Chinese real estate mogul Dai Zhikang sets his sights on art

“The size of the art market could soon catch up with the property sector,” says the Shanghai-based entrepreneur.

The founder and chairman of Zendai Group singles out culture as a major new driving force of the mainland economy.

Dai Zhikang, founder of Shanghai Himalayas Museum, CEO of Zendai Group. Image courtesy en.cafa.com.cn.

Dai Zhikang, founder of Shanghai Himalayas Museum, CEO of Zendai Group. Image courtesy en.cafa.com.cn.

Cash cow identified

Chinese property mogul Dai Zhikang is exiting real estate for art, South China Morning Post reported last week. “Real estate was just a makeshift part of my business plan”, Dai told the SCMP, revealing that he was eyeing opportunities in the art market instead.

According to Art Market Monitor, Dai says the country’s art market has a rosy future. The businessman is already known for collecting modern Chinese art and ancient scrolls, and his collections are housed at the Zendai Himalaya Center in Shanghai.

The entrepreneur’s Shanghai Zendai company owns upmarket hotels and art galleries amongst its other holdings. The SCMP reports that Dai plans to exit the property market completely and direct his resources towards “boost[ing] China’s already mammoth art market”. Having already launched investment funds focusing on art, Dai is quoted as saying:

People are getting rich in terms of their financial strength. And in turn, they have shifted their attention to precious pieces of art, and other areas of spiritual appreciation, which has also ushered in huge market potential.

Art as investment

When asked by the SCMP if he may one day return to real estate, Dai responds that “any revisiting of the property sector would likely be linked to art or other creative industries.” He continues:

Just a single painting can attract a price tag of several hundred millions of yuan. The size of the art market could soon catch up with the property sector.

Dai is not the only one with such high hopes for art’s return on investment. Kao Yungqi, a seasoned Chinese art collector, started out purely as an investor before falling in love with the art itself. More than a decade ago, Kao bought Liu Xiaodong paintings for less than HKD200,000 each; Liu’s paintings are now worth millions. Quoted by the SCMP, Kao says:

It’s about opportunity. You have to be sensitive to the market. To play the market, you should be a trendsetter rather than a follower.

Liu Xiadong, 'Disobeying the Rules', 1996, oil on canvas, 180 x 230 cm. Image courtesy Sotheby’s.

Liu Xiadong, ‘Disobeying the Rules’, 1996, oil on canvas, 180 x 230 cm. Image courtesy Sotheby’s.

Rise of Chinese buyers

Increasingly, über-rich Chinese tycoons are not just buying Chinese art. Take globe-trotting Michael Xufu Huang, for example – a 22-year-old college student with his own museum and an impressive international portfolio.

Billionaire Liu Yiqian, meanwhile, continued his headline-worthy spree early this week at Sotheby’s London contemporary art evening auction, acquiring Jenny Saville’s Shift, the top lot of the sale, with a record-breaking GBP6.8 million. Brexit offered non-European collectors a surprise discount; as Artnews reports:

with British and European buyers hit hard by the post-Brexit collapse of the pound, there was an opportunity for collectors from the Americas and Asia to swoop in and take advantage of the newly cut-rate prices created by the relative strength of their foreign currency.

Michele Chan

1190

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Lebanese artist duo Joana Hadjithomas & Khalil Joreige at Jeu de Paume, Paris

On 7 June 2016 Jeu de Paume opened an exhibition by Lebanese artistic team Hadjithomas and Joreige reflecting work dating from the 1990s to the present.

The current exhibition “Se Souvenir de la Lumière” (Remembering the light) presents Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige’s investigations into temporality, the construction of history and imagination, and the ways in which images persist despite the oppression of violence and war.

Joana Hadjithomas & Khalil Joreige, 'Équivalences du projet Archéologie de notre regard', 1997, 3 tirages photographiques sur Dibond. © Joana Hadjithomas & Khalil Joreige. Galerie In Situ — fabienne leclerc

Joana Hadjithomas & Khalil Joreige, ‘Equivalencies of the Archeology of Our Regard Project’, 1997, 3 photographic prints on Dibond. © Joana Hadjithomas & Khalil Joreige. Galerie In Situ — fabienne leclerc.

