Hugo Boss Asia Art 2015 shortlist reveals striking new artists



Hugo Boss Asia Art 2015 announces shortlist of six emerging artists from China and Southeast Asia.

The second edition of the award expands to the emerging practices of Southeast Asia as well as Greater China. The six artists reveal the notable new art emanating out of China, Taiwan, Myanmar, the Philippines and Cambodia.

Huang Po-Chih, 'Protein Boy', 2015, installation, dimensions variable. Image courtesy the artist and RAM.

Huang Po-Chih, ‘Protein Boy’, 2015, installation, dimensions variable. Image courtesy the artist and RAM.

On 25 June 2015, Shanghai’s Rockbund Art Museum (RAM) and HUGO BOSS announced the shortlist for the HUGO BOSS ASIA ART: Award for Emerging Artists 2015. The second edition of the award renews its focus on Greater China as well as encompassing practices from Southeast Asia. The six artists, chosen from ten Asian countries, will participate in the award exhibition curated by and held at RAM from 30 October 2015 to 3 January 2016. In November, the winner will be announced – and will receive a stipend of CNY300,000 (approx USD48,270).

Guan Xiao, 'The Documentary: Geocentric Puncture', 2012, installation, mixed media, each 230 x 280 x 210 cm. Image courtesy the artist and RAM.

Guan Xiao, ‘The Documentary: Geocentric Puncture’, 2012, installation, mixed media, each 230 x 280 x 210 cm. Image courtesy the artist and RAM.

The Shortlist

The six artists come from China, Taiwan, Myanmar, the Philippines and Cambodia. Their artistic practices address a variety of issues, from social relationships, the self and the materiality of art, to the psychological effects of violence, politics and everyday life. Their oeuvre spans sculpture, installation, video, photography, painted images and performance.

Guan Xiao (b. 1983, Chongqing, China) creates multimedia work, from sculpture to video, that juxtaposes and combines elements from the past and future, the primitive and classical, to the crude and high-tech.

Huang Po-Chih (b. 1980, Taoyuan, Taiwan) reassembles the fragmented historical and cultural contexts of his experiences, creating daily consumer goods and events as ‘counterfeits’ – exploring how new meanings and definitions are initiated within complex social relationships.

Moe Satt (b. 1983, Yangon, Myanmar) is founder and organiser of Myanmar’s international performance art festival Beyond Pressure. He has travelled extensively to perform at home and internationally, with his awareness of the diverse regional landscapes of performance art allowing him a unique insight into his own practice and identity.

Moe Satt, 'The Bicycle Tyre-rolling' event from Yangon, 2013, performance and photography. Image courtesy the artist and RAM.

Moe Satt, ‘The Bicycle Tyre-rolling’ event from Yangon, 2013, performance and photography. Image courtesy the artist and RAM.

Maria Taniguchi (b. 1981, Dumaguete, Philippines) is concerned with materiality. She has explored various materials and objects through media as diverse as pottery, painted images, constructed objects and video. She questions the materiality of the subject and its place in time, in history and in our visual compendium.

Vandy Rattana (b. 1980, Phnom Penh) is inspired by photojournalism and documents natural and manmade disasters in his home country, as well as experiments with photographic abstraction and video. Rather than just chronicling a state of victimhood, his images acknowledge the processes of survival, resilience and healing in a context of modernity and transformation.

Yang Xinguang (b. 1980, Changsha, China) creates introspective work that seems to take inspiration from American minimalist sculpture and Arte Povera. He works with wood, earth and stone in a process-oriented practice.

Maria Taniguchi, 'Untitled' (detail), 2014, acrylic, canvas, wood support, unframed, 274 x 488 cm. Image courtesy the artist and RAM.

Maria Taniguchi, ‘Untitled’ (detail), 2014, acrylic, canvas, wood support, unframed, 274 x 488 cm. Image courtesy the artist and RAM.

The 2015 Jury

Chaired by Larys Frogier, Director of RAM, the HUGO BOSS ASIA ART Jury comprises eminent institutional members, independent curators and art professionals with a deep knowledge of contemporary art practices in Asia.

The 2015 Jury includes:

Frogier, as quoted in the press release, elaborates on the conception of the accolade:

HUGO BOSS ASIA ART aims to develop long term and on-going examinations, combinations, confrontations between challenging topics and contexts. Indeed we consider Asia as a construction and as a question to investigate rather than a monolithic area and fixed identities. Asia is made of multi-sites to activate and to analyze in relation to its present on-going mutations, to its future development, and of course in articulation to its historical constructions.

Vandy Rattana, "Surface" series, 2012, photography. Image courtesy the artist and RAM.

Vandy Rattana, “Surface” series, 2012, photography. Image courtesy the artist and RAM.

Hugo Boss Asia Art 2015

HUGO BOSS, in collaboration with New York’s Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, founded the Hugo Boss Prize in 1996. Today it has become one of the most prestigious accolades in the art world. The biennial Asia Award was founded in 2013 with RAM to promote emerging artists from Asia. The first edition focused solely on Greater China and was awarded to Hong Kong artist Kwan Sheung Chi.

The 2015 iteration has been expanded to include Southeast Asia, not only through its artists, but also with a programme of educational events that will be taking place in their home cities, consisting of two parts – IN-BETWEEN BORDERS and WHAT WE TALK ABOUT WHEN WE TALK ABOUT ASIA.

Yang Xinguang, 'The Remaining Volume', 2014, wood, dimension variable. Image courtesy the artist and RAM.

Yang Xinguang, ‘The Remaining Volume’, 2014, wood, dimension variable. Image courtesy the artist and RAM.

Throughout the programme, leading thinkers and practitioners will look into the region through diverse approaches, disciplines and subjects, with a special focus on the challenges in and between Greater China and Southeast Asia in contemporary art. In addition to taking place in the artists’ cities, activities will also run at RAM from August 2015 to June 2016.

