About CDF


Contemporary Dialogue Foundation (CDF) is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) art organization which fosters contemporary art dialogue in various spheres of human expression including art (visual art, music, films, writing, poetry, etc.), science, business, and social relations by implementing various educational projects and programs.


Founded in the Summer of 2008, CDF ART CLUB started as a discussion group where art professionals shared their observations on contemporary art practices with their peers. In the Fall of 2009 discussion group events led to the forming of a nonprofit art organization called The Contemporary Dialogue Foundation (cdf) with the purpose of engaging the public in the international contemporary art discourse.


Contemporary Dialogue Foundation (CDF) runs an alternative exhibition space called Projector. It is a non-traditional exhibition space where artists’ artwork (or documentation) is displayed as projected images in the form of a slide show. Projector's goal is to create discussion among international art spaces/artists by presenting innovative contemporary visual art exhibitions, followed by a discussion event that encourages contemporary art discourse in the world community as an ongoing international contemporary art cultural exchange. Projector Online is an extension of our exhibition space Projector providing the world community with a curated content for local projection events. Organizations or individuals can play the slide show of the exhibition images provided on this site at the any art or public spaces anywhere in the world.


international contemporary art dialogue

This panel discussion focused on a dialogue between Chinese, Australian and Iranian contemporary art, by viewing artworks from Shanghai photographers and comparing it with two other art scenes in Iran and Australia. This event allowed for the opportunity to meet with the artists and curator of the Rotating Shanghai II exhibition from China, and other participating art spaces/artists from Australia and Iran, through online video conference.

Farhad Bahram, Artist and intern at the Contemporary Dialogue Foundation.
Abby Chen, Curator and Deputy Director of the Chinese Culture Foundation of SF
Taraneh Hemami, Artist and Curator

Curator: Liu Congyun, Curator/Art Critic in Shanghai.
Artists: LU Yuanmin, WANG Yaodong, ZHOU Ming, CAO Youtao, DAI Mouyu, YAN Minglei, WANG Jianxin, CAI Hongsuo, YANG Yongliang, ZHU Feng, WANG Yanling, LIU Yue

William Seeto, an independent curator and a visual artist
Sue Callanan, an artist and board member of Articulate Project Space
Margaret Roberts, an artist and board member of Articulate Project Space

Sohrab Kashani, Artist, Curator and Director of Sazmanab Project

Articulate Project Space (APS) is a not for profit Incorporated Association in Sydney Australia that supports an alternative project/ exhibition program that emphasizes spatial, critical and or cross-disciplinary practices. A key concern is the spatial relationship of artworks and their physical location. APS is comprised of a group of visual artists with similar ideas and other connections to the APS studios. APS coordinates a curated documentation program called the Project Space Project – its aim is to create interest in project spaces as an exhibition practice that focuses on the conceptual processes that go into art making, and the relationships formed between artworks and the places where they are made.

Sazmanab Project is a non-profit project space in Tehran initiated by artist/curator Sohrab Kashani. Sazmanab Project organizes exhibitions, events, talks and workshops, runs projects and makes collaborations on projects initiated by other project spaces and artist initiatives. Sazmanab Project is comprised of an exhibition space, a studio, a library and a cafe that hosts Sazmanab’s walk-by cinema, a unique platform that showcases videos and special programs. Sazmanab Project also offers artist-in-residence and curator-in-residence opportunities to international artists and curators.

The Chinese Culture Foundation of San Francisco was founded in 1965 to preserve, promote, and influence the course of Chinese and Chinese American culture in the United States. The Chinese Culture Center has operated as its primary program site since 1976. Since the 1980’s, the Center has introduced numerous cutting edge Chinese contemporary arts exhibitions to audiences in San Francisco and throughout the Bay Area. With the founding of Gallery 1.5, CCF highlights the groundbreaking concept of multifaceted cultural interpretation to the arts community in San Francisco and in China with artist incubation, young artist series, and international exhibitions opening in 2012.

San Francisco

Born in Tehran, Farhad Bahram is graduate student in Fine Arts and he is currently writing his graduate thesis about communicative act in creative practice. The structure of his portfolio as an artist, since he started as a photojournalist in Iran until now that he is graduating with a Masters degree in Fine Arts in United States, is mainly about the permutation of his understanding of work of art as a medium that impacts the process of reception.
He had been part of more than 30 exhibitions and shows in Tehran, New York, San Francisco, Portland, Oakland, Paris, Shanghai, Sydney and also in Finland and Wales.
He started his MFA in photography at San Francisco Art Institute in 2011 and he still work to share his research and practice with the public and scholarly community through exhibitions and publications. As a graduate teaching fellow in the Department of Art, at the University of Oregon, he has been awarded Sasakawa Young Leaders Fellowship (Sylff) for International Research.

