Christina Li

(Congratulations to Christina Li on being named curator of Hong Kong’s participation in the 58th Venice Biennial 2019 with a site-specific solo exhibition by sculptor and installation artist Shirley Tse!)

We have been thrilled to welcome Christina Li (李綺敏) back to her hometown of Hong Kong. After ten years as an independent curator and writer living in the Netherlands, Li was invited to join Spring as director in August 2015 and then as curator-at-large from January 2017 onwards. Her final program presented on behalf of Spring Workshop is Dismantling the Scaffold, a large-scale exhibition in the summer of 2018 that features over 20 artists from Hong Kong and abroad; this is the inaugural show at Tai Kwun Contemporary.

During her tenure as director of Spring Workshop, Li presented many programs, including several based on an exploration of the boundaries of support and hospitality, ideas that comprise a key part of Spring’s vision. Her fall 2015 program Des hôtes: a foreigner, a human, an unexpected visitor drew attention to the roles of host and guest. Over a three-month period, the program presented artist-devised tours, chocolate-readings, hypnosis sessions, and zoological lectures within the exhibition space. The exhibition and events featured international artists Milena Bonilla, Kasper Bosmans, Toshie Takeuchi, Luisa Ungar and others, and create a web of relations that magnify the nuances and politics mired in hospitality.

In 2016, Li was involved in nurturing new projects with international and local artists whose projects resonated with Spring’s mission to support artistic experimentation within the context of Hong Kong. Wu Tsang’s presentation of her commissioned film Duilian was the result of a six-month residency where Wu researched and produced the work in close dialogue with Li. The film interpreted the life and writings of Chinese revolutionary poet Qiu Jin (秋瑾, 1875-1907) and her intimate relationship with her friend and calligrapher Wu Zhiying (吳芝瑛, 1868-1934) through the lens of visual and martial arts. Working with Hong Kong artist Wong Wai Yin, Li curated Wong’s first solo show in half a decade, entitled Without Trying. Her exhibition of new work marked a change in the direction of Wong’s artistic practice as she introduced the profound ways that motherhood transformed her personal convictions and philosophy on making art. With Berlin-based American artist duo Calla Henkel and Max Pitegoff, Li contributed to their investigation on the conditions of collaboration and production in a experimental script-writing process.

Li was named one of the most influential curators of the year by Artsy at the end of 2016 and is at present developing Spring’s upcoming presentation in March with Ari Benjamin Meyers. An exposition, not an exhibition stems from Meyers’ ongoing research into the essence of live musical performance and the questions surrounding its protocols for audiences, performers and institutions. This presentation showcases the first iteration of research for the Kunsthalle for Music, a new institution conceived and directed by Meyers and founded in collaboration with Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art and Spring Workshop.

Related Articles  (click to read)

Press Release (Eng): Spring Workshop Appoints Christina Li as Director

Press Release (Chi): Spring Workshop Appoints Christina Li as Director

Critics’ Pick: Days push off into nights
— Artforum, March 2015

Christina Li on Days push off into nights at Spring Workshop
— Blouin Artinfo, March 2015

Hong Kong homecoming for art space curator
— South China Morning Post, March 2015

The Shape of Art to Come
— Time Out
, March 2016

A Conversation with Wu Tsang
— Ocula, April 2016

Leading Roles
— Design Anthology,
June 2016

Critics’ Pick: Without Trying by Wong Wai Yin 
— Art Forum
, September 2016

Calla Henkel x Max Pitegoff: Winter Sublet
— Milk
, December 2016

Stationary Stories
— Slow words
, December 2016

The Most Influential Curators of 2016
— Artsy, December 2016


Christina Li graduated from the University of Hong Kong with a degree in Fine Arts (Art History) and Comparative Literature, and completed de Appel Curatorial Programme in 2009. She was involved with the research and project management of the international contemporary art and research project FORMER WEST between 2011-2012 and was the co-curator for the 3rd FORMER WEST Research Congress, Part One: Beyond What Was Contemporary Art in Vienna (2012). Li was part of the editorial team of SKOR’s debut public program: Actors, Agents and Attendants: Speculations on the Cultural Organisation of Civility (2010) and curating the accompanying artist projects and film program. At Spring Workshop, Li has been involved as Witness for Moderation(s) (2012-2014) and co-curator of its symposium Stories and Situations organized in partnership with Witte de With. Also at Spring, she launched Stationary, an annual collection of short stories, with Heman Chong, and curated Days push off into nights (2015). Her other curatorial projects include: The Goethe-Institut’s Pyongyang Reading Room: Between Object and Shadow, Goethe-Institut Amsterdam, 2013; A Map of Misreading, TENT, Rotterdam, 2012; Icarus 13: Cinematic Narratives from Elsewhere, BAK, Utrecht, 2011; Prologue – Speculations on the Cultural Organisation of Civility, SKOR and various locations, Amsterdam, 2010; Not Yesterday, Not Tomorrow, Cable Factory, Helsinki, 2009; and Weak Signals, Wild Cards, De Appel, Amsterdam, 2009. As a writer, she has contributed to catalogues and publications such as Yishu Journal of Contemporary Art, LEAP, and Art Forum.

She previously worked as a curator of Para/Site Art Space (Hong Kong) between 2005-2008, and was the assistant curator of Making (Perfect) World: Harbour, Hong Kong, Alienated Cities and Dreams, the Hong Kong Participation of the 53rd Venice Biennale.

  • Date2015 - 2018
  • TypeSpring Staff

A Part of Moderation(s)

Moderation(s) is a year-long collaboration that will unfold in 2013 between Spring Workshop, Hong Kong, and Witte de With, Rotterdam. Conceived as an anthology of active proposals, Moderation(s) brings together an international group of artists, curators and writers in a year-long program of contemporary discourse and production between the two organisations. Within this framework, the artist Heman Chong will steer the project which will involve more than 50 artists and engender a conference, three exhibitions, three residencies and a book of short stories. Please click here to read more about the program.

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