Ian Yang
Advisor - China I Japan I South Korea
i.yang [at] dutchculture.nl

Art in Times of Corona: NCIO, the largest online showcase of Dutch arts in China

Art in Times of Corona: NCIO, the largest online showcase of Dutch arts in China

The Netherlands Cultural Institute Online (NCIO) makes Dutch culture visible in the largest online showcase of Dutch arts and culture in China.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, cultural exchanges between China and the Netherlands cannot take place in real life. That is why, on Friday 18 December 2020, the Netherlands Cultural Institute Online (NCIO) will kick off at Tencent Art Channel, one of China's most popular video streaming sites. During the coming four months, NCIO will present more than seventy exclusive art programmes from the Netherlands.

Chinese audiences interested in art and culture will have the opportunity to enjoy top-notch art programmes from the Netherlands, regardless of physical constraints and time differences. NCIO will guide Chinese art lovers along all that Dutch culture has to offer, ranging from architecture, photography, and design to performing arts as music and dance and to multi-disciplinary art forms.

Dutch artists, designers and art institutions strive to break new barriers by providing arts and culture online this year. NCIO, the largest online Dutch art programme open to Chinese audiences, reconnects people with digital art content.

The NCIO is an initiative from the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in China. You can click here to access the NCIO @ Tencent Art (in Chinese), or scan the QR codes in the poster below.

NCIO Key visual poster
The revival of art and culture during the COVID-19 pandemic

The Netherlands Cultural Institute Online has invited some of the best Dutch art institutes, including the Rijksmuseum, the Van Gogh Museum, the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, the Netherlands’ National Ballet, the Dutch National Opera, and the North Sea Jazz Festival for a spectacular digital showcase.

The COVID-19 pandemic has been hard for everyone, especially for art institutions and artists. Being innovative, art institutes from the Netherlands have found new ways in this special time to provide arts to their audiences. For example, artists from the Dutch National Ballet performed on streets, on riversides, and in gardens; the performances address people’s loneliness, and comforted citizens who were quarantined at home. The Cello Octet Amsterdam made a series of short music videos themed Alone Together. The Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Sinfonia Rotterdam, and the Netherlands Wind Ensemble all selected and edited their best, past performance videos for the NCIO audience.

Like many museums around the world during the pandemic, Dutch museums went through a digital transformation. The Rijksmuseum released a programme called Rijksmuseum Unlocked. Senior curators elaborating on the museum’s collections, hosted this widely popular programme. The Van Gogh Museum released a virtual tour series, allowing people to enjoy the museum from home. Photographers used the state-of-art technology vividly representing the Van Gogh Museum from a visitor’s view. At the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, the director and their curators cherry-picked among the museum’s most spectacular artworks and showed historical and cultural information in just one minute for their audience.

Innovation breaks boundaries

The Netherlands Cultural Institute Online will also present innovative designers and art groups from the Netherlands.

The NCIO will present the Netherlands’ most innovative designers. For example, Dutch fashion designer Iris van Herpen and the Dutch National Ballet collaborated in the short dance-film Biomimicry. In the film, the creators explore the symbiotic relationship between the metamorphic force in which fashion and dance interlace. The film, sees the mesmeric dancer JingJing Mao undulating into liquescent shapes and transcending into graceful figures that reflect her myriad of movements.

NCIO will also present innovative dance and music groups. Another Kind of Blue is a Dutch dance group known for their performances in Britain’s Got Talent. Their dance combines the latest technology on the stage, utilising the projectors and virtual reality devices in their choreography. This challenges people’s sense of boundaries between the virtual world and reality. NCIO will introduce artists from Armada Music—a Dutch independent record label that specialises in releasing electronic music. The Armada Music has won the Best Global Record Label award for five years in a row at the International Dance Music Awards. During the pandemic, DJs from Armada Music moved their stages outdoors, exploring the echo between nature and dance.

Exploring new ways of international cultural exchange in China

NCIO will release the documentary film Inner Landscape by the director Frank Scheffer, about Chinese modern music composer Guo Wenjing and Sichuan opera. Taking a Westerner’s point of view, Scheffer took seven years and filmed the process of Guo Wenjing and Sichuan opera singer Shen Tiemei recreating the famous Sichuan opera Si Fan. The film was screened at the International Film Festival Rotterdam, and it received rave reviews. As a subsequent result, the famous percussion group Slagwerk Den Haag invited Guo Wenjing to compose a music piece: Parade (Xuan).

Another example is the collaboration between the orchestra Holland Baroque and the sheng player Wu Wei presenting another innovative programme at the NCIO. They brought several well-known Western and Eastern musical pieces together, presenting a brand-new art experience for Chinese audiences.

These collaborations showcase a strong connection between artists from the Netherlands and China: both reviving the past and creating for a brighter future. By presenting content focused on cultural exchange, NCIO will provide a platform for further exchange between China and the Netherlands both on and offline. In so doing, stimulating more dialogue and collaboration between the two unique cultures.

Art in Times of Corona

Are you a Dutch or Netherlands-based artist taking part in international cultural collaborations online? Send us an email with detailed information and images, and we might highlight your work in the series Art in Times of Corona.

Check out the complete overview of Dutch cultural activities in China in our database. If you are a cultural professional who wants to cooperate with China, feel free to contact our China advisor Ian Yang.