Asymmetry is a London-based independent, non-profit foundation, dedicated to nurturing curatorial practice and disseminating knowledge about Chinese and Sinophone contemporary art.
Asymmetry’s Fellowship Programmes embed curators in prominent European institutions, sharpening their skills and expanding their networks, whilst enabling the institutions to gain from the Fellow’s specific expertise and perspective, furthering curatorial knowledge in and about Asia.
Asymmetry offers a range of bespoke professional development programmes with select art spaces/Kunsthalles and collection-based institutions. In art spaces/Kunsthalles, curators will apply experimentation and exploration to a variety of curatorial and managerial responsibilities including exhibition research, planning, commissioning, audience development, and drafting exhibition-related copy.
In collection-based institutions, curators will enhance vital skills such as collection care, documentation, interpretation, loan management and project planning. Additionally, they will contribute to the scholarship of objects within the collections. Asymmetry Fellows form part of Asymmetry’s vital network of curators who guide the foundation’s ongoing work.
Asymmetry’s Scholarship Programme understands the fundamental importance of higher education and develops a new generation of cultural thinkers to expand how Asia is represented globally and shape the future of curatorial, art historical and museum studies. Scholars have access to fully funded academic programmes at select educational institutions along with strategic support and public programming opportunities with Asymmetry and its partners to translate research into action. Asymmetry Scholars form part of Asymmetry’s vital network of academics who guide the foundation’s ongoing work.
Asymmetry’s Public Programming engages both art professionals and general audiences through specially-tailored, thought-provoking projects. In partnership with major institutions, Asymmetry supports and facilitates panel discussions, seminars, symposia that align with its activities, as well as its mission to promote contemporary art in and about Asia. Often these programmes involve current and previous participants in Asymmetry’s Curatorial Fellowship and Scholarship Programmes, alongside global thinkers on art and culture. Asymmetry also produces programming for the digital space that widen perspectives on Asian contemporary art through writing, documentary films and other mediums.
Yan Du, Founder and Director
For the past 13 years, Yan has been engaged in the art world as a collector and patron. Through these activities, as well as her own experience studying art, she has come to recognise how the advancement of curatorial practices is under-supported yet essential to the arts eco-system. She envisioned Asymmetry Art Foundation as a hub for curatorial practices in and about Asia, provoking cultural dialogue, facilitating radical intellectual ideas, and supporting the professional development of curators at different stages of their careers.
Yan is particularly committed to widening the understanding of contemporary Asian art through her professional work with Asymmetry and also through her art collection, which is personal and completely separate from the foundation. Yan’s collection focuses on works that spark transnational conversations between Western and Asian cultures, reflecting our current zeitgeist that engages with social phenomena, such as globalisation, identity, gender, post-feminist and post-internet generations and art.
Yan is an avid yet discreet supporter of many institutions and initiatives in Asia such as UCCA and M+, and internationally such as Whitechapel Gallery and Chisenhale Gallery, to name a few.
Across all of her endeavours, Yan aspires to create more visibility, shift perspectives and broaden the historical and contemporary constructs through which art from and about Asia is appreciated.
Michèle Ruo Yi Landolt, Deputy Director
Dedicated to creating cutting-edge opportunities, Michèle develops and oversees projects and operations at Asymmetry Art Foundation with integrity and curiosity.
Due to her multicultural background which exposed her to Chinese and international contemporary art early on, Michèle is passionate about Asymmetry’s mission to work across cultures and join academic and artistic resources and practices in innovative ways.
Prior to working at Asymmetry, Michèle headed up Gallery Weekend Beijing as Exhibition Director to create and lead the artistic and cultural programme and worked at Mai 36 Galerie in Zurich with a focus on exhibition projects between and across Europe and China.
Michèle graduated from the University of Zurich in History of Art and English Studies and earned a postgraduate degree in History of Art with a focus in Contemporary Chinese Art and Geopolitics from the Courtauld Institute of Art, London.
Aaron Cezar, Strategic Advisor
Aaron Cezar is the founding Director of Delfina Foundation, where he curates and develops its interrelated programme of residencies, exhibitions and public platforms.
Aaron has curated external exhibitions, performances and programmes at Hayward Gallery Project Space, SongEun Artspace, and as part of the official public programme of the 58th Venice Biennale of Art. He has written for The Art Newspaper, Harper’s Bazaar, and ArtAsiaPacific, among others.
Aaron is Advisor-at-large at Art Jameel, one of Delfina Foundation’s strategic partners, and he has been appointed to numerous boards, committees and advisory groups. He graduated from Princeton University with a first degree in Economics and a certificate in Dance and Theatre. He earned a postgraduate degree in the Creative & Cultural Industries from King’s College London. In June 2017, he was awarded an Honorary Fellowship from the Royal College of Arts, London.
