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Beijing Commune
Da Shan Zi, 798 Art District,
4 Jiuxianqiao Road, Chaoyang District
Beijing, China   map * 
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by Beijing Commune
Location: Beijing Commune
Artist(s): GROUP SHOW
Date: 16 Jan - 15 Mar 2014

Beijing Commune is proud to announce the opening of the group exhibition “N12 No. 5." All participants are members of the young Chinese contemporary artist group N12, including Hao Qiang, Hu Xiaoyuan, Liang Yuanwei, Ma Yanhong, Qiu Xiaofei, Shen Liang, Song Kun, Wang Guangle, Wang Jie, Wen Ling, Xu Hualing, and Yang Jing.

“We are twelve graduates of the China Central Academy of Fine Arts. We attempt to use various artistic methods to express ourselves outside of the urgencies of existence. We gathered together in February 2003 and decided to organize a painting exhibition, because we discovered that painting is our common method. We gathered, communicated, and while preparing the exhibition we maintained a necessary distance and mutual independence. The exhibition’s structure drove our works to be more restrained and effective. Painting to the nth dimension: twelve participants, putting forth twelve different styles of painting. There was no unifying theme, but we discovered the possibility of painting to the nth dimension.” —N12, “N12 No. 1” 2003

N12 was established in 2003 when artist Song Kun assembled a group of like-minded friends to realize their aspiration to exhibit together. This group formed the nascent N12. Chinese contemporary art in the 21st Century is still in its initial stages of development and execution. In a time when institutional structures were still unclear, N12’s establishment reflected an adaptive mechanism of self-organization for artists operating outside of the system. For young artists, linking the strength of twelve individuals can produce an immense amount of momentum. In this way they differ from artist collectives we are familiar with today. N12 is a group assembled only to exhibit; their exhibitions have no theme and no curator. The group’s twelve members undertake their artistic practice by exhibiting their individual works together.

"N12 No. 5" is the first time the twelve artists have come together since their 2006 exhibition, "N12 No. 4". Eight years have passed, and the twelve members have all individually made a name for themselves within the contemporary art world. For “N12 No. 5”, the mood of the exhibition had also changed. As Wang Guangle put it, “Our aim when N12 was established was very clear: we needed more opportunities to exhibit and gain exposure. As time went on, each member’s career gradually took off, such that by the fifth exhibition, we hope to present an exhibition and structural appearance of a different kind of artist group.”

In an introduction to the first exhibition, Wang Jie wrote, “As we organized an exhibition together, meeting together, communicating, it became even more important that we maintain a necessary distance and mutual independence. You could even say that this is the foundation of our collaboration.” Today, N12 still maintains their original aim. “N12 No. 5” can be seen as the release of individual works made during this stage in these artists’ practice. The twelve members’ works include painting, sculpture, and installation art, revealing each of their twelve individual explorations of art. However, though it appears there is no relationship between the works, there still exist certain interactions, producing chance dialogues and connections. As such, in the interwoven artistic context of N12, representational and abstract, form and consciousness blend together. Through the exhibition, the creative consciousness buried within this group of twelve artists emerges formlessly, interweaving N12’s unique artistic traces. This exhibition can be seen as an open reading of the artist’s conscious construction of individual expression and unconscious production of chance relationships and connections.

*image (left)
© Ma Yanhong
courtesy of the artist and Beijing Commune

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