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Curating Contemporary Art (MA)

Yuxiao (Paris) Cai

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 is 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 images 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.

My Photo

Yuxiao Cai is a curator and creative worker born in Nanjing, China, who has also worked in Sydney and London. She holds bachelor's degrees in Film Studies and Visual Arts from the University of Sydney. With diverse experience in art education, public relations, new media, and the internet, she has honed her skills in integrating art with life and driving interdisciplinary practices.

In her graduate individual project, titled "Not A Degree Show," Yuxiao reimagines the traditional format of a degree show by shifting the focus from academic achievements to exploring the personal aspects of each artist's journey. As a curator, she embraces curatorial research as a transformative process for exhibitions. By collecting direct responses from the target audience, particularly art students, and re-curating them into the exhibition, she aims to reflect the intricate complexities of navigating pressures and challenges within competitive learning environments. This approach fosters dynamic and participatory engagement with the research question, fostering empathy and understanding.

Drawing on her collaborative practice with the Delfina Foundation of art residency, Yuxiao highlights the transformative nature of the art student experience. Her project emphasizes personal growth, self-discovery, and artistic development that occur during the years of studying art. By framing the student's journey as that of a residential artist within the school, her proposal creates a metaphorical context that celebrates the profound emotional and experiential aspects of art education.

As a curator, Yuxiao centers her curating position around the audience, valuing their personal and authentic experiences. She begins by critically examining herself and the surrounding environment, aiming to reflect on existing issues, discover solutions, and inspire a better future. With a keen and empathetic perspective on social issues, she endeavors to transform and integrate the identities of the firsthand participants, the audience, and the artists. In her role as a curator as well as a facilitator, she leads fair and open dialogues, eliminating misinterpretations that may arise from the retelling. Her mission is to dismantle elitism in art, promote accessibility, and extend the value and impact of exhibitions beyond their duration, allowing the audience to actively participate and continuously benefit from them. Ultimately, Yuxiao's vision is to ensure that every voice in society is genuinely heard.