Lecture Series


The Courtauld Institute of Art, London
6-8pm, 10.02.2023

Xinyi Cheng, For A Light II, 2020, oil on canvas, 57 x 63". Courtesy of the artist.

Xinyi Cheng and Alvin Li met for the first time in the courtyard outside the Barbican Centre, London, in 2017, through their mutual friend and artist Shen Xin. This initial encounter has grown into a friendship filled with correspondence, admiration, and collaboration, during which Cheng has continued to finetune her painterly tableaux that disclose the subtle and flickering frictions between people and things in the world.

For the first event in the Asymmetry Distinguished Lecture Series, “Energies of Attachment: Rethinking Intimacy in Contemporary Chinese and Sinophone Art,” Cheng and Li will discuss the plethora of intimate tetherings that form their world(s), from the relationship between art-making and the imagination of sociality, to the fissures between the private and the public, and the friendship between the artist and the writer/critic. Their discussion will also place a particular emphasis on the practice and medium of painting, and will be moderated by Michèle Ruo Yi Landolt.


Organised by Dr Wenny Teo, Senior Lecturer in Modern and Contemporary Art, The Courtauld; Michèle Ruo Yi Landolt, and Dr Feixuan Xu, Asymmetry Postdoctoral Fellow, The Courtauld.


Xinyi Cheng lives and works in Paris. Her work has been the subject of solo museum exhibitions at the Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin, and Lafayette Anticipations, Paris, and included in numerous group exhibitions, among them, the Palais de Tokyo, Paris; the Renaissance Society, Chicago; the 13th Shanghai Biennale; and the Bourse de Commerce, Paris.

Alvin Li is a curator and writer based between London and Shanghai. He currently serves as Adjunct Curator, Greater China, supported by the Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation, at Tate; and a contributing editor of frieze. His writing has appeared in catalogues and anthologies published by Dancing Foxes Press; New Museum, New York; Lafayette Anticipations, Paris; MIT Press; and Sternberg Press; as well as in international publications such as frieze, Artforum, e-flux Architecture, Mousse, and Art Agenda, among others.