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This interview was conducted at Borges Libreria Institute for Contemporary Art, Guangzhou on 24 October 2007.


Chen Tong (b. 1962, Hunan Province) is an artist and founder of Borges Libreria and Borges Libreria Institute for Contemporary Art in Guangzhou.

From 1979 to 1983, Chen studied Chinese painting at the Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts. He became a teacher in its Department of Chinese Painting in 1986, where he still teaches today. In 1994, Chen founded the Borges Libreria bookstore, which has become one of the most important venues for contemporary art in Guangzhou, and in 2007, he established the Borges Libreria Institute for Contemporary Art.

Chen has been an important publisher of texts on cultural studies. In 1992, he published the Experimental Art book series, which introduced the art community to a range of titles on contemporary art, cinema, photography and theory. Following this in 1998, Chen and Lu Yi organized the publication series Midnight, which presented and translated books published by Paris Edition de Minuit, in particular, the French nouveau roman. His own publications include My Own World: Art and Life in France (2002), A Sketch: An Aesthetic Way to View Life (2003) and Manet’s Railway (2005).






In 2006, Asia Art Archive began a focused archiving project called 'Materials of the Future: Documenting Contemporary Chinese Art from 1980-1990'. This project aimed at developing a comprehensive collection of primary research materials including books, periodicals, newspapers, exhibition brochures, invitations, video recordings, correspondence, and other relevant documents.

As part of this project, AAA digitised more than 80,000 items of material from personal archives to include artists Mao Xuhui, Wu Shanzhuan, Zhang Xiaogang, and Zhang Peili; curators and critics Fei Dawei, Lu Peng, and Zheng Shengtian; as well as the archives of Tokyo Art Gallery. As part of the research process over 75 in-depth interviews with key artists, curators, and critics were conducted. From a portion of these interviews, AAA created a documentary film about experimental art in South China (Guangzhou) in the 1980s entitled From Jean-Paul Sartre to Teresa Teng: Contemporary Cantonese Art in the 1980s.

AAA’s 1980s archiving project culminated with the launch of a comprehensive website portal called www.china1980s.org in September 2010.

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