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Exhibiton at Zhi Space: 


CONTEXT AS CONTENT is not only a photography exhibition. Instead, it focuses on showing two kinds of context: one is the context that photography works create and transmit between each other, another is the context that photography produces within the given space. The blending of the two sides is the real context here. Meanwhile, the structure and context of the exhibition space also offers great potential for participation. Even time, light, temperature and particles in the space are all indispensable interventional elements which alter the appearance of the objects and exhibits, and produce an ever-changing texture to this exhibition. All the elements contribute to help the audience discover their potential to regain a sense of vaguely familiar urban memory and fragments, whether they come from abroad or from the local place altered by the times.  

“ 情境所即” 不仅仅是一个摄影的展览,更重要的是呈现摄影中相互传递的情境及摄影在当下空间所产生的情境:两者的交融才是展览的真正内容。同时,展览所处空间的本身在结构和语境上也有着巨大的参与性,甚至在整个展览空间中,时间、光线、温度及物件都成为了必不可少的介入因素,它们既会微妙的改变展品的外观与物象,也让展览自身获得一种不断变化的质感。所有的这一切都是试图使观者在展览中找到属于自己的潜能:用它去重新面对那些似曾相识的城市记忆和片段,无论它们是来自于远隔万里的异乡,还是来自于时过境迁的本地。

The status of all exhibits here is different from how exhibits are normally shown in the “white cube” where they are segregated and elevated to the elite status of a “sacred object”. They hide in the relationship between the space and body and become a bond which can structure more possibilities of vision, expand the freedom of the view, and form new stories and trends in a complex setting of time and place that can be fabricated, caught, discovered or falsified.


The exhibition is part of a series of events celebrating the 25 years’ anniversary of the twin city relationship of Xi’an and Dortmund. It was organized in the frame of the CITYMAKERS China – Germany program in collaboration with Zhi Space and Local本地. It shows urban photography by German photographer Jan Siefke and Chinese architect WANG Keyao who both focus on the urban traces and treasures in Xi'an and its twin-city Dortmund. The exhibition has been further enriched by artist SONG Qun, who collects and reconstructs overlooked treasures of former times in his memory museum in Xi’an.


The organizers would like to express their thanks to Zhi Space and its collaborators ZHANG Rubing,ZHOU Litan and LI Xin; to WANG Keyao, Jan Siefke, Silvan Hagenbrock, SONG Qun, LU Xiao, Katja Hellkötter and Gunnar Grandel for their curatorial contributions. This exhibition has finally been realized after discussions and hard work from all people above. We would also like to acknowledge the support and help of Dahua 1935 in realizing the exhibition, for which we are very grateful.

展览的举办要感谢Zhi空间及其合作者:张汝冰,周力坦及李鑫;也要感谢王可尧、Jan Siefke赛风、Silvan Hagenbrock思尔闻、宋群、鲁潇、Katja Hellkötter何凯洁及Gunnar Grandel古纳为策展所做出的贡献。正是由于所有人的共同讨论和努力才使展览得以实现

It also need to say thanks to Dahua 1935 for providing so much supporting and help to the exhibition.


Curators Collaborated with Zhi Space:

Jan Siefke 塞风 , born in Einbeck, Germany in 1967. Graduated from the Faculty of Design (photography/film) of Dortmund University of Applied Sciences in 1998. Since 1999 he lived and worked as a freelance photographer in Shanghai. In 2015 he relocated to Berlin. He works in the fields of reportage, documentation, corporate and architecture photography. Jan Siefke travelled to Xi'an for the first time in 1999 for his book project "Daole - Arrived", with a grant of the DAAD. Since then he has visited Xi'an four more times, 2004 with his photographic project "HUANG Di – Seats of Power of Chinese Dynasties" and again in 2008 with a focus on Chinese city development.


Silvan Hagenbrock 思尔闻 , Urbanist, and filmmaker between China and Germany. Silvan holds a B.Sc. in Urbanism at Bauhaus-Universität Weimar. He lived two years in China. His latest project is the documentary film CHINESE NEW FLOWER about Chinese urbanism in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The film received an award by Bauhaus.Essentials and was shown in Berlin, Apolda, Frankfurt, Leipzig and Rotterdam. Since 2016 Silvan Hagenbrock is curator at STADTMACHER China–Deutschland (CITYMAKERS China-Germany) implemented by CONSTELLATIONS International. Silvan is also co-curator of the Zhi Space CONTEXT AS CONTENT exhibition.


SONG Qun 宋群, Artist, planner, designer. Works in the field of architecture, art and publication. SONG Qun focuses on recording and studying local culture of Chinese urban and rural areas, and applies the results of his studies into practice. With the purpose of integrating business and culture, he has successfully planned and realized a number of projects, including urban residential projects, old industrial heritage regeneration projects, industry parks, commercial construction projects etc.

In 2007 he established the “Local” book series, recording local culture and city memories from the perspective of civil society. He also designed and transformed an old factory workshop into a public culture space – Xi’an Urban Memories Museum in 2015, collecting and arranging the related literature and material objects which are now on display in the space; his work, “Something about Food”, was invited as a part of the 15th International Architecture Exhibition in Venice in 2016. He teaches at Shaanxi Normal University at Academy of Arts and lives and works in Xi'an.

LU Xiao 鲁潇, born in Xi’an, graduated from L’École supérieure d’art et design Grenoble-Valence in France. She works and lives in China as an art teacher and an artist. During the graduation exhibition, her work received prize Félicitation. In 2017, she was artist in residence of ISBA Besançon in France. Her works encompass video and performance and deal with deficits and the passivity of the body. Her experimental body project “A Theatre Play about a Performance” was realized in Dahua museum and OCAT in Xi’an. LIU Xiao has been participating in art exhibitions and culture activities in China and abroad. Since 2016, she has become the main artist collaborator both with Zhijian Workshop and Zhi Space.

▲ Xi’an,China  1999   Photo by Jan Siefke 塞风
▲ Dortmund, Germany 2017   Photo by WANG Keyao 王可尧
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▲ Preparation of the exhibition in Zhi Space,  Photo by Li Xin   布展现场,摄影:李鑫
▲ The exhibition of  CONTEXT AS CONTENT,  Photo by Jian Chuntian    展览现场,摄影:坚春天
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▲ The exhibition of  CONTEXT AS CONTENT,  Photo by Li Xin    展览现场,摄影:李鑫
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