4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art proudly presents The Sydney Pavilion, titled The Floating Eye as part of the 9th Shanghai Biennale 2012, Reactivation.

The Shanghai Biennale is the largest international art event in mainland China, expected to attract over 8 million visitors and is led in 2012 by Qiu Zhijie (Chief Curator) and co-curators, Jens Hoffman (Director, Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts), Boris Groys (art critic) and Johnson Chang (curator and co-founder of the Asia Art Archive).

The Inter-City Pavilions’ Project, one of the platforms of the biennale is under the direction of Qiu Zhijie housed in a number of historic buildings throughout the city. 4A has been selected as the only Australian organisation with The Sydney Pavilion occupying part of an Art Deco building located near the Bund and is one of 30 international institutions invited to represent their city which will include Pavilions spanning from Amsterdam, Berlin, Brooklyn, Istanbul, Mexico City, Moscow and Sendai.

Curated by 4A’s Director, Aaron Seeto, The Floating Eye presents new and existing works from six contemporary Australian artists, Brook Andrew, Shaun Gladwell, Raquel Ormella, Khaled Sabsabi, Shen Shaomin and Bababa International.

In a location like Sydney, Australia’s oldest settler city, with its Aboriginal history, colonisation, waves of mass migration, shifting economic bases and trade, awareness of the natural environment, natural disasters there is no single narrative and straightforward representative space of its history.

Sydney’s geography between Asia and the West results in the constant overlaying of different historical and cultural contexts. In presenting the personal accounts generated by individual artists, to mark out the engagements and the discontinuities they experience as they try to negotiate ideas of locality and culture in globalised context, all of the artists in The Floating Eye articulates a specific history of Australia; a feeling of being connected and disconnected simultaneously.

The exhibition encourages an observation of a city’s shifting references and influences, how the overlay of time and history and our emotions and sensations of a place, give meaning and form to our shared spaces. As such the contemporary artists in The Floating Eye hold strong connections with Sydney and offer varied perspectives of the city’s transforming reality observed though its demographics, environment, history, politics, geography and society.

Together the artists in The Floating Eye presents a framework to illustrate how Sydney, and Australia, considers itself within the region and highlights the layering of histories and diverse social and cultural experiences, which speak to the experience of individuals living in global cities such as Sydney.


Sydney Pavilion, Curatorial Team

Aaron Seeto – Curator
Sharon Chen – Curatorial Project Manager
Toby Chapman – Assistant Curator



Curator, Aaron Seeto and participating artists Raquel Ormella and Khaled Sabsabi introduce The Sydney Pavilion exhibition, The Floating Eye part of the Inter-City Pavilions Project at the 9th Shanghai Biennale 2012. The exhibition is on until 30 December 2012.

Video interviews by Das Platforms.





Sydney Morning Herald by Kristie Kellahan



Check out 4A’s dedicated SYDNEY PAVILION, THE FLOATING EYE BLOG for more information on participating artists and regular updates as the project unfolds.



A special Sydney Pavilion publication will be produced featuring contributions by Michael Fitzgerald, Olivier Krischer, Aaron Seeto, Souchou Yao amongst others. Preorder the publication.



Sydney Pavilion
The Floating Eye
October 2 – 30 December, 2012
2012年10月2日 - 12月30日







4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art is proud to present a keynote lecture by Qiu Zhijie, one of China’s leading artists, critics, curators and educators.

The lecture is free and will be held at 630PM, Tuesday 7 August, at the Veolia Lecture Theatre, Museum of Contemporary Art, Australia.

We are now booked out for this event, join our waiting list online.

A recording of this lecture will soon be available on 4A’s website.

Qiu Zhijie is the Chief Curator of this year’s 9th Shanghai Biennale, and is leading 4A’s inaugural  Emerging Curators’ Intensive

International – Inter-cities – Inter-individuals will encompass a number of Qiu’s current research areas, looking at the relationships between people in the formation of cities and our understanding of the international. It is an opportunity to participate in a lively discussion with a leading contemporary art figure.


Qiu Zhijie is a Professor at the School of Intermedia Art, a member of the supervisory team at the Institute of Contemporary Art and Social Thought, and Director of Total Art Studio at the China Academy of Art, Hangzhou, China. He is also an esteemed artist, curator and writer. As a conceptual artist, Qiu Zhijie’s practice includes painting, photography, video, installation and theatre. His works have been exhibited and are collected by individual and institutional collectors both in China and internationally. His solo exhibitions  include Haus of World Culture in Berlin (2009), Ullens Contemporary Art Center in Beijing (2009) and Zendai Museum of Modern Art in Shanghai (2008). He has also exhibited in international art shows including 53rd Venice Biennale (2009), 25th Sao Paulo Biennale (2010) and New Art in China, Post-1989.







This initiative is supported by Copyright Agency Cultural Fund and ARNDT Fine Art.


4A to Present the Sydney Pavilion at Shanghai Biennale 2012

4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art has been selected to present the Sydney Pavilion at the 9th Shanghai Biennale, which will run from October 1 at the brand-new Shanghai Museum of Contemporary Art, formerly the Pavilion of the Future at World Expo 2010.

