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Curating Contemporary Art (MA)

Kristin Yizhi Zhang


Focusing on the notion of community in relation to multilingualism in the urban context of London, the project explores different ways of communicating that transcend linguistic barriers among those for whom English is not a first language. How can we stimulate critical thinking to reimagine inclusive forms of communication that operate beyond conventional linguistic modalities?

Our project proposal – developed from an initial response to a brief from Chisenhale Gallery – explores multilingualism through the notion of ‘pidgin’ in the context of an English-speaking art school, where the use of language is highly complex. Pidgin, a term born out of the gap that often occurs in translation, presents a situation in which a way of communicating emerges organically among people speaking different languages. Challenging the predominantly monolingual culture within the Royal College of Art, Pidgin offers a way to think and speak about art critically while foregrounding the cultural diversity of the community that inhabits this international institution. How can we pidginise and decenter International Art English, and multilingualise the art school?

Artists and creative practitioners including Yu Ting Chung and Divya Sharma are invited to explore this question with us through printed matter and ephemera, quintessential forms of visual communication. Comprising a zine-making workshop and a public-facing display, our project questions how multilingualism can be activated in the current system of art education, and how linguistic barriers can be transcended to envision a linguistically diverse community of students.

Pidgin was co-curated by students from the Royal College of Art MA Curating Contemporary Art, Annabel Miller, Kun Sun, Michela Prencipe, Miranda Hill, Kristin Yizhi Zhang, Wenxi Liao.

Kristin Yizhi Zhang

Kristin Yizhi Zhang, an independent curator based in both London and Shanghai. Her curatorial interest focuses on the innovative integration of technology, interactive art, and digital aesthetics. Through the visual language of art, she explores the social and therapeutic aspects of diverse spaces and communities. Highly concerned with addressing the growth of self-awareness and cognition in young people, she actively supports emerging artists in finding their voices. 

Prior to her studies at the RCA, she Graduated with a bachelor's degree from the University of the Arts London, majoring in Fine Art.

With extensive experience in academic and commercial exhibition planning both domestically and internationally, her projects have been realized in various locations including London, Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, and Chengdu. She has received support from domestic and international media outlets and universities, including Phoenix Art, Netease News, Sina News, Oxford University, and Cambridge University Student Union.

Zhang’s past curatorial projects include the Double Solo exhibitions "Wholly Other" (2023, Crypt Gallery, London, UK), "Heartbeat Yu Garden: Shanghai Yu Garden Metro Station Line 14 Public Art Project" in collaboration with artists Vincent Leroy (France) and Xiong Xing (China); "The Present Exhibition: Before Revival" (2021, KOUZ Art Center, Shanghai); "Us Here Now: Female Themed Exhibition" (2021, Xinhua Dongjie Art Space, Chengdu); "After Intermission: Where Are We Going" Emerging Artist Group Exhibition (2021, Aura Gallery, Chengdu / Issuing Gallery, Shenzhen); "Dali's Divine Comedy: Tribute to Dante" (2019, Riverside Art Museum, Beijing); and "Memory of Mountains and Rivers: Photography Exhibition" (2019, Riverside Art Museum, Beijing).