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GECCA data base

The data base GECCA (Group Exhibitions of Contemporary Chinese Art) has been created by Franziska Koch in connection with her Ph.D.-project on Western group exhibitions of contemporary Chinese art. At present it includes around 300 exhibition entries covering theperiod from 1982 to 2009. GECCA includes only group exhibitions that presented at least three mainland Chinese artists and were hosted by major public and non-profit institutions (such as communal and/or state funded museums, important privately/corporately funded art institutions and cultural centres). In general, exhibitions of (smaller) commercial galleries as well as exhibitions of auction houses and art fairs are excluded.

GECCA focuses on exhibitions that took place in Western and Central Europe, USA and Canada. Less extensive coverage has been given to exhibitions that took place in Australia and East Asian countries neighboring the People’s Republic of China. However, influential touring exhibitions and selected bi-/triennals that go beyond this limited geographical research focus are included, e.g. the Shanghai Biennale, the Guangzhou Triennial, the Bienal de São Paulo, the Fukuoka Asian Art Triennale etc.

For each exhibition entry, GECCA compiles data on the dates, the institution, its location, its curators, the exhibiting artists (name, gender, year/place of birth, year/institution of graduation) and the bibliographical reference to the catalogue. In principle, GECCA also allows accumulating data on the artworks that were on display, but this extended feature has so far only been used for very few exhibition entries. Since it was designed to suit the specific research purposes of a single scholar, GECCA naturally incorporates certain idiosyncrasies and is shaped by the limited time and means available to its author.

Access to GECCA mapped

GECCA mapped is a pilot project that visualizes and provides geo-referential metadata of sixty exhibition entries collected in the GECCA data base. This exhibition sample is limited to Western, i.e. Western European and Northern American group exhibitions, and excludes bi-/ triennials. With the support of the HRA (Heidelberg Research Architecture) GECCA mapped allows the user to trace this exhibition sample implemented in Google Earth. The GECCA mapped logo indicates the place where a particular exhibition was staged and is scaled according to the number of participating artists. A click on the logo opens a pop-up window presenting more information on the exhibition. The Google Earth timeline enables the user to follow the exhibition development in any chosen geographical area in the period from 1982 (earliest exhibition entry) to 2009 (latest exhibition entry). This feature is now available for download (5mb) and can be viewed with Google Earth. For screenshoots, see here.

How can this resource be used in teaching, studying and research?

The visual resource maps the Western exhibitions by displaying their locations/ host institutions, dates/ durations, the number of artists, and the names of curators. It allows the user to trace the routes of the touring exhibitions, to grasp the simultaneity of different exhibition events at any point in time, to discover dominant national, regional or other geographical patterns and quantitative shifts in the number of exhibitions or the agents involved, over time. The short descriptions of every exhibition (in English), which are attached to most entries, provide further links to visual and bibliographic resources. They feature the catalogue covers and link to the websites of host institutions and the exhibition websites if existent. This resource allows the user to combine and compare existing catalogue and exhibition data which had not hitherto been comprehensively compiled and presented online. It further links the data with other geo-referenced information and enables students, teachers and scholars to grasp the complex reception process of Chinese art over time and space in a visually stimulating manner. The new insights that the resource provides will hopefully provoke new questions and foster future exhibition-related research between Asia and Europe. There is also a plan to provide a special function that makes visible the network of curators and artists, which constitutes a specific exhibition-relation, and to represent thematic or genre-specific overlaps of certain exhibitions. This resource is a pilot-project that can be enlarged by adding on comparable exhibition-related reception processes pertaining to the artistic production of other Asian or European countries (e.g. Japan, Korea, Russia, East-Europe etc.).