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Cao Fei and Formafantasma exhibitions now open at Serpentine Galleries
Cao Fei, Nova, 2019, Video, 109’. Courtesy the artist, Vitamin Creative Space and Sprüth Magers.



LONDON.- The Serpentine’s 50th anniversary year looks to the future with a programme that responds to the urgent issues of today. Key themes include ecology, equality and the impact of digital and new technologies.

Cao Fei: Blueprints
Cao Fei’s first major institutional show in the UK, Blueprints features work from 2006–2020 and includes the premiere of her first virtual reality work, The Eternal Wave, produced in collaboration with Acute Art, and the UK premiere of new film Nova.

Cao Fei (born 1978, Guangzhou) is a multi-media artist and filmmaker based in Beijing. Video, digital media, photography and installation all play a role in the artist’s engagement with an age of rapid technological development. Cao Fei’s work is underpinned by an ongoing exploration of virtuality, how it has radically altered our perception of self and changed the way we understand reality.

At the centre of Cao Fei's exhibition is an impulse for world-building, to imagine and construct new universes for her characters that traverse past, present and future time frames. This mode of magical thinking leads to the creation of spaces that are both real and fictional, physical and virtual, a series of blueprints that takes us beyond a singular, everyday reality.

This project is the third time that she has participated in the Galleries’ artistic programme; firstly, as part of China Power Station: Part 1, an offsite Serpentine exhibition at Battersea Power Station in 2006, where the artist presented her film Whose Utopia, and then in 2008, with the installation of RMB City in the Serpentine Gallery foyer.

Accompanying Blueprints is a programme of cinema screenings of Cao Fei’s work in London, Birmingham, Manchester and Liverpool, in partnership with Everyman Cinemas.

Formafantasma: Cambio
The Serpentine presents Cambio by Formfantasma, a radical new design exhibition.

Formafantasma are an Italian design duo based in Amsterdam whose work looks at design's ecological and political responsibilities. Cambio continues their investigations into experimental materials and detailed explorations of the transformation of natural resources into commodities, with a focus on the timber industry. Situated between the sourcing of raw materials and processes of production, the discipline of design occupies a vantage point from which to observe and critique timber’s global infrastructure and its multiple scales.

This project seeks connections with science, conservation, engineering and policymaking, adopting a pioneering multidisciplinary approach to contemporary design. Cambio offers a re-evaluation of our relationship with trees and poses a series of essential questions about design and sustainability, most pertinently: What can we do to better understand the connection between the objects we use and the conditions that produced them?

Formafantasma return to the Serpentine following their participation in Serpentine’s Radical Kitchen Live Programme and the Work Marathon in 2018.










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