While the world is still facing a pandemic, we are continuing our series of cloud conversations with artist residencies and art practitioners in China. This time, we talked to HB Station 黄边站. Under the motto of "research-practice-creation", HB Station Contemporary Art Research Center is a leading force in Guangzhou's art scene and focusses on bridging and building mutual assistance structures in the city and beyond. 



China Residencies: Hello! Thank you so much for taking your time and introducing HB Station to us. To start off with, can you tell us about the process and reasons behind starting HB Station?

HB STATION: HB Station was founded in 2012, after the artist Huang Xiaopeng was fired by the art school where he worked. The Guangdong Times Museum proposed that the museum set up a long-term independent project to continue his teaching work, as he had taught contemporary art education practice for eight years at the Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts. Xu Tan, an artist who had taught at there, also joined. This project was named "黄边站当代艺术研究中心 Huangbianzhan Contemporary Art Research Center" and the name is still in use today. In 2017, the Times Museum ended its funding for HB Station. Since then, we have independently raised operating funds with the assistance of the “廣州五行非營利藝術機構聯合會 Five Guangzhou Non-profit Art Institutions Association” {a coalition formed alongside Times Museum, HB Station, CANTONBON, Video Bureau, and Observation Society}

CR: Who is currently part of HB Station? What is your background, and can you introduce yourself?

HB STATION: The current work team was formed in 2016 and includes Liang Jianhua, Li Xiaotian, Feng Junhua, and Zhu Jianlin. Liang Jianhua is a curator and works in the exhibition department of Guangdong Times Museum. He is mainly responsible for curating and exhibition production. He is the director of HB Station. Li Xiaotian is a writer and a curator. She is currently the curator of HB Station. Feng Junhua is an independent publisher and writer, currently serving as the research and publishing coordinator. Zhu Jianlin is an artist. He joined the HB Station team in 2014 and is currently coordinating the art projects. Liang Jianhua participated in the preparation of HB Station in 2012. Li Xiaotian, Feng Junhua, and Zhu Jianlin were also among the first members recruited by HB Station in 2012. Xu Tan has been a mentor and consultant since HB Station was founded. He is an artist and a member of the Big Tail Elephant Art Group.

Although the team all have their own lives in the outside world too, the titles are mainly to explain the scope and division of labor. In the operation and decision-making of the organization, we work in a horizontal and consensus-based manner without a hierarchical structure.



Chen Jialu "Seemingly Harmless" Exhibition view, 2018
陈嘉璐“看似无害”项目实验室现场,2018

CR: Thanks for giving this introduction! In a dialogue with AAA in 2014, HB Station was introduced as an art education platform. How have visions and practices changed since then? What practices and mindsets continue to this day?

HB STATION: Education is still the fundamental thinking and working goal at HB Station. Outside the education system, we can only constantly explore and adjust in practice to build our own understanding of education. When HB Station was founded, we tried to continue offering the contemporary art education methods under the academy system, as a supplement to the current system. In practice, we gradually discovered that perpetuating these ideas with our limited resources was not a realistic choice for a micro-scale non-profit organization. After lots of setbacks, the team found that if we re-created that specific academic context to reflect on education, we would run up against the same structural problems. It's not enough to build awareness of the problem that the existing institutions are insufficient. We needed to start to think through some of the most basic elements in teaching: the contractual relationship between teachers and students, how to define learning, and so on. When those who are willing to learn or practice find themselves outside the academy, the relationship between teaching and learning becomes dynamic. Practitioners learn to acquire knowledge and self-improvement without relying on a teacher-student certification system. Through this process, "self-education" became clearer and clearer in our team's vision. This includes the need to regain our initiative to learn or act, and to build an awareness of problems on our own; it also echoes the structure of micro-nonprofits.

This awareness of our own power and the practical experience of each individual on team brings are so stimulating.  It has made "unity and mutual assistance" as an educational and practical method a clear part of our vision; we are also inspired by Japanese scholar Kojin Karatani’s theory of New Associationist Movement (NAM). The resulting institutional consensus is to work closely with people accross different fields, such as artists, writers, curators, to encourage self-organization and de-centralization through the interaction of "practice-research-creation", and to construct a platform for collective work to exchange learning for contemporary scenarios.

