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Re-Imagining Asia

Re-Imagining Asia / © Foto: Haupt and Binder, Universes in Universe

Interstitial spaces of imagination

Haus der Kulturen der Welt
Berlin, Germany
14 March - 18 May 2008

Curators: Shaheen Merali, Wu Hung

23 participants

Photo Tour ►

With an exhibition, film screenings, a literature festival, dance theater and much more, the House of World Cultures in Berlin proposes to explore which new images of Asia contemporary artists are developing nowadays, among other things, which pictures and stories are created when artists open themselves up to regional traditions in search of new approaches for current issues.

Re-Imagining Asia
Exhibition, conference, films

The continent on the other side of the Bosporus has always been an endlessly inspiring source of images as well as a screen for our projections. For a long time, however, only the Western view of a more-or-less Far East was accepted. How can we see Asia differently?

Today, Asia is experiencing a cultural awakening. From Bahrain to Beijing, new museums and art biennials are appearing. Asian art is now surrounded by total hype. Re-Imagining Asia examines the way in which new images of Asia appear in contemporary art. It is not the artists’ origins that are relevant for Re-Imagining Asia, but only their focus on Asia as a space for the imagination. The spectrum of artists ranges from Chinese artists such as Zhang Dali to the Thai artist Rirkrit Tiravanija, who was born in Buenos Aires and works in New York, to the Mexican Gabriel Orozco and the Germans Andreas Gursky and Johannes Kahrs. No matter whether their subject matter is the stock exchange in Kuwait, street scenes in mega-cities, pop imagery borrowed from the world of comics, or spine-chilling models of Tiananmen Square, the works selected from the twenty-three artists all develop new, heterogeneous ways of perceiving the world that transcend the polarities of local : global, traditional : modern.

Installations, objects and photographs form the focal point of the exhibition. And although the motives and materials fall back on traditions, the artistic strategies are absolutely contemporary. The artists examine the history of their societies, invoke love and suffering, express their sense of disquiet about the system, experiment with traditional forms and new media. Irony and enthusiasm go hand in hand, and new connections are established between contemporary and traditional phenomena. Re-Imagining Asia discovers its perspectives in these spaces of the imagination.

(Text from the organizer)


Chiho Aoshima
Parastou Forouhar
Subodh Gupta
Andreas Gursky
Manabu Ikeda
Michael Joo
Johannes Kahrs
Bharti Kher
Kim Jongku
Sun K. Kwak
Dinh Q. Lê
Muneteru Ujino
Miao Xiaochun
Gabriel Orozco
Rashid Rana
Kibong Rhee
Takako Saito
Shen Shaomin
Shi Jinsong
Song Dong
Rirkrit Tiravanija
Zhang Dali

Haus der Kulturen der Welt
John-Foster-Dulles-Allee 10
10557 Berlin
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Examples from the photo tour:

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