Wenny Teo

Wenny Teo


  • Strand, Somerset House

    WC2R 0RN London

    United Kingdom


Research activity per year

Personal profile


Wenny Teo (张温惠) is a specialist in modern and contemporary art, with a particular emphasis on China and Chinese diasporas in transnational and global contexts. She received a BA in History of Art and English Literature from the University of York, a MA and PhD in History of Art from UCL (2011) and is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA). Prior to joining the Courtauld in 2012, she was a curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art Shanghai and assistant curator at Tate Modern, and continues to work on various curatorial projects internationally. More recently, she co-curated A Beautiful Disorder, an exhibition of sixteen newly commissioned monumental sculptures by Greater Chinese artists at Cass Sculpture Foundation (2016) in Chichester, and was associate curator of We Have Never Participated: the 8th Shenzhen Sculpture Biennial in Shenzhen (2014). Her writing has been published in numerous academic journals, exhibition catalogues and art magazines, and she serves on several editorial boards, including Oxford Art Journal, for which she is also Book Reviews Editor (post-1800s).

She is currently preparing two scholarly monographs for publication. One World, One Dream: Contemporary Chinese Art and Global Politics (2008-2022), examines contemporary Chinese artistic practice in China and in the international arena from the watershed moment of China’s hosting of the 2008 Summer Olympic Games to the upcoming 2022 Winter Olympics. It examines critical artistic responses to the State’s political ideology of national rejuvenation (the ‘Chinese Dream’ 中国梦) and its increasing dominance in global affairs, focusing on intermedial and digital practices by the new generation of Chinese artists born in the 1980s and 1990s whose work centre on a range of thematic concerns; such as the politics of infrastructure, surveillance, migrancies of labour, class, ethno-nationalism, ecology and epidemiology.

Wenny received a Paul Mellon Mid-career Fellowship in 2020 for her second book project, Kim Lim: Forms of Resistance and Relief, which will be the first scholarly monograph on the Singapore-born British sculptor and print-maker Kim Lim.  Through in-depth, archival research, this book will offer a nuanced and critical take on the material, formal and phenomenological properties of Lim’s practice, which has all too often been described as ‘zen-like’, ‘meditative’, ‘silent’ and ‘contemplative’ – terms that consciously or not reiterate the stereotype of the ‘inscrutable orient’. The book project will examine the breadth of Lim’s artistic output across different media, shedding light on the work of an artist whose multifaceted, transcultural practice necessarily complicates and challenges established narratives of post-war art in Britain.

Research interests

  • Modern and contemporary art and visual culture
  • Critical geopolitics
  • Decolonialism and neocolonialism
  • Race, racialisation and representation
  • Digital cultures and technology
  • Sociologies of space
  • Gender, sexuality and subjectivities
  • Labour and migration
  • Ecology and eco-criticism



  • Paul Mellon Mid-Career Fellowship 
  • Collaborative doctoral award with Tate Modern – ‘New Media Art Histories in Asia’, beginning Autumn 2016.

PhD Students


Sophie Xiaofei Guo, Bioscience and contemporary art in Sinophone cultures

Andrew Cummings, Strange Encounters in Contemporary Art from East and Southeast Asia, 1990–Present (AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Partnership Award with Tate Modern, co-supervised by Dr Sook-Kyung Lee, Hyundai Tate Research Centre: Transnational)

Lydia Ohl, Cai Guo-Qiang: Exploding the archive

Fred Wendi Shan, Gaming, Parody and Performativity: Play Culture in Contemporary Chinese art (CHASE Doctoral Training Programme Scholarship)

Tilly Scantlebury, A Queer Rethinking: Families and Futures in American Art from 1990 to now (Advisor. Supervisor – Prof. Jo Applin)

Nadya Wang, Accidental Career Girl to Working Mother of the Year: Her World Magazine and the Construction of Singaporean Women’s Identities, 1974-1990 (Advisor. Supervisor – Dr Rebecca Arnold)

Sunji Park, Art, War and Propaganda: Visual Rhetoric of the Empire of Japan during the Asia-Pacific War, 1931-1945 (Advisor. Supervisor – Prof. Julian Stallabrass)

Recently completed

Jessie Robertson, Hyper(in)visible. Art, Protest & Surveillance, 2011-16, 2019.

Nayun Jang, Cultural Memory of Democratisation and Globalisation in East Asian Art, 2019. (Advisor. Supervisor- Prof. Julian Stallabrass)

Sooyoung Leam, Seung-Taek: Reconfiguring avant-garde art in post-war Korea, 2019. (Advisor. Supervisor – Prof. Sarah Wilson)

Elizabeth Kutesko, Fashioning Brazil: Globalization and the Representation of Brazilian dress in National Geographic2016. (Advisor. Supervisor – Dr Rebecca Arnold)


  • A Beautiful Disorder: Contemporary Chinese Art at Cass Sculpture Foundation, 2016 (lead curator). An exhibition of newly commissioned outdoor sculptures by Greater Chinese artists.
  • A Wall, 2015 (co-curator). An online project by Zheng Bo. Commissioned by The Space (BBC and Arts Council England), Cass Sculpture Foundation and British Council China.
  • We Have Never Participated: The 8th Shenzhen Sculpture Biennale, 2014 (associate curator). OCAT, Shenzhen, China. 

Other Ongoing Activities

Oxford Art Journal (Editorial board member, Post-1800 Book Reviews Editor)

Journal of Art Historiography (International advisory board member)

Chinese Contemporary Art series, Springer Verlag (Deputy editor-in-chief)

Journal of Contemporary Chinese Art (Editorial board member)

Art Review Asia (International advisory board member)

Museum 2050 美术馆2050  (International advisory committee)

Education/Academic qualification

City University of London

… → 2014

'One World, One Dream –Contemporary Chinese Art and Spectacle', University College, London

… → 2011

University College, London

… → 2004

University of York

… → 2003

External positions

Tate Modern


The Museum of Contemporary Art, Shanghai



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