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Qu Yan | Bai Yiluo | Li Wei | Wang Qingsong | Meng Jin | Liu Xinhua | MuChen+Zhao Yinong

12.03. - 25.04.2010

Curated by Bjørn Inge Follevaag and Wang Baoju

In this exhibition, 3,14 continues its focus on contemporary Chinese art, this time with an emphasis on photography.
This first part of the exhibition emphasizes the theme of power in various forms, while part 2 (opening on April 30th) will focus on artists' involvement in relation to the enormous environmental challenges China faces.

“One change a year, one big change in three years, and one unidentifiable transformation in five years.”

The above quote by Chairman Deng Xiaoping sums up the immense power of the Chinese communist party and defines the target for China's future development. In this poetic slogan Deng defines power in a simple statement. With this statement he redefines society. The theme in the first part of "Never Equal Distance to the Moon" is Power. Political and social power-structures, but also the power of a market. Chinese contemporary art is highly influenced by social realism. With clear references to national and international socialist icons - usually deceased -  and with socialist symbols, like critique of the Cultural Revolution as props. Art with social criticism in China has – ironically – become a significant object of investment. Large international institutions have flocked to Beijing and Shanghai to invest in Chinese contemporary art, and the market is overheated. For some Chinese artists there are long waiting-lists, and the painting – in particular – has become an industry.

The social criticism which characterises Chinese contemporary art is hardly controversial any longer. The Chinese system, with its new openness, has succeeded including their artists in a much larger political project - which has nothing to do with social criticism, less to do with art and a lot to do with a market. Where do we find the real social criticism in modern Chinese art? As curators we try to investigate how power is read and understood in different cultural contexts. Do the works speak outside of China? Can they be universally understood?

The choice of digital photography/video as medium for “Never Equal Distance to the Moon” seemed natural. Photography is reproducible in large quantities and far less commercially tainted than painting or sculpture. Photography also has a long documentary tradition and provides better access to the story-line.  Photo and video venture beyond the market with a more liberal – and personal - approach to the issues in question. The fact that these works are aesthetically pleasing is not coincidental. The fact that there is an immediate sense of aesthetics in the works allows the viewer to identify with the work, and perhaps also with the exhibition’s theme. We were eager to see how these works would be read and understood in different cultural contexts. The review from the Danish newspaper Politiken suggests that the works communicate across cultural and social barriers. This met one of our targets for the project.”


– Bjørn Inge Follevaag / Wang Baoju



- Power Space - Shaquan village Head Office, Nancun Town, Guangling County, Shanxi province

- Power Space - Baizhuang village Head Office, Nancun Town, Guangquan County, Shanxi province

- Power Space - Wuzhuang village Head Office, Tushan Town, Pizhou County, Jiangshu Province
Photographs, 120 x 150cm, 2005-2006

Qu Yan (b. 1955) is from the Jiangsu province and graduated in painting at Shanxi University. Qu addresses power and power structures in his work, whether it is in his photographs of administrative offices in countryside villages, in his imagery from makeshift churches or from inside local hospitals. More than anything Qu focuses on the overt or discreet symbols of power apparent within general social structures.


- People - 2

Photograph, string - different sizes, 2003

- Fate - 4

Resin, cupreous string, Photograph, 35 x 215 x 60cm, 2007

Bai Yiluo (b. 1968) is a factory worker and self taught photographer from Luoyang, in the Henan-province of Western China, who converted to contemporary art while working as an assistant to Ai Weiwei. He is preoccupied with the massive changes of his native China, changes far removed from the collective values his society is founded on. His works more than suggest an uncertain future. His body of work refers to a continuum in which our individual role is limited. Alienation, globalization, power and tradition are essential elements in his work – the individual subjects constituting his installations remain anonymous building blocks for a larger structure. His work uses repetitive motifs, in the form of faces in black and white or flies’ legs, built into large formations to accumulate a sense of a whole.


- 29 levels of freedom
Photograph, 100 x 68,56cm, 2003

- Li Wei falls to the Car
Photograph, 100 x 100cm, 2003

- 25 levels of freedom
Photograph, 100 x 100cm, 2004

Li Wei (b. 1970) is from Hubei, and educated at the CAA in Beijing. Ulrike Münther says about Li Wei; “He thinks of his artistic work as a continual balancing act between his striving for freedom and his concern for preserving the little emotional security still available”. Li Wei has become known for his spectacular performances, in which he seems to defy gravity.  He delivers subtle messages of control, safety and insecurity in today’s China. Leaving the only real freedom to that of the physical body.




- Follow Me
Photograph, 150 x 300cm, 2003

- 123456 Chops

Video, 2009

- Iron Man

Video, 2008

Wang Qingsong (b. 1966), from Heilongjiang Province, educated at the Sichuan Academy of Fine Art, is a contemporary Chinese artist whose large-format photographs address the rapidly changing society of China. Wang Qingsong refers to how economic growth has become China’s key slogan: "One change a year, one big change in three years, and one unidentifiable transformation in five years." He has chosen a theatrical approach in his staged work to ironically comment the sweetness of the economic marvel.

Wang Qingsong often places himself in the image, looking back at the audience, sometimes as a voyeur or witness observing a political or social situation, sometimes as a ‘soldier’ battling against the influence of Western culture. His work uses satire to highlight and exaggerate these issues so that the audience can question and respond.



- A room with a View / Room No.8 A ruined living room with a view of the anonymous Statue
C-Print, 120 x 80cm, 2000-2002

- A room with a View / Room No.10 A Double Room with the View of China Revolutionary Military Museum

C-Print, 120 x 80cm, 2000-2002

Meng Jin (b. 1973) in Chongqing and has a BA in art from the local University. He has his MA from Chelsea College in London. Meng works with issues of identity, accountability and growth in the new China, discussing personal and collective traditions and memories, and how the individual seems unable to liberate himself from culture’s symbols.


- Uncle PLA Tell Stories To Children
Photograph, 150 x 211cm, 2006

- Leader Always Has A Pen in The Hand
Photograph, 150 x 200cm, 2005

Liu Xinhua (b. 1956) from Wuhan in Hubei. He graduated from North Western University in Fine Art. Lives and works in Beijing as art professor. Liu applies propaganda images in his work to comment on social responsibility as well as the falsehood of messages. The era from 1949 to today was full of lies. Liu photographs a format, which is applied by politicians, businesses, the educational system and religion and which affects all aspects of our lives. When society applies a certain form of communication it also needs to accept the responsibility it involves. When this responsibility becomes disordered, dishonest, and conceptual, artists should stand up and create a "truthful format".

MuChen+Zhao Yinong

- The Assembly Hall Series - Gaotang
Photograph, 122 x 168cm, 2007

Mu Chen (b. 1970) from the Liaoning province, Shao Yinong (b. 1961) from Xining, in the Qinghai province. The couple Mu Chen and Shao Yinong have been described as working with memories and the functionality of memory. They demonstrate how China has transformed from the agrarian past to economic superpower. Their images portray assembly halls in local communities for political and cultural education - and how they’ve changed.

The exhibiton received funds from Arts Council Norway and Fritt Ord.

In collaboration with Faurschou Foundation Copenhagen.

Exhibition catalog -->


Part II: Politics & the Environment"

Tan Haishan | Jin Jiangbo | Ma Hongjie | Yao Lu | Huang Yan | Shi Guorui | Chi Peng | Liu Jin
30.04. - 30.05.10

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