Art Is Still Here: A Hypothetical Show for a Closed Museum

2020 FEB 13 – ONGOING


M WOODS Online Schedule (CST Beijing Time):

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Broadcasting from China - WEEK #7 and 43 days into our online exhibition ‘Art Is Still Here: A Hypothetical Show for a Closed Museum’. This week we enter the museum’s ‘Landing Gallery’ and continue to share contributions by artists around the themes of ecology, nature, extinction, isolation and kinship.

Today we present contributions by artists:

Cheng Ran, Fan Xi, Reynier Leyva Novo, Yang Zhengzhong , Ryuichi Sakamoto,

Xie Nanxing,

Artist Cheng Ran contributes his work ‘Existence Without Air, Food, or Water’, in a sound format. Online viewers can listen to this work that explores the spiritual existence beyond this reality, one that does not need air, food, or water.

Yang Zhenzhong shares ‘Shower’ (1995), a performance of a young man showering with his clothes on in one of China’s public restrooms. The work speaks to the recurring theme of hygiene and sanitization that was touched upon by artists in the mid 1900s, when widespread bio - policies were introduced.

Cuban artist Reynier Leyva Novo shares  ‘The country that dreamed of being a continent’ that comprises of Cuba’s National Anthem musically re-arranged and also translated into Chinese, Russian and English. Further exploring several significant impacts on the nation’s culture: the Chinese migration to Cuba, starting from the nineteenth century, the integration of the island to the Russian-Soviet communist model and the United States’ influence, starting from the establishment of the Cuban Republic

Beijing based artist Fan Xi takes on movement as a core theme in her contribution. For the artist, time is abstract, and perhaps a sentiment that is amplified during China’s ‘lock down’. Here she records movements and images through photography and video, opening a window into perception re-imagined.

Ryuichi Sakamoto explores timelessness, the unsegmented flow of time as music in the work ‘Water State 2’. The video is by Shiro Takatani and was made and inspired by this music, with the motif of the sea as a symbol of eternity, an unbreakable time.

Xie Nanxing contributes three new paintings to the series made during Beijing’s mandatory quarantine period. Each work gives a textual reference that takes the artist’s rocking chair in his studio as a starting point in exploring image and object relations, and how such relations change through color.

This project was originally developed as a response to the forced closure of our museums, institutions, and galleries in China, and to limit the exposure of our staff and communities during the COVID 19 outbreak. This project now takes on new meaning as the COVID 19 disease begins to affect communities and cultural institutions internationally. ⁣

We thank all the artists and galleries who have supported this project over the past seven weeks!⁣

Water State 2
by Ryuichi Sakamoto

Visual contribution by Shiro Takatani
©︎ KAB America Inc. All rights reserved


Legal Warning:

The unauthorized reproduction or distribution of this copyrighted work is illegal

© 2017 KAB America, Inc (ASCAP), Administered by Kobalt Songs Music Publishing (ASCAP) / KAB Broadcasting Rights Division

℗2017 Kab Inc./KAB America Inc.


Ryuichi Sakamoto
Sakamoto has lived many musical lives in his nearly 70 years. As a keyboardist and songwriter in Haruomi Hosono’s Yellow Magic Orchestra, he helped set the stage for synthpop. His solo experiments in fusing global genres and close studies of classical impressionism led to him scoring over 30 films in as many years, including Nagisa Oshima’s Merry Christmas, Mr Lawrence, Bernardo Bertolucci’s The Last Emperorand The Sheltering Sky, and Alejandro González Iñárritu’s The Revenant. In the past 20 years alone, he’s written a multimedia opera, turned a glass building into an instrument, and travelled to the Arctic to record the sound of melting snow. That exploratory spirit runs through Sakamoto’s 2017 album, async, which paints an audio portrait of the passing of time informed by his recovery from throat cancer. “Music, work, and life all have a beginning and an ending,” said Sakamoto in early 2019. “What I want to make now is music freed from the constraints of time.”

Shiro Takatani

A visual artist and theater director, Takatani works diversely with photography, video, lighting, graphics and set design, and uses high-technology in his creations.

He is one of the founding member of the artist collective Dumb Type, which was established in 1984.

Besides Dumb Type, Takatani began a parallel solo career in 1998. In his solo activities, he has directed visuals for several theater productions, including Ryuichi Sakamoto's opera LIFE(1999).

Takatani created his own performance La Chambre Claire(2008), CHROMAwith music by Simon Fisher Turner (2012) and ST/LLwith music by Ryuichi Sakamoto (2015). His first retrospective solo exhibition,Camera Lucida, was held at the Tokyo Photographic Art Museum in 2013.

Takatani’s works were presented, among others, at GREC festival in Barcelona, Martin-Gropius-Bau in Berlin, ZKM in Karlsruhe, Festival de Otoño in Madrid, Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain in Paris, Romaeuropa festival in Rome, Sharjah Biennial UAE, New National Theatre Tokyo, National Theater & Concert Hall in Taipei, Singapore International Festival of Arts, Kwai Tsing Theatre in Hong Kong.

