Reading Group


Asymmetry, 102a Albion Drive, London E8 4LY
6-8PM, 05.04.2024

Ye Funa, Journeying with the Smarts, courtesy of the artist

As part of the Librarians-in-Residence public programming, Ye Funa and collaborators will organise a series of in-person book club sessions and group discussions throughout the next four months. Anartist Book Club is an online discussion group initiated by Ye and collaborators during the pandemic that aims at an interdisciplinary discussion of art through sociology, anthropology, and philosophy. Marking the first in-person meeting of Anartist Book club, this event will focus on the intersection of art and labour, in its entanglement with the concept of ‘tu’ in Chinese (土 tǔ, meaning land or soil, and connotes rurality and an anti-cosmopolitan stance.)

The book club meeting will start with a 20-minute screening of Ye's ongoing documentary film ‘Journeying with the Smarts’, showcasing her participatory experimental project in collaboration with Sha Ma Te founder Luo Fuxing. This project aims to bring the Sha Ma Te subculture, which thrived on the internet and in the peri-urban areas of industrialised Chinese cities, into a dynamic, collective and carnivalesque intervention and occupation of the contemporary art scene and metropolitan spaces. Following the screening, Dr Linzhi Zhang will give a talk 'Beyond the Urban-Rural Divide, Contemporary Chinese Artists of Rural Origins', revealing the symbolic violence and cultural hegemony that disadvantages creativity emerging from rural experiences. The discussion will then be opened to the group in attendance, moderated by Asymmetry Postdoctoral Fellow Feixuan Xu, one of the founding members of the Anartist Reading Group.



Ye Funa, born in Kunming, Yunnan, is an artist and researcher who lives and works in London and Beijing. Her practice critically engages with the realities of daily life and the perceived nexus between authority and various societal domains, such as differing power structures and marginalised groups. Her politically charged art uses pastiche to critique and satirise cultural uniformity. Ye’s recent work incorporates new technologies and engages with various ethnic communities, developing participatory, internet-based projects like ‘Exhibitionist: Curated Nail’ and ‘Smart Master’, probing the integration of art systems into personal and communal spaces. As a passionate advocate for self-publishing, Ye co-founded the independent publishing brand ‘MondayOFF’, editing and authoring artist books like ‘Shamate zine’ and ‘Fire Golden Flowers’.

Ye has had solo exhibitions at the 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art and Nottingham Contemporary, as well as participating in group exhibitions in institutions such as the Museum für Fotografie, Berlin; National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts, Taipei; esea contemporary, Manchester; Power Station of Art, Shanghai; Chronus Art Center, Shanghai; Art Center Nabi, Seoul; and Rhizome of the New Museum, NYC. Ye is a teacher in the Experimental Art and Sci-Tech Art Department, Beijing's Central Academy of Fine Arts, and the Slade School of Fine Art, University College London.

Feixuan Xu is an anthropologist specialising in anthropology of art, multispecies ethnography and ecocriticism. She obtained a PhD in Creative Media from City University of Hong Kong in 2022. Her ethnography-based doctoral thesis scrutinises how the Daoist concept ‘ziran’ was paradoxically implemented in artist Liang Shaoji’s collaboration with silkworms assisted by farmers and biologists. Feixuan’s current research centres on labour, sensory knowledge, situated ethics and non-alienated curation in multispecies art. Feixuan is an Asymmetry Post-Doc Fellow at the Courtauld Institute of Art, 2023.

Dr Linzhi Zhang is a British Academy Postdoctoral Researcher at the Courtauld Institute of Art. Her current research project looks at women's labour in contemporary Chinese art, drawing upon sociology, feminism, and art history. She received her PhD in sociology from the University of Cambridge and is passionate about interdisciplinary research on visual arts.