Taiwanese artist Yin-Ju Chen’s “Extrastellar Evaluations II – A Dialogue Concerning Two Chief World Systems” at CFCCA, Manchester – in pictures

Multimedia artist Yin-Ju Chen encourages audiences to question the categories of art, science, superstition, history and ritual, whilst creating new mythologies around minimalist art.

Yin-Ju Chen’s exhibition at the Centre for Contemporary Chinese Art (CFCCA) in Manchester, which continues until 15 January 2017, follows on from her inclusion in the Liverpool Biennial 2016. The Taiwanese artist also features in the group exhibition “No Such Thing as Gravity” launched at FACT Liverpool in November 2016.

Installation shot of Extrastellar Evaluations II, Yin-Ju Chen at Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art, 2016. Photo by Constantin Brosteanu.

Installation shot of Extrastellar Evaluations II, Yin-Ju Chen at Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art, 2016. Photo by Constantin Brosteanu.

For Liverpool Biennial Yin-Ju Chen focused on the possibility that extra-terrestrials live amongst us, whereas the CFCCA show, the second installment of her Extrastellar Evaluations project, takes as its starting point a book written in 1632 by Italian Astronomer Galileo Galilei that saw him accused of heresy. As the CFCCA press release outlines, the controversial book detailed

[…] conversations occurring over a span of four days among 3 people: two philosophers and a layman. Their discussions compare two models of the universe: the Copernican system, where the Earth and the other planets orbit the Sun and the traditional Ptolemaic system, in which everything in the universe circles around the Earth.

The Catholic Church took extreme objection to Galileo’s theory and forced him to renounce his views. Yin-Ju Chen‘s imagining of this controversy employs a lightness of touch, but manages to de-stabilise the categories of art, science, superstition, history and ritual.

Yin-Ju Chen. Image courtesy of the artist.

Yin-Ju Chen. Image courtesy of the artist.

Installation shot of Extrastellar Evaluations II, Yin-Ju Chen at Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art, 2016. Photo by Constantin Brosteanu.

Installation shot of Extrastellar Evaluations II, Yin-Ju Chen at Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art, 2016. Photo: Constantin Brosteanu.

Yin-Ju Chen’s primary medium is video and to anchor her concept are two luminous video works presented in confrontation with each other in a darkened space. The planets in the ‘Ptolemaic system’ defiantly produce intricate drawings with their orbits, whereas those in the Copernican or ‘heliocentric’ system (which Galileo championed) are locked in orderly concentric circles.

Installation shot of Extrastellar Evaluations II, Yin-Ju Chen at Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art, 2016. Photo by Constantin Brosteanu.

Installation shot of Extrastellar Evaluations II, Yin-Ju Chen at Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art, 2016. Photo: Constantin Brosteanu.

The artist, who was educated in San Francisco, the United States and Taipei, Taiwan, layers additional depth and transcultural meaning through a constellation of graphite on paper drawings, a sound work and wall quotations from the bible and by Rumi, a 13th century Persian poet and theologian. The drawings evoke new-age ‘flower of life’ forms, as well as minimalist art, perhaps a link back to her Liverpool show where she suggested 20th-century Western minimalist artists such as Carl Andre or James Turrell could be aliens living amongst us transmitting information back to their home planet.

Installation shot of Extrastellar Evaluations II, Yin-Ju Chen at Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art, 2016. Photo by Constantin Brosteanu.

Installation shot of Extrastellar Evaluations II, Yin-Ju Chen at Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art, 2016. Photo: Constantin Brosteanu.

Installation shot of Extrastellar Evaluations II, Yin-Ju Chen at Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art, 2016. Photo by Constantin Brosteanu.

Installation shot of Extrastellar Evaluations II, Yin-Ju Chen at Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art, 2016. Photo: Constantin Brosteanu.

The sound work includes sections of Galileo’s text as well as readings from the I-Ching. The press release elaborates:

Known as an ancient Chinese divination text originating from the 9th century BC, I-Ching was used to provide guidance for moral decision making and later as a cosmological text for exploring the origins of the universe.

The I-Ching divines meaning from apparently random numbers, and its importance for China and Chinese diasporic communities has endured over two millennia.

Installation shot of Extrastellar Evaluations II, Yin-Ju Chen at Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art, 2016. Photo by Constantin Brosteanu.

Installation shot of Extrastellar Evaluations II, Yin-Ju Chen at Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art, 2016. Photo: Constantin Brosteanu.

Yin-Ju Chen’s cool, pseudoscientific delivery, as well as the blurring of information from different world-views and time periods help the audience suspend their disbelief. She complements her exhibitions with tarot card readings, which prompt further questions about how hierarchies of information are established. In Manchester she held a tarot event for young people at the Godlee Observatory.

Installation shot of Extrastellar Evaluations II, Yin-Ju Chen at Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art, 2016. Photo by Constantin Brosteanu.

Installation shot of Extrastellar Evaluations II, Yin-Ju Chen at Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art, 2016. Photo: Constantin Brosteanu.

Tarot card reading workshop with Yin-Ju Chen. Image courtesy of CFCCA

Tarot card reading workshop with Yin-Ju Chen. Image courtesy CFCCA

From her Liverpool tarot reading, which was documented for the Liverpool Biennial catalogue, she asked:

What will cultural development in Liverpool be like in the second half of the 2016?

And using a reading from the cards she responded:

[…] the moon suggests that to develop cultural affairs one should descend to a very basic level and dig out what is worth developing, look inward and backwards to review the city’s history and investigate the depths of its soul, as well as perceiving deep-seated fears.

In this we can perhaps divine what makes Yin-Ju Chen’s blend of critical thought, ritual and conspiracy theory so timely: the notion that any knowledge or system of knowledge is inherently unstable and can be superseded or discredited. Her practice presents an argument for openness and a suspension of scepticism, as well as a warning from history not to violently attack new ideas because they challenge what we know and it makes us afraid.

Linda Pittwood

1450

Related topics: Taiwanese artists, gallery shows, video art, events in Manchester

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French-Algerian artist Neïl Beloufa’s “Soft(a)ware” at K11 Art Foundation – artist profile

Exhibition of Neïl Beloufa entitled “Soft(a)ware” is on display at K11 Art Foundation.

Works by Neïl Beloufa are on display at K11 Art Foundation Shanghai until 8 December 2016. Art Radar takes a look at the artist’s practice and talks to curator Victor Wang about “Soft(a)ware” and the exhibition’s use of retail display modes.

Neïl Beloufa, ‘Life as Data’, 2016. Installation view of Life as Data room in “Neïl Beloufa: Soft(a)ware, chi K11 art museum, 2016. Image courtesy Victor Wang.

Neïl Beloufa, ‘Life as Data’, 2016. Installation view of “Life as Data” room in “Neïl Beloufa: Soft(a)ware”, chi K11 art museum, 2016. Image courtesy Victor Wang.

Neïl Beloufa (French and Algerian, b. 1985) is a Paris-based artist known for his films and installations that express “anti-authoritarianism” at the level of content and form. His current exhibition at K11 Art Foundation Shanghai highlights features of the artist’s practice that seek to offer political and economic analysis of the current moment. “Soft(a)ware”, curated by invited independent curator Victor Wang, explores how the digital introduces changes of scale and dimension in power systems across neoliberal capitalism. Talking to Art Radar about the genesis of the exhibition, curator Victor Wang stated:

Developed over the span of a year, Neïl Beloufa and I had many discussions about the exhibition, the context of both the museum and the current instability of our geo-political environment. Which led us to really focus on issues surrounding technological expansion and neoliberal hybridization.

Neïl Beloufa, ‘Superlatives and Resolution, People Passion, Movement and Life’, 2014. Installation view of “Neïl Beloufa: Soft(a)ware, chi K11 art museum, 2016. Image courtesy Victor Wang.

Neïl Beloufa, ‘Superlatives and Resolution, People Passion, Movement and Life’, 2014. Installation view of “Neïl Beloufa: Soft(a)ware”, chi K11 art museum, 2016. Image courtesy Victor Wang.

Neïl Beloufa: “I don’t believe in democracy, I just display what it means”

The video at the centre of the presentation, People’s passion, lifestyle, beautiful wine, gigantic glass towers, all surrounded by water (2011) (which forms part of the installation Superlatives and Resolution, People Passion, Movement and Life at K11) features a group of people in an unnamed city enthusiastically describing their experience there. Beloufa often works collaboratively, and in this instance he teamed up with actors to generate scripts that imitate popular genres, including infomercials and science fiction films.

Neïl Belouda, ‘Kempinski, 2007, Video, 14 min, still. Image courtesy Galerie LHK.