Dr Hjördis Kettenbach, Head of Cultural Affairs, HUGO BOSS AG said:

The HUGO BOSS ASIA ART Award is an important element in our Arts Sponsorship program. We are very happy to offer this platform to young talents for the second time, especially in such an important cultural context as Asia.

C. A. Xuan Mai Ardia

775

Related Topics: art prizes, art awards, emerging artists, Chinese artists, Taiwanese artists, Southeast Asian artists, museum shows, events in Shanghai

Related Posts:

Subscribe to Art Radar for more on contemporary art prizes in Asia and beyond

Ethiopian painter Dawit Abebe on modern life – interview



Art Radar speaks to the rising star from Ethiopia as his works appear in summer shows from London to Nairobi. 

Dawit Abebe is one of the most intriguing painters to emerge from Ethiopia in recent years. His figurative paintings reflect technology’s searing impact on humanity and are simultaneously showing at Saatchi Gallery’s “Pangaea II: New Art from Africa and Latin America” in London until 6 September 2015 as well as “Addis Contemporary” at Circle Art Gallery in Nairobi, Kenya, through 12 July 2015.

Dawit Abebe, 'X Privacy X', 2011, mixed media on paper, SIZE. Image courtesy the artist and the Kristin Hjellegjerde Gallery.

Dawit Abebe, ‘X Privacy X’, 2011, mixed media on paper, 100 x 140 cm. Image courtesy the artist and the Kristin Hjellegjerde Gallery.

Dawit Abebe was born in 1978 in Ethiopia’s capital city of Addis Ababa. He graduated with a Diploma in Painting from the Addis Ababa University of Fine Art and Design in 2001. According to Kristin Hjellegjerde, whose London gallery represents the artist, one of Abebe’s greatest strengths is how he captures the subtle shifts that technology is weaving upon contemporary culture. Hjellegjerde told Art Radar:

As technologies advance and develop to bigger and better levels of sophistication, Abebe’s interest has lain in the impact these technologies have, not only on the environment but also on human behaviour. The most apparent evidence of this, to his eyes, has been the way in which social interaction has begun to move out of the public sphere and into the technological one, through computers and mobile phones. 

Image courtesy the artist and Kristin Hjellegjerde.

Image courtesy the artist and Kristin Hjellegjerde.

Can you begin by telling us about your early experiences with art and why you decided to become an artist?

I believe that I have had this talent since I was a child. I had a neighbour who was an artist and I used to spend time with him in his studio. I regularly participated in different art competitions during my school years. When I finished high school, I decided to be an artist and enrolled at the Addis Ababa School of Fine Art.

In your recent series “Background”, the figurative works show men standing with their backs to us, exuding a feeling of absolute isolation. What is the driving force behind the series, and why do you feature men and not women?

I paint women as well, but most of them are men. I like the male form because of its defined shape and muscles. I realised that one of the inspirations for this series is that more lay behind me than [what is] immediately in front of me, and that appearances almost never present or represent what the backstories have to reveal.

Dawit Abebe, 'No. 2 Background 16', 2015, acrylic and collage on canvas, 140 x 200cm. Image courtesy the artist and the Kristin Hjellegjerde Gallery.

Dawit Abebe, ‘No. 2 Background 16′, 2015, acrylic and collage on canvas, 140 x 200 cm. Image courtesy the artist and the Kristin Hjellegjerde Gallery.

In many of your works, such as the series “Pin Code” as well as “Background”, you include numbers on objects. What is the significance of numbers to you?

I see them as symbols. These days we are represented by numbers – phone numbers, house numbers and license plates, to name a few. They have become a part of our identity. Unlike before, it is now impossible to live without these codes and numbers in modern societies.

In other paintings, you also include materials from old school books and newspapers.

I used newspapers in the “Pin Code” series because they provide information about what is happening in our daily life, which relates to my artistic ideas and the focus on social commentary in my paintings. As an art form, I also like the texture of newspapers and the Amharic alphabet.

When it comes to the “Background” series, I decided to use these old documents to represent history, as I believe that every human being has a history and that this, as well as the history of our country, can be viewed as the basis for our identity.

Dawit Abebe, 'Pin Code 2', 2007, mixed media on paper, 1m x 1m. Image courtesy the artist and the Kristin Hjellegjerde Gallery.

Dawit Abebe, ‘Pin Code 2′, 2007, mixed media on paper, 1 x 1 m. Image courtesy the artist and the Kristin Hjellegjerde Gallery.

For many in post-9/11 society, the modern surveillance state has cast an unsettling pallor over everyday life.  How does this translate to your work?

It’s not comforting! A few decades ago, people were thinking that God was the only one who could see what we do, but society has changed. Now it’s humans who are doing the surveillance and invading each other’s privacy from every corner, even from space.

Dawit Abebe, 'No. 2 Background 18', 2015, acrylic and collage on canvas, 130 x 160cm. Image courtesy the artist and the Kristin Hjellegjerde Gallery. 

Dawit Abebe, ‘No. 2 Background 18′, 2015, acrylic and collage on canvas, 130 x 160cm. Image courtesy the artist and the Kristin Hjellegjerde Gallery.

What is it like to be an artist in Ethiopia these days? 

I am happy to be in my own city and country. I feel more inspired here and find it easier to be more productive despite several challenges, like not having proper galleries around to show my work or finding art supplies. There are also very few art collectors here and the galleries are not participating in any art fairs.

Can you tell us about your involvement with the Habesha Art Studio. When and why was it established? 

I am one of the founding members of the group. It was established in 2003 because it was difficult for us to have individual studios. Therefore, we decided to create a common space in the studio where we can work and show our works, as there is a shortage of galleries where we can exhibit.

Dawit Abebe, installation view from "Pangaea II", Saatchi Gallery, London, 11 March to 6 September, 2015. Image courtesy Justin Piperger and Saatchi Gallery.

Dawit Abebe, installation view from “Pangaea II”, Saatchi Gallery, London, 11 March to 6 September, 2015. Image courtesy Justin Piperger and Saatchi Gallery.

