For five weeks in the autumn of 2006, the Serpentine Gallery took up residence in Battersea Power Station – opened for the first time to the public – with an arresting presentation of current Chinese culture.
China Power Station: Part I was a unique opportunity to visit the iconic Battersea Power Station before it was redeveloped. It was also the first chance to see the work of an extraordinary and vibrant new generation of Chinese artists and architects installed at the site. Battersea Power Station echoed post-industrial art in China and the works on show were chosen to activate the enormous scale of its spaces. The exhibition was filled with sound and moving images, arguably the most prolific and strongest type of work being created in China at the time. There were three floors to visit and the art engaged with each of these distinct areas.
On entering the building, a sound installation, Awakening Battersea, curated by artist Ou Ning, filled Turbine Hall B. Yang Fudong’s film Seven Intellectuals in Bamboo Forest, Part 3 (2005-6) premiered at the exhibition and Jia Zhang-ke presented Public Space, an experimental film about different public spaces in China. Two leading architects in China were also included in the exhibition: a series of ‘viewing frames’ was constructed inside and outside the building by Yung Ho Chang, while Ma Qingyun created a plan of ‘paths’ through the power station grounds.
This was the Serpentine Gallery’s first large-scale, off-site exhibition project. The exhibition marked the first phase of the China Power Station project with its international partners.
Julia Peyton-Jones, Hans Ulrich Obrist and Gunnar B. Kvaran
Ai Weiwei, Cao Fei, Chen Liaoyu, Chen Shaoxiong, Gu Dexin, Huang Yong Ping, Jia Zhang-ke, Kan Xuan, Liang Yue, Liang Wei, Liu Ding, Lu Chunsheng, Qiu Anxiong, Song Tao, Wang Jian Wei, Xu Tan, Xu Zhen, Yang Fudong, Yang Zhenzhong, Zhange Pei Li; architects Ma Qingyun and Yung Ho Chang; and curators Ou Ning and Pi Li