Neïl Beloufa, ‘Kempinski’, 2007, video, 14:00 min, still. Image courtesy Galerie LHK.

In one of his earliest works, the 14-minute video Kempinski (2007) shot in Mali, Beloufa lights his subjects with neons that are visible onscreen while he asks his interviewees to talk about the future in the present tense. The effect is a rupturing of cinematic, linguistic and aesthetic expectations as science-fiction meets documentary, the present meets the future, static meet voyage. Kempinski clearly subverts traditional “ethnographic” documentary logic whereby the relationship between subject and camera, interviewer and interviewee is stable. Thus the work could perhaps be read in the context of a lineage of experimental ethnographers looking to transform what is traditionally the passive subject of documentation into an active theme that subsequently has a determining influence on the form the film takes such as early cine verite projects Jean Rouch’s Chronique d’un été or Guy Debord’s Critique de la Séparation.

Neïl Beloufa, 'Production Value', 2013. Installation view of "Neïl Beloufa" at Hammer Projects. Image courtesy Hammer Museum.

Neïl Beloufa, ‘Production Value’, 2013. Installation view of “Neïl Beloufa” at Hammer Projects. Image courtesy Hammer Museum.

Yet Beloufa’s Kempinski is of a slightly different breed: it is not the self-reflexivity of the interviewer (or artist) that is foregrounded in order to give way to the agency of the interviewee but rather the artist finds an equation through which the interviewee can explore the grammar and logic of futurity of film itself. As Beloufa stated in artspace in reference to another work entitled LA Production (in which the artist worked with minority communities in Los Angeles who were each given the same budget to make a film of self- and collective representation),

In that way it’s a democratic movie, but I don’t believe in democracy. I just display what it means.

A trailer of Kempinski (2007) can be seen here.

Neïl Beloufa, ‘Rationalized Objects’, 2016. Installation view of “Life as Data” room in “Neïl Beloufa: Soft(a)ware, chi K11 art museum, 2016. Image courtesy Victor Wang.

Neïl Beloufa, ‘Rationalized Objects’, 2016. Installation view of “Life as Data” room in “Neïl Beloufa: Soft(a)ware”, chi K11 art museum, 2016. Image courtesy Victor Wang.

Neïl Beloufa, ‘Rationalized Objects’, 2016. Installation view of “Life as Data” room in “Neïl Beloufa: Soft(a)ware, chi K11 art museum, 2016. Image courtesy Victor Wang.

Neïl Beloufa, ‘Rationalized Objects’, 2016. Installation view of “Life as Data” room in “Neïl Beloufa: Soft(a)ware”, chi K11 art museum, 2016. Image courtesy Victor Wang.

Neïl Beloufa and the Palais de Tokyo imbroglio

Sometimes Beloufa’s subversions of exhibition, film and neoliberal logics fails, his circuit breaker trips: for his solo show “Les inoubliables prises d’autonomie” at Palais de Tokyo in 2012, he challenged himself to integrate the conditions of making the exhibition (the institution, the budget, the PR requirements, the communication) into the exhibition itself. Beloufa attempted to fashion a pirate economy out of the traditional events and practices involved in producing a medium-scale art exhibition. Yet the project didn’t quite work: Beloufa organised a party with around 700 people who were invited to destroy a set constructed by the artist with the idea that the people at the party would be working for free to create the artist’s materials.

Neïl Beloufa, 'Les Inoubliables prises d’autonomie', 2013. Installation view of 'Les Inoubliables prises d’autonomie' at Palais de Tokyo, Paris. Image courtesy Palais de Tokyo.

Neïl Beloufa, ‘Les Inoubliables prises d’autonomie’, 2013. Installation view of ‘Les Inoubliables prises d’autonomie’ at Palais de Tokyo, Paris. Image courtesy Palais de Tokyo.

The idea was that the drink sales of the party would generate the money needed to finance the work the artist would subsequently do with the materials destroyed in the party. From that money the artist thought he would have enough cash to bribe the director of Palais de Tokyo and attain an image of the bribe for display in the final exhibition. However, the artist ended up in debt. The institution were not allowed to sell the alcohol so there was a password system, which people began to understand and take advantage of. Most people at the party had been drinking for free, which meant that the artist had to repay the institution the money spent on the party. Speaking about the project to artspace the artist stated:

It was an attempt to create sustainable development from a corrupt, Facebook-style participation economy where people think they’re having fun while they’re actually working for me, and it was a complete failure.

Neïl Beloufa, ‘Rationalized Objects’, 2016. Installation view of “Soft(a)ware” room in “Neïl Beloufa: Soft(a)ware, chi K11 art museum, 2016. Image courtesy Victor Wang.

Neïl Beloufa, ‘Rationalized Objects’, 2016. Installation view of “Soft(a)ware” room in “Neïl Beloufa: Soft(a)ware”, chi K11 art museum, 2016. Image courtesy Victor Wang.

Neïl Beloufa, ‘Counting Game’, 2016. Installation view in “Neïl Beloufa: Soft(a)ware, chi K11 art museum, 2016. Image courtesy Victor Wang.

Neïl Beloufa, ‘Counting Game’, 2016. Installation view in “Neïl Beloufa: Soft(a)ware”, chi K11 art museum, 2016. Image courtesy Victor Wang.

Victor Wang’s curatorial research into retail display for “Soft(a)ware”

Beloufa’s exhibitions often integrate installation and film, embracing strategies of installation to challenge the authority of the black room/white screen theatrical convention and deny the lure of the cinematic or simply photogenic. He integrates and fragments his videos into environments littered with Plexiglas, plywood, foam walls and industrial materials. Precarious sculptures, pop-culture references and everyday objects become the frame and setting for his films. In an interview with Myriam Ben-Salah of Kaleidoscope magazine, Beloufa noted:

We’re in a world in which there is no more hierarchy between images, content, and sources. My shows should be a mess where you can decide what you want to look at.

Neïl Beloufa, ‘Counting Game’, 2016. Installation view in “Neïl Beloufa: Soft(a)ware, chi K11 art museum, 2016. Image courtesy Victor Wang.

Neïl Beloufa, ‘Counting Game’, 2016. Installation view in “Neïl Beloufa: Soft(a)ware”, chi K11 art museum, 2016. Image courtesy Victor Wang.

Neïl Beloufa. Installation view of “Real Estate” room in “Neïl Beloufa: Soft(a)ware, chi K11 art museum, 2016. Image courtesy Victor Wang.

Neïl Beloufa. Installation view of “Real Estate” room in “Neïl Beloufa: Soft(a)ware”, chi K11 art museum, 2016. Image courtesy Victor Wang.

Talking to Art Radar about the curatorial strategies employed in the current exhibition, curator Victor Wang explained:

I decided to divide the exhibition into three parts: ‘Life as Data’; ‘Real Estate’ and ‘Soft(a)ware’. Each section showcases earlier and newly commissioned artworks that are presented for the first time in China. These different exhibition stages explore how sovereignty and the digital interrelate under the pressure of technological expansion and the acceleration of neoliberalism and capitalism.

Neïl Beloufa, ‘Rationalized Objects’, 2016. Installation view of “Life as Data” room in “Neïl Beloufa: Soft(a)ware, chi K11 art museum, 2016. Image courtesy Victor Wang.

Neïl Beloufa, ‘Rationalized Objects’, 2016. Installation view of “Life as Data” room in “Neïl Beloufa: Soft(a)ware”, chi K11 art museum, 2016. Image courtesy Victor Wang.

The curator further explained:

For example, the first space in the exhibition, ‘Life as Data’, we decided to show for the first time Beloufa’s work Data for Desire (2014), a video work where a group of mathematicians attempt to predict attraction and the actions and decisions of a group of people through mathematical formulas. A method increasingly used by corporations to track consumer choices and preferences, both online and offline. Because of this, I began to research retail display models, and how these systems of display could be incorporated into the exhibition – which gave rise to the current style of display you see in gallery one.

Neïl Beloufa, ‘Superlatives and Resolution, People Passion, Movement and Life’, 2014. Installation view of “Neïl Beloufa: Soft(a)ware, chi K11 art museum, 2016. Image courtesy Victor Wang.

Neïl Beloufa, ‘Superlatives and Resolution, People Passion, Movement and Life’, 2014. Installation view of “Neïl Beloufa: Soft(a)ware”, chi K11 art museum, 2016. Image courtesy Victor Wang.

Neïl Beloufa’s work moves between the critical and the fatigued, the anti-authoritarian and the apathetic. As the artist moves between the two, he creates projects that successfully map the contours of the materials and grammars of systems of exploitation, currently couched in the vocabulary of software (that which we can’t see, as opposed to the visible hardware) and hidden in the language of clouds.