The self-taught, artistic duo, Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige (b. 1969, Beirut) have a collective oeuvre, which includes film, documentary, photography and installation. As stated in the exhibition press release:

Self-taught, they became filmmakers and artists out of necessity in the aftermath of the Lebanese civil wars. Their very personal search, close to their encounters, leads them to explore the sphere of the visible and the absence, feeding a fascinating back and forth between life and fiction. Over fifteen years, their artistic films and works produced from personal or political records, developing stories kept secret stories facing the dominant story. They are interested in the emergence of the individual in Community companies and the difficulty of living a present.

Joana Hadjithomas & Khalil Joreige, 'Images Latentes', 3e partie du projet Wonder Beirut, 1997-2006, 3 épreuves chromogènes sous Diasec mat montées sur châssis aluminium et 38 épreuves numériques plastifiées montées sur aluminium. © Joana Hadjithomas & Khalil Joreige. Galerie In Situ — fabienne leclerc

Joana Hadjithomas & Khalil Joreige, ‘Images Latentes’ (Latent images), 3rd part of Project Wonder Beirut, 1997-2006, 3 chromogenic prints on Diasec matte mounted on aluminium and 38 plastic digital prints mounted on aluminum chassis. © Joana Hadjithomas & Khalil Joreige. Galerie In Situ — fabienne leclerc.

This current exhibition at Jeu de Paume in Paris, “Se souvenir de la lumière” (Remembering the Light) includes works spanning from the 1990s to the present day and as the press release states, “is a reflection on the issues of representation in contemporary societies”. The exhibition contains two new works, Se souvenir de la lumière, co-produced by Sharjah Art Foundation, and ISMYRNE co-produced by Jeu de Paume and Sharjah Art Foundation.

Joana Hadjithomas & Khalil Joreige, 'Géométrie de l’espace', 2014, Acier oxydé étiré, dessins muraux, livre. © Joana Hadjithomas & Khalil Joreige. Galerie In Situ — fabienne leclerc

Joana Hadjithomas & Khalil Joreige, ‘Géométrie de l’Espace’ (Geometry of space), 2014, oxidised steel, wall drawings, book. © Joana Hadjithomas & Khalil Joreige. Galerie In Situ — fabienne leclerc.

Joana Hadjithomas & Khalil Joreige, 'Faces (detail)' 2009, 42 tirages photographiques contrecollés sur aluminium. © Joana Hadjithomas & Khalil Joreige. Galerie In Situ — fabienne leclerc

Joana Hadjithomas & Khalil Joreige, ‘Faces’ (detail), 2009, 42 photographic prints laminated on aluminium. © Joana Hadjithomas & Khalil Joreige. Galerie In Situ — fabienne leclerc.

“Se Souvenir de la Lumière” is organised into five chapters representing the artists’ investigations into the image: how are images affected by violence and war? How to embody the invisible through the latency of images, and their persistence? How can images deflect or displace the imaginary and the gaze? Can virtual images taken from the internet become the rumours of the world? Finally, how to situate the poetry in opposition to the chaos of today’s world?

Joana Hadjithomas & Khalil Joreige, '2e partie de The Lebanese Rocket Society', 2011, 32 impressions numériques, chacune pliée en 32 fois et montée sur bois. Coproduction Sharjah Biennial 10. © Joana Hadjithomas & Khalil Joreige. Galerie In Situ — fabienne leclerc

Joana Hadjithomas & Khalil Joreige, ‘2e Partie de The Lebanese Rocket Society’, 2011, 32 digital prints each folded 32 times and mounted on wood. Coproduction Sharjah Biennial 10. © Joana Hadjithomas & Khalil Joreige. Galerie In Situ — fabienne leclerc.

The latent potential of images is a particular characteristic towards which the artists give much attention. The press release also explains:

Their works have attempted to show what exists without being immediately visible. They have worked a lot with illustrations of latency in their artistic approach as well as in their filmic approach. “Latency, is the state that exists in an unrelated manner, but which may at any time be manifested,” explain the artists.

Joana Hadjithomas & Khalil Joreige, 'ISMYRNE', 2016, Vidéo HD, couleur, son, durée : 50 minutes. Coproduction Jeu de Paume, Paris et Sharjah Art Foundation, Sharjah. © Joana Hadjithomas & Khalil Joreige. Galerie In Situ — fabienne leclerc.

Joana Hadjithomas & Khalil Joreige, ‘ISMYRNE’, 2016, HD Video, colour, sound, 50 minutes. Coproduction Jeu de Paume, Paris and Sharjah Art Foundation, Sharjah. © Joana Hadjithomas & Khalil Joreige. Galerie In Situ — fabienne leclerc.