So after 2016, the work of HB Station can be better understood as "self-education" and "unity and mutual assistance". We also use this as a practice to respond to social happenings.


Doreen Chen, "Hard Cream" Exhibition view, 2019 
陈泳因,“硬忌廉”项目实验室现场,2019

CR: When I came to visit last summer, Doreen Chan's exhibition "Hard Cream" was on display at HB Station. What fascinated me most, besides the tender way of using the space, was the collaborative element in your space. This project was produced in collaboration with Para Site, and you have a long history of working with them and other art spaces. How did the collaboration process begin? Which part of the collaboration you value most?

HB STATION: The collaboration with Para Site is related to HB Station’s regular open call for research, creation and production proposals. The exhibition Hard Cream was a proposal submitted by artist Doreen Chan and curator Qu Chang, and was selected as our 2019-2020 annual project after interview. Usually, after confirming the selection, we will help the collaborators realize their ideas through joint work, hangouts, discussions and so on. In the process, HB Station will put in people power and other resources as agreed, and also help to coordinate and match resources according to specific project needs.

Earlier, we spoke of "unity and mutual assistance". That doesn't just describing the cooperation between HB Station and individuals from different regions and backgrounds, it is also applicable to institutions. In 2016 and 2019, HB Station participated twice in the work of the “Travel Agency” project. The first one was in 2016, led by artists Li Zhiyong, Shi Zhenhao, and Zhu Jianlin, funded by the “Banyan Commune” project space of Guangdong Times Museum and co-organized by HB Station. The project recruited friends from different backgrounds and visited self-organized spaces and practitioners in cities such as Shanghai, Wuhan, Shenyang, Hong Kong, Tokyo, and Shunde. This is a process of networking and learning, and is combined with the new space plan of HB Station. When these friends returned to Guangzhou, they directly prompted the establishment of 上阳台 Soeng Joeng Toi, which is a decentralized, jointly-governed platform.

The second time was in 2019, curated by Li Xiaotian, funded by He Foundation and co-organized by the “Travel Agency office”. The cities visited this time include Hanoi, Bangkok, Yogyakarta, Jakarta, and Chongqing. In Guangzhou, two walks in the locations of the "Big Tail Elephant" group exhibitions were included, led by the artists and researchers. HB Station will try to develop a sensory-based experience transfer method from revisits to the art scene. We also believe that the main partners of future collaboration will be in the networks reached by these "travels".

CR: This sounds fascinating. Another project at HB Station is the "reading room", which is located at a second location in Guangzhou. This space was just newly established when I visited last fall. You had a selection of books on contemporary and local art circles, and enough space for people to sit and read or work collectively or individually. How did the idea for reading room come about? What books or projects do you want to talk about?

HB STATION: The "Reading Room" is related to how to practice the imagination about "education" with limited resources. Publications are one of the channels that can transfer experience and value at a lower cost. HB Station has also benefited from the practice of using publications as a space or method around us, such as the World Bookstore in Yangjiang, the Libreria Borges Bookstore in Guangzhou, the Vitamin Art Space, Observation Society, the Para Site Art Space in Hong Kong, and Display Distribute. While in Bangkok, we visited a space of the same name called "Reading Room", which is small in size but has a well-organized collection of books that are not limited to contemporary art. Its arrangement makes visitors willing to stay for a long time, read or carry out other sharing activities. This is a great inspiration. For a long time, the AAA (Art Asia Archive) literature has provided us with great help to understand and study art practices in Asia. The reading room of the Department of Chinese Paintings and the Reading Room project initiated by curator Biljana Ciric in the past two years have also made us understand and value the work of collating and researching literature and publications.

We plan to sort out and display art practice publications related to "education" and "unity" in the network established since the establishment of HB Station. We also conduct research and introduce similar publications that can be studied within our vision, as well as co-learning workshops, exhibitions, etc. to promote more practices and form a good research-practice cycle with existing practice sites.

