The Third CAFAM Biennial: Negotiating Space: I Never Thought You Were Like That
Chao Yang District
The CAFAM Biennial is organized by the CAFA Art Museum. With the support of this university art museum, “Super-Organism: Research and Experiments from a Specific View” and “Invisible Hand: Curating as Gesture” were held in 2011 and 2014 respectively.
In recent years, the international art world has been discussing and reconsidering how a biennial should be organized, and doubts about the biennial mechanism have been voiced in recent years. The biennial mechanism has developed for nearly one hundred years, gradually creating a fixed model. Sometimes this model can neither quickly respond or react to the rapidly-changing sites and ecologies of art, nor reflect the immediate state of art. For this reason, in planning the Third CAFAM Biennial, the CAFA Art Museum reconsidered its model in an attempt to experiment with organizational and operational modes, exemplifying the university art museum’s function as an “intellectual laboratory.”
We have named the Third CAFAM Biennial “Negotiating Space: I Never Thought You Were Like That,” in an attempt to provide a completely new model for experimental exhibitions. Here “space” does refer to physical spaces and architectural spaces, but it also points to social spaces, psychological spaces, cultural spaces, and public spaces. “Negotiating Space” implies a free and broad vision of these concepts through the innovative presentation of new ideas. Second, negotiation allows for a more democratic process of artwork creation and project implementation. In Jürgen Habermas’ theories of communication, interaction between a number of parties increases the understanding of a thing and coordinates action to arrive at a common understanding. In this process, individuals have the chance to improve themselves. Bringing “negotiating space” into the exhibition model implies the dissolution of monolithic curatorial power and a break from its control. The proposal’s creators and negotiators will explore how visual presentation can produce a relationship with the space or break through spatial limitations, thereby sparking a discussion about the democratization of curatorship, the democratization of art, and the democratization of culture.
As a result, there is no curator for this biennial, and the CAFAM team works as coordinators for the exhibition. The exhibited works are selected using an open call for artwork proposals, not a process of recommendation or nomination. Because “everyone is an artist,” any individual or group can, as an artist, submit a proposal for a project that has not been realized before, and all submitted proposals will be recorded in a directory. In the proposal collection process, we have invited people from all realms of society to participate as “negotiators.” Within an open context, the submitted proposals are publicly negotiated and discussed. Some of the works that have been discussed will be presented in the exhibition, and all proposals that entered the negotiation phase will be presented in the exhibition halls and the catalog. The negotiation, presentation, and implementation of these proposal texts collectively constitute the method of this biennial. In this process, the CAFAM Biennial team will accept questions and input from the public with an open attitude.
The subtitle “I Never Thought You Were Like That” was inspired by a popular internet phrase, expressing amazement at surprising and unimaginable ways of doing conventional things. This subtitle provides a colloquial, popular, and web-based explanation of the new exhibition structures and methods for “negotiating space,” in an attempt to break with conventional assumptions about and methods for choosing biennial names. However, guided by this subtitle, we hope that the proposal presenters will work creatively, break conventions, and communicate across disciplines and submit proposals that we “never thought would be like that.”
The Third CAFAM Biennial will also present a series of academic and educational activities, including “Public Space and Cultural Democracy” seminars and lectures, “Intellectual Laboratory” dialogues, workshops and the Art Museum Night.
近年来，在国际范围内，艺术界与社会机构就“如何举办双年展”不断进行反思和讨论，对双年展展览机制本身也出现批判的声音，甚至怀疑的态 度。双年展机制经过近百年的发展，逐渐形成一套自我运行的固定模式，但这种模式有时不能迅速反应与反馈当下急剧变化的艺术现场和艺术生态，不能反映艺术主 体的直接状态。本此缘故，中央美术学院美术馆在策划第三届CAFAM双年展时重新构思，力图在组织模式、运行机制上进行新的实验和尝试，体现其作为大学美 术馆应具有的“思想实验室”功能。
我们以“空间协商：没想到你是这样的”来命名第三届CAFAM双年展，试图提供一种全新的展览实验模式。所谓“空间”，既指实际的物理空间和建筑空间，也 指向社会空间、心理空间、文化空间、公共空间等。“空间协商”，首先意味着对上述概念展开自由、宽广的想象，让不曾有过的构想出现在方案之中；其次，它也 指涉，通过协商，作品方案在创作和实施中呈现出民主化的过程。哈贝马斯交往理论指出，各方互相沟通，增进对某一事物的理解，协调彼此行动从而达成共识，个 人在此过程中也向更高级的阶段发展。将“空间协商”带入展览的操作中，意味着对单一策展权力的分化和对其控制的突破，方案提交人与协商员一起，探讨视觉呈 现如何与空间产生联动，如何打破空间限制等等的可能性；进而，引发对策展民主化、艺术民主化和文化民主化的讨论。
基于此，本届双年展不设策展人，工作组仅以协调员的名义来组织展览、协调事宜；不以推荐和提名的方式选定参展作品，代之以公开征集作品方案作为展览的机构 架构，在人人都是艺术家的背景下，任何个人、小组都可以艺术家的名义提交未在任何空间实现过的方案,所有提交的方案将以名录的形式收入；在征集方案的过程 中，我们邀请各方人士参与作为协商员，在开放的语境下对提交方案进行公开的协商、讨论，协商一致的部分作品将会在展览中实际展示出来，而进入协商环节的方 案都将呈现在展厅中并收入展览的画册，方案文本的讨论、展示与现场实施共同构成本届双年展的呈现方式。在整个执行过程中，CAFAM双年展工作组也将以开 放的态度接受公众的质询和交流。
副标题“没想到你是这样的”，句式源自网络流行语的启发，它表达对常规事物出其不意、意想不到的做法的惊讶。一方面，这一副标题是对“空间协商”这个可能 带来新的展览架构和展览方式的一种口语化、流行化和网络化的解释，试图打破公众对双年展标题取法和固定作法的惯常思维；另一方面，我们也希望在这个副标题 的引导下，方案提交人积极创想、打破常态、沟通跨界，提交的方案能够让我们“没想到你是这样的方案”。
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