Arts Bridge Forum China-Germany in the Museum Angewandte Kunst The Samsara of all things: boundlessness in art and design between the East and the West

17 October 2019, 2–5 pm

In the context of the 2019 Frankfurt Book Fair, Museum Angewandte Kunst hosts The Arts Bridge Forum , which presents lectures and discussions with four Chinese artists and designers based on the theme “The Samsara of All Things: boundlessness in art and design between the East and the West”. The Arts Bridge Forum has been previously presented at the Venice Biennale and the Design Museum London.

The event title is based on two basic thoughts. The first is “All Things Are Equal”, coined by the philosopher Zhang Zai at the time of the Song Dynasty, which assumes that all people and things between heaven and earth are our fellows and we should treat other people like brothers, and love things just as we love people. The second thought is rooted in the transmigration idea of Indian Buddhism and the associated belief that all living things move through different spheres of existence and that the eternal wheel of death and rebirth is almost endless. Based on these two thoughts, it is about the cycle that all things seem to go through. Samsara does not only refer to living things, but also to non-living things. Art and design can achieve the reconstruction and transformation of ancient cultures, concepts and skills. This is what is to be understood as the samsara of all things and what has been established as the central theme for the Arts Bridge Forum at the Frankfurt Book Fair 2019. This expresses a point of view that does not refer to western role models, but to their own Asian traditions.

Program Overview

Thursday, 17.10.2019, 2-5 pm

2–2.30 pm Lectures and discussion with Xu Bing (artist) and Axel Malik (artist)
2.30–3 pm Lectures and discussion with Zhu Zheqin (artist) and Prof. Matthias Wagner K (director, Museum Angewandte Kunst)
3–3.20 pm Coffee break
3.20–4 pm Lectures and discussion with Jamy Yang (designer), Xu Gang (designer) and Prof. Dr. med. Klaus Klemp (design theorist)
4–4.10 pm Concluding remarks by Prof. dr. Klaus Klemp (design theorist)
4.10–5 pm Meet and Greet / Networking

Moderated by Wang Zijian and Prof. Dr. Klaus Klemp

Discussion and lectures in English. No registration needed. Free admission.

Prof. Xu Bing was born in 1955 in Chongqing, China, and graduated from the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing (CAFA) in 1981, where he became a lecturer. He currently lives and works in Beijing and New York. His work has already been presented in internationally recognized museums, including the MoMA in New York; the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Washington, D.C.; the British Museum, London; the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid and the Museum Ludwig, Cologne. In addition, Xu Bing has participated in several international exhibitions, including the 45th, 51st and 56th Venice Biennale, the Sydney Biennale and the Johannesburg Biennial.In 1999, Xu Bing received a MacArthur Fellowship for his extraordinary contribution to society, notably “in printmaking and calligraphy.” In 2003, he was awarded the 14th Fukuoka Asian Culture Award for his “Contribution to the Development of Asian Culture.” , In 2004 he won the first Artes Mundi Prize in Wales. In 2006, Southern Graphics Council awarded Xu Bing the Lifetime Achievement Award for Lifetime Achievement. In 2015, he was honored with the 2014 Department of State-Medal of Arts for his efforts to promote cultural understanding through his artwork.

Jamy Yang, founder and design director of YANG DESIGN and YANG HOUSE, as well as a visiting professor at Tongji University, was named the Forbes “Top Influential Chinese Designer”. After studying at Zhejiang University and the China Academy of Art and as a former employee of the Munich Design Center of Siemens, he received a Master in Industrial Design from Germany, with a full scholarship to the WK Foundation. Jamy’s design commitment has earned him international acclaim, hundreds of design awards, including Red Dot, iF, GOOD DESIGN, IDEA, and DFA Silver. In 2005, he founded YANG DESIGN, the most advanced industrial design consultancy in China, YANG DESIGN MUSEUM in 2013, China’s first private museum of industrial design, and began building a lifestyle brand “YANG HOUSE” in 2010, which was designed to revive and revitalize contributions to the traditional Chinese craftsmanship. Combining German logical thinking and Chinese humanist spirit, Jamy Yang has developed his own design philosophy and is partnering with renowned global brands, including Boeing, Audi and Bosch, with projects covering a wide range of eyewear and cases, consumer electronics, household products and aircraft cabins , A series of CSR projects working with NGOs such as Greenpeace, One Foundation and Animals Asia Foundation show his belief in taking on social responsibility as a designer.

