Tate Modern has announced today a new partnership with Asymmetry Art Foundation enabling Alvin Li to be appointed to the role of Curator, International Art and Hera Chan to be appointed Adjunct Curator, Asia-Pacific.
Both roles ensure that vital expertise on art from the Asia-Pacific region is embedded in Tate Modern’s curatorial team, devising and delivering ambitious exhibitions, displays and initiatives in the gallery. They will also research new strategic acquisitions of modern and contemporary art for Tate’s collection, and forge new relationships with artists, cultural producers, scholars and curators based in the region.
Tate is dedicated to rethinking modern and contemporary art from multiple geographies and perspectives. In recent years we have made great progress in the way we represent groundbreaking art from the Asia-Pacific region, and these two curatorial appointments will allow us to take that progress much further. I’m very grateful to Asymmetry Art Foundation for their support of this important work here at Tate and across the UK visual arts sector, and I look forward to all that we will achieve thanks to their generosity.-Karin Hindsbo, Director of Tate Modern
These posts are supported through a new partnership between Tate and Asymmetry Art Foundation. Asymmetry is a London-based not-for-profit organisation dedicated to nurturing the next generation of curators and to developing curatorial practice and expertise in Asia and beyond. By working in partnership with key art institutions – including The Courtauld Institute of Art, Goldsmiths University of London, Chisenhale Gallery and Delfina Foundation – Asymmetry supports a wide range of curatorial placements and scholarship programmes.
Tate has long been committed to telling an increasingly expansive and diverse art history through its collection and programme. Visitors to Tate Modern today will see many recent acquisitions from the Asia-Pacific region in the gallery’s free collection displays. These include rooms exploring the experimental Gutai Art Association in Japan in the 1950s and the radical performance practices in Beijing’s ‘East Village’ in the 1990s. There are also displays dedicated to Singaporean artist Ming Wong, Hong Kong born artist Tseng Kwong Chi, and the Korean-American collective Young-Hae Chang Heavy Industries, reflecting the multiple artistic practices from this vast and culturally diverse region of the world.
With specific expertise and deep-rooted regional connections in Asia, Asymmetry provides unique and career-defining fellowships for curatorial talent, fostering transnational conversations through meaningful and cutting-edge programmes in collaboration with its network of Fellows, Scholars, and Curators. These include the Asymmetry Distinguished Lecture Series at the Courtauld presenting conversations with Dongguan-born Hong Kong artist Trevor Yeung, Chinese artist Xinyi Cheng, Korean-Canadian artist Lotus Laurie Kang, and Chinese artist Xin Liu; ‘Anna Mendelssohn: Speak, Poetess,’ the first institutional exhibition of the eponymous poet, writer, and artist, curated by Eugene Yiu Nam Cheung, the Asymmetry Curatorial Fellow at Whitechapel Gallery; and the Asymmetry International Symposium featuring a keynote lecture by Chinese artist Zheng Bo. Making space for a vibrant research culture, scholarship of artworks for the collection, and diverse critical discourses, this new partnership between Tate and Asymmetry will contribute to the vital work of expanding the canon of art history, while deepening cultural knowledge in and about Asia.
As a young organisation with an ambitious vision in supporting curatorship and cultural agents in the arts ecosystem, it is important for us to also collaborate with different organisations, from independent commissioning art spaces to renowned universities and established collection-based institutions. Our varied approach in building partnerships have resulted in numerous initiatives, while giving presence to Sinophone artistic voices from Asia and its diaspora. We acknowledge the importance of contextualising curatorial knowledge about the distinctive regions of the Asia-Pacific in the global art world and we are excited to further shape the future of curatorial, art-historical, and institutional practices in a more inclusive and diverse landscape through this invaluable partnership with Tate.-Yan Du and Michèle Ruo Yi Landolt, Directors, Asymmetry Art Foundation
Hera Chan is a curator and writer based in Hong Kong. She was formerly Associate Curator of Public Programmes at Tai Kwun Contemporary and Director/Curator at Videotage and has staged exhibitions and events in Asia, Europe and North America. She is currently an adjunct curator at Tate and a guest professor at the Korea National University of the Arts.
Alvin Jiahuan Li is a curator and writer based in London and has also been an adjunct curator at Tate since 2021. He previously worked as a contributing editor to frieze magazine and an artistic advisor to the 59th Venice Biennale. He has curated projects in Hong Kong, Shanghai, Beijing and London, and is a frequent contributor to art periodicals and monographs.
Asymmetry is an independent London-based non-profit art foundation dedicated to nurturing curatorial practices and the development of cultural knowledge in and about Asia through global exchange. Asymmetry operates as a transnational, transdisciplinary, and forward-thinking organisation that fosters meaningful cultural exchange between creative practitioners, international institutions, and audiences through a range of initiatives. Asymmetry was founded by London-based patron and art collector Yan Du in 2019 after recognising that the advancement of curatorial practices, including the work of academics, writers, and thinkers, is essential to the arts eco-system, but not widely supported. asymmetryart.org
Images: Alvin Li portrait photo by Shuwei Liu, Hera Chan portrait both courtesy Asymetry Art Foundation & Tate.