Rebecca Close

1449

Related topics: Algerian artist, Mixed MediaInstallation, Museum shows, events in Shanghai

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Christie’s Hong Kong autumn auctions of 20th century and contemporary Asian art – round-up

Christie’s Hong Kong dip in their autumn sales for the category “20th Century and Contemporary Asian art”.

On 26 and 27 November 2016, Christie’s Hong Kong held four auctions of Asian 20th Century & Contemporary Art. Art Radar takes a look at result of the three contemporary art auctions and reports a dip in sales between 2015 and 2016 in this category.

Jussi Pylkkanen, Christie's global president, at Christie's spring sales in Hong Kong. Image courtesy Christie's Asia.

Jussi Pylkkanen, Christie’s global president, at Christie’s Hong Kong spring sales 2016. Image courtesy Christie’s Asia.

20th Century and Contemporary Asian Art category: Autumn sales results

The three contemporary art auctions (entitled “Asian 20th century and contemporary art evening sale”, “Asian Contemporary Art Day Sale” and “Asia 20th Century Art Day Sale” respectively) and a further evening auction entitled “Pioneers” together realised USD87,753,125. Eric Chang, Deputy Chairman, International Director of Asian 20th Century and Contemporary Art at Christie’s, commented:

The four sales presented a comprehensive offering of contemporary and modern artists as they continue to gain prominence on the world stage, particularly those from Vietnam, Japan, China, the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Korea. Strong bidding in the room, on the phone and online was witnessed across the sales as collectors bid enthusiastically between the different categories of Asian 20th Century Art and Asian Contemporary Art, in the process, setting world records for some the most iconic artists such as Chu-teh Chun, Lin Fengmian, Sanyu, Atsuko Tanaka and Anita Magsaysay Ho.

Christies Hong Kong spring and autumn: comparing sales figures between 2015 and 2016

Christie’s Hong Kong Spring sales fared badly this year with total sales dropping by 13 percent in comparison with their 2015 figures, with Chinese works of art getting particularly disappointing results. With various auctions still to go at Christie’s Hong Kong Autumn sales, it is not yet clear whether the auctioneers will match or drop below their 2015 Autumn sales figures. Art Radar can confirm, however, that the Autumn sales have dipped by 7.3 percent for the four auctions included in the “Asian 20th Century & Contemporary Art” category between 2015 and 2016. The total sales for this category, nevertheless, far surpassed the recent 20th Century and Contemporary art lots by rival auction house Phillips, who held their first auction in Hong Kong in November with total sales of USD19,589,255.

Yoshitomo Nara, 'Eastern Youth', 2000. Acrylic on canvas. 160 x 145 cm. Image courtesy Christies Asia.

Yoshitomo Nara, ‘Eastern Youth’, 2000. Acrylic on canvas. 160 x 145 cm. Image courtesy Christies Asia.

1. Asian 20th century and contemporary art evening sale: results

On 26 November the “Asian 20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale” totalled USD23,023,794, with 73 percent sold by lot. The top lot for the sale was Eastern Youth (2000) by Yoshitomo Nara, which realised USD2,183,247, well above the top estimate. Japanese avant-garde artist Atsuko Tanaka is most famous for her performance and wearable sculpture work Electric Dress (1956/1986). Her large scale painting work entitled 84B (1984) sold for a record-breaking USD1,328,595. A painting work by Philippines painter Anita Magasaysay-Ho entitled Nap-Ilpon Ng Dayami (Gleaners) (1975) sold for USD1,794769, also breaking an artist record.

Zeng Fanzhi , ‘Class One series No. 1; 23; & 28,’ (1996). Oil on canvas. 48 x 38 cm. Image courtesy Christie's Asia.

Zeng Fanzhi , ‘Class One series No. 1; 23; & 28,’ 1996, oil on canvas, 48 x 38 cm. Image courtesy Christie’s Asia.

2. Asian Contemporary Art Day Sale: results

The “Asian Contemporary Art Day Sale” was held on the 27 November and totalled USD7,189,918 with 78 percent sold by lot. The top lot for the sale was Class One Series No.1;23;&28 (1996) by Zeng Fanzhi, which realised USD 815,804. Second highest lot was Yayoi Kusama‘s Pumpkin (2003), which was one of 11 Kusama works in the auction and which achieved nearly USD200,000 over the top estimate, selling for USD442,865. Korean artist’s Oh Se-Yeol painting Untitled (2015) broke auction records for this artist selling at USD40,466. Hong Kong artist Fung Fat Fung is of a similar generation and also enjoyed record breaking sales, with his The Play of Paint and the Tree (2016) going for USD24,280.

Younger artists also enjoyed record success with Indonesian artist Lugas Syllabus’s (b.1987) large scale painting Golden Limousine in the Heaven of Art (2016) achieving USD42,085, Singapore artist Jolene Lai’s (b.1980) work A Moonlit Meadow (2015) and Chinese artist Zhou Mingde’s (b.1980) The Sea fetching USD7284 and USD21,043 respectively.

Wu Guanzhong, 'The Mansion of the Queen', 1989. Oil on canvas. 52 x 45 cm. Image courtesy Christie's Asia.

Wu Guanzhong, ‘The Mansion of the Queen’, 1989, oil on canvas, 52 x 45 cm. Image courtesy Christie’s Asia.

3. Asian 20th Century Art Day Sale: results

“Asian 20th Century Art Day Sale” totalled USD13,561,118, with 77 percent sold by lot. The top lot for the sale was The Mansion of the Queen by Wu Guanzhong, which realised USD862,421. Wu Guanzhong (吳冠中, 1919–2010) is one of the best known contemporary painters and a key figure for the translation of western painting techniques in China, introducing aspects of Western art to his students at the Central Academy of Art in Beijing throughout the 1950s and 1960s. Other Chinese painters attributed with bringing western principles to Chinese painting include Zao Wou-Ki, whose Untitled was the second highest lot selling for USD 815,804 (over USD300,000 above the top estimate), and Chu Teh-Chun and Lin Fengmian, whose work both broke artist records at auction.

Liu Dan, 'Scholar's Rock-Grotto Heaven', 2016. Ink on paper. Image courtesy Christie's Asia.

Liu Dan, ‘Scholar’s Rock-Grotto Heaven’, 2016, ink on paper. Image courtesy Christie’s Asia.

Christie’s Hong Kong also held the auction “Chinese Contemporary Ink” on 28 November, which achieved total sales of HKD19,495,000 with Liu Dan’s Scholar’s Rock-Grotto Heaven (2016) selling for a record-breaking USD 474,142, just above the top estimate.

Christie’s also presented an online only sale of Korean contemporary art, entitled K-Art Now! (no sales results available) featuring over 30 works across four decades, with highlights from from Suh Do-Ho, Choi Jeong-Hwa, Gim Hong-Sok and Ham Kyung-Ah. The sale offered lots at prices for both emerging and established collectors, with estimates starting as low as USD1,500.

Estimates do not include buyer’s premium; prices achieved include the hammer price plus buyer’s premium.

Rebecca Close

1432

Related Topics: Auctions, Chinese artists, Japanese artists, Korean artists, Singaporean artists, auctions, market trends, globalisation of art, events in Hong Kong, round up

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Future Generation Art Prize 2017 announces shortlisted artists

Artists from Asia and Africa dominate the Future Generation Art Prize 2017 shortlist.

Including 21 young artists below the age of 35, the shortlist for the 2017 edition of the PinchukArtCentre’s prestigious prize is dominated by artists from the ‘Global South’, with Latin American, Asian and African young practitioners.

Open Group members Yuri Bieliey, Pavlo Kovach, Stanislav Turina, and Anton Varga. Image courtesy the artists.

Open Group members Yuri Bieliey, Pavlo Kovach, Stanislav Turina, and Anton Varga. Image courtesy the artists.

On 21 November 2016, the PinchukArtCentre announced the 21 artists shortlisted for the fourth edition of the Future Generation Art Prize in 2017.

The Future Generation Art Prize was established by the Victor Pinchuk Foundation in Kiev, Ukraine in 2009, and is a worldwide contemporary art prize created to discover, recognise and give long-term support to a future generation of artists. The Prize is judged by a distinguished jury of art professionals, including:

Kameelah Janan Rasheed. Image courtesy the artist.

Kameelah Janan Rasheed. Image courtesy the artist.

The Future Generation Art Prize, which awards USD100,000 to the winner, aims to make a major contribution to the careers of younger artists “involved in the dynamic cultural development of societies in transition, many of whom have found it difficult to get their voices heard”. The competition is open to all artists up to the age of 35 of all backgrounds, working in any medium, anywhere in the world.

