2018.11.27 20:44 GMT+8

An exhibition on love and contemporary culture kicks off in Beijing

By Ye Qing

The “Love: Intimate” exhibition kicked off at the Today Art Museum in Beijing on Thursday with the aim of showing how intimacy has been shaped by contemporary visual culture.

The exhibition features the love stories of Yoko Ono, Marina Abramovic, Tracey Emin, and Yayoi Kusama, whose works blur the boundaries between art and life. Wong Ping, Cheng Ran, and the work of the four other artists explore intimacy under new historical conditions, questioning the shifting and multi-faceted nature of love. A highlight is a special screening of Yayoi Kusama's most recent documentary, 2018's “Infinity”, its first on the Chinese mainland. 

The poster for "Infinity," 2018

Five chapters

Love is one of the universal forces, and because of this, it's also a significant subject in the history of art. “Love: Intimate” presents the most representative video art on the topic of our time and unfolds the diverse contemporary narratives of intimacy.

Divided into five chapters, called “Action,” “Monologue,” “Energy,” “Eternity” and “Future,” the exhibition will lead the audience to experience, explore and evoke love.

The “Action” chapter presents Yoko Ono and John Lennon's Bed-in for Peace from 1969, which witnessed the love story of these two leading figures in the 1960s anti-war movement.

Yoko Ono and John Lennon, Montreal Bed-In, 1969, Queen Elizabeth Hotel, Montreal, Canada. /by Ivor Sharp, courtesy of Studio One

The “Monologue” chapter shows Tracey Emin's “I Promise to Love You” collection, which was created for Times Square Midnight Moment in February 2013.

Yayoi Kusama's Infinity traces the golden times of Kusama's life in the third “Energy” chapter, revealing the hidden stories behind her ground-breaking artworks.

The “Eternity” chapter highlights three milestone works of Marina Abramovic, which not only outline her performance practices over three decades but also express heart touching feelings in her collaboration with Ulay, her former lover and performance partner.

Tracey Emin, "I Promise to Love You," digital limited edition. /Courtesy of

In the last chapter, a group of artists challenge modern thoughts of love, looking at the influence of the Internet, technology, and globalization on contemporary romance. With the fast development of technology, new forms of intimacy are procreating on a daily basis, but class and gender differences still polarize people's experiences of love.

What the curators say

In the neoliberal era, love is a popular marketing strategy to stimulate consumers' desire, transforming a natural force into the process of commodification. 

According to the curator, "Love: Intimate" creates six scenarios of love based on fourteen artists' works presented in the exhibition. With “Summer Flat,” “Desert Kiosk” and other four scenarios, the exhibition aims to construct a journey of love.

In this exhibition, Liao Xiaoling, chief manager and designer of the independent brand Content will also present a series called "gift to the world" as part of the exhibition shop. 

"Marina Abramovic's three most important works are all presented in the exhibition. The design of the exhibition is unique. We can watch Abramovic's film from many angles," said Gao Peng, curator of Today Art Museum, who introduced the highlights of the exhibition in detail at a press conference and expressed his expectation for the display.

“Some important festivals are coming soon, such as Christmas, New Year's Day, Spring Festival and Valentine's Day. I hope the public can truly feel the love brought by art in the exhibition,” he added.

"We are always trying to create a new visual culture,” said Xu Ning, founder of YT Pictures, “Also, we hope to use the perspective of today's young people to spread the love and affection that art brings to us,” Xu said.

However, how long this exhibition will stay in the memory of its audience is something to consider. Curator Zou Xinyi said that the 12 artists in this exhibition have a completely different understanding of love and intimate relationships.

“Through the exhibition, we hope to present a more open and diversified atmosphere for the audience. It is hoped that everyone can re-understand and participate in art through the artist's reconstruction of love,” she said.

This exhibition is presented by YT Pictures, organized by Beijing Today Art Museum and co-organized with Marie Claire. It will last three months and ends on February 24, 2019.

With contributions from Shen Li.

(Images approved by the sponsor for use by CGTN)

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