Collateral Event of the 54th International Art Exhibition - la Biennale di Venezia


Organisation: Museum of Contemporary Art, Shanghai
Co-organiser: Arte Communications

Artist: Yi Zhou

Commissioner: Paolo De Grandis

Curators: Achille Bonito Oliva, Chang Tsong-zung

Music Composer: Ennio Morricone
Coordinator: Carlotta Scarpa

Collaborators: Francesca Romana Greco, François Leturcq, Laetitia Gadan, Yiting Ruan,Yu Chen

Sponsors: CLARINS, Galerie Jerome de Noirmont

Venue: Spiazzi, Castello 3865, Arsenale, Venice

Preview: 1-2-3 June 2011 / 10 am – 7 pm / Official Opening: 3 June 2011
Opening to the public: 4 June - 27 November 2011 / 10 am – 6 pm (closed on Mondays except 6 June, 15 August and 21 November)



Yi Zhou will be part of the 54th International Art Exhibition - la Biennale di Venezia with a collateral event entitled “Days of Yi”, organized by the Museum of Contemporary Art Shanghai in collaboration with Arte Communications. It marks the first collateral solo exhibition of an artist from Mainland China at la Biennale di Venezia. The show, curated by Achille Bonito Oliva and Johnson Chang with the coordination of Paolo De Grandis, will take place at “Spiazzi", Castello 3865, Arsenale, Venice.


“Days of Yi”portrays the journey of a multimedia artist, whose body of work range from 2003 to 2011. It encompasses early works with youthful visions and dreams about an apocalyptic world made back in 2003 and it stretches until a 2011 interpretation of war and peace about a new future. The show tends to underline a personal journey from obscure unconscious early youthful views about universal disasters and nature; panning through transitional moments of personal search for identity with obscure tunnel vision of one’s own journey; till the reaching of light and hope through a better understanding of oneself and of the future in the adulthood realm. The exhibition will present a live peacock, a bottle filled with rice and 8 videos.


As stated by the curator Achille Bonito Oliva: «Her work is the fruit of a multimedia language that combines cinema, digital animation, photography, sculpture, painting, drawing and contemporary music. In this way, even through video, the work becomes the ability to represent time in space, to capture the fleeting moments of life in a fragmentary vision that succeeds in capturing the present without forgetting the past, in a dialogue between different cultures, between East and West. A sophisticated and surprising literary memory enables Yi Zhou to create references to the “Divine Comedy” by Dante Alighieri, to the “Decameron” by Boccaccio, to the story of Nastagio degli Onesti, and even to recover the comedy of Gogol’s “The Nose”. These references are successfully absorbed by a visual language that grasps the idea of the plot (completely western) interwoven with a flowing concept of circular time (completely oriental)».






About the artist: As a young Chinese artist living between Paris and Shanghai, Yi Zhou represents the new generation of multi-talented, multifaceted and multi-disciplined artists. She creates multimedia installations combining visionary films, 3D animation, photographs, sculpture, painting, drawings and contemporary music composition. Her work can be seen at all the current biennales and contemporary art fairs around the world. She has been nominated three times at Sundance Film Festival. Her films explore the limit between dreams and reality, imagination and madness, truth and lies, and life after death. 

Curators: Achille Bonito Oliva, Italian art critic, author of essays on art, professor of History of Contemporary Art at “La Sapienza” University. From the Eighties onward he also organized various exhibitions. In 1993, he directed the 45th edition of the International Art Exhibition – la Biennale di Venezia entitled “Cardinal points of the art” and he curated in the Biennale di Venezia the following well known exhibitions: “Sei stazioni per artenatura. La natura dell’arte” (1978), “Aperto ‘80” (1980) with Harald Szeemann and “Ubi Fluxus Ibi Motus” (1990). Achille Bonito Oliva created an art movement which he himself called “Transavantgarde”, which means beyond the avant-garde. This art movement swept through Western Europe in the late 1970s and 1980s, rejecting conceptual art and reintroducing emotion back into painting and sculpture. 

Johnson Chang, curator, co-founder of the Asia Art Archive in Hong Kong, co-founder of the Hong Kong chapter of AICA, guest professor of China Art Academy. He has been active in curating Chinese exhibitions since the 1980’s; he pioneered participation of Chinese art in international exhibitions and was instrumental in establishing the international image of Chinese contemporary art of the 1990’s. His exhibitions include the first participation of Hong Kong at the International Art Exhibition – la Biennale di Venezia in 2001.

Commissioner: Paolo De Grandis, President of Arte Communications, has been operating since 1984 in the artistic field to valorise contemporary art and to facilitate the realisation of structural conditions that can stimulate the development of contemporary art production, creation and research. Thanks to the experience acquired over the years through international exchanges with government bodies, institutions and museums, Arte Communications has carried out various activities focussed on presenting new countries at the Biennale and, from 1995 to the present day, it has organised and/or coordinated 81 exhibitions of which 40 national participations.




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