These questions form the background of Hadjithomas and Joreige’s work and thus a part of their research and preparatory process necessitates engagement with political and historical archives, as well as personal and familial stories. Their concern, however, is the present, and they view an engagement with the past as a means to better understand the current day.

Joana Hadjithomas & Khalil Joreige, 2016 2 vidéos HD, color, sound, 8 min. Coproduction Sharjah Art Foundation, Sharjah. © Joana Hadjithomas & Khalil Joreige. Galerie In Situ — fabienne leclerc

Joana Hadjithomas & Khalil Joreige, 2016, 2 HD videos, colour, sound, 8m:00s. Coproduction Sharjah Art Foundation, Sharjah. © Joana Hadjithomas & Khalil Joreige. Galerie In Situ — fabienne leclerc.

Joana Hadjithomas & Khalil Joreige 'Le Cercle de confusion', 1997, Tirage photographique découpé en 3,000 fragments tamponnés et numérotés sur miroir. © Joana Hadjithomas & Khalil Joreige. Galerie In Situ — fabienne leclerc.

Joana Hadjithomas & Khalil Joreige ‘Le Cercle de Confusion’, 1997, photographic prints cut into 3,000 stamped and numbered on mirrors. © Joana Hadjithomas & Khalil Joreige. Galerie In Situ — fabienne leclerc.

Understandably Beirut, their hometown, and by extension Lebanon is a primary site for their field work. In the work, Le Cercle de Confusion (The Circle of Confusion), the image reveals an aerial view of Beirut cut into 3,000 photographic fragments. On the reverse side of each fragment the phrase “Beirut does not exist.” is written. The viewer is invited to take one of the fragments, and underneath each fragment is a small mirror which shows the image of the viewer, and eventually, when all are removed, the surrounding installation. This work speaks of a city in a constant state of flux. It is neither what it appears, nor what is reflected.

Joana Hadjithomas & Khalil Joreige, 'Images rémanentes', 2004, Film super-8 transféré sur DVD, durée : 3 min. © Joana Hadjithomas & Khalil Joreige. Galerie In Situ — fabienne leclerc

Joana Hadjithomas & Khalil Joreige, ‘Images Rémanentes’, 2004, Super-8 film transferred to DVD, 3m:00s. © Joana Hadjithomas & Khalil Joreige. Galerie In Situ — fabienne leclerc.

Both artists have been personally touched by the political events of Lebanon’s recent past. In 1985 Joreige’s uncle was taken during the civil war, and he is still a part of the 17,000 Lebanese citizens who disappeared during this period of unrest. In 2001 Hadjithomas and Joreige found the personal archive belonging to Joreige’s uncle. Among the various documents and images, they identified a “latent film”. This Super-8 film was undeveloped and had survived the ravages of the war. The resultant image became the work Images Rémanentes (Persistent Images).

Joana Hadjithomas & Khalil Joreige, 'La Rumeur du monde', 2014, 14 à 26 écrans, dispositif sonores de 40 à 100 enceintes, 38 vidéos HD, couleur, son, durées variables. Coproduction Villa Arson, Nice, HOME, Manchester et MIT List Visual Arts Center for Cambridge and Futurum. © Joana Hadjithomas & Khalil Joreige. Galerie In Situ — fabienne leclerc

Joana Hadjithomas & Khalil Joreige, ‘La Rumeur du monde’, 2014, 14 to 26 screens, sound devices from 40 to 100 speakers, 38 HD videos, colour, sound, duration variable. Co-production Villa Arson, Nice, HOME, Manchester et MIT List Visual Arts Center for Cambridge and Futurum. © Joana Hadjithomas & Khalil Joreige. Galerie In Situ — fabienne leclerc

In addressing the aforementioned questions contextualised within the recent historical realities of Lebanon and its political unrest, Hadjithomas and Joreige’s work constitutes a multi sensory, interactive experience. With an acute awareness of how the present can influence one’s understanding of the past, Hadjithomas and Joreige have put forth work that like latent images possesses a potential not yet manifested. The audience experiences installations that play with notions of space but also history and temporality, with a view towards initiating an active and critical relationship with the image in the now.

Negarra A. Kudumu

1192

Related topics: Lebanese artists, photography, film, museum shows, events in Paris

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“Tell Me a Story: Locality and Narrative”: 11 stories from Asia at Rockbund Art Museum, Shanghai

Shanghai’s Rockbund Art Museum presents 11 stories from distinct regional cultures as they have evolved throughout the modern era.

