QIU ZHIJIE 'Map of Maps' (detail) 2018
Ullens Center for Contemporary Art
4 Jiuxianqiao Rd, Chaoyang Qu, Beijing Shi, Beijing, China
19/01/2019 - 05/05/2019
Qiu Zhijie, nearly a decade ago, began to plot out intricate maps of the relationships among his various artworks. It was from this synthesis of research, imagination, writing, and action that the “Mapping the World Project” was born. In the maps that have followed, the ink and brushwork of landscape painting outlines a coordinate system which condenses individuals, incidents, ideas, objects, and situations, weaving them together, and offering a possibility for understanding them in relation to each other. The intelligently schematic nature of these maps has allowed them to serve as blueprints for various exhibitions: the 9th Shanghai Biennale (curated by him in 2012) and the recent Guggenheim survey “Art and China after 1989: Theater of the World” (2017-2018). Qiu’s maps also exist as discrete artworks, created in series including the “Action Map Series,” “All of the Objects Series,” “Autobiography Series,” “All Living Things Series,” “Spatial Map Series,” “Narrative Map Series,” always keenly aware of their subjective, constructed nature. For the last ten years, mapping has served multiple functions in Qiu’s artistic practice: as self-conscious gesture, exhibition plan, political topology, workflow chart, cultural research programme and intellectual exchange. These maps ultimately reflect the myriad identities of their author: artist, curator, educator, eclectic cartographer and theorist.