Press Release

Press Conference and Preview: CHINA 8 – Contemporary Art from China on the Rhine and Ruhr, May 15 – September 13, 2015

Walter Smerling, spokesman for the curatorial committee: “A journey through the Ruhr region is to experience an array of museums and the diversity of art from China. CHINA 8 has transformed the richly endowed museum landscape along the Rhine and Ruhr into a temporary art gallery.”

Boasting numerous museums and array of outstanding cultural institutions, the artistic and cultural landscape along the Rhine and Ruhr is unique worldwide. Events staged during the European City of Culture “RUHR2010″ proved to be a key milestone in boosting the national image of this culturally rich region. To ensure a lasting legacy from the RUHR.2010 festivities, the region’s museums then explored the possibility of launching a joint international exhibition project on the initiative of the Foundation for Art and Culture. With “CHINA 8 – Contemporary Art from China on the Rhine and Ruhr”, they have now succeeded in bringing this idea to fruition: eight cities along the Rhine and Ruhr, nine museums and around 120 artists – in the most comprehensive museum-based survey of contemporary Chinese art worldwide. CHINA 8 is under the patronage of the Vice-Chancellor and Federal Minister for Economics and Energy Sigmar Gabriel.

Pk_China 8-40

Caption (f. l. t. r.): Ferdinand Ullrich, Director Kunsthalle Recklinghausen; Georg Elben, Director und Curator Skulpturenmuseum Glaskasten Marl; Dan Xu, Curator Kunstmuseum Gelsenkirchen; Thomas Hüser, Spokesman CHINA 8; Wiliam A. Ewing, Curator Museum Folkwang; Walter Smerling, Director MKM Museum Küppersmühle für Moderne Kunst.

Art Connects – CHINA 8 Shuttle Bus Service
Visitors planning to attend the different venues of this exhibition, will, at the same time, be embarking on a journey through the Ruhr region. Every weekend from May 16 onwards, shuttle buses decked out in the CHINA 8 “look” will be linking up the participating museums and cities. The shuttle bus service is provided to CHINA 8 visitors free of charge, upon presentation of their admission ticket or their CHINA 8 combiticket. Each bus is accompanied by a guide, thus enabling museum visitors to obtain general information on the exhibitions awaiting them whilst travelling to the venues. The exact timetables are available in all CHINA 8 museums and at or Art connects: The deployment of shuttle buses has been made possible by the Sparkassen in North Rhine-Westphalia – located in all CHINA 8 cities. The bus service is operated with the friendly cooperation of DB Bahn Rheinlandbus.

Caption: CHINA 8-Bus-Shuttles

CHINA 8-Bus-Shuttles

CHINA 8 combiticket
Entrance fees for the individual exhibitions comprising CHINA 8 are set by the respective museums. In addition, CHINA 8 combitickets are also available at a fee of 18 euros for adults/10 euros for concessions*. Combitickets entitle holders to one-time admission in all participating institutions throughout the entire duration of the exhibition.

The Museums and the Focus of their Exhibitions
In line with their collecting history, their own particular spatial conditions and programmatic focus, each museum is exhibiting different genres of contemporary Chinese art: Under the title “New Figuration”, the Lehmbruck Museum will be showing sculptures, the Kunstmuseum Mülheim an der Ruhr installations and sculptures as “Models of Irritation”, and the Kunstmuseum Gelsenkirchen is devoting itself to ink painting and calligraphy under the title “Tradition Today”. The Kunsthalle Recklinghausen is projecting a “Panorama of Painting” with its presentation of emerging and established positions. Exploring “The Vocabulary of the Visible World”, the MKM Museum Küppersmühle für Moderne Kunst is specialising in Chinese painters who have already gained national and international acclaim. Video and sound as a medium of “Arrested Time” are being presented in the Skulpturenmuseum Glaskasten Marl, whilst the Osthaus Museum Hagen is featuring installations and objects as “Paradigms of Art”. Under the title “Works in Progress”, the Museum Folkwang in Essen is exhibiting a collection of modern photography, which is also being shown in China simultaneously. With its “Overview – Views of China”, the NRW-Forum Düsseldorf serves as the “entrée” to the exhibition and has assembled works by several of the participating artists from across various genres. Their vibrant interaction resolves into a multifaceted snapshot of the prevailing artistic landscape in the People’s Republic of China.

