The preparation for Unlived by What is Seen began in 2013. After a year of in-depth communication and exploration, it traces a new direction in Chinese contemporary art emerging since 2008. This new current is characterized by the infiltration of art practices into various social sectors and aspects of life. The goal of these practices is no longer geared toward the production of images or visual objects, but rather developing modes of existence that interrogate life itself. What are being shown in these three exhibition spaces are snapshots and shadows of activities that have taken place elsewhere, in another time, and under a different intensity. Hardly qualifying as works of art in the traditional sense, these events unfold from the specific needs, confusions, and counterstrategies of individuals. Always addressing realities through exceptional means, they manifest attitudes of disengagement from which a poetics of life receives its ethos.


The work of the curators is centered on the excavation, identification and presentation of these life practices that have sublimated into objects, documentations, or sometimes nothing at all. Based on their unique status, the curator designed a form of communication in which the artists were asked to narrate or recount actions, experiences and encounters from a first-person standpoint.

The present exhibition neither follows conventional standards nor seeks to draft a rubric for the future.