From Art space to No Space: A Conversation with Deng Ting

Wednesday 16th June, 2021

Deng Ting, an active young Chinese curator, founded No Space, a gallery spanning London and Beijing, after graduating from the Royal College of Art. In this interview, she talks about her understanding of digital and the impact of dematerialisation, her difficulties in running non-profit art spaces, and her introduction and outlook for No Space.

Deng Ting, an active young Chinese curator, founded No Space, a gallery spanning London and Beijing, after graduating from the Royal College of Art. In this interview, she talks about her understanding of digital and the impact of dematerialisation, her difficulties in running non-profit art spaces, and her introduction and outlook for No Space.

邓婷是一位活跃的中国青年策展人,在从皇家艺术学院毕业后,创办了横跨伦敦和北京两地的画廊No space。在本篇采访中,她谈到了自己对digital和非物质化的影响力的理解,运营非盈利艺术空间遇到的困难,以及对No space的介绍和展望。

Please briefly introduce the founding concept and operation mode of No Space.

请先简单介绍一下无空间的创始理念和运营模式?

No Space was founded in London in 2018 by Deng Ting and Wang Yichun while studying at the Royal College of Art. It is an independent art space and virtual online creative laboratory dedicated to borderless planning, promotion and exhibition of thoughtful young artists. At present, it has two entities in Beijing and London. The Beijing space is close to the Yanjiao Campus of Central Academy of Fine Arts (CAFA) and about 5 kilometers away from Songzhuang. The London space is located in Earl's Court, the first district of central London, and the junction of Royal Kensington and Chelsea, both of which are used as apartment gallery space.

无空间(No Space),2018年由邓婷和王怡淳于皇家艺术学院求学期间创立于伦敦,致力于无国界策划,推广和展示具有思辨性的年轻艺术家,是一个独立艺术空间和虚拟线上创意实验室。 目前拥有北京和伦敦两处实体,其中北京的空间紧邻中央美术学院燕郊校区,距宋庄约5公里,伦敦的空间位于伦敦市中心一区伯爵宫,皇家肯辛顿与切尔西区交界,两处均作为公寓画廊空间使用。

How do you see digital space's influence in the art market? Or its role, its place in the structure, and its vision for the future?

你如何看待digital space在艺术市场上的影响力?或者说起到的作用,在结构中的地位,以及未来的展望?

Non-materialization is a trend in various industries, and virtual space will become more and more important in our life, even as important as real life. Art itself is also developing towards non-materialisation and electronisation, and new art forms need corresponding exhibition space, so I am very optimistic about the development of digital space in the future.

在各个行业中非物质化都是一种趋势,虚拟空间会在我们生活中越来越重要,甚至和现实生活一样重要。艺术本身也在往非物质化电子化发展,新的艺术形式需要与之匹配的展示空间,所以我对digital space在未来的发展十分乐观 。

This is also an influence that No Space wants to bring to the art market, right?

可否理解为这也是无空间想给艺术市场带来的一种影响力?

It may not have enough influence on the art market, because No Space does not sell works through online exhibitions. The online part is for non-profit experimental projects. But indeed, this is the effect that No Space hopes to bring to artistic creation and curatorial creation.

艺术市场可能谈不上,因为无空间并没有通过线上展览售卖作品,线上部分是非营利的实验性质的项目;但是确实这是无空间希望给艺术创作和策展创作带来的影响。

I have been paying attention to the ongoing projects of No Space, which are all online interactive forms as exhibitions. May I ask what role does the physical space of No Space play now?

我有关注无空间正在进行的项目,都是线上交互的形式作为展示,请问无空间的实体空间现在主要起到了什么作用呢?

The offline space itself is positioned as a sales gallery, but few exhibitions have been held due to the impact of the pandemic. Maybe it will still be a place to display physical works in the future, or a venue for artists to communicate. Besides, physical space has always been a state of integration of living and exhibition, so it is positioned as an apartment gallery.

本身线下空间定位的是用于销售的画廊,不过因为疫情的影响也没办成几个展;可能未来依旧会是一个展示实体尤其是架上作品的地方,或者是一个可供艺术家交流的场地。另:实体空间一直是居住和展览融合的状态。对它的定位是公寓画廊。

What kind of support do you feel you need most to operate such an emerging space?

运营这样一个新兴的空间,你目前感到最需要来自哪里的支持?

The most needed is financial support, as independent art spaces are almost completely unprofitable!! Everyone was volunteering, so a lot of the space was lost due to various issues (rent and the like). It would be much better if there were some help from sponsors/foundations/governments. The sales section of galleries is also struggling, and it is even harder for young galleries to represent young artists. It's a failed business model, but a fun art model.

最需要的就是资金的支持,因为独立艺术空间真的几乎完全不盈利! 大家都在用爱发电 所以很多空间就因为各种问题(租金之类的)而消失了。如果有赞助人/基金会/政府的帮助会好很多。画廊销售板块也很艰难,代理年轻艺术家的年轻画廊真的是难上加难。这是一个失败的商业模式,但是是好玩的艺术模式。

As an emerging gallery, what kind of support do you hope to form for emerging artists? Combined with your own business model, how do you achieve this?
作为Emerging gallery,希望对emerging artist形成哪些support?再结合自身的运营模式,如何实现?

In fact, I hope that the art space and artists can support each other and grow together.

  1. At present, we help artists to increase their exposure, such as in media promotion and exhibitions. In terms of operation mode, it is reflected in monthly open calls and online exhibitions. At present, artists born between 2000 and 1990 are participating in the exhibition, and there will be physical exhibition in the future
  2. Establish a network between artists and art circles
  3. Work together with artists to communicate and improve works and exhibitions
  4. Try to help artists sell

其实是希望互相support,共同成长。

  1. 目前对艺术家的帮助就是增加曝光,比如在媒体宣传和办展上。落实到运营模式就是我们的月度open call和线上展,参展的基本都是00-90年出生的艺术家,实体展也会有。
    2.建立艺术家和艺术圈之间的network
    3.和艺术家共同创作,互相交流和改进作品与展览
    4.努力帮助艺术家销售

Last question, what do you look forward to in regard to the future of No Space?

最后一个问题,请尽情展望一下无空间的未来~

A small goal is to hope that No Space can go through ten years and participate in Art Basel in the future!!

一个小目标就是希望无空间能走过十年,未来参展巴塞尔!!

Interviewer: ChuLing Wang

Images courtesy of No Space, 2022.