Bildunterschrift:  Die Beteiligten freuten sich über einen gelungenen Auftakt der Ausstellung CHINA 8.

The participants were pleased with a successful start of the exhibition CHINA 8.

Artistic Director
Overall artistic responsibility for the exhibition project CHINA 8 has been jointly entrusted to Walter Smerling (spokesman for the curatorial committee and Director of the MKM Museum Küppersmühle), Ferdinand Ullrich (Kunsthalle Recklinghausen), and Tobia Bezzola (Director of the Folkwang Museum). In close consultation with the directors of all the participating museums, the curatorial committee has elaborated the overall artistic concept.
The Chinese consultant to the curatorial committee is Fan Di‘an, President of the Central Academy of Fine Arts (CAFA) in Peking. Responsibility for the individual exhibition venues lies with the respective project curators: Georg Elben for the Skulpturenmuseum Glaskasten Marl, William A. Ewing and the co-curators Holly Roussell Perret-Gentil for the Museum Folkwang, Walter Smerling for the NRW-Forum Düsseldorf, the Lehmbruck Museum, the MKM Museum Küppersmühle für Moderne Kunst, the Osthaus Museum Hagen and the Kunstmuseum Mülheim an der Ruhr, Ferdinand Ullrich for the Kunsthalle Recklinghausen and Dan Xu for the Kunstmuseum Gelsenkirchen.

Caption: Studenten unterstützen die Preview als Übersetzer.

Caption: Students support the preview as translators.

CHINA 8 – Invitation to a Cultural Dialogue
From a cultural and political perspective, CHINA 8 is also of great significance to the state of North-Rhine Westphalia. For the first time since RUHR.2010, nine museums in eight cities are collaborating to mount an international exhibition project and foster a cultural dialogue between Asia and Europe, China and Germany. And there are many parallels: The Ruhr metropolis, Germany’s largest conurbation, with some 5.1 million inhabitants, is currently undergoing a structural transformation. China too is in the grip of a structural transformation in societal, economic and cultural terms, which is progressing at an astonishing pace. This is reflected by the artists in their works.

Bildunterschrift (v. l. n. r.): Enthüllung chinesisches Kunsterk am Flughafen Düsseldorf. Ludger Dohm, Geschäftsführer Flughafen Düsseldorf; Jan Pellinen, Sales Manager Finnair; Walter Smerling; Sprecher des Kuratoriums; Hans-Georg Lohe, Kulturdezernent Düsseldorf.

Caption (f. l. t. r.): Unveiling the steel sculpture “China Scene No. 4″ by Chen Wenling at Dusseldorf Airport. Ludger Dohm, Chairman of the Management Board Flughafen Düsseldorf; Jan Pellinen, Sales Manager Finnair; Walter Smerling; Spokesman for the curatorial committee; Hans-Georg Lohe, Cultural Affairs Düsseldorf.

Organiser, Sponsors, Partners
CHINA 8 is being organised by the Stiftung für Kunst und Kultur e.V. The exhibition is sponsored by the Brost-Stiftung and Evonik Industries AG. Exclusive partners of the exhibition are BILD, China Arts and Entertainment Group, DB Bahn Rheinlandbus, DB Regio NRW, the Duisburger Hafen AG, Finnair Plc, the Flughafen Düsseldorf, FUNKE MEDIENGRUPPE, the Sparkassen in North Rhine-Westphalia and Ströer Media SE.


Pressebüro CHINA 8
c/o Medienbüro Thomas Hüser
Gärtnerst. 44, 45128 Essen
phone: +49 201-316 28 48
fax: +49 201-316 28 68
email:  presse[at]