The artists for the 2017 iteration were selected from among 4,421 entries by artists from 138 countries, by an international Selection Committee that included:

  • Elise Atangana, Independent curator & producer Paris
  • Daniela Castro, independent curator and writer based in São Paulo (Chairwomen of the selection committee)
  • Björn Geldhof, Artistic Director, PinchukArtCentre (Kiev) and YARAT (Baku)
  • Shabbir Hussain Mustafa, Senior Curator, National Gallery Singapore
  • Diana Nawi, Associate Curator, Pérez Art Museum Miami
  • Anna Smolak, Curator, Future Generation Art Prize 2017
  • Gaia Tedone, Independent Curator, PhD Candidate, Centre for the Study of the Networked Image, London South Bank University.
Sasha Pirogova. Image courtesy the artist.

Sasha Pirogova. Image courtesy the artist.

An exhibition of the work of the 21 shortlisted artists will go on show at the PinchukArtCentre in Kiev from 25 February to 16 April 2017, during which the winner will be announced at an Award Ceremony in Kiev in March. The exhibition will be presented as an official collateral event at the Palazzo Contarini Polignac at the Venice Biennale, opening on 11 May 2017.

Among the shortlisted artists are four from Latin America, including Iván Argote (b. 1982, Colombia), Firelei Báez (b. 1980, Dominican Republic), Vivian Caccuri (b. 1986, Brazil), Sol Calero (b. 1982, Venezuela), Carla Chaim (b. 1983, Brazil).

Eight artists are from Europe and North America, including among others Rebecca Moss (b. 1991, UK), Sasha Pirogova (b. 1986, Russia), Kameelah Janan Rasheed (b. 1985, United States), Martine Syms (b.1988, United States) and Open Group (Yuri Bieliey, b. 1988; Pavlo Kovach, b. 1987; Stanislav Turina, b. 1988; Anton Varga, b. 1989, Ukraine).

The Open Group from Ukraine were nominated for the shortlist as winners of the PinchukArtCentre Prize 2015, a national contemporary art prize awarded to young Ukrainian artists up to the age of 35.

Art Radar introduces the eight shortlisted artists from Asia and Africa.

Njideka Akunyili Crosby. Image courtesy the artist. Photo: Brigitte Sire.

Njideka Akunyili Crosby. Image courtesy the artist. Photo: Brigitte Sire.

1. Njideka Akunyili Crosby

Holding an MFA from Yale University School of Art, Njideka Akunyili Crosby was born in Nigeria in 1983 and is now based in Los Angeles, where she moved in 1999. She draws on art historical, political and personal references to create densely layered figurative compositions that reflect the complexities of contemporary life experience. Her hybrid identity – African and North American – is combined in her work, which at first sight appears to portray familiar and everyday scenes from ordinary life. Only with a closer inspection do the other layers of her tableaux reveal themselves, through photo-collaged images of Nigerian pop culture and politics, including pop stars, models and celebrities, and military dictators.

The artist sources these images from her personal snapshots, magazines and advertisements, as well as from the internet. Crosby adds layers of meaning to her works as representations of her personal memory and cultural history. She presents complex tableaux in an effort to challenge generalisations about the African or diasporic experience.

Dineo Seshee Bopape. Image courtesy the artist.

Dineo Seshee Bopape. Image courtesy the artist.

2. Dineo Seshee Bopape

Dineo Seshee Bopape was born in 1981 in Polokwane, South Africa, and is now based in Johannesburg. She graduated at De Ateliers in Amsterdam (2007) and holds an MFA from Columbia University, New York (2010). The multimedia artist creates experimental video montages, sound, found objects, photographs and dense sculputural installations that engage with sociopolitical notions of memory, narration and representation. Her work confronts the legacy of apartheid in South Africa, passing through an examination of the self, to address problems of narration and storytelling. The artist questions official histories, moving beyond stereotypes and a fixed notion of the self.

Her work UNTITLED (OF OCCULT INSTABILITY) [FEELINGS] was recently shown at Palais de Tokyo in Paris. The installation reflects on feelings, psychic dissolution and weight of context, and was created as a result of a research into the song Feelings performed by Nina Simone in 1976 at Montreux Jazz Festival, together with a consideration of Bessie Head’s novel, A question of power (1974).

Phoebe Boswell. Image courtesy the artist.

Phoebe Boswell. Image courtesy the artist.

3. Phoebe Boswell

London-based Phoebe Boswell was born in Nairobi, Kenya in 1982 to a Kikuyu mother and fourth generation British Kenyan father. She grew up as an expatriate in the Middle East, before settling in London, where she studied Painting at the Slade School of Art and 2D Animation at Central St Martins. Her history and identity are rooted, as her website profile writes, in “transient middle points and passages of migration”. Her artistic explorations are therefore always “anchored” to the notion of “home” and its multiple meanings and locations. Boswell combines traditional draftsmanship with digital technology, and creates drawings, animations and installations that present fragmented narratives mirroring global experiences.

Her recent 2014 installation Transit Terminal, commissioned by HS Project and exhibited in 2015, explores the transient territory of the migrant experience. The work consists of 12 white, totemic plinths, with charcoal drawings of African migrants in various archetypal guises, like a kitenge-clad mama holding a rosary, a uniformed schoolgirl, a middle-aged Arab/Indian gentleman, and so on. These figures are only seen from the back, as if waiting for a train. Empathy is interrupted by the anonymity of the subjects, and the viewer is forced to construct their own narratives as co-inhabitants of the city.

Aslı Çavuşoğlu. Image courtesy the artist. Photo: Nazik Armenakyan.

Aslı Çavuşoğlu. Image courtesy the artist. Photo: Nazik Armenakyan.

4. Asli Çavuşoğlu

Asli Çavuşoğlu was born in 1982 in Istanbul, Turkey, where she resides. She holds a BFA in Cinema-TV from Istanbul’s Marmara University (2004). She is concerned with how history can be read and questions who, or what processes, enable its writing and to what end. Her investigations take form through a variety of media and dig into “silenced histories”, to “revisit key moments in an effort to locate the relationship between rupture and continuity as consciousness and how related identities are constructed, and reconstructed”.

Through her re-enactments and ‘resuscitation’ of long lost objects and forgotten histories, the artist lends new meaning and renewed identity to events and remnants that have not been given much importance in the past. Her work is also inspired by her training in cinema and TV, as evident in her recent installation at Frieze Projects 2016 entitled Murder in Three Acts. The work draws from the genre of television crime series, and places artworks not just as mere backdrops to a show but as pivotal ‘actors’: exhibitions function as crime scenes and artworks are used as murder weapons. The work was presented as a real-time performance involving a professional crime drama crew and actors.

Vajiko Chachkhiani. Image courtesy the artist.

Vajiko Chachkhiani. Image courtesy the artist.

5. Vajiko Chachkhiani

Based in Berlin and born 1985 in Tbilisi, Georgia, Vajiko Chachkhiani studied mathematics and information science before undertaking art training. He engages with existential questions through sculptures, installations and performances that raise questions about human nature and the history and conflicts connected to it. His works visualise traces of human activities and changes through time using materials as disparate as found and traded personal effects, wax and water.

In 2014, the artist received the 7th Rubens Promotional Award of the City of Siegen in the Museum für Gegenwartskunst Siegen and his work was on display at the museum in an exhibition entitled “Both” until February 2015. Among the works on show were Settle Intimacy, a concrete block with cut off hair left there from a performance, The Missing Landscape (2014) with charred trees installed in a gallery standing as witnesses of the war that raged for years in his home country Georgia, and an oppressively overheated room with high humidity.

Li Ran. Image courtesy the artist.

Li Ran. Image courtesy the artist.

6. Li Ran

Li Ran was born in 1986 in Hubei, China. He graduated with a BFA from the Oil Painting Department of Sichuan Fine Arts Institute in 2009 and now lives and works in Beijing. Through performance, installation and video, Li explores the legacy and conflicts of modernism and its particular effects on Chinese culture. The artist transforms himself into various personas in his performative roles, creating satirical portrayals of knowledge as spectacle. His oeuvre references post-colonial discourse and uses a playful mocking style of acting to engage with the histories of imperialism and provoke alternative, critical views and interpretations.

For instance, in his video installation Beyond Geography, Li films a series of encounters that arise as Li Ran brings the audience along into an imaginary jungle. In the work, the artist makes a conceptual portrayal of the social order, striving to overcome the relationships of geographic boundaries and bring to the fore individual experiences. His work was exhibited in 2014 at the Kadist Foundation in “One Man, One Night”, which recalled a stand-up comedy show where Li plays a starring role in his works.

Ibrahim Mahama. Image courtesy the artist.

