Wenny Teo

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Wenny Teo

Manuela and Iwan Wirth Lecturer in Modern and Contemporary Asian Art
Wenny Teo

Wenny Teo (张温惠) received a BA in History of Art and English Literature from the University of York (2003), and a MA (2004) and PhD (2011) in History of Art from University College London. Her doctoral thesis, ‘One World, One Dream: Contemporary Chinese Art and Spectacle’, supervised by Professor Briony Fer, examined the highly ambivalent relationship between contemporary Chinese art and spectacle from China’s ‘open door’ reforms in 1978 to the historical watershed of the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. Her research currently centres on socially engaged and participatory East and Southeast Asian art, subversive practices, geopolitics, language art and online visual culture.

Prior to joining The Courtauld as the Manuela and Iwan Wirth Lecturer in Modern and Contemporary Asian Art in 2012, she worked as a curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Shanghai, and as curatorial assistant at Tate Modern. In 2014, she was an associate curator of We Have Never Participated – the 8th Shenzhen Sculpture Biennial, and is currently co-curating an exhibition of newly commissioned Chinese outdoor installations at Cass Sculpture Foundation that will open in May 2016.


  • BA History of Art Year 1: The Global Contemporary
  • BA History of Art Year 3: Contemporary Art in China
  • MA History of Art: (Re)Made in China – Appropriation, Subversion, Transformation (1978 to now)

PhD students


Jessie Robertson, ‘Documenting Socially and Politically Engaged Art in the Digital Age’

Research interests

  • East and Southeast Asian art and politics
  • Soft power
  • (Post)internet art
  • Humour
  • Biopolitics
  • Subversion
  • Spectacle
  • Historiography
  • Critical theory
  • Semiotics

Forthcoming publications


  • ‘One World, One Dream: Contemporary Chinese Art and Spectacle


  • ‘Xu Bing, Ai Weiwei, and the (Geo)politics of Canonisation (1994-2014)’ in Revising the Contemporary Canon: Perspectives in a Global World,  ed. Ruth Iskin, Routledge.

Recent publications

Essays, articles and reviews

  • ‘Of Islands and Prisons: Not-Taiwan, Not-China at the 2013 Venice Biennale’ in ‘Proceedings of the International Conference on Jie (Boundaries): Contemporary Art From Taiwan.’ National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts Press, 2015.
  • ‘Modern and Contemporary Chinese Art: Historiographic Reflections’ Special edition of The Journal of Art Historiography. No 10, June 2014. (Guest editor)
  • ‘The Un/Desirable Guest: Hos(ti)pitality in the Postcolonial Archive’ Erika Tan – Come Cannibalise Why Don’t You? National University of Singapore Museum Press, 2014 (exh cat).
  • ‘Cannibalism, Capitalism and the Cross-cultural Politics of “Eating People”’ Journal of Visual Art Practice, Special edition on Contemporary Chinese Art and Criticality, Vol 11, Issue 2-3, September 2012.
  • ‘Lost and Found Dogs: Desiring Production in Qiu Anxiong’s “We Are the World” in Hopfener, Birgitte et al, Negotiating Difference: Contemporary Chinese Art in the Global Context. (Weimar: Verlag und Datenbank für Geisteswissenschaften) 2012.
  • ‘Signalling Through Flames: Cai Guo-Qiang’s Language Acts,’ Object: Graduate Research and Reviews in the History of Art and Visual Culture No. 12, 2010.

Other professional activities

  • Member of Editorial board of The Oxford Art Journal
  • Member of Advisory board of Art Review Asia
  • Member of Advisory board of The Journal of Contemporary Chinese Culture
  • Member of Advisory board of The Journal of Art Historiography

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