Vanguard gallery

Artist | Liao Fei, Antoni Muntadas at Macalline Center of Art


An Atlas of the Difficult World


Macalline Center of Art, Beijing, China

2024. 03. 24  –  2024. 06. 30




The Macalline Center of Art is pleased to present the spring exhibition, An Atlas of the Difficult World, on view from March 24th through June 30th, 2024. Showcasing videos, paintings, installations, sculptures and other art forms, this exhibition will feature works across various mediums by 20 artists of different nationalities and spanning multiple generations. The title alludes to the poignant collection of poems by American feminist poet Adrienne Rich (1929-2012). The exhibition is a tentative response to the tumultuous and unfathomable conditions of today’s world, illustrating the deep-seated conflicts and anxieties of the times we live in while at the same time, summoning a hope sparked by individual activism and creativity.





A Straight Line Extended

Marble, steel plate, cement base

275 × 70 × 60 cm|2015






Rich’s collection of poems vividly charts the genesis of a world rife with unsettling visions. Amidst that “fissured, cracked terrain”* lies the “wreckage, dreck and waste,”** and yet these ruins become, paradoxically and suitably, the very “materials” for her poetry. Like Rich, the artists of An Atlas of the Difficult World share a fascination with the ruins of reality they find in their surroundings. Whether pertaining to the body, emotion, technology, or nature, these fragments are snipped from diverse histories and marked by disparate textures and structures; nevertheless, as “materials” for artistic creation, they are extracted, refined, and reshaped into something new. An Atlas of the Difficult World prophecies an unstable poetics—a superimposed and polyphonic consciousness that allows the energy of art to cling to the images that refract light off one another: a segment of animal skeleton rendered in metal, a group of Filipina maids playing card games, a submarine that is incapable of sinking…Each carries remnants of the world’s secrets.





On Translation: Himnes

Single channel HD video, color, sound






An Atlas of the Difficult World is a micro-universe that mirrors reality. Within this miniature world, the fragile, vulnerable, and insignificant find resonance with the solemn, grand, magnificent. Each work harbors a hidden narrative, an ever developing illusion, and a specific moment both indescribable and profound. During the exhibition, MACA’s gallery space will temporarily transform into a work-in-progress, inviting the audience to step into a time-space where rupture and connection coexist. Here, they are encouraged to lean into a certain deliberate sense of “loss” and “discomfort”, and when they are unsure of where to go next to turn their gaze inward to contemplate their own existence, allowing themselves to experience the revelatory power of art. 

The works exhibited in An Atlas of the Difficult World are all from the collections of MACA and its founder, Che Xuanqiao. The exhibition is jointly curated by Yang Beichen (Director of MACA), Huang Wenlong (Curator at MACA), and Wang Jianan (Assistant Curator at MACA).


*and** are excerpted from the first part of the collection’s titular poem, An Atlas of the Difficult World.







Courtesy of Macalline Center of Art  

Photo: Yang Hao, Xvisual









Liao Fei




Liao Fei explores the relationship and tension in materials in his works between reality and geometry, between cognition and mysticism, between duality and simplification. Following the kernel of “material”, the creation of Liao Fei has always been alert to the rule itself and its consequent “truth”, aspiring to approximate the essence of the material in a more practical approach. While drawing attention to the broader concepts related to these relationships, his works also reveal the metaphysical temperament contained in everyday materials. Consequent to Liao Fei’s multifaceted lens, material forms that are generally imperceptible or habitually disregarded manage to gain visibility, providing thus stage for original insight of human cognitive construction and operation.


Liao Fei was born in Jiangxi in 1981. He graduated from Shanghai Normal University in 2006. He is now based in Shanghai. His recent solo exhibitions include: “Physics temple”, Vanguard Gallery x Tihho Art Space, Shanghai, China, 2023; Art Basel Hong Kong solo project at Vanguard booth, Hong Kong, China, 2023; “Depiction”, The Cloister Project, Shanghai, China, 2021-2022; “Is everything a contingent occurence”, OCAT Shanghai, China (2021); “Res Extensa”, Vanguard Gallery X O Art Center, Shanghai, China, 2018. He also participated in the following group exhibitions: “A Journey of Love and Memory”, Being Art Museum, Shanghai, China, 2022-2023; “Being Theoria: 4th Hangzhou Triennial of Fiber Art”, Zhejiang Art Muesuem, Zhejiang, China, 2022; “Warehouse Story VIII — On Your Mark!”, Vanguard Gallery, Shanghai, China, 2022; “Silent Thunder”, UCCA Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing, China, 2021; “Dis-/Continuing Traditions: Contemporary Video Art from China”, Salamanca Arts Centre, Stamania, Australia, 2021; “The C”, Tank Shanghai, Shanghai, China, 2020; “ANNEALING”, Shanghai Museum of Glass, China, 2020; “In the Open or in Stealth—The Unruly Presence of an Intimate Future”, MACBA Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain, 2018; “Botanic Project, Busan Museum of Art”, Busan, Korea, 2018; “Frontier:Re-assessment of Post-Globlisational Politics”, OCAT Institute, Beijing, China, 2018.







Antoni Muntadas




Born in 1942 in Barcelona, Spain. Currently works and lives in New York. Antoni Muntadas is an internationally acclaimed pioneer of media art and conceptual art. Muntadas aims to address social, political, and communication issues such as the relationship between public and private space within social frameworks, and investigates channels of information and the ways they may be used to censor or promulgate ideas. 


His recent solo exhibitions include: “Antoni Muntadas: Exercises on Past and Present Memories”, Ateneo Art Gallery, Manila, Philippines, 2023; “Antoni Muntadas: Exercises on Past and Present Memories”, Centro Andaluz de Arte Contemporáneo, Sevilla, Spain, 2022; “Nights after Days”, The Store, Seoul,South Korea, 2022; “Antoni Muntadas: Exercises on Past and Present Memories”, Ateneo Art Gallery, Manila, Philippines, 2021; “Muntadas: Interconnessioni”, Villa delle Rose, MAMbo, Bologna, Italy, 2020; “Palabras, El País”, Arco Madrid, Madrid, Spain, 2020. He also participated in the following group exhibitions: “Vanguard Onwards”, Vanguard Gallery, Shanghai, China, 2024; “Poesie of Illusions” — Exhibition of Video Art Masters, Beijing, 2023; International Film Festival, UCCA Lab, Beijing, China, 2023; “Warehouse Story VIII — On Your Mark!”,  Vanguard Gallery, Shanghai, China, 2022; “Durational”, Vanguard Gallery, Shanghai, China, 2021; “The 13th Shanghai Biennale – Bodies of Water”, Shanghai Contemporary Art Museum(PSA), Shanghai, China, 2021; “Arte y Arquitectura: Un Diálogo”, Centro Botín, Santander, Spain, 2020; “Exposures #02”, Galeria Joan Prats, Barcelona, Spain, 2020.