Martina Köppel-Yang is an independent art historian and curator with a PhD in East Asian Art History and Sinology from the University of Heidelberg. She studied in Heidelberg, Beijing and Paris and has been involved in contemporary Chinese art since studying at the Central Fine Arts Academy in Beijing in the mid-1980s. She has written extensively on the subject and is member of the editorial boards for Yishu Journal for Contemporary Chinese Art, and Red Flag Collection, a compilation of contemporary Chinese artists’ projects published in Hong Kong. Together with her husband, Yang Jiechang, she created Mühlgasse 40, Centre for Contemporary Chinese Art, which opened in Heidelberg during 2003.
Her publications include Semiotic Warfare: The Chinese Avant-garde 1979-1989 (Hong Kong: Timezone 8, 2003), Living in Time – 29 zeitgenössische Künstler aus China, exhibition catalogue (Berlin: 2001) and Gebrochene Bilder, Junge Kunst aus China in V. Drachenbrücke ed. (Bad Honnef: Horlemann 1991). Recent articles include ‘From Glittering Stars to Shining Eldorado’, in Yishu Journal for Contemporary Chinese Art, December 2005 and, ‘The Ping Pong Policy of Contemporary Chinese Art’, in Yishu Journal for Contemporary Chinese Art, June 2004, as well as contributions to Stop Over Hong Kong, exhibition catalogue (Hong Kong: Hanart Tz, 2004) and Wu Hung ed., Chinese Art at the Crossroads: Between Past and Future, Between East and West (Hong Kong: New Art Media 2001).
She has curated and co-curated numerous exhibitions including Leased Legacy. Hong Kong 1997 (Frankfurt 1997), Odyssey(s) 2004 (Shanghai 2004), Black Extreme Vigorous Figurative at Shenzhen Fine Arts Institute (Shenzhen 2005), Infiltration: Idylls and Visions at the Guangdong Museum of Art (Guanzhou, 2005), Surplus Value and Accumulation – Canton Express, the Next Stop at Tang Contemporary Art Centre (Beijing 2006) and, most recently, Ink – Life – Taste at the 5th Shenzhen International Ink Painting Biennial (Shenzhen 2006). Her next research project, Performing Identity – Political Directives and Contemporary Chinese Art since the 1980s, focuses on the cultural policy of the People’s Republic of China.