Second Yinchuan Biennale:
Starting from the Desert. Ecologies on the Edge

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Eds.: Marco Scotini, Andris Brinkmanis, Paolo Caffoni, Zasha Colah, Lu Xinghua




Texts by Michel Blancsubé, Andris Brinkmanis, Paolo Caffoni, Luca Cerizza, Zasha Colah, Michelangelo Corsaro, Deserts, Silvia Federici, Li Feng-La, Joshua Gong, Zhang Longxi, Anna Lovecchio, Hu Yi, Mia Yu, Huang Renyu, Ho Rui An, Lu Peng, Lu Xinghua, Carol Yinghua Lu, Lyno Vuth, Juan Pablo Macías, Simone Menegoi, Gabriele Sassone, Marco Scotini, Yin Shuai, Elvira Vannini, Ilaria Zanella

Conceived with the aim of measuring itself against a specific geo-historic context, and proposed as a form of minor language within the biennale system, Starting from the Desert seeks to respond to contemporary urgencies (not only in China) by adopting an ‘archaeological method’. Northwest China is still considered a remote corner, but one which, owing to the historic Silk Road, has been defined through time as a place of great flows, hybridizations and exchange of people, knowledge, languages, technologies, religions, animals, spices and goods.

In relation to the possibility of reducing the Eurasian continent to simple geo-economics, which could well be implied in current large-scale projects, the Second Yinchuan Biennale seeks to read the modalities of ‘group-being’ at the crossroad of heterogeneous components, as indispensable to a new ecology that intends to emancipate all forms of life. In the search for eco-logics as a new paradigm of transversal thought, the Second Yinchuan Biennale attempts not to reduce these elements to the subject matter, but to utilize them in order to question the limits of the exhibition format, and thus to eventually produce a new eco-model of exhibiting.

The Biennale’s framework is articulated over four, interdependent (and often overlapping) thematic areas that, without seeking to limit or circumscribe, attempts to visualize their material and immaterial aspects. In the same way, these areas try to question the contradictions of the dualistic systems that have accompanied the rise of Modernity and Capital, positioning them as limits to the realization of an ecosocial program for our time.

  1. Nomadic Space and Rural Space
  2. Labor-in-Nature and Nature-in-Labor
  3. The Voice and The Book
  4. Minorities and Multiplicity

With newly commissioned works alongside ancient artistic relics from public museums and private collections, the Second Yinchuan Biennale has selected the 90 participating artists from over thirty regions, paying particular attention to the western borders of China (from Mongolia to Central and Southeast Asia) in a way that is consistent with the exhibition’s geopolitical, investigative methods.

Participating artists:

Ravi Agarwal  (India, 1958); Vyacheslav Akhunov  (Kyrgyztan, 1948); Navjot Altaf (India, 1949) with Rajkumar Korram and Shantibai Vishwakarma; Can Altay  (Turkey, 1975); Nazgol Ansarinia  (Iran, 1979); Arahmaiani (Indonesia, 1961) with Wukir Suryadi; Said Atabekov  (Uzbekistan, 1965); Baatarzorig Batjargal  (Mongolia, 1983); Sammy Baloji  (Congo, 1978); Massimo Bartolini  (Italy, 1962); Felice Beato  (Italy, 1832-1909); Erick Beltrán  (Mexico, 1974); Alighiero Boetti  (Italy, 1940-1994); Nomin Bold  (Mongolia, 1982); Giuseppe Castiglione  (Italy, 1688-1766); Filipa César  (Portugal, 1975); Sheba Chhachhi  (India, 1958); Nikhil Chopra  (India, 1974); Emory Douglas  (USA, 1943); Duan Zhengqu  (China, 1958); Enkhbold Togmidshiirev  (Mongolia, 1978); Peter Fend  (USA, 1950); Mariam Ghani  (Afghanistan, 1978); Yervant Gianikian & Angela Ricci Lucchi  (Italy, 1942 & 1942); Piero Gilardi  (Italy, 1942); Shiva Gor  (India, 1986); Raphaël Grisey  (France, 1979); Grupo Suma  (founded Mexico, 1976-1982); Salima Hashmi  (Pakistan, 1942); Kiluanji Kia Henda  (Angola, 1979); Hiwa K  (Iraq, 1975); Ho Rui An  (Singapore, 1990); Huxian Peasant Painters (Chen Jianchun, Du Zhilian, Jiaoxi Culture Station, Li Fenglan, Li Naiti, Liu Huisheng, Ma Zhenlong, Wang Zhenying, Zhang Chunxia, Yi Ming); Saodat Ismailova  (Uzbekistan, 1981); Joris Ivens  (The Netherlands, 1898-1989); Francesco Jodice  (Italy, 1967); Alimjan Jorobaev  (Kyrgyztan, 1962); Kan Xuan  (China, 1972); Muratbek Kasmalieva & Gulnara Djumaliev  (Kyrgyztan, 1960 & 1965); Kimsooja  (Korea, 1957); Li Juchuan  (China, 1964); Li Binyuan  (China, 1985); Liu Ding  (China, 1976); Juan Pablo Macías  (Mexico, 1974); Taus Makhacheva  (Russia, 1983); Mao Chenyu  (China, 1976); Mao Tongqiang  (China, 1960); Helen Mirra  (US, 1970); Adrien Missika  (France, 1981); Tina Modotti  (Italy, 1896-1942); Moataz Nazr  (Egypt, 1961); Pedro Neves Marques  (Portugal, 1984); Nils Norman  (UK, 1966); Uriel Orlow  (Switzerland, 1973); Prabhakar Pachpute  (India, 1986); Kyong Park  (Korea, 1955); Gianni Pettena  (Italy, 1940); Thảo-Nguyên Phan  (Vietnam, 1987); Justin Ponmany  (India, 1974); Marjetica Potrč  (Slovenia, 1953); Leang Seckon  (Cambodia, 1970); Tsherin Sherpa  (Nepal, 1968); Karan Shrestha  (Nepal, 1985); Song Dong  (China, 1966); Demetrio Stratos  (Greece / Italy, 1945-1979); Alexander Ugay  (Kazakhstan, 1978); u-ra-mi-li  (founded India, 2011. Iswar Srikumar, 1979 & Anushka Meenakshi, 1980); Wang Sishun  (China, 1979); Wang Wei  (China, 1972); Penba Wangdu  (China, 1969); WUXU Group (founded Italy, 2017. Zheng Ningyuan, 1989 & Wang Kai, 1995 & Sun Yicong, 1993 & Liu Jing, 1989); Xu Bing  (China, 1955); Xu Tan  (China, 1957); Yang Kailin  (Taiwan, 1968); Sawangwongse Yawnghwe  (Myanmar, 1971); Zai Tang  (Singapore, 1981); Katarina Zdjelar  (Serbia, 1979); Robert Zhao Renhui  (Singapore, 1983); Zheng Bo  (China, 1974); Zhuang Hui  (China, 1963)