CR: Thank you so much for providing the backgrounds to your practice and some of your projects! 


Reading Room of HB Station. Photography: Zhu Jianlin
黄边站的阅读间。摄影:朱建林

中国艺术交流:你们好,非常感谢你们抽出时间向我们介绍黄边站。 首先,你们能介绍一下黄边站开始的过程和原因吗?

黄边站:黄边站在2012年创立。当时艺术家黄小鹏被广州美术学院解雇,广东时代美术馆向黄小鹏提出,由美术馆出资设立一个长期独立项目,以延续他在广美已经开展8年的当代艺术教育实践;随后黄小鹏邀请了也曾在广美任教的艺术家徐坦加入。这一项目被命名为“黄边站当代艺术研究中心”,并沿用至今。到2017年,时代美术馆结束了对黄边站的资助,自此黄边站在“广州五行非营利艺术机构联合会”协助下独立筹措运营资金。

中国艺术交流:目前,黄边站里面的人是谁?你们的背景是什么,能介绍自己一下吗?

黄边站::目前的工作团队于2016年组成,有梁健华、李筱天、冯俊华、朱建林。梁健华是策展人,在广东时代美术馆展览部任职,主要负责策展及展览制作,他担任黄边站的总监;李筱天是写作者、策展人,现担任黄边站的策划人;冯俊华是独立出版人、写作者,现担任研究及出版统筹;朱建林是艺术家,2014年就加入黄边站工作团队,现担任项目统筹。梁健华曾参与黄边站在2012年的筹建,李筱天、冯俊华、朱建林三位也都是黄边站在2012年招募的第一期成员。徐坦自黄边站创立至今担任导师及顾问,他是艺术家,艺术小组“大尾象”的成员之一。

工作团队虽然对外有各自的职衔,但主要是为了说明分工范围,在机构的运作和决策中,我们以横向的、协商一致的方式工作,没有层级结构。

中国艺术交流:在2014年与AAA进行的翻译对话中,HB Station被介绍为教育艺术平台。 从那时起,愿景和实践发生了怎样的变化?哪些实践和思维模式一直持续到今天?

黄边站:教育仍是黄边站的基础性思考和工作方向。我们身处教育体制外,只能在实践中不断摸索和调整,建立自身对教育的理解。黄边站创立时,曾试图延续学院体制下的当代艺术教育方法,作为对现行制度的补充。实际运作中,逐渐发现从思路到资源,这都没法是一家微型非营利机构的现实选择。经过了不少挫折,工作团队发现,如果回到具体语境中反思教育,会发现这是一种结构性问题,仅仅基于现有的制度不足来建立问题意识是远远不够的。我们从一些最基本元素开始考虑,例如教学之间的契约关系、如何定义学习,等等。当坐标设定在拥有学习或实践意愿的人身处在学院之外时,或说实践者如何获得知识、自我完善时,教与学的关系就会变得动态起来,而不依赖某种教师和学生的认证制度。因此,“自我教育”在工作团队的视野中越来越清晰。这包含了重新掌握学习或行动的主动权,及自行建立问题意识等要求;而且也与微型非营利机构的体质呼应。

这种赋权的认识和工作团队内各人自身的实践经验相互激发,使“联合互助”作为一种教育的和实践的方法也在视野中越来越清晰;我们同时受到日本学者柄谷行人的新联合主义学说启发。由此形成的机构共识是,与艺术家、写作者、策展人等相关不同领域的行动者们紧密合作,通过“-实践-研究-创作-”的交互推动,鼓励自我组织和去中心,建构面向当代情境的联合工作和学习交流平台。

因此2016年之后,黄边站的工作可以用“自我教育”和“联合互助”进行评估和理解,我们也以此作为一种回应社会现场的实践。

中国艺术交流:去年夏天当我来参观时,Doreen Chan的展览在黄边站。 Hard Cream,展览的名字,与艺术家分手后的剩余空间有关。这个项目是与Para Site合作制作的。 你们之前曾与Para Site和其他艺术空间进行过其他合作。 协作过程是如何开始的?你们最重视协作的哪些部分?

