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Curating Contemporary Art (MA)

Liyin Wang

Breath Variations is a new body of work created by Northern Irish artist Christopher Steenson (b. 1992) for Flat Time House, the former home of British conceptual artist John Latham (1921–2006). Using sound, video, and transmission-based methodologies, Breath Variations explores the materiality of time – its permanence and evanescence – and the power that attention has over its transmission and state of matter. By manipulating and extending the sonic dimensions of Flat Time House, Steenson investigates the capacity of breath as a ‘least event’ – Latham’s term for the shortest departure from a state of nothingness – to punctuate linearities of time and space.

Breath Variations is part of the MA Curating Contemporary Art Graduate Projects 2023, Royal College of Art, in partnership with Flat Time House. Curated by: Thomas Cury, Cindy He, Salomé Jacques, Romy Lagesse, Napas Mangklatanakul, Ariana Martin, Liyin Wang and Hyora Yang.

The portrait of curator Liyin Wang

Liyin Wang is a researcher and curator. She is interested in the curatorial as a circuitous and cyclic path of rationalizing intuitive thoughts, and an extensive way of expanding discourses through cross-disciplinary rendezvous.

Her academic research centers around the presentation and representation of personal, regional, and/or national specificities in global context. This is reflected and analyzed through the prompts how complex specificities contribute to shaping the identity of an artistic style, a perennial project, a city under regeneration, or an evolving culture entity; how cultural translation and reappropriation are made to encounter the global; and how dominant theories or canons are challenged via 'local' interventions. In terms of curatorial practice, she has passion in developing public engaging programs for building up creative and reciprocal relationships between art museums/culture institutions and schools/universities/communities. These curated programs span from academic lectures, pop-up forums, workshops for inter-disciplinary and multi-sensory experience, public participatory exhibitions and performance, docent training, student-led events, etc.

Liyin serves as executive director for Shanghai Curators Lab (SCL), a collective residency program for early-career curators. She worked as programmer for Shanghai International Art City Research Institute at Shanghai Academy of Fine Arts (SAFA), and manager for international communication at SAFA. Before that she worked in Shanghai Himalayas Museum as coordinator for Shanghai Project (2015-2017), a multidisciplinary idea platform, and educational curator for various exhibitions in the Museum. Her recent curatorial projects include Chun Kwang Young: Times Reimagined – Collateral Event of the 59th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia (2022), The Art Life of Huang Rui (2021), The Challenging Souls: Yves Klein, Lee Ufan, Ding Yi (2019).

facade of exhibition space
inhale, exhale (oi-io) (2023) broadcast system (synchronised to the high and low tide times of the North Sea), broadcast monitor. Infinite duration (or until the moon leaves the Earth's orbit). Christopher Steenson, Breath Variations, May 12-14, 2023. Photography by: Ariana Martin
archival materials from John Latham's Big Breather
John Latham Big Breather (1973) 6' 40'', colour, silent, originally shot on 16mm with Big Breather archival documents. Breath Variations, May 12-14, 2023. Photography by: Ariana Martin
installation view of the exhibition site
untitled (thesamethesamethesamethesame) (2023), 4', black and white, HD video (transferred to SD), broadcast monitor, 6-channel surround sound. Christopher Steenson, Breath Variations, May 12-14, 2023. Photography by: Ariana Martin
exhibition leaflets
Exhibition leaflet cover, interior, and insert. Designed by Moeko Doi. Christopher Steenson, Breath Variations, May 12-14, 2023. Photography by: Ariana Martin
onsite view of the In Conversation program
Christopher Steenson & Sasha Englemann, In-Conversation, Breath Variations, Flat Time House, May, 2023. Documentation: Ariana Martin Seen in photo (left to right): Thomas Cury, Romy Lagesse, Sasha Engelmann, Christopher Steenson, Hyora Yang