Past Exhibitions

Being In the World: The Tenth Anniversary of the Long Museum


Curator Iwona Blazwick

The Long Museum’s tenth anniversary coincides with a time when we have been unable to be in the world.  The Covid pandemic has led to societies around the globe being in confinement. This exhibition is conceived in response to our yearning for social encounters and for being in the world - all through the prism of the artist’s eye.

The human figure dominates. The assembled paintings and installations encompass artists’ self-portraits, family albums, strangers in surreal scenarios, groups gathered in social activities.

Being in the World takes us on a journey through four ‘episodes’ each themed after one work. Episode One focuses on the single figure, on artists’ self portraits and the relation between artist and model. The paintings in Episode Two capture the dynamics of families, friends and lovers. Episode Three features depictions of groups who may be strangers or colleagues, workers or revellers.

Episode Four takes us into the realm of abstraction where artists use colour, light and form to generate sensory environments. We move from looking at the body from outside, to occupying the body from inside, in order to encounter the material reality.

There may be one dominant subject – the human – but there are a multitude of aesthetic approaches. Ranging from collage to hyperrealism, they reflect major movements in modern and contemporary art.


Episode One

Crystal Landscape of the Inner Body, 2000

Chen Zhen

A ‘crystal landscape’ of glass organs is a self-portrait by Shanghai artist, Chen Zhen. He suffered an incurable illness but found catharsis by imagining his organs as shining and eternal. This poignant work opens a section dedicated to the psychic, formal and narrative potential of the portrait.   

The human head is richly symbolic – it supports the crown, the dunce’s hat, the veil, all signifiers of status. The head leads, judges or controls.  Formally it is a sphere on a plinth, with planes and hollows. The face is a medium for expression but can also present an inscrutable mask. It can stir memories, longing or regret.

Artists’ self-portraits might just say ‘I am the artist’, a bold assertion for women or artists of colour who have been sidelined in art history. The head, torso or full figure may be a way of exploring colour, contour and line.  For some the self-portrait is a study in mortality. The body may also be a vehicle to the inner self, an arena of feeling or of the unconscious.

Episode One also features many portraits of others. They might be studies of models in the studio or a stranger the artist has seen or imagined. Their clothing, attitude and surroundings give us clues to their personal stories.

Some figures are steeped in mystery. We might interpret them as symbols of longing or alienation; or characters on the brink of a thrilling adventure!


Episode Two 

The Last Great Adventure is You, 2014

Tracey Emin

Written in light is a love letter by the British artist Tracey Emin. This artist grew up in a seaside resort that was once ablaze with neon signs.  Instead of advertising a bar or entertainment, this sign addresses a lover or a friend, in a public affirmation of love.


This section of the exhibition explores intimate human relations. A relationship can be between parent and child, siblings, lovers, friends or enemies. The connection may be momentary such as an encounter between strangers.  There may also be a failure to connect – within the closeness of two people there may be an unbridgeable chasm.

Relations generate drama – parental love or family strife; sexual desire fulfilled or frustrated; the platonic exchanges of friendship; the charge of unease or fascination excited by a stranger; conflict between enemies. A binary structure also offers artists a tableau, where two or three forms become compositional elements held in balance or pitted in opposition.

Episode Two stages a series of encounters – between real people or emblematic figures. We recognise the comfort, the attraction and the tensions of being with those who are close to us.  Whether the scene depicted is in China or from the rest of the world, this relational dynamic is universal.    


Episode Three

Civil Tapestry, 2016

Theaster Gates

African American artist Gates recycles the discarded hoses of the Fire Department in his native city of Chicago. They are symbolic of the high-pressure hoses used by the police against civil rights protestors in the 1960s. He has stitched them together to symbolically unify a community who suffer economic and political segregation.  

Civil Tapestry represents the concept of individuals coming together to create a civic body united by identity, place or ideology.  The works in this section show the universal aspects of social interaction.

They include depictions of artistic, rural, industrial or artisanal workers. There are paintings featuring individuals brought together by learning, or through attending an event. Other groups appear united through cultural acts such as joining a parade; or leisure activities such as playing snooker.  There are also depictions of those bound together through their ethnicity or class.

Group tableaux can be epic in tone and scale – they may be festive or memorialise a lost way of life. Images of dancers linked through gesture also create joyous visual compositions.   The paintings in Civil Tapestry often depict communities at a moment of societal change so entering the genre of history painting.


Episode Four

Infinity Circle, 2018
Raphaël Fenice

We look into what appears to be a circular mirror. Tiny lights spiral through a dark glass to lead our eye down an endless tunnel of light. Instead of finding our reflection in the mirror, French artist Raphaël Fenice has given us a glimpse into infinity.


Infinity Circle explores how the phenomenal world of light, space, matter and structure impact on perception. Artists may use simple geometric forms such as the cube or the sphere; but they repeat or combine them with light and colour to generate a feeling of transcendence.

The works here also use pure colour or mark-making to evoke the sensory experience of the earth, sea or sky. They evoke the sensation of looking to a horizon, feeling the heat of the sun, or watching twilight, through epically scaled abstract paintings. Some are airy and ethereal - others rough and tactile as if translating the surface of a rock or tree bark.    

The final episode of Being in the World moves away from identification with a figure; and from the stories generated by group scenarios. The art here is abstract, phenomenological, engaging us in a journey through space and time. It takes us to the edge of the sublime.