Abby Chen is the Curator and Deputy Director of the Chinese Culture Foundation of San Francisco, overseeing the Center's visual arts program including several projects that she initiated, XianRui. Fresh Sharp Artist Excellence Series, highlighting the work of exceptional Chinese and Chinese American contemporary artists, and Present Tense Biennial. Born in Shandong, China, and raised in Beijing and Shenzhen, Abby is trilingual in Mandarin, Cantonese, and English. Chen completed a MA in Visual Critical Study at the California College of the Arts in 2011, and is active as a curator and art administrator in Chinese and Asian American contemporary cultural fields. She was the Co-Founder and Director of the Chinese Artists Network, an organization dedicated to promoting Chinese contemporary media and visual artists. With CAN, she has curated exhibits for the San Francisco Arts Commission the Museum of Chinese in America in New York, the San Leandro History Museum and Art Gallery, and other institutions. She has recently worked to bring the Chinese Culture Foundation's contemporary visual arts programming to Mainland China, with several successful shows and workshops in Beijing and Shanghai.

Taraneh Hemami’s conceptually driven works shift in material and presentation: shimmering shattered glass prayer rugs; beaded curtains replicating governmental posters and postage stamps; a library of banned books. Examining the careful crafting of images as propagated for power and political gain, Taraneh’s recent handcrafted replications of historical archives serve as commemoratives to events, places and people, while commenting on tools of manipulation and persuasion used across nations and histories. Raised in Tehran, Iran, and living and working in San Francisco, Taraneh continues to explore themes of displacement, preservation and representation through her collective and curatorial projects, creating connections through experimental projects between artists, writers and scholars.


William Seeto is an independent curator and a visual artist based in Sydney. He has a creative practice of over thirty years and recently completed a Doctorate in Visual Arts at the University of Sydney – Sydney College of the Arts. He is experienced with artist-run initiatives and is currently associated with Articulate Project Space as a coordinating member. In July 2012, he curates exhibitions by three Norwegian artists and a German artist at the University of Sydney – Tin Sheds Gallery, and Articulate Project Space.

Sue Callanan is an installation artist who works in public space and lectures in Public Art in the Architecture, Design and Planning at Sydney University. She was awarded a Masters in Art in Public Space from Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology University, Melbourne in 2000. In 2010 she became a founding co-director of Articulate Project Space.

Margaret Roberts is an installation artist and art educator based in Sydney. She was awarded her PhD from Sydney University in 2009 for her thesis, Art and the Status of Place, and is currently a lecturer at the National Art School in Sydney. In 2010 she became a founding co-director of Articulate Project Space.


Sohrab Kashani is an interdisciplinary artist and independent curator based in Tehran. Kashani is the founding director and the curator of Sazmanab Project, a non-profit space in Tehran where he organizes exhibitions and events and hosts residencies. He currently works as a curator at Mohsen Gallery, Tehran. Kashani has been part of many panels and talks and has exhibited his own works all around the world.


LIU Congyun is an art critic and curator based in Shanghai. She started her continuous writing on contemporary Chinese art and culture tradition as a student in the Visual & Critical Studies Master Program at California College of the Arts from 2007-2009. After her return to China, she was selected as one of the three finalists for the Chinese Contemporary Art Critic Award founded by collector Uli Sigg in Beijing. In early 2010, she initiated an Artist-in-Residency program in Zendai Zhujiajiao, a branch space of the Himalayas Art Museum (Shanghai). Her past curatorial projects include “A (re)Turn to (re)Form: Chinese Classicism in New Media - Works by Wang Tiande, Hong Lei and Gao Yuan”, at Mark Wolfe Contemporary Art Gallery in San Francisco; “Unrealistic X (Stars + Scenes + Hills + Rivers)Photography Works by Zhu Feng, Dai Mouyu, Yan Minglei and Chen Nina”, at For Art Gallery, Shanghai M50; “Rotating Shanghai I: Video Works by Zhou Hongxiang, Lu Chunsheng, Tang maohong, Zhang Qing, Maleonn, and Zhou Ming”, San Pablo Arts District, San Francisco Bay Area. She has also been writing a year-long series of reviews on Chinese art for the Singtao Daily of San Francisco.

Born in 1950 in Shanghai, LU Yuanmin is the leading photographic artist of the generation in the wake of the so-called 1980s “enlightenment”. His most recent work displayed in the show parallels negative and positive images; a challenge to his previous practices. His works have been widely exhibited at Chicago Museum of Contemporary Art, USA; Dublin Modern Art Museum, Ireland; Bates College Museum of Art, Maine, USA; and Guangzhou Photo Biennale. He is also a recipient of Shafei Photo Award in China. He lives and works in Shanghai.