“Tell Me a Story: Locality and Narrative” features 11 artists from across Asia who, by exploring their personal ties with the environment, reveal multiple facets of local life that are often left unheard or unseen.

HaeJun Jo and Kyeong Soo Lee, 'A Ship Believing the Sea is the Land', 2014, drawing, video, wooden sculpture, paraffin, dimensions variable. Image courtesy the artist and Rockbund Art Museum.

HaeJun Jo and Kyeong Soo Lee, ‘A Ship Believing the Sea is the Land’, 2014, drawing, video, wooden sculpture, paraffin, dimensions variable. Image courtesy the artist and Rockbund Art Museum.

The couplet from the beginning of Cao Xueqin’s Dream of the Red Chamber could introduce the exhibition “Tell Me a Story: Locality and Narrative” (28 May – 14 August 2016) at Rockbund Art Museum:

“Truth becomes fiction when the fiction’s true; Real becomes not-real where the unreal’s real.”

‘Tell me a story’ sounds like a demand, but it is not a request for the truth. The exhibition is concerned with disrupting the narratives through which places are constituted. The choice of words is a warning too; this is not easy art with anecdotes and colourful locals, but art about how a change in perspective can produce a different territorial view. As various narratives are experienced across the five floors of the Rockbund Art Museum, the localities remain unstable – often destabilised by the stylistic look of contemporary research-based art.

Koki Tanaka, 'Provisional Studies: Workshop #1, “1946–52 Occupation Era and 1970 between Man and Matter”',2014–2015, action, workshop, video, documentation, dimensions variable. This project is realized with the support of Deutsche Bank and Parasophia: Kyoto International Festival of Contemporary Culture 2015. Installation detail. Image courtesy Rockbund Art Museum.

Koki Tanaka, ‘Provisional Studies: Workshop #1, “1946–52 Occupation Era and 1970 between Man and Matter”’,2014–2015, action, workshop, video, documentation, dimensions variable. This project is realized with the support of Deutsche Bank and Parasophia: Kyoto International Festival of Contemporary Culture 2015. Installation detail. Image courtesy Rockbund Art Museum.

MAP Office, 'Hong Kong is Land', 2014–2016, digital ink, drawing ink, pencil on paper, 825 x 260 cm; single channel video, colur, sound 5m:33s, 4’m:24s, 4m:13s, 3m:51s. Installation view. Image courtesy Rockbund Art Museum.

MAP Office, ‘Hong Kong is Land’, 2014–2016, digital ink, drawing ink, pencil on paper, 825 x 260 cm; single channel video, colur, sound, 5m:33s, 4’m:24s, 4m:13s, 3m:51s. Installation view. Image courtesy Rockbund Art Museum.

These are not short stories; they are never concise. There are no clear beginnings, middles or ends. Mostly the stories are rambling and indeterminate. Exhibition texts, provided in a 40-page booklet, include challenges such as “attempting to escape from linear historical narratives and arrive at the margins of historical memories by means of estranging narratives about the other”. The descriptions of the works in the exhibition guide are comprehensive. They outline the form and the content as well as the background research interests.

Field Recordings, 'Let the Water Flow', 2016, five-channel video installation. Installation view at Rockbund Art Museum. Image courtesy Andrew Stooke.

Field Recordings, ‘Let the Water Flow’, 2016, five-channel video installation. Installation view at Rockbund Art Museum. Image courtesy Andrew Stooke.

Field Recordings, 'Let the Water Flow', 2016, five-screen HD video, colour, sound, 13m:49s, 5m:36s, 17m:33s, 6m:22s, 15m:21s, steel, varnish, ashes, 3 pieces, each 102 x 82 x 110 cm. Image courtesy the artists and Rockbund Art Museum.

Field Recordings, ‘Let the Water Flow’ (video still), 2016, five-screen HD video, colour, sound, 13m:49s, 5m:36s, 17m:33s, 6m:22s, 15m:21s, steel, varnish, ashes, 3 pieces, each 102 x 82 x 110 cm. Image courtesy the artists and Rockbund Art Museum.

So in the case of artist group Field Recordings’ Let the Water Flow (2016) the information tells the viewer that the work is a five-channel video concerned with life on Shanghai’s Suzhou River, incorporating images drawn from “three different approaches—field observation, research on human geography, and social documentary”. This leaves little to the imagination and the work itself is a verbatim representation of this information.