Ibrahim Mahama. Image courtesy the artist.

7. Ibrahim Mahama

Ibrahim Mahama was born in Ghana in 1987 and is based in Tamale. Through his installation work, he considers the ways in which capital and labour find expression in common materials, such as jute, and draw attention to the global transportation of goods across borders. Jute sacks once used to carry cocoa and now also employed for coal are his material of choice. Each sack is stamped with ‘Product of Ghana’, carries inscriptions of owners’ names and is sometimes embellished with regional patterned fabrics. The sacks are also torn, stitched together and transformed into immersive works installed in art spaces as well as public spaces such as markets.

Mahama has also covered entire buildings with his installations and one of his works hung on the walls of the exit passage of the Arsenale at the Venice Biennale in 2015. The artist says of the unique material in his work:

The coal sacks began as an extension of how the body could be looked at. It contains all these system and makings of original owners, which have been transferred from the bodies creating a link between the two forms.

Wa Lehulere Kemang. Image courtesy the artist.

Wa Lehulere Kemang. Image courtesy the artist.

8. Kemang Wa Lehulere

Awarded Deutsche Bank‘s “Artist of the Year” 2017, Kemang Wa Lehulere was born in South Africa in 1984. He is a co-founder of the Gugulective (2006), an artist-led collective based in Cape Town, and a founding member of the Center for Historical Reenactments in Johannesburg. The artist creates wall drawings, collages and complex performances that revisit his own history and the pain of his society during the Apartheid. His poignant observations uncover the differences between personal and official histories of racism and injustice.

Wa Lehulere often focuses on black South African history, and looks at and reimagines narratives relating to black artists, musicians and authors. Through his work, he attempts to prevent their work and lives from sinking into oblivion in what he calls a “protest against forgetting”. His recent exhibition “History Will Break Your Heart”, which toured South Africa, created a dialogue between his work and the work of artists such as Gladys Mgudlandlu and Ernest Mancoba, who greatly inspired him. The latter is regarded as the first modern black South African artist who co-founded the artist group CoBrA in the 1940s.

C. A. Xuan Mai Ardia

1441

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Wu Jian’an: “Omens” at Beijing Minsheng Art Museum – artist profile

“Omens”, an installation of paper-cuts and “mythical beasts” by Wu Jian-an, is on at Beijing Minsheng Art Museum.

“Omens: Recent Works by Wu Jian’an” is the first comprehensive solo museum exhibition of paper-cut artist Wu Jian’an’s work, open from 4 November to 11 December 2016.

Wu jian'ja, 'Mountain Range', 2016. Installation view Beijing Minsheng Art Museum.

Wu jian’an, “Omens”, 2016. Installation view of “Omens” at Beijing Minsheng Art Museum. Image courtesy Chambers Fine Art.

Traditional techniques applied to explore contemporary social phenomena

Paper cutting is a traditional technique associated with shadow puppetry and small scale delicate and often decorative works of earlier centuries, yet Wu Jian’an (b. 1980, Beijing) has been using the medium to negotiate a series of questions about the human body and virus, society and the media, and common existential experiences of fear, boredom and anxiety. In his first exhibition of paper cuts at Chambers Fine Art Gallery in 2006 entitled “Daydreams”, Wu Jian’an took the opportunity to respond to the SARS crisis and the curious intersection of global health, the media, the body, as well as the policing of the social body in urban centres that the disease brought to the fore in the mid-2000s.

Since then, the artist has been using his chosen technique, paper cutting, in increasingly complex and multi-layered compositions and installations. Simultaneously, the repertoire of references in his works has also grown enormously over the last ten years, revealing the intensification of the artist’s research practice that embraces data and histories from a multitude of fields, from the mythological, biological or esoteric, to the industrial and pharmaceutical.

Wu Jian'an, 'Birth of the great river', 2012-2015. Laser engraving on paper tinted by hand waxed and sewn on paper. Image courtesy Chambers Fine Art.

Wu Jian’an, ‘Birth of the great river’, 2012-2015, laser engraving on paper tinted by hand waxed and sewn on paper. Image courtesy Chambers Fine Art.

Wu, Jian'Ju, Gazing At the Moon, 2011. Multi-layered paper cuts. Image courtesy Chamber Fine Arts.

Wu, Jian’Ju, Fused in Desire, 2011, laser engraving on paper tinted by hand waxed and sewn on paper. Image courtesy Chamber Fine Art.

Pushing the paper-cut to the limit

In recent work the medium of paper cutting has been pushed to the point that the traditional technique is hardly recognisable. The artist has sliced into ox hide, brass and stainless steel, used paper-cut techniques on a large scale to make huge shadow puppets and layered multiple cuttings. Wu Jian’Ju has pushed the medium to such an extent that the incisions are no longer visible, molding together to form what appears to be a thick oil painting.

Wu, Jian'Ju, The Head of Chiyou, 2008. Carved ox-hide, ox-hide glue, pigments, mounted on LED light box, 54 7/8 x 50 7/8 x 5 1/8 in. Image courtesy Chamber Fine Arts.

Wu, Jian’Ju, The Head of Chiyou, 2008, carved ox-hide, ox-hide glue, pigments, mounted on LED light box, 54 7/8 x 50 7/8 x 5 1/8 in. Image courtesy Chamber Fine Arts.

Wu, Jian'Ju, Gazing At the Moon, 2011. Multi-layered paper cuts. Image courtesy Chamber Fine Arts.

Wu Jian’an, ‘Fuxi, Gazing At the Moon’, 2011, laser engraving on paper tinted by hand waxed and sewn on paper. Image courtesy Chamber Fine Art.

His paper-cuts thus become sculptural in dimension: for example, Fuxi, Gazing at the Moon (2011) and Fused in Desire (2011) – two pieces inspired by the Chinese legends of creator-beings Fuxi and Nuwa, the moon goddess Chang E, and her beloved Houyi the Archer – are made up of more than 2200 writhing, lace-like figures, piled in thick layers creating the effect of weight and three-dimensionality.The masses of coloured layers look like feathers, perhaps an allusion to the figure of the phoenix, important in the religious tradition of Daoism, whose followers are still referred to as yuren or “feathered men”. These feral landscapes overrun with divinities and human figures darting, fighting and flying, also invoke associations with the laboratory: viruses battling with antibodies; bacteria swimming in body fluids; cells that contain, in genetic form, the ghosts or codes of ancestral knowledges.

Wu Jian'an, 'Ten Thousand Things', 2016. Exhibition view of “Ten Thousand Things New Works by Wu Jian’an”. Image courtesy Chambers Fine Art.

Wu Jian’an, ‘Ten Thousand Things’, 2016. Exhibition view of “Ten Thousand Things New Works by Wu Jian’an”. Image courtesy Chambers Fine Art.

Later works, such as the large-scale triptych Ten Thousand Things (2016) also consisted of thousands of small figures cut from paper dipped in wax. The tension produced between the scale and detail of the individual figure and the mass of the figures together seems to be at the core of Wu’s practice, which questions the relationship between “the individual and society”.

Wu Jian'an, 'Ten Thousand Things', 2016. Detail in exhibition view of “Ten Thousand Things New Works by Wu Jian’an”. Image courtesy Chambers Fine Art.

Wu Jian’an, ‘Ten Thousand Things’, 2016. Detail in exhibition view of “Ten Thousand Things New Works by Wu Jian’an”. Image courtesy Chambers Fine Art.

Wu-Jian’an and the work “Seven Layers of Shell”, 2015. Image from CAFA ART INFO.

Wu-Jian’an and the work “Seven Layers of Shell”, 2015. Image from CAFA ART INFO.

“Omens”

In Wu Jian’an’s current exhibition “Omens”, the Beijing Minsheng Art Museum presents many paper cut works accompanied by a series of sculptures of “mythical beasts”. The curator Wu Hung commented in a statement:

Wu Jian’an’s imagination has always operated simultaneously in multiple dimensions. Likewise, his works simultaneously expand the viewer’s artistic imagination in various directions. He travels between words and images while adding a layer of storytelling above figuration and abstraction. He introduces sound and performance to break away from mere visuals and viewing. He freely traverses temporal divides, instantaneously taking viewers from today’s world back to mysterious primeval times. His art spans various media and styles: painting, sculpture, paper cut, and installation, all of which provide him with a varied vocabulary yet also arouse his desire to cross boundaries – to integrate, transgress and disarrange.

Wu jian'an, Various Works, 2016. Installation view of "Omens", Beijing Minsheng Art Museum. Image courtesy Chambers Fine Art.

Wu jian’an, ‘Mountain Range’, 2016. Installation view of “Omens”, Beijing Minsheng Art Museum. Image courtesy Chambers Fine Art.