Kwanyi Pan, Strategic Advisor
Kwanyi Pan is a Beijing-based art consultant who has extensively worked across the institutional, academic and commercial art sectors. Besides working closely with established Asian art collections, Kwanyi has also co-developed contemporary art collections and private art foundations, including Pond Society and Asymmetry Art Foundation, and coordinates major institutional exhibitions across Asia.
Previously, she has worked as deputy editor-in-chief of Leap art magazine, operations director at Long March Space in Beijing and Northeast Asian art specialist for Artco Monthly magazine. Further, she has assisted during various exhibition developments at MoMA PS1 in NYC and worked at Nanjo and Associates in Tokyo.
Kwanyi received her undergraduate degree in Aesthetics and Art History from Keio University, Tokyo, and her Master’s degree in Creative Curating from Goldsmiths, University of London.
Pi Li, Committee Member
Pi Li is the Sigg Senior Curator and Head of Curatorial Affairs, M+, a visual culture museum in Hong Kong, and previously served as the deputy executive director of the art administration department at the Central Academy of Fine Arts (CAFA, 2001-2012).
Exhibitions Pi Li curated include Right is Wrong: Four Decades of Chinese Art in M+ Sigg Collection at Whitworth Gallery in Manchester and Bildmuseet in Umea in 2015 and 2014; Under Construction at Tokyo Opera Museum in 2002; Moist: Asia-Pacific Media Art at the Beijing Millennium Monument Art Museum in 2002; Image is Power at He Xiangning Art Museum in Shenzhen in 2002; and Fantasy Zone at Art Museum of DongA Daily in 2001 and Beijing Modern Art Center in 2002. Pi Li was the curator of Media City Seoul in 2006 and has furthermore served as curator for Allôrs la Chine at Centre Georges Pompidou in 2003 and the Shanghai Bienniale in 2002.
Recent publications include From Action to Concept (2015) and Farewell to Moralism (2018). Pi Li earned his PhD degree in history of art from the Central Academy of Fine Arts.
Lu Jie, Committee Member
Lu Jie is the initiator and chief curator of Long March Project, and founder of Long March Space. Lu Jie holds a BFA from the China Academy of Arts in Hangzhou and an MA from the Creative Curating Program at Goldsmiths, University of London.
Since the late 1980s, Lu Jie has been carrying out his practice on art criticism, editing and curating. He has written and edited various art catalogues and art historical publications and curated a variety of Chinese contemporary art exhibitions throughout his career that spans three decades. From 2002 onwards, Lu Jie has been concentrating his efforts on cultivating the ongoing Long March Project that follows the route of the historic Long March (1934-1935) across China. Later, he founded Long March Space in 798 Art District in Beijing, one of China’s leading art galleries for exhibitions, publications, research and educational programs, playing a vital role in pursuing new avenues of production, discourse and promotion of contemporary art in China.
Yi Luo, Trustee
Yi was founding CSO of FreeUp.io, a Fintech company acquired by Greensill and is currently the Global Head of Strategy & Expansion at Earnd, a new division of Greensill. Yi is a keen supporter of young entrepreneurs and emerging artists, and as result has acquired a broad curiosity in different areas of business that share a mutual vision of improving the status quo.
Yi serves on the Strategy Advisory Panel for Delfina Foundation, is the Business Mentor for Sumitomo Corporation and is recognised as one of ComputerWeekly's most influential women in the UK tech world. She is also a committed advocate for diversity in both the art world and tech community.
Yi received her BA in International Economics at Peking University and holds a Master’s degree from the London School of Economics.
Philip Philippou, Trustee
Philip is curator for Anjana Himalayan Art, a recent initiative seeking to promote artists who give contemporary expression to the ancient artistic traditions of the Himalayas. As an advocate of Himalayan art, Philip has travelled extensively between Europe and Asia, assisting in the development and creation of Tibetan Buddhist centres in the West.
In 2006, Philip helped create one of the largest Tibetan Buddhist centres of learning in the West, built accordingly to authentic craftsmanship and traditions of sacred Himalayan architecture. More recently, in 2016, he helped found an innovative care centre channelled on spiritual and humanistic principles, close to Berlin, Germany. In relation to these activities, he has served on boards of multiple charities and foundations in the UK, Europe and overseas.
Philip graduated from the London School of Economics with a BSc in Geography. Following his studies, he developed an abiding interest in Buddhist philosophy and Himalayan culture, prompting him to volunteer for a prominent non-profit Buddhist organisation. It was here that he developed a deep appreciation and interest for Himalayan art, culture and Buddhist philosophy.