Finally, how would you explain the Ethiopian contemporary art scene to someone who is new to the country and its creative traditions?

The art scene has definitely changed during the last ten to 15 years. There are now more artists who are exploring new ideas and using different media. Artists are also getting more opportunities to exhibit their work outside of Ethiopia.

Lisa Pollman

774

Related Topics: African artists, art and the community, emerging artists, painting, globalisation of art, interviews with artists

Related Posts:

Subscribe to Art Radar to meet African emerging contemporary artists 

Lee Kit and Chantal Wong launch new independent art space in Hong Kong



A significant new independent art space will be unveiled in Hong Kong this September.

As Hong Kong moves through a ‘creative awakening’, a new arts space is being co-founded by Lee Kit and Chantal Wong, two of the city’s pioneering young forces. ‘Things’ will appear in an historic building in Sham Shui Po this September with a programme of exhibitions, happenings and residencies. 

Photo courtesy Things.

Photo courtesy Things.

A reimagination of the city

An intriguing scene played out earlier this month in the heart of Hong Kong’s Kowloon district. Lee Kit – an artist who represented Hong Kong at the 55th Venice Biennale – and Chantal Wong – a new curator on the rise – were celebrating the soft launch of their independent arts space, Things.

When it opens to the public this September, Things will mark a significant new addition to the rapidly-growing, money-saturated Hong Kong arts scene. It will offer a place for experimentation and dialogue beyond the glitzy galleries of Hong Kong Island and industrial lofts of Fotan, Chai Wan and Aberdeen – bringing art deep into the heart of grassroots Hong Kong. It appears during a time when the entire city has been moving through a “creative awakening” – following the Umbrella Movement of 2014 when hundreds of thousands protested on the streets of the city.

As the website for Things explains:

“Recent political developments in Hong Kong have triggered a spirit of political and civil urgency amongst the city’s population. These resistance movements are not only shifting the socio-political landscape but have also roused a creative awakening amongst the people of Hong Kong and inspired a profound reimagination of the city and its citizens. It is vital at this juncture to provide platforms that continue nurturing this sense of curiosity, especially in a city where imagination and experimentation continue to find little structural support.”

Left-right: Chantal Wong and Lee Kit. Photo courtesy Things.

Left-right: Chantal Wong and Lee Kit. Photo courtesy Things.

A space for interpretation and discussion

It certainly seems like the natural next step for Lee Kit, whose body of work has seen him creating environments filled with ready-mades and a practice that deeply weaves together art and daily life. In an exhibition in Sydney, he once set up an entire apartment in the gallery and moved in for the month. His hand-painted tablecloths, towels and curtains have graced galleries and museums around the globe.

Lee told Art Radar that the overall mood of change and unrest in Hong Kong was one of the many factors that propelled him and Wong to launch the project:

“In the midst of social change, consensus has become very extreme. We thought it would be meaningful to do something to open up more discussion and possibilities. When looking at the local art ecology, we definitely need more non-profit art spaces to provide more perspectives as the grounds for understanding, interpretation and discussion.”

Lee Kit, 'I Feel Fine and I Feel Good’, 2015, acrylic, emulsion paint, inkjet ink, pencil, stretcher on cardboard, 2 video, looped, dimensions variable. Installation view at Tina Kim Gallery, courtesy of the artist and Jane Lombard Gallery.

Lee Kit, ‘I Feel Fine and I Feel Good’, 2015, acrylic, emulsion paint, inkjet ink, pencil, stretcher on cardboard, 2 video, looped, dimensions variable. Installation view at Tina Kim Gallery. Courtesy of the artist and Jane Lombard Gallery.

This is also a natural step for Chantal Wong, who originally hails from Montreal and has been working at the Asia Art Archive in Hong Kong since 2006. In 2009, she moved to London for an M.A. in Cultural Studies at Goldsmiths while also working at Outset Contemporary Art Fund. Since her return to Hong Kong in 2011 and into a role as head of strategy and special projects for AAA, she has co-curated the “Mapping Asia” exhibition at the AAA as well as co-curating “Ten Million Rooms of Yearning” with Cosmin Costinas at Para/Site Art Space.

As Wong explained to Art Radar:

“Working closely, collaborating with, and learning from artists is something I want to continue doing… The time also feels ripe, there is a very active commercial art world in Hong Kong, the cultural landscape is changing rapidly, the political climate is tense, many elements call for a small artists’ space for dialogue, experimentation and imagination. To show that art can do and be more.”

Sham Shui Po. Image courtesy Things.

Sham Shui Po. Image courtesy Things.

Arts on the rise in Sham Shui Po

They soon found a space in a tong lau (historic residential building) on Apliu Street in Sham Shui Po, an area in the northwest of Kowloon known for its street markets filled with second hand electronics and its diverse demographic. Far from the sheen of Hong Kong Island, the district is also home to 100ft Park a new art space co-founded by a trio including artist South Ho and architect Stanley Siu.

The funding for ‘Things’ comes from a myriad of sources. Alan Lo and Darrin Woo of the development company Blake’s have supported the project with the physical space. Art consultant Jehan Chu has offered foundational support, and other family and friends are stepping in to contribute. The space will follow a two-year programme of events.

Image courtesy Things.

Image courtesy Things.

Beyond the white cube

Things officially launches in September with a show by the artist and animator Wong Ping, who was recently showcased in the inaugural ‘Moving Image’ programme by M+. This will be followed by an exhibition co-curated by Paul Pfeiffer, an artist based between New York and Manila. The first residency kicks off with Singaporean artist Godwin Koay whose research responds to the ways political oppression manifest itself in media, the body and subjectivities. You can also expect a small curated bookshop, a roof garden and an entirely new type of arts space for Hong Kong. As Wong says:

“We want to offer an alternative kind of art space to the city, an alternative to the white cube model. In fact, people keep asking about the renovations but the intention is to keep the space close to its original state with its tacky 1990s lighting and small bedrooms… It’s a very ‘Hong Kong’ set up, both inside the space and outside, when you step into the hustle of Sham Shui Po. It’s one of the most dynamic, historically rich and challenging parts of the city.”