Tomoko Yoneda, 'Looking at "The Three Brothers" rocks by a prisoner-dug tunnel: Alexandrovsk-Sakhalinsky', 2012, Chromogenic print, 65 x 83 cm. © Tomoko Yoneda. Image courtesy ShugoArts.

Tomoko Yoneda, ‘Looking at “The Three Brothers” rocks by a prisoner-dug tunnel: Alexandrovsk-Sakhalinsky’, 2012, Chromogenic print, 65 x 83 cm. © Tomoko Yoneda. Image courtesy ShugoArts.

Tomoko Yoneda, 'The Island of Sakhalin', 2012, photo series, all images 65 x 83 cm. Installation view at Rockbund Art Museum. Image courtesy Andrew Stooke.

Tomoko Yoneda, ‘The Island of Sakhalin’, 2012, photo series, all images 65 x 83 cm. Installation view at Rockbund Art Museum. Image courtesy Andrew Stooke.

Another work that gets directly to the point is Tomoko Yoneda’s relatively elegiac photographs of abandoned industrial sites on Sakhalin Island – a historically disputed area, around a fifth the size of Japan – off the east coast of Russia. The images juxtapose decaying factories with rural landscapes, illustrating Yoneda’s comment in a previous interview with Asia Art Archive:

Some (photographs) relate to particular discourses with Japan and current conflicts. With research and accumulated information and images of the events in my memory, I like to visit and witness the actual places – I am startled by the normality of locations that once were the scene of momentous events.

In this iteration, “normality” seems to elide the complexities of the island’s past rather than expose it. Displaced ethnic minority groups, who were victims of territorial interests on the island, may not get the poetry in the exhibition’s evocation of the look of the factories that once provided their livelihood.

Haejun Jo and KyeongSoo Lee, 'A Ship Believing the Sea is the Land', 2014, installation view at Rockbund Art Museum. Image courtesy Rockbund Art Museum.

Haejun Jo and KyeongSoo Lee, ‘A Ship Believing the Sea is the Land’, 2014, installation view at Rockbund Art Museum. Image courtesy Rockbund Art Museum.

Haejun Jo and Kyeong Soo Lee, 'A Ship Believing the Sea is the Land', 2014, installation. Installation detail at Rockbund Art Museum. Image courtesy Andrew Stooke.

Haejun Jo and Kyeong Soo Lee, ‘A Ship Believing the Sea is the Land’, 2014, installation. Installation detail at Rockbund Art Museum. Image courtesy Andrew Stooke.

The photographs are the most explicit invocations of locality, while in other works, actual places are snared in exhibition making hardware and sunk behind extended research evidence. A Ship Believing the Sea is the Land by Korean artist duo Haejun Jo and Kyeong Soo Lee attempts to “reconstitute the memory of an entire era” with a mixture of elements, including text and drawings, sculpture and videos.

In the work a beached boat, features in the video playing on another wax sculpture of a boat. Both have lost contact with water, they don’t know themselves, they don’t know about drifting and floating. Their narratives tell of estrangement, things that seem flawed but are, in fact, misplaced.

Watan Wuma, 'Feast', 2005, performance, video documentation, 31m:00s. Image courtesy the artist and Rockbund Art Museum.

Watan Wuma, ‘Feast’, 2005, performance, video documentation, 31m:00s. Image courtesy the artist and Rockbund Art Museum.

On the opposite side of the room are two 30-minute recordings of performances by Watan Wuma, a member of the Atayal aboriginal ethnic group in Taiwan. One had been live at the exhibition’s opening in the same space; the performers created costumes from newspapers suggesting that their projected characters were constituted by the texts of others.

Chen Chien-Jen, 'Friend Watan', 2013, single-channel video, colour, black and white, sound, 36m:47s. Image courtesy Andrew Stooke.

Chen Chieh-Jen, ‘Friend Watan’, 2013, single-channel video, colour, black and white, sound, 36m:47s. Image courtesy Andrew Stooke.

Alongside the video is Chen Chieh-Jen’s slow-paced 36-minute biopic docudrama Friend Watan (2013) about the artist’s unconventional career move from being a factory worker. It is a challenge to absorb all the material in one visit, even in just this part of the exhibition. These drawn-out, slow wandering actions signal an aesthetic opposition to the bravura of transatlantic culture. Exhibition curator Amy Cheng has previously cited anthropologist Kuan-Hsing Chen’s analysis:

In the past we (in Asia) have only looked towards Europe and the US. Looking back on the production of knowledge in art, we also discover that the majority of this knowledge was constructed based along the great production lines of Euramerican rhetoric.