In describing the overall theme of the exhibition, Wu Hung stated in the same press release:

Omens are mythical. They are occurrences of strange phenomena that portend major events, either natural disaster or dynastic change, or even the end of humankind and the earth. The concept and logic of omens transcend cultural and geographical spheres; their language is that of ancient scientific theory and political philosophy. In all such cases, omens involve the imagination of the unknown and the future. From this perspective, it is worth considering the relationship between omens and art, especially contemporary art, because art is always related to imagination, and true contemporary art always aims to create a trajectory to the unknown and the future.

Wu jian'an, "Omens", Beijing Minsheng Art Museum, 2016. Installation view of "Omens", Beijing Minsheng Art Museum. Image courtesy Chambers Fine Art.

Wu jian’an, “Omens”, Beijing Minsheng Art Museum, 2016. Installation view, Beijing Minsheng Art Museum. Image courtesy Chambers Fine Art.

Mythical figures

The exhibition is organised into four themes, each rooted in a different ancient Chinese legend. The first is centred around the headless giant Xingtian, who fought against the “Supreme Divinity”, a grotesque animal famous and feared for the strange sounds it makes. The second focus of the exhibition is related to the catastrophic ending of the boy assassin Mei Jianchi, and the Money Trees of the Han dynasty that have inspired Wu Jian’an’s work Daydream Forest (2016).

Wu jian'an, "Omens", 2016. Installation view of "Omens" at Beijing Minsheng Art Museum. Image courtesy Chambers Fine Art.

Wu jian’an, “Omens”, 2016. Installation view of “Omens” at Beijing Minsheng Art Museum. Image courtesy Chambers Fine Art.

The exhibition explores how much of our current modes of relating are defined by biological information coded in our genes and alternatively how much is down to the transmission of cultural information embedded in mythical stories. As the title suggests, “Omens” also explores the fears and anxieties reflected in certain narratives of invasion and beasts.

Wu jian'an, "Omens", Beijing Minsheng Art Museum, 2016. Installation view, Beijing Minsheng Art Museum. Image courtesy Chambers Fine Art.

Wu jian’an, “Omens”, Beijing Minsheng Art Museum, 2016. Installation view, Beijing Minsheng Art Museum. Image courtesy Chambers Fine Art.

With “Omens” the curator Wu Hung reinforces previous readings of the artist’s practice as one in which scale, material and technique are important in as far as they establish and help to frame the themes that Wu Jian’an explores at the level of content: cell and world, body and city, mythical narrative and history, DNA and story-telling.

Rebecca Close

1440

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“Conditions of Political Choreography”: artists explore German-Israeli relationships at CCA, Tel Aviv

German and Israeli artists explore their countries’ intricate relationship in a multidisciplinary exhibition.

Presented by The Neuer Berliner Kunstverein (n.b.k.) in Berlin and the Center for Contemporary Art (CCA) in Tel Aviv, “Conditions of Political Choreography” features experimental works by internationally renowned artists, performers, theatre-makers and dancers, who have been invited to respond to each organising institution and its sociopolitical context.

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It was once the work of historians to parse events in a neat, consumable chronology of static events that current and future generations could readily consume. History, as a discipline, has since expanded to include critical dimensions regarding its own methodology, particularly re-examining political and social events as dynamic relationships between political actors rather than simply static occurrences. This view of history is at the heart of “Conditions of Political Choreography”, a collaborative research project and exhibition series between the Center for Contemporary Art (CCA), Tel Aviv (17 November – 7 January 2017), and the Neuer Berliner Kunstverein (n.b.k.) (16 June – 16 July 2017), who have commissioned new works of theatre, dance, visual art and participatory performance, to explore the political and historical dimensions between Germany and Israel.

The joint venture is a departure from conventional art exhibitions in that the works contained within it are presented at CCA consecutively three days a week within what the organisers have termed a “spatial intervention”, created by Berlin-based architect and designer Markus Missen. When the exhibition is presented in its second iteration at n.b.k., the spatial intervention will be designed by New York-based Israeli artist Ohad Meromi.

The collaborative project is programmatic, comprised of a series of “discursive events” that include artist talks, performances and exhibition tours, in addition to film screenings. These works negotiate transnational diplomacy between Israel and Germany. Art Radar highlights four of the artists participating in the series.

Yael Bartana, sketch for 'Tashlikh (Cast off)', 2016. Image courtesy the artist, Sommer Contemporary Art, Tel Aviv, Annet Gelink Gallery, Amsterdam, and Petzel Gallery, New York.

Yael Bartana, sketch for ‘Tashlikh (Cast off)’, 2016. Image courtesy the artist, Sommer Contemporary Art, Tel Aviv, Annet Gelink Gallery, Amsterdam, and Petzel Gallery, New York.

Yael Bartana’s Tashlikh (Cast Off) addresses through film the idea of history – or rather, histories – as burden. The title comes from the Jewish tradition of tashlikh – the tossing of bread or other objects as a ceremonial gesture towards rectifying one’s sins – but the work goes beyond Jewish tradition to address victims of genocide, not only the Holocaust, but also ethnic cleansing in Sudan, Armenia and Eritrea. Bartana’s work functions as a platform for not only voicing the psychological weight of genocide but also as a means for absolving them. In the spirit of “political choreography”, Bartana’s work transfers agency from those who are the supposed ‘victors’ in history to those who are most disenfranchised.

Michal Helfman, sketch for 'Forgive My Bad Memories', 2016. Image courtesy the artist and Sommer Contemporary Art, Tel Aviv.

Michal Helfman, sketch for ‘Forgive My Bad Memories’, 2016. Image courtesy the artist and Sommer Contemporary Art, Tel Aviv.

If Bartana’s Tashlikh is a gesture towards absolving the past through active ritual, then Michal Helfman’s Forgive My Bad Memories attempts the same goal of exoneration through cyclical, repetitive actions. Helfman uses the metaphor of the washing machine as an analogy for stages preceding and following conflict, going from ‘normal’ (times of stability following conflict that are seen as moments for commemoration or reflection), ‘intensive’ (actual conflict) and ‘delicate’ – a precarious stage outside of cycles that asks us to consider conflicts as specific and requiring a human touch, or ‘hand care’. For Helfman as for Bartana, the artwork functions largely as conceit, perhaps because the confrontation of the brutality of conflict is too difficult, or ineffective.

Susanne M Winterling, sketch for 'The Bladder of Gaia', 2016. Image courtesy the artist.

Susanne M Winterling, sketch for ‘The Bladder of Gaia’, 2016. Image courtesy the artist.

Other projects in the exhibition draw attention to the interconnectedness between individuals and their environment as an example of how these relationships are discursive, producing multiple histories. Susanne M. Winterling’s The Bladder of Gaia, which toes the lines between performance, installation and happening, examines the possibilities of ritual via sensory experience, through a series of immersive projects including fish pedicures accompanied by data visualisations that address an aquifer named “The Bladder of Gaia”. This aquifer serves a catalyst for Winterling – who appears in a live stream video with the viewer – to probe questions surrounding human interactions with nature in the age of constant technological intervention.

For Winterling, these interactions comprise an understanding of political power as biopower, advancing that concept as not only the regulation of bodies, but in light of resource scarcity, the control of bodies as sustained by these limited natural resources. This political coercion is inevitably a contested site, as struggles for the use of land and water inform the ability to govern and exercise political freedoms.

Yochai Avrahami, sketch for 'Agriculture, Pride, and Scruples', 2016. Image courtesy the artist.

Yochai Avrahami, sketch for ‘Agriculture, Pride, and Scruples’, 2016. Image courtesy the artist.

Land and water rights are the central concern of Yochai Avrahami, whose performance Agriculture, Pride, and Scruples, presented as a “closed-circuit guide”, follows the historical representation of agriculture in Israel from its early history as a settlement to the establishment of a Jewish State. In this progression, agriculture functions as an organising principle for nationalist ideology, as evidenced through an understanding of settlement as a utopian project, as well as a marker of progress, seen in the exhibition of cattle, flower and agricultural technology in trade shows.

Avrahami makes an economic case as much as a political one, and in his work is the echo of Winterling, Bartana and Helfman’s underlying credo that what currently exists, or what has occurred in the past, cannot simply just be accepted. Each of the four artists, in addressing history and its discontents, strive for an alternative to what once was, and position their work as a site of potential.

Yochai Avrahami, sketch for 'Agriculture, Pride, and Scruples: A Closed-Circuit Guided Exhibit Tour', 2016. Photo: Assaf Saban.