Zhu Zheqin (Dadawa) is known as a singer, multi-media artist, independent producer and founder of KANJIAN. She is WCC World Handicraft Ambassador to the World Handicraft Council and was China Goodwill Ambassador from 2009 to 2011. As an advocate and promoter of contemporary design in China, she is committed to the reconstruction of contemporary Chinese cultural aesthetics. For the past 20 years, Zhu Zheqin has embarked on an artistic exploration of music as a starting point. Her works and her work have in recent years been heavily involved in the fields of sound, image, performance, design, media, public and community. In 2009, together with UNDP, she initiated “SHOW THE WORLD SHOW THE WORLD—Culture-based Development Goodwill Action for Ethnics in China” program, which promotes contemporary design inspired by the wisdom of Chinese cultures and traditions. In 2012, she founded KANJIAN (meaning “to see” in Chinese), a design brand that uses contemporary design to revive traditional Chinese craftsmanship.

Xu Gang is founder and design director of BENTU. He and his team are engaged in product design and innovation in various areas, including: art, housewares, food, interior design and clothing. They combine design and production and explore further production possibilities, experimenting with new materials. Following his humanistic perception, he has led his team to minimize the waste of the industrial age and to re-integrate materials that have become useless into everyday life since the founding of BENTU. BENTU is an independent and experimental design brand that covers product design, production, distribution and promotion. Based on the design, they produce high quality products that meet our daily needs, including lighting fixtures, household items, patio furniture, wall decoration materials, and return various materials to their true origins through a series of experiments, revealing and exploring their original texture, Xu Gang has endeavored to influence reality and change the world. Together with his team, he won the Red Dot Award: Best of the Best, a Design Award, a Good Design Award and other international awards.

Prof. Dr. Klaus Klemp, born in 1954, received a degree in Design after completing his studies in Design and Visual Communication. He then studied art history. From 1988 to 2006 he managed the cultural department of the city of Frankfurt am Main. He also directed two municipal galleries; From 2006 to 2012 he was Exhibition Director and from 2013 to 2014 Deputy Director of the Museum Angewandte Kunst in Frankfurt am Main. Since 1998 he is a lecturer in design history, design theory and public design at several universities; honorary professor at the University of Applied Sciences HS-RM in Wiesbaden since 2008; From 1995 to 2005 member of the presidency of the German Design Council, since 2010 member of the board of the Dieter and Ingeborg Rams Foundation and member of the advisory board of the Gesellschaft für Designgeschichte. Since the winter semester 2014/15 he has been full-time professor for design theory and design history at the HfG Offenbach and worked as a design curator at the Museum Angewandte Kunst in Frankfurt.

Axel Malik, born in 1953, lives and works in Berlin. In 1989, he started the project of the daily “Writing” and has since continued to do so. The writing process consists of individual pictorial signs that never repeat. These traces of motion have the character of complex lines that refer to a sphere of motion characterized by progressive differentiation. The result is not, or certainly not in the usual sense, readable. The signs of this expansive matrix describe nothing external except their own vibration and pulse rate. It is not their function to be meaningful, equivalent or appropriate to something “out there”, acting as a symbol or as functional script encoding information. When the writing is freed from its semantic core, the movement of writing implodes immediately and the absence of things returns to the characters in the form of a condensed presence, an increasing intensity of the moment. It is about the unhindered reality of the mere movement of writing; about its inhomogeneous dynamics and limitless extensibility, which realizes a structurally differentiated language in its own sphere of influence and space of possibilities.

Prof. Matthias Wagner K, born in Jena in 1961, is a writer, curator, exhibition organizer and director of the Museum Angewandte Kunst in Frankfurt am Main. After years of freelance work as an exhibition organizer, biennial director, art and design curator and author, he has been director of the Museum Angewandte Kunst in Frankfurt am Main since 2012. Here he has brought about a paradigm shift in the redefinition of a Museum of Applied Arts, which has also attracted international attention and widespread recognition. His exhibition activities, the handling of the existing museum collection and event formats set new standards in terms of content and structural forms of reception and perception of applied and fine arts, especially fashion, design and handicraft. Instead of treating the objects of the collection solely on the basis of their history, Wagner K focuses on the negotiation of contemporary observations, from which arise questions that can be confronted in thematic exhibitions with ever new constellations of objects. With the exhibition “Jil Sander. Present”, he provided the biggest public success in the history of the museum. Wagner K was appointed honorary professor for Curating Design in June 2018 by the Hochschule für Gestaltung Offenbach.