University strengthens Chinese links with art partnership

Wednesday 9 October 2013
A still from Haze and Fog (credit: courtesy of Cao Fei and Vitamin Creative Space)

The University of Salford is to join forces with Manchester’s Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art to support the creation of new works from some of China’s most exciting and internationally renowned artists.

The partnership will involve the co-commissioning of pieces of Chinese contemporary art which will be exhibited at the Centre before forming a new permanent collection at the University. The collection will also be available for loan to regional museums and art galleries, underlining the growing importance of, and interest in, Chinese contemporary art.

The first co-commissioned work, a new film entitled Haze and Fog by Beijing-based multimedia artist Cao Fei, will be previewed during the partnership’s official launch on Friday 11 October at the University’s state-of-the-art Digital Performance Lab in its MediaCityUK building. A zombie movie set in modern-day China, Haze and Fog focuses on the burgeoning Chinese middle classes and their lives in a society which is radically different than that experienced by their parents.

Explained Cao Fei: “The film examines people up closely and will focus on the middle class who have left tradition behind and entered this new fog of neutral modernity. I’ve tried to focus on the mood of people enveloped by a new, invisible system.”

The partnership will also establish a national Curating China Network to support curators and artists across the country in developing links with Chinese artists and arts organisations.

Colin McCallum, Executive Director, University Advancement, said: “The University of Salford is a vibrant international community, with growing international collaborations and reach that benefit students, research and the communities we serve. We already have strong academic ties with partners across China and an office in Beijing and the partnership will involve the University and the Centre working together on commissions leading to important new work for the University collection and for display on campus.

“The University’s School of Arts & Media is keen to build on this new partnership with potential for exchange of staff and students with art schools in China. This year 10 of our students will work with local businesses in Salford and travel to China next summer for one month internships in Chinese businesses.”

Peter Mearns, Chair of the Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art, added: “This is China’s century culturally as well as economically. Our new partnership with the University of Salford will establish a distinctive collection of Chinese contemporary art which will be available for loan or tour at a time when the UK needs to better embrace a world with shifting cultural centres.”

The partnership launch event will take place from 2.00-4.00pm on Friday 11 October at the University of Salford, MediaCityUK, Salford, M50 2HE. For further information please contact University Art Curator Lindsay Taylor, l.a.taylor@salford.ac.uk.

Following the launch, Haze and Fog will be shown at the Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art, Market Buildings, Thomas Street, Manchester, M4 1EU, from Saturday 26 October until Saturday 7 December 2013. For further information go to the Centre for Chinese Contemporary Arts website.