Yochai Avrahami, sketch for ‘Agriculture, Pride, and Scruples: A Closed-Circuit Guided Exhibit Tour’, 2016. Photo: Assaf Saban.

Much of the organisation of this collaborative project between Tel Aviv’s CCA and the n.b.k. is aimed not so much to arrive at answers, but to generate questions. In the press release, the organisations offer some of these questions:

What is the difference between being hosted (in a space, in a country) and being contained? When does the freedom to collaborate become an obligation to do so? What are the responsibilities that come with power?

In lieu of directing visitors towards answers to these questions, the organisers present on their website a Resource Room, linked by thematic keywords such as “#Commemorative Absolution,” “#EuropeFatigue,” “#EmpathicUnsettlement,” and the like. These hyperlinks are guideposts towards a continued questioning and examination of the political dynamics – or choreography – that gesture toward a nuanced understanding.

Yochai Avrahami, sketch for 'Agriculture, Pride, and Scruples: A Closed-Circuit Guided Exhibit Tour', 2016. Photo: Assaf Saban.

Yochai Avrahami, sketch for ‘Agriculture, Pride, and Scruples: A Closed-Circuit Guided Exhibit Tour’, 2016. Photo: Assaf Saban.

The project is entitled “Conditions of”, after all, implying that its aim is to build a framework or platform for the development of a synchronised political choreography rather than a substantial heuristic for determining political engagement or efficacy. The bifurcated nature of the project – the events for summer 2017 are still contingent on the development of the “spatial intervention” by Ohad Meromi – allows the artists, curators and participants to bask in a space of potential; through this platform, any number of possibilities remain open. The exhibition’s curator Chen Tamir tells Art Radar about the project:

The idea was to challenge all of our pre-conceived ideas — about how group shows are structured, how visual art is formed and how it’s experienced, how culture and societies are formed, how history is written, and more. It makes for a very challenging show to curate, and also to see. We are asking our audience to come back every week, which we know will rarely happen, but this requires them to imagine things beyond what they’re seeing. It’s an exhibition that unfolds over time — and in two different venues since it will manifest again in June 2017 at the Neuer Berliner Kunstverein, who have co-curated it with us. It’s an extremely ambitious, multi-layered, and experimental project with vectors reaching in many different directions.

Tausif Noor

1439

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Chinese Contemporary Art Award (CCAA) announces 2016 winners

The winners of the 10th edition of the CCAA are Cao Fei, He Xiangyu and Xu Bing.

Art Radar takes a look at the 2016 winners in each of the categories.

Cao Fei, 'RMB City Second Life city planning', 2007, video, colour, sound, 6 minutes. Collection de la Fondation Louis Vuitton. © Cao Fei. Image courtesy the artist and Cao Fei Studio.

Cao Fei, ‘RMB City Second Life city planning’, 2007, video, colour, sound, 6 minutes. Collection de la Fondation Louis Vuitton. © Cao Fei. Image courtesy the artist and Cao Fei Studio.

On 15 November 2016 the Chinese Contemporary Art Award (CCAA) announced winners Cao Fei, He Xiangyu and Xu Bing. In its 10th edition, the award was founded in 1997 by pioneering Swiss collector Uli Sigg, who began collecting Chinese contemporary artists in the 1990s.

The award

The aim of CCAA is to give awards to Chinese artists and art critics who show outstanding achievement in artistic creation and in its analysis. The award also aims to develop a dialogue around Chinese contemporary art by holding talks as well as developing publications and exhibitions.

Xu Bing (left) in front of his work at deFINE Art 2015 Exhibitions Opening Reception at SCAD Museum of Art, Winter 2015. Photography by Stephanie Krell. Image courtesy SCAD.

Xu Bing (left) in front of his work at deFINE Art 2015 Exhibitions Opening Reception at SCAD Museum of Art, Winter 2015. Photography by Stephanie Krell. Image courtesy SCAD.

CCAA highlights the necessity of such an award, especially in the current climate of growth in Chinese art,

at a time when Chinese art appears to be validated almost exclusively by market forces, an unexcited and deliberate reflection of the present art production such as CCAA provides through its exhibitions, publications and other activities, is very much in need.

There are three separate awards for artists: Best Artist, Best Young Artist and the Contribution Award. The winners were selected out of a total of 55 nominations from the Nomination Committee and nine artists were selected through a public nomination process.

He Xiangyu, ‘Cola Project’ 2009-2012. Image courtesy the artist and White Space Beijing.

He Xiangyu, ‘Cola Project’ 2009-2012. Image courtesy the artist and White Space Beijing.

The Best Artist award goes to an artist who has shown particular impact through their work in the past two years, while the Best Young Artist goes to an artist under 30 who has demonstrated a strong practice in the last two years. The Outstanding Achievement is awarded to an artist who has made a meaningful contribution to Chinese contemporary art over an extended period of time.

The committee was comprised of seven senior scholars and curators of contemporary Chinese and international contemporary art. The broad-reaching expertise of the committee members, canvassing Western and Chinese art is a feature of the award. The committee members included:

  1. Bernard Blistène, Director, Center Pompidou, France
  2. Chris Dercon, Honorary Curator of the Tate Modern, UK
  3. Feng Boyi, an independent curator, art critic, and Artistic Director of He Xiangning Art Museum
  4. Peng De, Professor from Xi’an Academy of Fine Arts, Doctoral Tutor
  5. Suhanya Raffel, Executive Director of M+, Hong Kong
  6. Uli Sigg, a founder of CCAA Chinese Contemporary Art Foundation and collector
  7. Yin Jinan, Dean of School of Humanities at the Central Academy of Fine Arts (CAFA)

The artists

Cao Fei, Best Artist Award

Born in 1978 in Guangzhou, Cao Fei works with film and installation to create works that combine surreal atmospheres with social commentary and popular aesthetics. Her work looks into the challenges faced in Chinese society today due to rapid urban change.

Cao Fei, 'Whose Utopia', 2006, (video still) single channel video, 20m:00s. Image courtesy the artist and Minsheng Art Museum, Shanghai.

Cao Fei, ‘Whose Utopia’, 2006, (video still) single channel video, 20m:00s. Image courtesy the artist and Minsheng Art Museum, Shanghai.

Cao Fei has been exhibited widely, including at Shanghai Biennale, Moscow Biennale, Taipei Biennale, the 15th and 17th Biennales of SydneyIstanbul Biennale, the Yokohama Triennale, and the 50th, 52nd and 56th Venice Biennales. She has also had her work exhibited in key institutions such as Serpentine Gallery and Tate Modern in London; the New Museum, Guggenheim Museum and MoMA in New York; and the Fondation Louis Vuitton, Palais de Tokyo and Centre Pompidou in Paris.

This is not the first time Cao Fei has been recognised by CCAA. In 2006 she won the CCAA’s Best Young Artist Award.

He Xiangyu, Best Young Artist

He Xiangyu was born in 1986 in Liaoning Province, China and now lives and works in Beijing and Berlin. He has an experimental practice that explores the impacts of rapid urbanisation, investigating ideas of materialism and obsolescence in society. One of his well-known projects was called Cola Project, which started in 2009. In this project he explored the nature of the iconic liquid. He boiled down 127 tons of it during the course of a year, creating an earthy, bitumen-like substance which he installed in a number of configurations, including using it to create Song dynasty-style landscape paintings.

He Xiangyu, Installation view, ‘Cola Project- Extraction’, 2009-2010, Coca-Cola Resin, 35 x 27 x 23.5 cm. Photo: Yang Chao Photography Studio. Image courtesy the artist and White Space Beijing.

He Xiangyu, Installation view, ‘Cola Project- Extraction’, 2009-2010, Coca-Cola Resin, 35 x 27 x 23.5 cm. Photo: Yang Chao Photography Studio. Image courtesy the artist and White Space Beijing.

He Xiangyu has exhibited widely, including in the 13th Biennale de Lyon (2015), Shanghai Biennale (2014), Busan Biennale, (2014), Yokohama Triennale (2014), Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing (2015), White Cube, London (2014) and the A4 Center for Contemporary Asian Art, Sydney (2012).

Xu Bing, Contribution Award

Born in Chongqing China in 1955, Xu Bing first studied printmaking at the Central Academy of Fine Arts (CAFA) in Beijing. After earning his MFA, he was invited to the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1990 and he currently works between Beijing and New York. He is most known for his printmaking skills and installation works, as well as his use of language, words and text in his work.

Artist Yang Hongwei introducing his work to Prof. Xu Bing at his opening of “Pixel Analysis” on 7 Nov 2015 at Hui Art Space, Beijing. Image courtesy the artist and Hui Art Space.