List of artists 

★Listed in alphabetical order by artist's last name


艾轩 Ai Xuan

丽塔·亚克曼 Rita Ackermann

玛丽娜·阿布拉莫维奇 Marina Abramović

玛玛‧安德森 Mamma Andersson

卢卡斯·阿鲁达 Lucas Arruda


托尼·贝凡 Tony Bevan

米凯尔·博伊曼斯 Michaël Borremans

胡玛·芭芭 Huma Bhabha

萨拉·鲍尔 Sarah Ball

裴伦焕 Bae Yoon-Hwan


朝戈 Chao Ge

常青 Chang Qing

陈箴 Chen Zhen

米利亚姆·卡恩 Miriam Cahn

乔治·康多 George Condo

常书鸿 Chang Shuhong

钟泗宾 Cheong Soo Pieng

陈丹青 Chen Danqing

陈飞 Chen Fei

邱亚才 Chiu Ya-Tsai

约翰·柯林 John Currin

蔡斯民 Chua Soobin


丁衍庸 Ding Yanyong

段建伟 Duan Jianwei

马琳·杜马斯 Marlene Dumas


米莫萨·埃查尔德 Mimosa Echard

翠西·艾敏 Tracey Emin

曼迪·埃尔-萨伊Mandy El-Sayegh


藤田嗣治 Léonard Tsuguharu Foujita

费以复 Fei Yifu

玛利亚·法拉 Maria Farrar

丹·弗拉文 Dan Flavin

拉斐尔·芬尼斯 Raphaël Fenice


保罗·高更Paul Gauguin

安东尼·葛姆雷 Antony Gormley

耿建翌 Geng Jianyi

郭润文 Guo Runwen

西斯特·盖茨 Theaster Gates


何多苓 He Duoling

胡善馀 Hu Shanyu

格雷丝·哈蒂根 Grace Hartigan

韩永旭 Han Young-Wook

莎拉·休斯 Shara Hughes

托马斯·豪斯雅戈 Thomas Houseago

珍妮·霍尔泽 Jenny Holzer

巴克利·L·亨德里克斯Barkley L. Hendricks

胡建成 Hu Jiancheng

大卫·霍克尼 David Hockney

黄锐 Huang Rui

洛伊·霍洛韦尔 Loie Hollowell

施拉泽·赫什阿里 Shirazeh Houshiary


石田彻也 Tetsuya Ishida


拉希德·约翰逊 Rashid Johnson

季鑫 Ji Xin

靳尚谊 Jin Shangyi

瑞秋·琼斯 Rachel Jones


草间弥生 Yayoi Kusama

加藤泉 Izumi Kato

斯科特·卡恩 Scott Kahn

阿历克斯·卡茨 Alex Katz


罗中立 Luo Zhongli

李天元 Li Tianyuan

罗尔纯 Luo Erchun

李继开 Li Jikai

刘小东 Liu Xiaodong

李禹焕 Lee Ufan

刘韡 Liu Wei

刘炜 Liu Wei

李镇雨 Lee Jin-Woo

李健镛 Lee Kun-Yong


阿梅代奥·莫迪利亚尼 Amedeo Modigliani

勒内·马格里特 René Magritte

安娜·门迪耶塔 Ana Mendieta

克里·詹姆斯·马歇尔 Kerry James Marshall

毛焰 Mao Yan

扎内勒·穆霍利 Zanele Muholi


欧阳春 Ouyang Chun

托印·奥吉赫·奥杜托拉 Toyin Ojih Odutola


潘玉良 Pan Yuliang

庞茂琨 Pang Maokun

嘉多特・布吉尔多 Gatot Pujiarto

奥托·皮纳 Otto Piene


祁志龙 Qi Zhilong

秦一峰 Qin Yifeng


尼奥·劳赫 Neo Rauch

马克·罗斯科 Mark Rothko

格哈德·里希特 Gerhard Richter


苏天赐 Su Tianci

申玲 Shen Ling

宋琨 Song Kun

沈小彤 Shen Xiaotong

时永骏 Shih Yung Chun

艾米·谢拉德 Amy Sherald

尚扬 Shang Yang

达娜·舒兹 Dana Schutz

珍妮·萨维尔 Jenny Saville


唐蕴玉 Tang Yunyu

伊曼纽尔·塔库 Emmanuel Taku

沃尔夫冈· 提尔曼斯 Wolfgang Tillmans


皮特·乌卡 Peter Uka

乌雷 Ulay


阿德里安·维拉·罗哈斯 Adrián Villar Rojas


王川 Wang Chuan

王怀庆 Wang Huaiqing

王音 Wang Yin

王强 Wang Qiang

韦尔申 Wei Ershen

韦蓉 Wei Rong

王劲松 Wang Jinsong


徐芒耀 Xu Mangyao

谢南星 Xie Nanxing

熊宇 Xiong Yu

徐悲鸿 Xu Beihong

夏俊娜 Xia Junna

夏小万 Xia Xiaowan


杨立光 Yang Liguang

严力 Yan Li

喻红 Yu Hong

颜磊 Yan Lei

杨飞云 Yang Feiyun

杨福东 Yang Fudong

尹朝阳 Yin Zhaoyang


余友涵 Yu Youhan


张蒨英 Zhang Qianying

章剑 Zhang Jian

张晓刚 Zhang Xiaogang

周春芽 Zhou Chunya

曾梵志 Zeng Fanzhi

张恩利 Zhang Enli

赵兽 Zhao Shou

赵赵 Zhao Zhao

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