27 Jan 2024 - 28 Apr 2024

Dream Time

UCCA Center for Contemporary Art


From January 27 to April 28, 2024, UCCA Center for Contemporary Art is proud to present its first exhibition of the year, “Dream Time,” a group show where fifteen artists and art collectives investigate the complex meanings of dreams—both as reveries and aspirations—in works that span media including painting, sculpture, photography, video, installation, and performance. Dreams are extremely private, depicting an individual’s inner world, arousing their secret desires and fears, connecting them to the past and future, and reinforcing their identity with the self and the collective. Modern technology seems to have intruded that private space. People become constantly interrupted by the infinite fragmented information accessible at their fingertips, and deprived of the time to think about more essential topics—gender and cultural identity, environmental sustainability, subjective perception, intimate relationships, evolution of technology, personal and collective memories, to name a few. In this exhibition, the artists and collectives bring these topics back into focus, presenting thoughts, stories, and perspectives based on their diverse personal and cultural backgrounds. With their works, “Dream Time” transforms the Central, New and West Galleries at UCCA Beijing into a dreamscape steeped in psychological and socio-historical fiction, opening multiple sensory and intellectual channels of the audience, embedding reconsolidated memories and reconstructed future images from their inner worlds into the dreams of the collective, leading them to rethink their contemporary lives. Participating artists include Aslı Çavuşoğlu (b. 1982, Istanbul) & İnci Eviner (b. 1956, Ankara), Doreen Chan (B. 1987, Hong Kong), Aleksandra Domanović (b. 1981, Novi Sad), Feng Zhixuan (b. 1993, Wenzhou), Tirdad Hashemi (b. 1991, Tehran) & Soufia Erfanian (b. 1990, Mashhad), Sky Hopinka (b. 1984, Ferndale), Christine Sun Kim (b. 1980, Orange County), Ma Qiusha (b. 1982, Beijing), Itziar Okariz (b. 1965, Spain), Peng Zuqiang (b. 1992, Changsha), Sin Wai Kin (b. 1991, Toronto), Chin Tsao (b. 1989, Taipei), Evelyn Taocheng Wang (b. 1981, Chengdu), Yuyan Wang (b. 1989, Shandong), and Guanyu Xu (b. 1993, Beijing). This exhibition is curated by UCCA curator Yan Fang.

The first artwork that visitors will encounter while entering the exhibition through the West Gallery is a newly commissioned mural Unfortunately, We Cannot. (2024). Christine Sun Kim created a site-specific mural work using her signature artistic language. She attempts to construct a place of encounter inspired by dreams and trauma expressed in American Sign Language (ASL), compelling the visitors to consider different modes of perception. The work further challenges the presiding narratives of art history, which are dominated by spoken language. Next, they will come to Doreen Chan’s HalfDream (2021 – now), through which the artist connects people from different backgrounds and identities via an online platform for dream sharing. Specially for this exhibition, she designed a new interactive structure where visitors can lie back in semi-public space, browse or listen to the dreams of others, and upload their own dreams to see if there is a match.

Moving on to the New Gallery, four bodies of work unfold stories from different corners of the world. Itziar Okariz leads visitors into a realm of subjectivity via Las Estatuas / The Statues (2019), a collection of her murmured dialogues with statues and other pieces in different national and regional museums. Through these dialogues, it is as if she has established her own intimate and exclusive relationships with the artworks. She will also perform Diary of Dreams (2015 – 2016) during the exhibition and share her recent dreams to the audience with a play of words. Sky Hopinka’s Lore (2019) pays homage to Hollis Frampton’s experimental film from the 1970s. By combining images, collage, and poetry created by the artist, the work tells a story that weaves together history and emotion. Tirdad Hashemi and Soufia Erfanian jointly created a new series of paintings that expresses their love, polyamory, and intimacy. In the works, each flower becomes a unique lover, whispering its own story and carrying its own beauty—a commemoration for their loved ones. In addition, inspired by his own experiences, Guanyu Xu documents the lives of migrants with Resident Aliens (2021 – now), depicting their struggles and insecurities even at home, questioning the definition of citizenship and uncertainty.

Finally, the Central Gallery presents a space where traditional and modern energies intertwine. Aslı Çavuşoğlu and İnci Eviner jointly created Genies of Water (2023) with the hope to restore vitality to a heavily polluted river in Turkey. By painting with a symbolic amount of that river water as ink, the artists made silkscreen prints to redraw images of underwater creatures eradicated by pollution, incorporating elements extracted from urban culture and local mythologies. Feng Zhixuan juxtaposes technology, mythology and commerce from ancient times and the distant future through the sculpture Starwishenge (2023), made with resin robotic arms from industrial waste, ancient coins, and biomaterials. Chin Tsao presents an anachronistic setting with her ceramics to explore how the East meets the West, the past influences the future, and identities evolve with globalization. Evelyn Taocheng Wang draws on quotes full of stereotypes in the novel Lady Chatterley’s Lover by D. H. Lawrence, and offers contemporary perspectives on these topics in her “False Posters” series. Her creative transformation and appropriation of language and context are both humorous and poetic, liberating the traditional medium of ink art and calligraphy from simple imitations or repetitions.

Also in the Central Gallery, Aleksandra Domanović invites visitors to reconsider the relationship between humans, technology, history, and the roles that women have played in these dynamics with a series of sculptures inspired by the Belgrade Hand—the world’s first artificial hand with five fingers and sensory feedback. Ma Qiusha’s latest work Flowers in the Mirror (2023 – 2024) puts antiquities and replicas acquired from around the world in a movable display window, relating to her childhood memories and her own identity, both real and imagined, opening a pathway to the past. In Peng Zuqiang’s most recent video installation, Autocorrects (2023), the artist invokes thinking on amnesia and it’s affects through lyrics lazer-engraved into 16mm film, with a musical composition inspired by the trope of downtempo genre from early 1990s Mando-pop music. Collaging a wide range of found footage, Wang Yuyan’s newest filmic installation The Sleeping World Turns Around (2023) depicts an artificial lighting infrastructure in a fictive world, hoping to capture a cross-section of our age of obsession with visibility and efficiency, as well as the afflictions of our desire for boundless sight and illumination.

The exhibition ends with Sin Wai Kin’s It’s Always You (2021), in which the artist reuses four masculine drag roles from previous works, each representing a different projection of their self-image. They form a boy band, each with a designated role as an individual while having an identity that only functions as part of the larger group dynamic. In a post-globalized world, how can we stay connected while maintaining our individuality and self-identity, and how can we keep dreaming about the future while living in an increasingly challenging present? We may never reach a conclusive answer, but we can at least start with the possibilities presented in “Dream Time.”

Press release from UCCA Center for Contemporary Art

Image: Tirdad Hashemi and Soufia Erfanian. All the Flowers That You Planted in the Back Yard, All Died When You Went Away. 2023. Collage. Mixed media on paper. 84.1 × 59.4 cm. Photography by Aurélien Mole. Image courtesy of the artists and gb agency