Artist Yang Hongwei introducing his work to Prof. Xu Bing at his opening of “Pixel Analysis” on 7 Nov 2015 at Hui Art Space, Beijing. Image courtesy the artist and Hui Art Space.

He has been exhibited in international forums such as the 45th, 51st and 56th Venice Biennales; the Biennale of Sydney and the Johannesburg Biennale amongst others. His work has also been exhibited at institutions such as the Museum of Modern Art and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York; the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery in Washington D.C., the New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York; the British Museum and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London; and the Joan Miro Foundation in Spain to name just a few.

Claire Wilson

1433

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Preview: Art Basel Miami Beach 2016 gallery highlights from Asia and Africa

The 2016 edition of Art Basel Miami Beach brings together over 200 galleries, including 21 first-time exhibitors.

Art Radar takes a look at some of the highlights at the art fair coming from Asia and Africa.

Artwork from GALLERYSKE, Bangalore. Image courtesy Art Basel Miami.

Artwork from GALLERYSKE, Bangalore. Image courtesy Art Basel Miami.

From 1 to 4 December 2016 galleries from around the world will converge on Art Basel Miami Beach. In Art Basel’s 15th edition in Miami Beach, there are an impressive 269 galleries expected from 29 countries across North and South America, Europe, Asia and Africa. The art fair is proven to be a highlight of the art calendar, with almost all the galleries from 2015 reapplying and 21 new galleries included in the 2016 edition.

Taro Izumi (Take Ninagawa), 'Fish-Bone-Hanger', 2010. Image courtesy the artist and the gallery.

Taro Izumi, ‘Fish-Bone-Hanger’, 2010. Image courtesy the artist and the gallery.

While the list is large, there are a great number of galleries coming from North America and Europe, with an impressive 95 galleries coming from New York alone. Other hubs include London (33 galleries), Paris (23 galleries), Berlin (24 galleries) and Los Angeles (17 galleries).

Oliver Payne (NANZUKA), 'How’s The Weather ? … Who Cares !!!', 2015. Image courtesy the artist and NANZUKA.

Oliver Payne, ‘How’s The Weather ? … Who Cares !!!’, 2015. Image courtesy the artist and NANZUKA.

There are a number of sections to the art fair:

  • Galleries
  • Nova: galleries can present up to three artists, showing works created within the last three years
  • Positions: a platform for a single artist to present one major project
  • Edition: exhibits from leading publishers of editioned works and prints
  • Kabinett: galleries present a curated exhibition in a separately delineated space within their booths
  • Survey: a range of projects including presentations by an individual artist, juxtapositions and thematic exhibits from artists representing a range of cultures, generations and artistic approaches
  • Public: over 20 large-scale sculptures and installations
  • Film: a programme of films
  • Magazines: a booth for art publications from around the world display their magazines
Artwork from Goodman Gallery. Image courtesy Art Basel Miami.

Artwork from Goodman Gallery. Image courtesy Art Basel Miami.

Exhibitors from Africa

The two African galleries exhibiting in Art Basel Miami hail from South Africa and have sites in Johannesburg and Cape Town. Goodman Gallery is a long-standing international contemporary art gallery that was established in Johannesburg in 1966. The gallery engages with contemporary and emerging artists based both in southern Africa and the diaspora. Stevenson Gallery is a younger gallery that opened in 2003 and has a focus on the region. As well as supporting their stable of artists, Stevenson has also exhibited artists such as Francis Alÿs, Rineke Dijkstra, Thomas Hirschhorn, Glenn Ligon and Walid Raad in South Africa.

Wong Ping (Edouard Malingue Gallery), 'Still from ‘Doggy love’', 2015. Image courtesy Edouard Malingue Gallery.

Wong Ping, ‘Still from ‘Doggy love’’, 2015. Image courtesy Edouard Malingue Gallery.

Younger galleries and first-time exhibitors

The section called Nova is dedicated to younger galleries and this year it will feature 35 exhibitors. For the first time Hong Kong-based Edouard Malingue Gallery will participate in Art Basel Miami Beach, bringing over a film by Wong Ping (b. 1984), paintings by Josef Strau (b. 1957) and work by Vivian Suter (b. 1949). Hong Kong artist Wong Ping creates installations of a fantastical animated world that touch upon topics such as sex, politics and social relations. Running throughout Wong Ping’s work is the concept of control or limitation.

Keiichi Tanaami (Nanzuka), 'Dazzling City', 2016. Image courtesy the artist and NANZUKA.

Keiichi Tanaami, ‘Dazzling City’, 2016. Image courtesy the artist and NANZUKA.

Another inclusion from Asia in the Nova section is Tokyo-based Nanzuka gallery. They will present a large-scale mixed media canvas by Keiichi Tanaami (b. 1936), drawings by Hiroki Tsukuda (b. 1978) and a video by Oliver Payne (b. 1977). The work of Keiichi Tanaami, leading pop artist of postwar Japan, is driven by numerous themes. As the artist describes,

A magazine that is packed to the brim with human interests and desires bears a strong resemblance to who I am as a person. My life is not a straight shot, with one central theme running through it like a book. It would be more properly called a ‘magazine editor’s life’, spent looking about at my surroundings constantly, wandering from place to place, engaging in a wide variety of work along the way.

aajiao (Leo Xu Projects), 'Gfwlist', 2010. Courtesy the artist and Leo Xu Projects, Shanghai.

aajiao, ‘Gfwlist’, 2010. Image courtesy the artist and Leo Xu Projects, Shanghai.

Another new inclusion to the art fair is Leo Xu Projects from Shanghai. They will present an installation of works by aaajiao (b. 1984), Cui Jie (b. 1984) and Liu Shiyuan (b. 1985), exploring the urban model and dystopian myth of Shanghai. Each artist explores a different vision of their experiences living, working and exhibiting in Shanghai. They investigate realities of contemporary life, such as negotiating travel in an increasingly gloablised world, the cyber sphere and new urban models.

In her oil paintings, Cui Jie creates an image of fused cityscapes that question China’s shifting urban landscapes. Meanwhile, Liu Shiyuan reveals her experiences of urban living based upon her time spent in China, the USA and Denmark through a fictional diary interspersed with images of digitally manipulated floral patterns.

Kishio Suga (Tokyo Gallery + BTAP), 'Protrusion KX87', 1987. Image courtesy the artist and Tokyo

Kishio Suga, ‘Protrusion KX87’, 1987. Image courtesy the artist and Tokyo Gallery + BTAP.

A divers range of galleries

There are a number of Asia-based galleries participating in Art Basel Miami Beach 2016, including Pace Gallery, Galerie Urs Meile, Galleria Continua, ShanghART Gallery, Blum & Poe, Tina Kim Gallery, Gagosian Gallery, Simon Lee Gallery, Tokyo Gallery + BTAP, Lehmann Maupin, Galerie Perrotin and White Cube Gallery.

Teresita Fernandez (Lehmann Maupin), 'Fire (America) 2', 2016. Image courtesy the artist and Lehmann Maupin, New York and Hong Kong.

Teresita Fernandez, ‘Fire (America) 2’, 2016. Image courtesy the artist and Lehmann Maupin, New York and Hong Kong.

Pace Gallery, based in a number of locations including Hong Kong, Beijing, New York, London, Paris and Palo Alto, will be featuring the geometric, bronze and aluminium sculptures of Joel Shapiro. In addition they will have a number of other modern and contemporary masters, such as Lee Ufan, Sol LeWitt, Robert Rauschenberg and Mark Rothko to name just a few.

Artwork from Galerie Urs Meile. Image courtesy Art Basel Miami.

Artwork from Galerie Urs Meile. Image courtesy Art Basel Miami.

Beijing and Lucerne-based gallery Galerie Urs Meile will present a number of new works by emerging and established artists at Art Basel Miami. Their list includes works by Cheng Ran (b. 1981), Tobias Rehberger (b. 1966), Li Gang (b. 1986), Wang Xingwei (b. 1969) and Yang Mushi (b. 1989) among others.

Mongolian-born Cheng Ran will present the new video work Homing Pigeon (2016) that is part of a larger multi-video installation entitled Diary of A Madman, which debuted at the New Museum in New York in October 2016. The work incorporates a number of influences, such as Allen Ginsberg’s poem the Howl spoken by the artists himself and iconic images of Times Square with a focus on homing pigeons as the foreground, in order to capture the spirit of New York City. Meanwhile Chinese-born Wang Xingwei presents a new work entitled Watermelon Landmine (2016), a painting in which he uses exaggeration and a fictional theme to question negative images such as “Japanese Devils”, Chinese traitors and others.

Claire Wilson

1435

Related topics: South African artists, Japanese artists, Chinese artists, drawings, paintings, photography, fairs, events in the United States

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