Clare Tyrrell-Morin

779

Related Topics: Hong Kong artistscuratorial practiceevents in Hong Kong, interviews, Asian artists

Related Posts:

Subscribe to Art Radar for more contemporary art from Hong Kong

“28 Chinese” spotlights China’s contemporary greats – in pictures



San Francisco’s Asian Art Museum showcases iconic works by some of the best contemporary artists from China today.

“28 Chinese” presents 48 works by 28 Chinese artists ranging from painting and sculpture to video and installation. The impressive exhibition features internationally acclaimed luminaries Ai Weiwei, Zhang Huan and Huang Yong Ping, as well as the newer generation.

Ai Weiwei, 'Table with Two Legs', 2008, wood from Qing dynasty (1644–1911). Image courtesy the Rubell Family Collection, Miami. © Ai Weiwei.

Ai Weiwei, ‘Table with Two Legs’, 2008, wood from Qing dynasty (1644–1911). Image courtesy the Rubell Family Collection, Miami. © Ai Weiwei

Currently on show until mid-August 2015 at the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco, “28 Chinese” is the culmination of over a decade’s worth of research and exploration by art collectors Don and Mera Rubell. Featuring 48 works by 28 artists in a multiplicity of media, the exhibition offers a rigorous snapshot of China’s booming contemporary art scene.

“28 Chinese”: A decade in the making

Between 2001 and 2012, the Rubells conducted six research trips to China, visiting 100 artists’ studios in Beijing, Chengdu, Guangzhou, Hangzhou, Hong Kong, Shanghai and Xi’an. Blending emerging talents with established figures, “28 Chinese” is a cross-disciplinary, cross-generational exhibition that shows the result of these travels and presents a compelling dialogue about Chinese contemporary art.

Chen Wei, 'Unnamed Room No. 2', 2006, archival inkjet print, edition 3 of 8. Image courtesy the Rubell Family Collection, Miami. © Chen Wei.

Chen Wei, ‘Unnamed Room No. 2′, 2006, archival inkjet print, edition 3 of 8. Image courtesy the Rubell Family Collection, Miami. © Chen Wei

Zhang Huan, 'To Raise The Water Level in a Fishpond (Distant)', 1997, C-print on Fuji archival paper, edition 2 of 15. Image courtesy the Rubell Family Collection, Miami. © Zhang Huan.

Zhang Huan, ‘To Raise The Water Level in a Fishpond (Distant)’, 1997, C-print on Fuji archival paper, edition 2 of 15. Image courtesy the Rubell Family Collection, Miami. © Zhang Huan

The selection, handpicked by the collectors and organised by guest curator Allison Harding, offers a powerful sketch of contemporary China and some of the most iconic artworks of recent decades. The Daily Californian observes that the exhibition:

engages dualities of moving forward and gazing backward – dualities of inviting change and revering tradition. Harnessing media that spans from Qing Dynasty antiques to digital technology, the show [...] examines Chinese art’s relationship to its history and to its present-day concerns, including globalization and industrialism.

Art and politics: Graceful unions 

A highlight of the show is Zhu Jinshi‘s monumental, 40-foot installation Boat (2012). Comprised of 8000 sheets of calligraphy paper, bamboo rods and cotton threads, the colossal tunnel structure is imposing in stature yet gracefully ethereal. Visitors can walk through the sound-deadened structure, which according to CultureVulture indefinitely extends every moment and expands time and space. The artist himself commented on the work as quoted in Interview Magazine:

I used materials, thoughts, and traditions of the East as a tool to go against the power of West-Centrism.

Zhu Jinshi, 'Boat', 2012, xuan paper, bamboo, cotton thread. Image courtesy the Rubell Family Collection, Miami. © Zhu Jinshi, © ARS, New York.

Zhu Jinshi, ‘Boat’, 2012, xuan paper, bamboo, cotton thread. Image courtesy the Rubell Family Collection, Miami. © Zhu Jinshi. © ARS, New York

The Man on the Chair, 2008–2009, by He Xiangyu (Chinese, b. 1986). Wood. Courtesy of Rubell Family Collection, Miami. © He Xiangyu.

He Xiangyu, ‘The Man on the Chair’, 2008–2009, wood. Image courtesy the Rubell Family Collection, Miami. © He Xiangyu

He Xiangyu‘s The Man on the Chair (2008-09) similarly makes a powerful statement through elegant aesthetics. Repurposing hunks of wood salvaged from the pipes of aqueducts, the artist created regal yet rustic furniture that looks natural and unadulterated. The Daily Californian observes:

The chairs capture the conflict between the opposing spheres of commodity culture and nature, and meanwhile, their experiential nature makes art in museums all the more accessible.

Xu Zhen, 'Spread B-051', 2010, embroidery on canvas. Image courtesy the Rubell Family Collection, Miami. © Xu Zhen

Xu Zhen, ‘Spread B-051′, 2010, embroidery on canvas. Image courtesy the Rubell Family Collection, Miami. © Xu Zhen

Liu Wei, 'Liberation No. 1', 2013, oil on canvas. Image courtesy the Rubell Family Collection, Miami. © Liu Wei.

Liu Wei, ‘Liberation No. 1′, 2013, oil on canvas. Image courtesy the Rubell Family Collection, Miami. © Liu Wei

Subtle subversions and witty humour 

Politics is present in many works in the exhibition, but as The SF Examiner observes it is “not being emphasised in order to protect artists still living in China”. Instead of overt rhetoric, “humour and subversive wit” pervade the show. Zhang Huan‘s iconic work 12 Square Meters (1994) is included, in which the artist famously smeared himself in honey and sat in a public toilet for an hour attracting the presence of countless flies. He Xiangyu’s The Death of Marat (2011) on the third level of the exhibition is a sculpture of a dead Ai Weiwei lying face down on the floor, amidst artefacts from ancient tombs.

