15 Feb 2009
25 May 2009


UCCA (Big Hall), Beijing

The Exhibition
Co-curated by Jerome Sans, UCCA Director, and Guo Xiaoyan, UCCA Chief Curator - Organized by Emma Guo. 
UCCA is proud to present Breaking through the ice, an important solo exhibition by conceptual artist Qiu Zhijie. “With Breaking through the ice UCCA initiates a new series of solo exhibitions of the new generation of Chinese artists”, Jerome Sans, UCCA Director and co-curator of the exhibition.

Following a series of exhibitions exploring the origins of Chinese contemporary art such as ‘85 New Wave, House of Oracles: A Huang Yong Ping Retrospective and Our Future: The Guy and Myriam Ullens Foundation Collection, Breaking through the ice is an ambitious new project, being Qiu Zhijie’s first major solo exhibition and featuring totally new works commissioned especially for this exhibition.

Breaking through the ice reveals mankind’s desire to build gigantic structures and their related systems, especially within Chinese industrial history. Conceived as a huge sinking ship that engages the audience throughout the industrial transformations of China, this highly experimental show displays a wide variety of works ranging from sculpture and installation to ink paintings and drawings. Viewed together, these works explore the ill-fated implications of massive industrial state enterprises, such as the iconic Nanjing Yangtze River Bridge, for the individual mind, private life, history, philosophy and surrounding nature.

“Qiu Zhijie is recognized as one of the leading figures of China’s new generation of artists. His artistic orientation, theory and curating have time and again been the driving force of several Chinese art movements, setting the standard for younger and more established artists alike”, said Guo Xiaoyan, co-curator of the exhibition.

The exhibition is supported by a range of educational programs organized by UCCA and featuring a series of artists’ talks, including Qiu Zhijie, as well as a panel discussion between artists, critics and curators.

The Artist

Born in Fujian, China, Qiu Zhijie graduated from Zhejiang Academy of Fine Arts. Since the early 1990s he has been active in contemporary Chinese cultural spheres as well as in the international art community, with his multiple roles as artist, curator and writer. As a curator he has been promoting the sphere of new media art, giving birth to the brand new art landscape evident in the Post Sensitivities exhibitions. His involvement in organizing The Long March Project and his on-site art promotion have made him one of the major participants and contributors to the history of contemporary Chinese art. As an artist his work A one-thousand-time copy of Lantingxu and the photographic series Tattoo have become classical works engraved in the history of contemporary Chinese art for their unique depiction of light, calligraphy and photography. Qiu Zhijie imbues contemporary works with deep-rooted traditional Chinese spirituality, resulting in the latest feat in seamlessly integrating the spirit of the Chinese literati with that of the Avant-Garde. His artworks encompass photography, video, calligraphy, painting, installation and performance art, and exceed the narrow confines of medium aesthetics. In recent years Qiu Zhijie has been teaching at China Academy of Art in Beijing. With his unique philosophy of “total art” and work in cultural studies, Qiu Zhijie has been rebuilding the mechanism of individual creation and social mix, attracting a crowd of young followers as a result.  

Qiu Zhijie started the Nanjing Yangtze River Bridge Project in 2006. Focusing on the suicides that were happening on the bridge, Qiu’s investigation has been considered the largest recent artistic and sociological experimental project in the Chinese art world. Perceived as a major political symbol in the history of the People’s Republic of China, Nanjing Yangtze River Bridge now refers to the complex relations between topics such as revolution, nationalism, modernity and the fate of the individual.

Ullens Center for Contemporary Art (UCCA) is a non-profit, comprehensive art center founded in Beijing by collectors Guy and Myriam Ullens in November 2007. UCCA presents exhibitions of established and emerging artists and acts as a trusted platform to share knowledge through education, exchange and research.

I used to have seventy-two different forms (detail), 2009
Breaking through the ice - the Sinking Giant , 2009
Diploma No. 3, 2009
Diploma No. 3 (detail), 2009
Breaking through the ice - the Sinking Giant (detail) , 2009
General information
Ullens Center for Contemporary Art (UCCA)
798 Art District,No.4 Jiuxianqiao Lu,
Chaoyang District, Beijing P.R.China 100015

Phone: +86 10 8459 9269
Fax: +86 10 8459 9717
Web: http://www.ucca.org.cn

Opening hours:
tuesday — sunday 10:00 am -7:00 pm
Closed on tuesday
Co-curated by Jerome Sans, UCCA Director, and Guo Xiaoyan, UCCA Chief Curator
Organized by Emma Guo

Press contact:
Dorelia Baird Smith

3 rue de Turbigo 75001 Paris
T. +33 1 42 72 60 01