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Curating Contemporary Art (MA)

Ran Zhu

The Archive of Losing

Starting with the idea of creating a space to help artists undertaking an international residency connect with each other and the city around them, we began to consider what opportunities arise when something is lost or left in transience. Working as seven curators for whom English is a second language, we wondered what possibilities emerge from misunderstanding and miscommunication. In our response to the original brief from Delfina Foundation, we proposed that when something is lost in translation or transition, this is not a moment of failure but of creative potential to be valued. 

What does losing mean? Is it possible or even desirable to archive these lost moments? Is it possible to generate new communicative possibilities through losing? 

The Archive of Losing is a propositional space for actively losing; losing as a poetic mode for unlearning, unlearning as a liberating measure. We explore the potential of spaces in-between to embody losing as a reflexive destructuring. In our curatorial display, the commissioned artists Giulia Frascino and Josh Clague use activity and text as an invitation to the audience to experiment with the possibilities of losing. The live element of our proposal, a performance by Gianna T, explores the creative potential of misalignment and unlearning of conventions.

In collaboration with: Mariana Baião Santos, Sabine Balduzzi, Giovanni Bartolini, Yuxiao Cai, Haram Kang, Ran Zhu, Guanhai Zhu.

Photo: “Giulia Frascino. HIATO (waiting room), 2023, drawing part of a multimedia installation.

Ran Zhu was visiting Richard Slee's 'Sunlit Uplands' exhibition at Hales Gallery. 28 January 2023

Ran Zhu

She is a curator and educator based in London and Shanghai, specializing in curatorial research on Zen Buddhism and Taoist philosophy. Her curatorial approach involves in-depth research into the trans-historical nature of contemporary art curation and its intersection. Her dissertation explores the dynamic fusion of forgotten and "outdated" art with trans-historical curatorial practices that give them new life. Her curatorial work challenges the philosophy of 'linear history', which means time is progressive. The old should be replaced by the new, using the theory of animism to unearth the coherence between the contemporary, classic and even ancient works and ideas within diverse historical and spatial contexts as equal and spiritual entities with their own stories. Embracing diversity through the ethereal spirit of Zen and the curatorial aesthetics of Eastern minimalism encourages the fusion and multi-dimensional exploration of contemporary art institutions and traditional museums.

"The Archive of Losing", a collective graduation project, was co-curated by Ran Zhu. This propositional space for actively losing explores losing as a poetic mode for unlearning and unlearning as a liberating measure. The project delves into the potential of spaces in-between to embody losing as a reflexive destructuring.

Holding a Bachelor of Arts degree from Fudan University and completing an in-service graduate course in Eastern and Western aesthetics at the Renmin University of China, Ran Zhu co-founded the TRA collective. TRA, a curatorial collective, is dedicated to exploring the themes of transition and transformation in contemporary cultures.