SUPERNATURAL! The Secret Life of Things in Chinese Art and Design

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Supernatural! logo © China Design Market
SUPERNATURAL! The Secret Life of Things in Chinese Art and Design

Chaoyang District - Caochangdi Art Village, Hong Yihao Yuan A2
100012 Beijing(BEIJING CAPITAL)
April 14th, 2010 - April 19th, 2010
Opening: April 15th, 2010 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM

0086 10 51273216
10:30 am - 8:00 pm
Abitare China Magazine, Rizzoli Beijing
contemporary, industrial-design, Graphic, design, furniture, Art, editions, sound, fashion, publications, mixed-media, conceptual, landscape


SUPERNATURAL! The Secret Life of Things in Chinese Art and Design

(part of Zona Tortona official circuit - Milan Design Week 2010)

Introduced within the framework of China Design Market (CDM) 2010 the exhibition project SUPERNATURAL! The Secret Life of Things in Chinese Art and Design acts upon a problematic of description that often, and almost inevitably, emerges when attaining to forms of representation aiming to be culturally all-encompassing or simply self-explanatory of a certain state of ‘contemporaneity’. Many indeed have been those reflecting on China’s across an international set of cultural agendas, both for the complexity of its grand changes and their complicity with our common times. Whether built on facts or impressions the ‘place’ called China today covers a wide expanse of image-descriptions mostly associated to a mono-dimensional speed of scale development.

Supernatural! shapes itself around the seemingly unattended places where the cultural universe of change per-se fails the grand narrative of discourse to rather forge its own meaning within the impalpable walls of the every-day by turning its most intimate spaces into the “humble home” of the contemporary, that which reveals how things, habits and memories pave the way for an understanding of the place we attribute to life and ourselves accordingly.

“We should therefore have to say how we inhabit our vital space, in accord with all the dialectics of life, how we take root, day after day, in a ‘corner of the world’. For our house is our corner of the world”

G. Bachelard, The Poetics of Space

Curated by Beatrice Leanza the exhibition is conceived as a wondrous journey into contemporary object-scapes through the creative processes of a young generation of 30 Chinese independent designers, artists and studios as a way to explore both formally and conceptually the micro-fields of everyday life. This curatorial approach wishes to expose the multiple outreaches of design processes and research into a variety of cross-disciplinary practices and how these speak of a perception of the world and contemporary life, stretched into a continuous experimentation with its visual and material currency.

The works and projects featured in the exhibition – ranging from products, furniture and lights to clothing, publication/illustration, sound and art objects, intend to inform of the shaping relationships between visual strategies in art, architecture and design and their implication with material processes of production that take the realm of the ‘ordinary’ as an ideal environment to continuously reinvent the cultural outfit of personal history into a process of performative innovation. The show highlights how these selected creative practices engage forms via strategies of subtle sabotage, appropriation, assemblage, where found shapes, materials and objects of everyday use are remoulded into a geography of whimsical ambiguity and disarming über-reality.

These formal experimentations often resort to natural materials and textiles, paper, wood and bamboo, and to different ways for revisiting traditional techniques, formats and forms of image-making, therefore rethinking the way they continue to mediate a sense of proximity to the social, the subjective and the philosophical. In bringing together these experiences the present appears as an ahistorical shelter where illusion and artifice are granted an essential purpose that is to induce us in a state of suspended reading, “native in some way to the primary function of inhabiting” (G. Bachelard).

With the aim to create a connection to their original context of production the exhibition design conceived by BAO Atelier transforms the darkened room in DesignLibrary into a theatrical stage-set drawn upon the floor plan of a prototypical modern Chinese household, a symbolic remake of a changed sense of domestic, private space in contemporary urban society. This built form realized as an abstract structure of white walls and floor lines as seen in architectural drawings, is a calculated reproduction of an 80sqm apartment with a small night garden. By wondering these rooms the visitors are taken into a filmic detour into the personal life and visual histories behind the designers while discovering the minutiae of everyday worlds in continuous change.

A selected series of books, artists’ catalogues and independent publications by Chinese graphic designers and studios are included as part of the exhibition, many referencing products and art works exhibited so as to provide a wider spectrum of information about current trends and research pursued by local creative people.

Furthermore a selection of SUBjam’s astonishing sounds, experimental noise and beautiful design for posters, CDs and publications brings you to a unique creative philosophy where no confines are drawn between art and life. Enjoy the sound of it!

A catalogue* featuring all the works included in the exhibition and thematic introductions to the other projects components of CDM 2010 program has been designed by Beijing-based - the book is integrated to the special bag and media pack realized by for CDM 2010.


Useful information:

Location: DesignLibrary, Via Savona 11 – Milano |

Period: April 14 – 19, 2010

China Design Market 2009/2010 |

Supernatural! is a project by:

BAO Aterlier HK ltd.|

Members of BAO‘s team have managed and operated art galleries, architecture studios, artistic kermes and large scale cultural events, independent construction developments, print design and video production, fashion and costume design/production, creative research and content development. BAO’s team has been involved in the 798 art community since its inception in 2002.

Grounded in divergent but complementary disciplinary articulations, BAO is a roundly partnership that operates through communication and cross-border collaboration with a variety of local and international cultural players and professionals in design (graphics/product/web and fashion), architecture and urban research, media and social studies, visual arts, music and sound art, moving images, publishing.



... is an atelier for the production and modulation of cultural discourse.

... is a curatorial, editorial, and design consultancy and laboratory.

... aims to synthesize the three basic modalities of conceptual, textual, and spatial thinking.

... is a radically collaborative venture.

... is based in Beijing.


Curated by:

Beatrice Leanza

Exhibition Design:

Li Naihan

Visual Identity:


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