Fang Lu, 'Lovers Are Artists (Part One)', 2012, four-channel video (color, si-lent), edition 1 of 5. Image courtesy the Rubell Family Collection, Miami. © Fang Lu.

Fang Lu, ‘Lovers Are Artists (Part One)’, 2012, four-channel video (color, silent), edition 1 of 5. Image courtesy the Rubell Family Collection, Miami. © Fang Lu

Li Shurui, 'I am not ready...', 2013, acrylic on canvas. Image courtesy the Rubell Family Collection, Miami. © Li Shurui.

Li Shurui, ‘I am not ready…’, 2013, acrylic on canvas. Image courtesy the Rubell Family Collection, Miami. © Li Shurui

Finally, Ton of Tea (2005), by Ai Weiwei himself, is a single square metre of compressed Pu’er tea leaves that references the trade industry. Ai said in a studio statement, quoted by The Daily Californian:

A whole ton of tea was pressed into a cube to look like a minimalist sculpture. [...] The work provides a different vantage point to what is ingrained in Chinese history and customs.

Don and Mera Rubell. Image courtesy the Rubell Family Collection.

Don and Mera Rubell. Image courtesy the Rubell Family Collection.

About the Rubells 

According to CultureVulture, the Rubells started their collection 50 years ago by setting aside USD25 per month out of Mera’s teaching salary to buy art, at a time when Don was still in medical school. In 1989 their funds were augmented by an inheritance from Don’s brother, and their collection continued to grow. Today, the Rubell Family Collection in Miami is one of the world’s largest privately owned contemporary art collections and is open to the public for guided tours two days a week.

Michele Chan

776

Related Topics: Chinese artists, sculpture, installation, mixed media, found objects, collectors, picture feasts, museum shows, events in the USA

Related Posts:

Subscribe to Art Radar for more on Chinese contemporary art

Lemon trees and sustainable oceans: Taiwan’s ecological art revolution



Why are Taiwanese artists pioneering so many socially and environmentally engaged projects?

Art Radar investigates the trend, spotlighting two exhibitions of 12 quietly revolutionary projects that dynamically engage with social and environmental concerns. 

Huang Po-chih, '500 Lemon Trees' (installation shot). Image courtesy the artist and the Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art.

Huang Po-Chih, ’500 Lemon Trees’ (installation shot). Image courtesy the artist and the Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art.

From 3 July to 6 September 2015 the Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art (CFCCA) in Manchester, England, is presenting “Micro Micro Revolution” (2015), an immersive, interactive exhibition celebrating three socially-engaged art projects led by Taiwanese artists. Among its artists is Huang Po-Chih, who on 25 June 2015 was named on the shortlist of the HUGO BOSS ASIA ART: Award for Emerging Artists 2015.

At the same time, and on the other side of the planet, “Paradise – Sustainable Oceans” (2015) is an international environmental art project taking place in Keelung, Taiwan, until the end of August 2015. “Paradise” showcases nine site-specific outdoor sculptures and installations created by artists from Taiwan and around the world over a 25-day residency. This comes just after the Cheng Long Wetlands International Environmental Art Project was launched in Taiwan on 1 May 2015.

“Micro Micro Revolution”

“Micro Micro Revolution” at the CFCCA in Manchester is being curated by Taiwanese curator Lu Pei-Yi. The show explores the “power of art as a vehicle to address social change in Taiwan”. The three projects, entitled A Cultural Action at the Plum Tree CreekPlant-Matter Needed and 500 Lemon Trees, address pertinent issues such as land-use, pollution and sustainability. The projects are ongoing, process-based and participative – actively using art as a form of resistance and a platform for exchange.

Wu Mali, 'A Cultural Action at the Plum Tree Creek'. Image courtesy the artist.

Wu Mali, ‘A Cultural Action at the Plum Tree Creek’. Image courtesy the artist.

A Cultural Action at the Plum Tree Creek was initiated by artist Wu Mali and the Bamboo Curtain Studio in 2010. The project brings together schools, universities and community groups in Taipei to reconnect with Plum Tree Creek, located in the margin of the Taipei basin and the mouth of the Danshui River. The water in the creek is heavily polluted, in some places diverted, drained or covered. The project encourages affected communities who rely upon the river to reclaim ownership over their natural resource and care for it through art, education, research and collaborative action.

Hsu Su-chen and Lu Chien-ming, 'Plant Matter Needed' (installation shot). Image courtesy the artists and Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art.

Hsu Su-Chen and Lu Chien-Ming, ‘Plant Matter Needed’ (installation shot). Image courtesy the artists and Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art.

Plant Matter Needed: The Material World of the Riverbank Amis Tribe 2015 was initiated by artists Hsu Su-Chen (1966-2013) and Lu Chien-Ming. In 2009 the Sa’owac Village located in Dahan Creek faced the threat of demolition due to a new urban development plan for a riverside cycling route. Hsu and Lu collaborated with the local community to protest the plan and rebuild their settlement, bringing to attention issues such as living rights, environmental concerns and the marginal status of aboriginal people in north Taiwan.

The third project, 500 Lemon Trees, is by the critically-acclaimed, emerging artist Huang Po-Chih. Huang is responsible for the temporary orchard of lemon trees at the CFCCA space in Manchester. For his project, the artist set out to regenerate three abandoned farmlands in Taiwan that had been neglected for 20 years, asking 500 participants to each donate TWD500 to buy a wine label. The sale of each label funded the planting of a lemon tree in the farmlands – and two years later each participant received a bottle of Limoncello. The press release explains:

The project re-establishes both enterprise and art production as methodologies for sustainable social change, reigniting the relationship between farmers, their land and business practice.

Huang Po-Chih, '500 Lemon Trees' (installation shot). Image courtesy the artist and the Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art.

Huang Po-Chih, ’500 Lemon Trees’ (installation shot). Image courtesy the artist and the Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art.