Chen Chien-Jen, 'Friend Watan' (video still), 2013, single-channel video, colour, black and white, sound, 36m:47s. Image courtesy the artist and Rockbund Art Museum.

Chen Chieh-Jen, ‘Friend Watan’ (video still), 2013, single-channel video, colour, black and white, sound, 36m:47s. Image courtesy the artist and Rockbund Art Museum.

Apichatpong Weerasethakul, 'Fireworks (Archive)' (video still), 2014, single channel HD video, Dolby 5.1, colour, 6m:40s. Image courtesy the artist and Rockbund Art Museum.

Apichatpong Weerasethakul, ‘Fireworks (Archive)’ (video still), 2014, single channel HD video, Dolby 5.1, colour, 6m:40s. Image courtesy the artist and Rockbund Art Museum.

The open ended narratives, and places evoked through fragments suggest atmospheres in these works are also ‘off-centre’ in relation to the realist tradition of Chinese modern art. Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s film Fireworks (Archive) (2014) takes the spectator into a fantasy space, populated with strange animal sculptures, only revealed by occasional flashes of light. Elsewhere, Au Sow-Yee’s The Kris Project 1 (2016) allows multiple fragments of film from various times and places, hints of folktales and images of ephemera connected to the Asian film industry of the 1950s and 1960s, to inconclusively jostle together.

Au Sow-Yee, 'The Kris Project I : The Never Ending Tale of Maria, Tin Mine, Spices and the Harimau', 2016, single channel video, object, document, light box, dimensions variable. This work is produced with the generous support from Rockbund Art Museum. Image courtesy the artist and Rockbund Art Museum.

Au Sow-Yee, ‘The Kris Project I : The Never Ending Tale of Maria, Tin Mine, Spices and the Harimau’, 2016, single channel video, object, document, light box, dimensions variable. This work is produced with the generous support from Rockbund Art Museum. Image courtesy the artist and Rockbund Art Museum.

Au Sow-Yee, 'The Kris Project I : The Never Ending Tale of Maria, Tin Mine, Spices and the Harimau', 2016, single channel video, object, document, light box, dimensions variable. This work is produced with the generous support from Rockbund Art Museum. Installation view. Image courtesy Rockbund Art Museum.

Au Sow-Yee, ‘The Kris Project I : The Never Ending Tale of Maria, Tin Mine, Spices and the Harimau’, 2016, single channel video, object, document, light box, dimensions variable. This work is produced with the generous support from Rockbund Art Museum. Installation view. Image courtesy Rockbund Art Museum.

If, locality in the art of Europe and the US might be exemplified by the indeterminate depopulated sites of Robert Smithson in the photo essay A Tour of the Monuments of Passaic, New Jersey (1967), Ed Ruscha’s Every Building on the Sunset Strip (1966) or Bernd and Hilla Becher’s ‘typologies’ of industrial architecture in Germany, the works here reject rigidity and classification.

The Grand Voyage: A Study on Name (2016) by Shanghai based artists Guo Xi and Zhang Jianling is staged in an inaccessible glass box, like a closed ecosystem. It is a kaleidoscopic theatrical montage from material that fuses reality, in the form of botanical taxonomy, with other “‘strands’ constructed, concocted, and imagined”.

Guo Xi and Zhang Jianling, 'The Grand Voyage: A Study on Name', 2016, photography, video, text, print, object, sound, dimensions variable. "The Grand Voyage" is supported by Imagokinetics and produced with the support from Rockbund Art Museum. Image courtesy Rockbund Art Museum.

Guo Xi and Zhang Jianling, ‘The Grand Voyage: A Study on Name’, 2016, photography, video, text, print, object, sound, dimensions variable. “The Grand Voyage” is supported by Imagokinetics and produced with the support from Rockbund Art Museum. Image courtesy Rockbund Art Museum.

Guo and Zhang present several discrete tableaus on tables. They suggest ongoing research activity, evoked through document collections, books, ephemera and video material. Images of these workstations are live streamed to other screens in the same dark space. The effect is to blur history. The momentum for the work is real characters and a real plant specimen, with speculative and tangential ideas unfolding in ever changing interrelationships. The myriad resources of the installation can be accessed from many viewpoints. At its heart is the relationship between Kusumoto Taki, the mother of Kusumoto Oine, the first female doctor in Japan, and German botanist Philipp Franz von Siebold. The effect is immersion in the rich changing shades and colours of a relationship, as if a relationship too were a particular instance of locality.