He also worked in collaboration with artists from different disciplines. The remarkable collaboration with Fujiko Nakaya, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Min Tanaka, and Shiro Takatani was presented at Tate Modern, London and The New National Museum, Oslo in 2017.

The other remarkable collaboration works with Ryuichi Sakamoto are, among others, installation LIFE - fluid, invisible, inaudible...(2007), water state 1(2013), IS YOUR TIME(2018), performance and installationLIFE-WELL(2013), and concertdis•play, toured in France (2018) and FRAGMENTSin Singapore (2019). Blu-ray async surround - Ryuichi Sakamoto + Shiro Takatani was released in 2018.

Work Synopsis:

Water State 2
I wanted to express timelessness—the unsegmented flow of time—as music. I created the piece by adding percussion-like sounds on top of an improvised session between a synthesizer and sho.

The video is by Shiro Takatani. Inspired by this music, the motif of the sea is a symbol of eternity, an unbreakable time.

Water State 2 について


Cheng Ran, Existence Without Air, Food, or Water, 2013, Single channel video with sound, 10min 45sec

Courtesy the artist


Cheng Ran (1981)was born in Mongolia, China, the artist participated in the artist residence programme at the Royal Academy of Visual Arts in the Netherlands from 2013 to 2014 and founded the art space, Martin Goya Business, in 2017. As a representative of China’s new generation of video and cross-media artists, Cheng Ran has been trying different artistic forms including film, poetry, drama, novel, and installation, etc. Relying on his vibrant mindset, sometimes detached and more often experimental spirit, he is especially good at changing the sense of space, structure and one’s conception towards the original object by undefined use of materials. The switch between texts and visual language created by the artist, allows the audience to float between the reality and the imagination, presenting the poetics of nihilism.

Cheng Ran’s recent solo exhibitions include Diary of a Madman (New Museum, New York, 2016), Unlimited (Basel, Switzerland, 2016), In Course of the Miraculous (chi art space, Hong Kong, 2016), Qiao Space (Shanghai, 2016), Cinematheque: Music is On, Band is Gone (chi K11 art museum, Shanghai; Galerie Urs Meile, Beijing and Lucerne, 2015), Armada Space Milano (2015) and Leo Xu Projects (Shanghai, 2014). Cheng Ran was nominated for the first edition of the OCAT & Pierre Huber Art Prize in 2014 and the Absolut Art Award in 2013. He was named the Best Video Artist by the art magazine Radian in 2011.

Work Synopsis:

It is based on the poetic entries from a found diary, which Cheng Ran transformed into a song. The unknown, lovesick woman is also the author of the phrase that Cheng Ran has chosen for the title: Existence Without Air, Food, or Water. For the artist, this term refers to spiritual existence, which, in contrast to physical existence, has needs beyond air, food, or water. The title seems fit for Cheng Ran's oeuvre, since his works stand out because of their intangible qualities.

Fan Xi

Falling painting




Courtesy the artist


Fan Xi is a Chinese artist who was born 1984 in Shandong. She graduated from the Sculpture Department of Central Academy of Fine Art (Beijing) and is currently living and working in Beijing. Her practices mainly develop out of images. Objects are positioned in a space to induce the spectators’ movements. What interests Fan Xi is the relation to space, environment, and all the links that are organized between her artworks and the spectators. By presenting these “relational liaisons”, the artist wishes to create new points of entries and new layers of meaning. Grouping and juxtaposing objects in the physical space, Fan dissolves the original notions of the “object”, and brings the discussions and contentions of the illusory and the real to focusing on the non-objects such as status, relation, condition, and temporality. These alternative relations allow the limited visual forms to extend into the unlimited non-visual space.

Her recent shows include PEER TO PEER (2019), Shanghai Center of Photography and Open Eye Gallery, Liverpool; L’s living room (2019), Jimei Arles, Xiamen; Have a Nice DAY! (2018), Room 105, Baishu Hutong, Dongcheng District, Beijing; After Sunset (2018), Gallery Liusa Wang Paris; The Same But Also Changed (2018), Shanghai Exhibition Center, Shanghai; Le déplacement (2018), Gallery Liusa Wang, Paris; the Negative Positive (2018), Wan Ying Art Museum, Shijiazhuang; Bad New Days Ahead (2017), Tai Kang Space, Beijing;  As a Blue Sign (2017), Qi Mu Space, Beijing; The Staged Club (2017), Hongkun Museum of Fine Art, Beijing; A Scene · Being (2017) Institute for Provocation, Beijing; Art form Beijing (2017), S.E Gallery, Bergen; New Photography Choice (2017), la villa des arts, Paris; Distanciation (2017), Dawan Art Foundation, Paris; Reduction of Image (2016), Yang Gallery, Beijing; We May Have Met Before – Chinese Contemporary Photography (2015), Foam Amsterdam, Amsterdam; Through the Body: Lens-based works by Contemporary Chinese Women Artists (2014), the University of Toronto Art Centre, Toronto; The Black Dwarf/Part 2 (2014), Star Gallery, Beijing; The Black Dwarf/Part 1 (2013), Star Gallery, Beijing.