黄边站:和Para Site的合作与黄边站定期招募研究、创作、实践计划的制度有关。展览Hard Cream是艺术家陈泳因和策展人瞿畅一起提交的方案,面试后入选为我们的2019-2020年度计划。通常在确认入选后,我们会以共同工作、相处讨论等方式协助合作者完成TA们的设想,过程中黄边站按约定投入人力和资源,也根据具体的项目需要帮助联络、匹配资源。

上一个回答中,我们提到“联合互助”这一关键词,除了描述黄边站与不同地域、背景的个体合作外,它同样适用于机构之间。2016及2019年,黄边站两次参与了“旅行团”项目的工作。第一次是2016年,由艺术家李致恿、史镇豪、朱建林发起,广东时代美术馆项目空间“榕树头”资助、黄边站协办的“榕树头旅行社”。项目向社会招募了不同背景的朋友,探访上海、武汉、沈阳、香港、东京、顺德等城市的自组织空间、实践者。这是串联和学习的过程,并且与黄边站的新空间计划结合,这些朋友回到广州后,直接推动了上阳台的成立。后者是一个去中心的、共治的联合平台。

第二次是2019年,与旅行团办公室合作主办,李筱天策划,和的慈善基金会资助的“旅行社第二回”。这一回探访的城市包括河内、曼谷、日惹、雅加达、重庆,在广州本地则包括了对“大尾象”早年群展地点的两次行走,由当事人、研究者分别领队。黄边站将尝试从这些对艺术现场的再访中发展一种基于体感的经验传递方法,我们也相信未来工作的主要合作对象会在这些“旅行”所触及的网络中。


Xin Wei, "See you later alligator" Exhibition view, 2018
辛未,“彼时再会”项目实验室现场,2018

中国艺术交流:黄边站还有一个项目是“reading room”,位于广州的第二个位置。reading room的想法是如何产生的?当我上次访问时,这个空间刚刚建立。里面有关于当代和当地艺术界的书籍,还有可供人们坐下来阅读或工作的地方。你们想谈论或者什么书或项目吗?

黄边站:“阅读间”(Reading Room)与如何在资源有限的条件下践行对“教育”的想象相关。出版物是能以较低成本传递经验和价值的渠道之一,黄边站也一直受益于我们身边以出版物为空间或方法的实践,比如有阳江的世界书店、广州的博尔赫斯书店艺术机构、维他命艺术空间观察社、香港的Para Site艺术空间、展销场等空间或组织的出版物......

在曼谷时,我们拜访过一个叫“Reading Room”的同名空间,它体量不大,却拥有条理颇为丰富且不止于当代艺术类型的藏书,它的布置也让人愿意待上很长时间,进行阅读或做分享活动,这是很大的启发;而长期以来,AAA的文献资料对我们了解、研究亚洲范围内的艺术实践提供了很大的帮助,录像局、陈侗老师创办和支持的广美国画系阅览室,以及近两年策展人比利安娜∙思瑞克发起的Reading Room项目,也使我们更理解和重视整理、研究文献及出版物的工作。

我们计划梳理、陈列黄边站成立以来所搭建网络中与“教育”和“联合”相关的艺术实践出版物,同时展开调研,引入视野范围内可供学习的同类出版物,长期则计划搭配相关的共学工作坊、展览等,以推动更多实践,与已有的实践场所形成良好的研究-实践循环。

中国艺术交流:很感谢你们的时间!






This interview was conducted in Chinese & English by Xiaoyao Xu for China Residencies in March & April 2020.


With the current coronavirus situation and the ongoing lockdown in many cities in China and worldwide, people have been finding ways to keep in touch with artists and friends online, since they can't meet up in person. In lieu of our annual research trip, we are revisiting spaces we've met in the past seven years through in depth interviews over WeChat until we can meet again.