Guo Xi and Zhang Jianling, 'The Grand Voyage: A Study on Name', 2016, photography, video, text, print, object, sound, dimensions variable. "The Grand Voyage" is supported by Imagokinetics and produced with the support from Rockbund Art Museum. Image courtesy Rockbund Art Museum.

Guo Xi and Zhang Jianling, ‘The Grand Voyage: A Study on Name’, 2016, photography, video, text, print, object, sound, dimensions variable. “The Grand Voyage” is supported by Imagokinetics and produced with the support from Rockbund Art Museum. Image courtesy Rockbund Art Museum.

Su Yu-Hsien, 'Hua-Shan-Qiang' (video still), 2013, single channel video, colour, sound 21m:08s. Image courtesy the artist and Rockbund Art Museum.

Su Yu-Hsien, ‘Hua-Shan-Qiang’ (video still), 2013, single channel video, colour, sound
21m:08s. Image courtesy the artist and Rockbund Art Museum.

“Tell Me a Story” has the pace of a long novel. Rejecting spectacle, the exhibition shows the underlying truths that fictions can reveal, as well as challenging the assumption that localities have unity rather than being an impression produced through human interaction. Embodying evolutionary Asian creative and aesthetic identities, the works are optimistic, suggesting that through art it is possible to promote territorial flux, places secured not by flags, temples and monuments but by shared experiences.

Andrew Stooke

1191

Related Topics: gallery shows, events in Shanghai, video, identity, environmental art, Asian artists

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K11 Art Foundation and Centre Pompidou’s new curator Yung Ma

Hong Kong curator leads new international research programme on Chinese contemporary art at Centre Pompidou.

The appointment of Yung Ma, a curator of contemporary art and moving image from Hong Kong, to his new position at Paris’ Centre Pompidou was announced earlier this month. He took up his role on 13 June 2016, to lead the department of Contemporary and Prospective Creation, in partnership with K11 Art Foundation.

Yung Ma. Image courtesy K11 Art Foundation.

Yung Ma. Image courtesy K11 Art Foundation.

The K11 Art Foundation (KAF) and Centre Pompidou announced earlier in June 2016 the appointment of Hong Kong’s Yung Ma as Curator, Contemporary and Prospective Creation Department, at the Centre Pompidou in Paris commencing on 13 June 2016.

With this recent partnership, the Centre Pompidou furthers its programme of research to encompass a deeper understanding and knowledge of the Chinese contemporary art scene. Meanwhile, the three-year partnership between the Paris museum and K11 Art Foundation announced in July 2015 marks a unique opportunity for a growing network of connections and collaborations with overseas institutions to promote and support Chinese contemporary art and its practitioners. In 2015, in addition to the partnership, Adrian Cheng personally contributed two major works to Centre Pompidou’s collection, including Zhang Enli‘s work The Material and the installation Corporate (4 Knives Groups) (2014) by Xu Zhen. The latter piece was donated by the founder of K11 together with David Chau.

K11 in Hong Kong. Image courtesy K11.

K11 in Hong Kong. Image courtesy K11.

Quoted in the press release, Serge Lasvignes, President of Centre Pompidou, said:

The Centre Pompidou is opening up more and more to the globalization and diversity of the world’s art scenes. It is its mission to enter into a dialogue with them and to get to know them better. The Chinese arts scene is particularly rich and dynamic one, and the Centre Pompidou has been interested in this hotspot of contemporary creation for many years now. It has often invited its visitors, through temporary exhibitions as well as the presentation of its collection, to discover the force of contemporary Chinese creation. The collaboration with the K11 Art Foundation and with Yung Ma will allow the Centre Pompidou to further its knowledge of art in China and contribute to making it better known in France.

Tianzuo Chen, 'ADAHA II', 2015, performance at Palais de Tokyo, Paris. Screenshot by Art Radar.

Tianzuo Chen, ‘ADAHA II’, 2015, performance at Palais de Tokyo, Paris. Screenshot by Art Radar.

The K11 Art Foundation, established in 2010 and led by Adrian Cheng, is a non-profit organisation that supports the development of contemporary art from Greater China. In 2015, it announced a series of partnerships with European institutions, and it mounted exhibitions such as Tianzhuo Chen’s solo at Palais de Tokyo until last September, the first institutional solo exhibition of Chinese artist Zhang Ding in the UK, entitled “Enter the Dragon”, at London’s ICA in October 2015, and a Salvador Dalí exhibition at chi K11 art museum in Shanghai, in collaboration with Gala-Salvador Dalí Foundation in Figueres, Spain, that put Dalí’s work in dialogue with contemporary Chinese art to explore the legacy of Surrealism.