As a key member of the Beihemeng Group, a pioneer photography group, WANG Yaodong began his photography career in the ear1y 1980s. He is best known for his subjective absurdity in framing the city scenes to his camera. Wang has widely exhibited his work within China, such as Photography Exhibition of Beihemeng Group, 80 Square Meters Gallery, Beijing and Shanghai in 1986; Pingyao International Photography Festival; as well as Asia Photo Biennale in Seoul, Korea.

Within a decade, ZHOU Ming has been constantly working on his ambitious project, the Shanghai trilogy. Two of them, the Undisguised City and the Birdeye Shanghai, have been rotated in this show. Recent exhibitions include “the Beach” at Pingyao Intl. Photography Festival; “Expolarized” at 2011 Photo Biennale Alessandria, Italy. ZHOU Ming was born in 1960 in Xi’an city, and currently lives and works in Shanghai.

A photographer and a skillful dark room painter, CAO Youtao was first recognized for his urban photographs and recently shifted his concerns to staging photographs and dark room painting on film. Recent group shows include the 10th Shanghai International Photographic Art Exhibition at Shanghai Exhibition Center; Liu Haishu Art Museum, Shanghai.

Born in 1975 in Guangdong, DAI Mouyu graduated from the Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts. His work has been showcased at Lyon Art Museum in France, Osage Gallery Shanghai, and the Shanghai Art Museum. DAI’s works present the artist’s extraordinary control in color and light; the basic language of the medium. He lives and works in Shanghai.

YAN Minglei has been working on three projects for years: the Shanghai Expo, the Rockery, and Under the Window. These projects will all be included at the CDF show. Best known for the Shanghai Expo. series, YAN has presented his work at The 10th Shanghai International Photographic Art Exhibition, and Pingyao PIP Festival. Born in 1975, he currently lives and works in Shanghai.

As a professional photojournalist working for the 21st Century Business Herald, one of the best publications in China, WANG Jianxin is an extremely productive photographer. The images of nature at Songhua River come from his hometown. His experiences in metropolises like those of Shanghai and Beijing shaped forms of the city represented in his images. His work has been exhibited at Lianzhou International Photography Festival and collected by The Archive of Modern Conflict in London. Born in the Heilongjiang Province and having earned his degree at Chinese Language and Literature major, WANG Jianxin currently lives and works in Shanghai and Beijing.

Born in 1979 in Hunan, CAI Hongshuo graduated from the China Academy of Fine Arts. He is known for an X-ray photography installation. CAI has presented his work at Nanjing Museum, Liu Haishu Museum Shanghai, and Moscow House of Photography.

Stylized by Chinese literati landscape painting, YANG Yongliang was known for his literati landscape images produced with the help of his mastery in computer graphics. His works were held at DuoLun Art museum Shanghai, and Nevada Art Museum. Public collections include The British Museum, National Gallery of Victoria (Melbourne, Australia), and The Saatchi Gallery (London, UK).

Winner of the Best Newcomer by Southern Pocket Film Festival, Guangdong, and the finalist of the Outstanding Sovereign Asian Art Prize, Hongkong, ZHU Feng is most widely known for his 10 year ongoing project - Shanghai Zero Degree. He has exhibited at the Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago, and Kansas City Art Institute, USA.Public collections include Bates College Museum of Art, and Guangdong Museum of Art.

WANG Yanlyn is a passionate experimenter to the language of photography, and the method of making an image. She is also interested in dealing with memories, such as the explorations in the Specimen series. WANG Yanlyn earned her MFA degree of Chinese Painting from the College of Fine Arts, University of Shanghai in 2007. She has been featured at MoCA Shanghai, DuoLun Museum of Art Shanghai, and Ofoto Gallery.

Born in 1981, Shanghai, LIU Yue graduated from the College of Fine Arts, and University of Shanghai; he majored in Oil Painting. His photographic work continues philosophical thoughts on perception and how we understand the world. Recent group exhibitions include Contemporary Photography in China 2011, India, Biennale of Alessandria 2011, Italy.


The Contemporary Dialogue Foundation has been collaborating with Ars Citizen as its non-profit partner organization to help with preparations for their 2017 San Francisco Launch. It has been very educational and productive effort, enriching both organizations and providing a sound foundation for exciting art and culture happenings in the near future. Stay tuned.... Ars Citizen is a local and global connector between the best contemporary artists working today and pioneering companies who aspire to make art a catalyst for civic life and culture. We are wishing Ars Citizen the very best in 2017!



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