Reynier Leyva Novo, Overseas song (from the trilogy The country that dreamed of being a continent), 2015, Digital video, 9:21 min

Courtesy the artist


Reynier Leyva Novo is one of Cuba’s leading conceptual artists. He belongs to a generation too young to have witnessed the Revolution but exposed as children to the privations following the 1991 end of economic support from the Soviet Union. Trained in Cuba under Tania Brugera’s acclaimed performance art program, Arte de Conducta, his multidisciplinary practice is grounded in his scrutiny of historical data and official documents in order to unearth content that he transforms into formally minimalist and conceptually charged work.

Work Synopsis:

The trilogy The country that dreamed of being a continent comprises of the variation of the Cuban National Anthem’s musical arrangement and the translation of its lyrics in three languages: Chinese, Russian and English. The selection originates from three experiences that had a significant impact on the national culture: the Chinese migration to Cuba, starting from the nineteenth century, the integration of the island to the Russian-Soviet communist model and the United States’ influence, starting from the establishment of the Cuban Republic.

To retune the Cuban National Anthem to Mandarin – as seen in Overseas song – produces a transnational gesture that subverts the limits of the concept of "nation". By selecting China, a country characterized by a vast territory and historical imperial aims, and addressing the influence of their customs and worldviews in the formation of the Cuban culture, Novo suggests the disproportion between the always-monumental political aspirations of the Cuban state and its actual means to achieve them. The video thus outlines, in a sort of demystifying process, the institutionalization of rhetoric as an ideological mechanism of domination.

Xie Nanxing, Travel Brochure, 2020, Oil on canvas, 130x80cm, 130x90cm, 130x100cm

Courtesy the artist


Xie Nanxing was born 1970 in Chongqing, China.Xie reveals how artistic expression can manifest from such assorted influences. At the very least, Nanxing’s paintings are memorable for their immaculate surfaces - despite their very large, 3m span. But, like the innumerable stories within China itself, there is much more to tell. Xie Nanxing's approach to painting is one of reversals. Working between the two poles of figuration and abstraction as grounded in Western art history, he reverses their traditional use—figurative elements produce abstract images while abstract gestures are manipulated to portray recognisable forms—as a means of furthering the medium of painting. Whether figurative or abstract, many of Xie's works present only parts of their original process or subject. One technique the artist frequently uses involves printing images through a canvas; first painting on the top of two layers of canvas, he then removes the upper fabric after the pigments have seeped through it.

Nanxing hails from Chongqing, and lives and works in the provincial capital Chengdu (Sichuan). It was in the South West of China that Nanxing studied visual arts for seven years.

Yang Zhenzhong, Shower, 1995, Video, 3:59min

Courtesy the artist; ShanghART, Shanghai


Born in 1968 in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province, Yang Zhenzhong has been living and working in Shanghai for almost 15 years with a career closely related to the development of new media art around the area. Since the end of 1990s, he has been curating and organizing with artists including Xu Zhen a dozen of highly influential contemporary art exhibitions. They have not only enlivened the atmosphere of the new media art industry in Shanghai, but also helped with the promotion of the artist himself onto an international stage. One of the recurring themes in Yang’s work is the urge to emphasize with an irreverent attitude the many contradictions and derangements of society while the other central in his research is the (mis)perception of space and its political and psychological appropriations. The artist has previously displayed in a string of prominent exhibitions including Venice Biennale, Shanghai Biennale, Asia Pacific Triennale of Contemporary Art, Lyon Biennale and so forth. His works can also be found in collection of significant public and private institutes such as MoMA New York, IKON Gallery (UK), Fukuoka Asian Art Museum, Musée National d’ArtModerne and the UBS Collection.

Work Synopsis:

A video adapted from documentary of a performance. With the humorous march music, the guy who wears shirt, pants and hat is taking shower seriously.

First displayed in “Idea & Concepts”, Shanghai, China (1999)

To Be Continued...

With Contributions By:


Allora & Calzadilla

Annika Eriksson

Babi Badalov

Basim Magdy

Cerith Wyn Evans

Cheng Ran

Chulayarnnon Siriphol

Colectivo Los Ingrávidos

Daniel Steegmann Mangrané

Éléonore Saintagnan & Grégoire Motte

Fan Xi

Fang Di

Guido van der Werve

Haroon Mirza

Hu Xiaoyuan

Huang Rui

Jonathas de Andrade

Katja Novitskova

Laure Prouvost

Lawrence Abu Hamdan

Lawrence Lek

Li Binyuan

Lin Tianmiao

Li Tingwei

Liu Shiyuan & Kristian Mondrup

Lu Pingyuan

Lu Yang

Miao Ying

Michael Najjar


Oscar Murillo

Patty Chang

Raqs Media Collective

Reynier Leyva Novo

Richard Tuttle

Robert Zhao Renhui

Rodrigo Braga

Ryuichi Sakamoto

Solange Pessoa

Stephanie Comilang

Sun Xun

Tania Bruguera

Timur Si-Qin

Victoria Sin


Xiang Jing

Xie Nanxing

Yang Zhenzhong

Yu Ji

Zadie Xa

Zhang Enli

Zhang Peili

Zhao Zhao

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