space, Chen Ling Hui Contemporary Space, Beijing, China

2009 Self-Preservation Painting Exhibition of Cui Jie, Li Chao, Wang Yuanzheng,Magee Art Gallery, Beijing, China

2008 Don’t Worry About What I Do: Group Exhibition of Liu Dahong and Zhu Xinjian, Beijing Chenglexuan, Beijing, China

2008 The Horizon: Zhang Xudong’s Works, Highland Gallery, Beijing, China

2008 Superimposed Shadows: He Wenjue • Watching Movies, Beyond Art Space, Beijing, China

2008 Micro-Narrative: Zhang Xiaotao + Li Yifan’s Social Image, Iberia Center for Contemporary Art Center, Beijing, China

2008 Fresh Eyes’ 08: Negative: 5th Annual Exhibition of Dissertation Works of Oil Painting from National Art Academies Across China, He Xiangning Art Museum, Shenzhen, China

2008 Map Games: Dynamics Power – Project of International Visual Art and Architecture, Beijing 2005-2008, Today Art Museum, Beijing, China

2008 The Free-fall, Chen Ling Hui Contemporary Space, Beijing, China

2008 Animal’s Political Science, Tian Gallery, Beijing, China

2008 Cheers - Su Xinping’s Works 2005-2008, He Xiangning Art Museum, Shenzhen, China

2007 The Sixth Shenzhen Contemporary Sculpture Exhibition: A Visual of Perspectives, OCT Contemporary Art Center of He Xiangning Art Museum, Shenzhen, China

2007 To Be Pieces, Chen Ling Hui Contemporary Space (Dimensions Art Center), Beijing, China

2007 Huang Rui • Stars Times, He Xiangning Art Museum, Shenzhen, China

2007 Artistic Breakthrough: Academic Exhibition of the Asian Galleries, Beijing Are Fare Culture Co., Ltd., Beijing, China

2007 Art Solitaire –To Imagine Crossing Time and Space, He Xiangning Art Museum, Shenzhen, China

2005 “Century” and “Paradise”: Second Chengdu Biennale, the New International Convention and Exhibition Center, Chengdu, China

2004 Works of 2001-2004 - Li Songsong’s Solo Exhibition, CAAW, Beijing, China

2002 Reinterpretation: Ten years of Chinese Experimental Art (1990-2000) - First Guangzhou Triennial, Guangdong Museum of Art, Guangzhou, China

2002 Concrete: the Marginal Space of the Chinese Contemporary Art, Chambers Fine Art, New York, USA

2000 Fuck Off, Eastlink Gallery, Shanghai, China

2000 Chinese Contemporary Sculpture Exhibition, Qingdao, China