The soft power of social engagement

Lu Pei-Yi, Associate Curator of the CFCCA, hails from Taiwan and primarily specialises in the area of socially-engaged art. Speaking to Art Radar about the exhibition, she explains the concept of a “micro” revolution:

Rather than taking a provocative position on social issues, I would like to present another approach to UK audiences: a soft strategy, eco-friendly attitude that might be rooted in the culture of respecting nature in spirit. The repetition of “Micro” [in the exhibition title] emphasises that this small, soft power still has the potential to trigger a revolution.

Lu goes on to talk about an important aspect of socially-engaged art – the interaction with audiences and the dialogue born from exchange between different cultures. The power of such projects stems precisely from its ability to raise awareness, invite discussion and ultimately incite action:

These three projects are all long-term, process-based, and participative and have tangible and important impacts on their local communities. Impacts we hope to transcend to wider society [...] My idea is that socially-engaged art is about people. Rather than curating another “documentation” show I was keen to have artists on site to talk to people and to instigate dialogues and discussions between cultures.

Huang Po-chih, '500 Lemon Trees' (installation shot). Image courtesy the artist and the Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art.

Huang Po-Chih, ’500 Lemon Trees’ (installation shot). Image courtesy the artist and the Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art.

“Paradise – Sustainable Oceans”

On the other side of the world, “Paradise” focuses on the marine environment and is currently on show at the National Museum of Marine Science & Technology (NMMST) in Keelung. It is being spearheaded by Art Radar correspondent and veteran environmental art curator Jane Ingram Allen.

In contrast to “Micro Micro Revolution”, which focuses on process-based actions, “Paradise” features actual objects, showcasing nine site-specific sculptures and installations created by artists from Taiwan, India, Indonesia, the United States, the United Kingdom, Italy, Germany and Ukraine.

As the press release explains, the island of Taiwan was originally called ‘Formosa’, meaning ‘beautiful island’, by the Portuguese explorers who first arrived in 1544. Located in the fishing village of Badouzi on Taiwan’s northeast coast, the NMMST is situated in an area that still “retains [...] a feeling of paradise even in this time of ocean acidification, global warming and increasing pollution”. Artists from around the world were invited to create site-specific, sculptural installations. Using only natural and recycled materials, the works aim to raise awareness about protecting and conserving the marine environment.

Ashish Ghosh, 'Dream Boat', 2015, bamboo, recycled wood, natural fiber rope, cotton cloth and natural dyes. Image courtesy the artist.

Ashish Ghosh, ‘Dream Boat’, 2015, bamboo, recycled wood, natural fiber rope, cotton cloth and natural dyes. Image courtesy the artist.

Three out of the nine artists are Taiwanese, including Chris Kuei-chih Lee, Yi-Chun Lo, and Hung-Wei Lin. Utilising driftwood, sisal rope, recycled fishing nets, wooden rods and recycled chopsticks, Lee’s Exiled Reef (2015) reminds us about endangered coral reefs in the world’s oceans. Lo’s multi-colored, solar-powered Gift of Light allows visitors to walk under a mesmerising rooftop made of bamboo and recycled glass bottles. Lin’s Octopus Gathering (2015) is a multi-part installation created with the involvement of local high school students.

Yi-chun Lo, 'Gift of Light', 2015, bamboo, recycled bottles, wire, sisal rope. Image courtesy the artist.

Yi-chun Lo, ‘Gift of Light’, 2015, bamboo, recycled bottles, wire, sisal rope. Image courtesy the artist.

Taiwan’s environmental consciousness

Why is Taiwan pioneering such projects? Lu Pei-Yi points out that Taiwan has a strong legacy of an environmental consciousness. She cites the environmental social movement of the 1980s as one that contributed significantly to political reform and the lifting of the martial law in 1987. According to Lu, in recent decades many young Taiwanese people have returned to their hometowns to work on organic cultural projects.

Kuei-chih (Chris) Lee, 'Exiled Reef', 2015, driftwood collected along the shore in Keelung, sisal rope, recycled fishing net, wooden rods and recycled chopsticks used as nails. Image courtesy the artist.

Kuei-chih (Chris) Lee, ‘Exiled Reef’, 2015, driftwood collected along the shore in Keelung, sisal rope, recycled fishing net, wooden rods and recycled chopsticks used as nails. Image courtesy the artist.

Jane Ingram Allen also notes that being an island surrounded by the sea, Taiwan may be facing rising waters, global warming and other effects of climate change more immediately than other parts of the world. It is perhaps this – as well as changes in the country’s social fabric – that are making Taiwanese people more concerned about the environment. As Allen says:

Now there is also less pressure to keep industrialising and building more polluting industries, and people can begin to think more about the quality of life and the future of their country. I think that in the cycle of life for countries and civilisations, environmental concerns are ignored and neglected usually until the basic needs are met and the economy developed enough to give people time to think about other things such as the quality of the air, water, soil and so on.

The future of Taiwan’s ecological revolutions

Both Lu and Allen believe that environmental art is a growing trend and that awareness is increasing. Allen states that although it is a slow-building process, environmental art is “a softer way to bring attention to environmental issues”. As she says:

I think more scientists and science museums are starting to see that artists can also help and that artists can speak with a different voice and make unique contributions to the discussion about what to do about the environment.

Michele Chan

779

Related Topics: Taiwanese artistssculptures, installations, interactive artsite-specific art, found objectscollective actions, art and the environment, art and the community, art and educationevents in Manchester, events in Taiwan

Related Posts:

Subscribe to Art Radar for more environmental art

4 young Singaporean artists emerge amid 50th anniversary



FOST introduces a new generation of artists to celebrate Singapore’s 50th Anniversary.

Singapore is enjoying the 50th anniversary of its independence in 2015 and the city-state’s cultural scene is featuring a rich programme of events. Art Radar explores the practices of 4 young Singaporean artists being introduced by FOST Gallery.