This year’s Shanghai Biennale is under the artistic direction of curators Qiu Zhijie (Chief Curator), Boris Groys, Jens Hoffman and Johnson Chang, with the curatorial theme of ‘Reactivation’. This theme looks at the vitality of contemporary art, but also focuses on the topics of art, urban space, communities, daily life and cultural exchange.

One of the platforms which the curatorial team is investigating for the first time this year is ‘City Pavilions’, inviting leading arts organisations from cities around the world to work with them to develop a component of the Biennale.

4A has been invited by the Shanghai Biennale as a co-organising institution to develop Sydney, as a Pavilion, to explore the dynamic relationships and histories shared between Sydney and Shanghai, and the role that cities play within global cultural exchanges.

This is an exciting official collaboration between an Australian arts institution and the Shanghai Biennale, and is a major strategic international opportunity for 4A. This collaboration recognises the significant position 4A holds as one of the leading contemporary Australian art institutions working closely with the Asia-Pacific Region, and the contribution that 4A has made over the years in connecting Australia with the international Asian arts community.




Emerging Curators’ Intensive

4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art is pleased to announce the introduction of its Emerging Curators’ Intensive,  a new initiative developed by 4A to encourage professional advancement amongst emerging curators with an interest in curatorial practice within the  Asian contemporary art context.

4A invites Expressions of Interest from curators at the beginning of their careers who would benefit from direct access to industry professionals to progress their curatorial vision. As part of the application process, respondents will be required to submit an overview of their current curatorial research which, if successful, will be the central focus for critical development throughout the program.

Taking place over two sessions between July and December 2012, this strategically developed framework will critically engage around 10 participants  through a range of activities based on curatorial concepts, contexts and methodologies, and will be presented by key industry professionals. Participants are provided with the opportunity to  develop their individual curatorial  ideas  and practice as well as broaden their professional networks in a constructive and nurturing environment.

In its inaugural year, the Emerging Curators’ Intensive will be led by Qiu Zhijie – an internationally renowned artist, curator and educator. Qiu is a professor at the School of Inter-media Art at the China Art Academy, the Director of Total Art Studio and member of the supervisory team at the Art and Social Thoughts Institute. As an active artist, Qiu’s artworks take a variety of forms such as calligraphy, painting, photography, video, installation and theatre and have been shown at a large number of art museums across the world. Appointed the Chief Curator of 9th Shanghai Biennale 2012, Qiu will draw on  his extensive experience and  lead the  group with his critique of contemporary  curatorial practices and issues currently  relating to them.

Qiu’s works are collected by individual and institutional collectors home and abroad. His solo exhibitions are held in art museums such as Haus of World Culture in Berlin 2009, Ullens Contemporary Art Center in Beijing in 2009 and Zendai Museum of Modern Art in Shanghai in 2008. He participated in exhibitions such as the 53rd Venice Biennale, 25th Sao Paulo Biennale and “New Art in China, Post-1989”. Qiu has previously curated “Phenomena and Image” in 1996, a series of exhibitions with the theme of “Post-sense Sensibility” between 1999 and 2004, “Long March, A Walking Visual Display” in 2002, the video part of the First Guangzhou Triennial and “Archeology of Future: The Second Triennial of Chinese Art” in 2005. He is also a prolific and influential writer and has published many art theory books such as “Image and Post-modernism”, “Give Me A Mask”, “The Boundary of Freedom”, “The Scene is Most Important”, “Photography After Photography”, “Basic Course in Total Art Creation”. His latest book “On Total Art” will be published soon.



  • Keynote lecture
  • Workshops and seminars led by Qiu Zhijie and supported by industry professionals providing broad perspectives on curatorial practice and ideas
  • Gallery, museum and  studio visits led by Qiu Zhijie and supported by industry specialists
  • Roundtables and peer group work
  • Delivering a presentation during stage 2 of current research to select group of Australian industry professionals.



14 May  – Applications to be submitted in full by close of business
1 June – Successful applicants notified and provided with a preparatory reading list relating to the program  and detailed program schedule.
10-14 July- Stage 1 of the Program*
3-5 December – Stage 2 of the Program*

*Please note successful applicants must be available for these dates.



As part of your submission you will need to include:

1. A Cover Page with your name, address, phone number and email

2. A Letter of Intent addressing:

·         Reason for interest in the program

·         What you hope to take away from the experience

·         Describe your understanding of the role of the curator and expand on your  aspirations, and what you hope to bring to the field

·         Demonstrate this rationale through a previous visual arts project that you have either curated or participated in.

          Please provide no more than a page.

3. Statement of current curatorial research:
Please provide us with a concise insight into your current curatorial research and interests.  This may relate to particular concepts, artists, curators  or theoretical ideas and should  help further define what you believe the role of the curator is. Please provide no more than a page.

4. CV
Please provide a one page CV showing relevant curatorial projects or work experience

4A welcomes interstate applicants and will provide one travel stipend for an outstanding application from outside NSW.



Applications for the Emerging Curators’ Intensive have now closed. Sign up to our newsletter on the side bar to be one of the first to hear about future opportunities.






This initiative is supported by Copyright Agency Cultural Fund and ARNDT Fine Art.