Ashley Yeo, installation view of paper cut work (detail), in "You must imagine Sisyphus happy" (6 - 28 June 2015) at FOST Gallery, Singapore. Image courtesy FOST.

Ashley Yeo, installation view of paper cut work (detail), in “You must imagine Sisyphus happy” (6 – 28 June 2015) at FOST Gallery, Singapore. Image courtesy FOST.

FOST Gallery in Singapore’s Gillman Barracks launched a series of exhibitions of young Singaporean artists in May 2015. “FOURSIGHT” runs through August and features debut solo shows by artists Izziyana Suhaimi, Ashley Yeo, Luke Heng and Khairullah Rahim. The series is being launched to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Singapore’s independence. While it is important to look back at the last five decades, the gallery has taken the initiative to also look deep into the future.

As Stephanie Fong, Director of FOST, told Art Radar:

It is important to nurture emerging talent in any art scene but especially for a young country like Singapore. Artists’ voices are essential in building a country’s national identity and the maturity of the arts scene reflects on the maturity of its country. Therefore it is crucial to ensure that both established and emerging artists’ voices are heard, and nurturing young talent is also part of the important process of renewal and regeneration.

Izziyana Suhaimi, installation view of "The Hands That Remember" (9 - 31 May 2015) at FOST Gallery, Singapore. Image courtesy FOST.

Izziyana Suhaimi, installation view of “The Hands That Remember” (9 – 31 May 2015) at FOST Gallery, Singapore. Image courtesy FOST.

1. Izziyana Suhaimi

Izziyana Suhaimi’s (b. 1986, Singapore) was the first featured artist. “The Hands that Remember” (8 May – 31 May 2015) revealed her drawings, installations and objects made of thread. It showed the artist veering away from her previous focus on figurative drawing and embroidery, and instead displaying an abstract aesthetic expressed through needlework and tapestry.

Suhaimi holds a BA in Photography & Digital Imaging from Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. Yet she draws attention to the rich tradition of the sewing and embroidery crafts, and takes her inspiration from ancestral and cultural heritage. Her work carries the traces of hands and of time. Every stitch she makes is part of a process that unfolds as well as withholds a story. On her website, she writes:

Embroidery for me is a quiet and still act, where each stitch represents a moment passed. The building of stitches then becomes a representation of time passing and the final work is like a physical manifestation of time – a time object. Each stitch is also a recording of the maker’s thoughts and emotions.

Izziyana Suhaimi, installation view of "The Hands That Remember" (9 - 31 May 2015) at FOST Gallery, Singapore. Image courtesy FOST.

Izziyana Suhaimi, installation view of “The Hands That Remember” (9 – 31 May 2015) at FOST Gallery, Singapore. Image courtesy FOST.

She shared with Art Radar the elements that drive her inspiration:

Looking at how other artists and other people in general respond to the world around them, other people’s work, their daily lives, thinking about the what’s happening in the world… I think all of this enters one’s subconscious and comes out in the work we make whether we realise or not.

Ashley Yeo, installation view of paper cut sculpture, in "You must imagine Sisyphus happy" (6 - 28 June 2015) at FOST Gallery, Singapore. Image courtesy FOST.

Ashley Yeo, installation view of paper cut sculpture, in “You must imagine Sisyphus happy” (6 – 28 June 2015) at FOST Gallery, Singapore. Image courtesy FOST.

2. Ashley Yeo

Ashley Yeo (b. 1990, Singapore) creates intricate drawings, paper cuts and paper sculptures. She reveals a poetic language through her geometric paper cut sculptures encased in plexiglass, her paper cubes and cylinders featuring fine latticework of flower shapes. Yeo holds a BFA from Lasalle College of the Arts, Singapore, a private art university that provides tertiary education in partnership with London’s Goldsmiths College. She also received an MFA from the University of Arts London, Chelsea College of Art and Design (2012) and has been the recipient of numerous awards, including the Lasalle Award of Academic Excellence (2011), Winston Oh Travel Award (2010) and NAC scholarship (Local) in 2010.

Ashley Yeo, installation view of "You must imagine Sisyphus happy" (6 - 28 June 2015) at FOST Gallery, Singapore. Image courtesy FOST.

Ashley Yeo, installation view of “You must imagine Sisyphus happy” (6 – 28 June 2015) at FOST Gallery, Singapore. Image courtesy FOST.

Yeo’s debut solo exhibition “You must imagine Sisyphus happy” (5 – 28 June 2015) at FOST explores “the space between longing and post-grieving”. She creates images that express the decaying state of social relations. Imagining her work as a ‘placebo’ for modern society’s malaise, she constructs fictions that encourage us all to keep our imaginations alive – to believe that ‘Sisyphus is happy’.

Luke Heng, 'Blue on Blue', 2015, oil on linen, 170 x 135 cm. Image courtesy the artist and FOST.

Luke Heng, ‘Blue on Blue’, 2015, oil on linen, 170 x 135 cm. Image courtesy the artist and FOST.

3. Luke Heng

Luke Heng (b. 1987, Singapore) creates poetically charged, abstract paintings that express the very act of observing. His debut show at FOST “The Waiting Room” (3 – 26 July 2015) features intense, meditative work that allows the materials to converse with each other. A young artist, Heng seems to have captured the natural, effortless aesthetic and poetic language that modern and contemporary Asian artists have mastered through time. In his work, one might see an influence of Korean Dansaekhwa, with its meditative, solitary monochrome abstraction.

Luke Heng, 'Chassis no.05', 2015, paraffin wax on steel frame, 52 x 39 cm. Image courtesy the artist and FOST.

Luke Heng, ‘Chassis no.05′, 2015, paraffin wax on steel frame, 52 x 39 cm. Image courtesy the artist and FOST.

Heng graduated in 2013 from Lasalle College of the Arts, Singapore. He has shown in group shows in Malaysia, Singapore and Hong Kong.

Khairullah Rahim, 'Sunday', 2015, acrylic on canvas, 140 x 180 cm. Image courtesy the artist and FOST.

Khairullah Rahim, ‘Sunday’, 2015, acrylic on canvas, 140 x 180 cm (detail). Image courtesy the artist and FOST.

4. Khairullah Rahim

Khairullah Rahim (b. 1987, Singapore) also graduated from Lasalle College of the Arts in 2013, where he was a recipient of the Future Leadership Scholarship. As the artist explains on his website, he creates “engaging and sometimes challenging stories of the marginalisation of minorities, among other social issues in Singapore” and “contextual analogies for human societies.”

Khairullah’s solo show “If You Think I Winked, I Did” (31 July – 30 August 2015) at FOST features works that portray the particularities of swimming complexes. His compositions are populated by everyday elements, rendered into a dreamy dimension in vibrant colours.

Khairullah Rahim, 'Eye Candy 1', 2015, acrylic and gloss medium on acrylic, 88 x 58 cm. Image courtesy the artist and FOST.

Khairullah Rahim, ‘Eye Candy’, 2015, acrylic and gloss medium on acrylic, 88 x 58 cm. Image courtesy the artist and FOST.

Khairullah told Art Radar about the Singapore art scene and what he feels is his responsibility as a young artist:

The Singapore art scene has definitely flourished rapidly in recent years. With the emergence of more contemporary art galleries, notable art fairs, and art institutions bringing in “high-quality art” from abroad, both artists and audiences here have also matured. There are clearly more opportunities and platforms for local artists to showcase their work today. Galleries, museums and government bodies are also becoming more inquisitive not only towards established local artists, but younger emerging ones too. As a young artist within the art scene right now, I feel that my responsibility is simply (not so simple in fact) to stay focused in my art-making. I really have not given much thought to “how else an artist can or SHOULD contribute”, other than to continue making good, honest art.

C. A. Xuan Mai Ardia

777

Related Topics: Singaporean artists, artist profiles, lists, painting, installation, sculpture, gallery exhibitions, contemporary art in Singapore

Related Posts:

Subscribe to Art Radar for more on Singaporean artists and the Singapore art scene

Art jobs and opportunities | ICA Miami, Para Site… and more



Looking for new career options in the arts? Art Radar Opportunities is an archive of openings in the visual art world. 

Whether you are an artist or an aspiring curator, a market analyst or a scholar, Art Radar Opportunities has listings that will pique your interest. Every week we add new positions suitable for a variety of backgrounds and levels of experience. 

Reader offer! We’re offering free job listings to all of our readers. If you would like to advertise your opportunity to 25,000 visitors a month, fill out our Internships or Opportunities submission form.

New this week!

______________________________

GRANT | Tokyo | CIMAM 2015 Travel Grant Program | CIMAM – 15 July 2015

CIMAM offers 24 grants to support the attendance of modern and contemporary art curators and museum or collection directors to CIMAM’s 2015 Annual Conference which will be held in Tokyo, 7–9 November 2015. MORE HERE

______________________________

JOB | Miami | Associate Curator | Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami – 31 July 2015

The Associate Curator position is a crucial part of the Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami’s curatorial staff and works to develop an ambitious calendar of exhibitions, programs and publications. The Associate Curator supports all aspects of the curatorial department’s responsibilities and projects, including collections and exhibitions development. The Associate Curator will also be responsible for overseeing the museum’s high-impact lecture and performance programs. MORE HERE

______________________________

OPEN CALL | Hong Kong | Workshops for Emerging Professionals During Para Site’s International Conference | Para Site – 31 July 2015

The 2015 conference will be divided into four sections: exhibitions as part of the economy of artistic production, exhibitions as autonomous fictional realms, exhibitions as tools for writing history and exhibitions as places for political action. To apply, send in a proposal (600 words) for a curatorial project, including the concept, list of artists and institutional/geographical context for the project. MORE HERE 

______________________________

OPEN CALL | Japan | Japan Media Arts Festival Award | 19th Japan Media Arts Festival – 9 September 2015

For the 19th Festival in 2016, entries will be accepted from across the globe. Entries are sought in various disciplines of the media arts including interactive art, video, websites, games, animation and comics, from professional, amateur, independent and commercial sources. MORE HERE

______________________________

JOB | New York | Program Assistant | Trinity/La MaMa Performing Arts Semester in NYC – apply by unspecified

The Trinity/La MaMa Performing Arts Program in New York City is an established arts “study away” program for liberal arts college students sponsored by Trinity College (Hartford, CT). The primary goal of this position is to provide support to the Program Director in executing all administrative duties and basic financial management. MORE HERE

______________________________


Did you know that Art Radar runs its very own online art writing course?
 Click here to find out more about Art Radar‘s Diploma in Art Journalism & Writing.

Looking for more opportunities in the contemporary art world? For Art Radar’s complete list of jobs, internships, residencies, courses and open calls, click here.

Closing this week!

______________________________

OPEN CALL New York City | Re:artiste – apply by 30 June 2015

Open to artists from around the globe, the “Show Your World” 2015 art competition gives its participants an opportunity to gain recognition and have their work exhibited in New York City.
The winner will be invited to attend The Residency hosted by re:artiste at no cost for an entire week.
The winner, as well as twenty finalists, will have a chance to display original work at the “Show Your World” exhibition in New York City in 2015. All other participants will be featured in a digital display. MORE HERE

______________________________

RESIDENCY | India | Emerging Artist Award | Foundation for Indian Contemporary Art – apply by 30 June 2015

The Emerging Artist Award seeks to promote young artists studying or practicing in India who demonstrate extraordinary skill and promise in the visual arts. Selected by an independent jury of distinguished artists and professionals in the field, the recipient gets the opportunity to travel and work in an international residency and exhibit in a solo show in India. MORE HERE

______________________________


This is just a sample of art world opportunities we gather each week.
 If you’d like to see more, click here to sign up for more information on how to get full access and feeds of opportunities.

 780