Click here to watch a preview of Zhang Ding’s “Enter the Dragon” (2015) at ICA London on Vimeo

Who is Yung Ma

Yung Ma is a curator of contemporary art and moving image in Hong Kong, and holds an MA in Curating Contemporary Art from the Royal College of Art in London. He has extensive experience and a deep understanding of East Asian and Southeast Asian contemporary art practices and film discourses. The Centre Pompidou will benefit from his network of longstanding connections with artists and organisations from the Greater China region, as well as his experience as Associate Curator at M+, West Kowloon Cultural District, Hong Kong, where he has worked since its inception in 2011.

Yung Ma’s exhibitions and work have explored themes of global migration and urban identity. His recent exhibitions and projects with M+ include the “M+ Screenings” (ongoing) and “Mobile M+: Moving Images” (2015), among others. He also curated Lee Kit’s solo exhibition at the Hong Kong Participation at the 55th Venice Biennale in 2013 as well as Pak Sheung Chuen’s solo exhibition at the 53rd Venice Biennale in 2009.

Tianzhuo Chen, "WAWADOLL IS X’MAS DATA" (2014), exhibition at K11 in Hong Kong. Image courtesy K11 Art Foundation.

Tianzhuo Chen, “WAWADOLL IS X’MAS DATA” (2014), exhibition at K11 in Hong Kong. Image courtesy K11 Art Foundation.

While at M+ his role was pivotal to the expansion of the museum’s moving image department and its collection, at the Centre Pompidou Yung Ma will focus on in-depth knowledge of various movements and on identifying key young artists from Greater China. Additionally, during the three-year partnership with K11, he will organise a number of programmes in collaboration with KAF.

Adrian Cheng, Founder and Honorary Chairman of the K11 Art Foundation, said as quoted in the press release:

Yung Ma brings a wealth of experience and nuanced understanding to the progressive programme at Centre Pompidou and we are delighted to have collaborated on the appointment of such a talented and visionary curator. KAF’s partnership with Centre Pompidou is part of our long-term mission to nurture the abundant talent of outstanding Chinese artists and curators and present it within leading international institutions.

C. A. Xuan Mai Ardia

1193

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“Welcome to My Life”: video art from the Lemaître Collection at Shanghai Himalayas Museum

The Shanghai Himalayas Museum brings together influential video artists from famous collection.

“Welcome to My Life” just closed on Sunday 26 June 2016, but even though the works on display at the Shanghai museum are now once more hidden from the public eye until the next showing, their influence will remain and continue to inspire video artists around the globe. Art Radar takes a peak at some of these unique video art masterpieces.

Enrique Ramirez, 'Un hombre que camina', 2011-2014, 21m:00s. Image courtesy the artist, Lemaître Collection and Shanghai Himalayas Museum.

Enrique Ramirez, ‘Un Hombre Que Camina’, 2011-2014, 21 min. Image courtesy the artist, Lemaître Collection and Shanghai Himalayas Museum.

“Welcome to My Life – Moving Image from Collection of Isabelle and Jean-Conrad Lemaître” was on show at the Shanghai Himalayas Museum for roughly two months and was co-organised by the Museum and the French Embassy (Ambassade de Frence en Chine) as one of the core projects of 2016 Festival Croisements.

The exhibition was co-curated by Yongwoo Lee, Executive Director of the Shanghai Himalayas Museum, and Xiaodong (Art) Yan, and comprised 23 works by influential video artists from around the globe, including names such as Steve McQueen, Mark Wallinger, Yang Fudong, Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster and Yto Barrada. The works were carefully selected from the collection of renowned French video art collectors Jean Conrad Lemaître and Isabelle Lemaître, to provide rich narrative of video art history and the development of the medium from the 1980s to the present day.

"Welcome to My Life", 4 May - 26 June 2016, Shanghai Himalayas Museum. Image courtesy Shanghai Himalayas Museum.

“Welcome to My Life”, 4 May – 26 June 2016, Shanghai Himalayas Museum. Image courtesy Shanghai Himalayas Museum.

A top-of-the-notch video art collection

The Lemaîtres started adding video art to their already existing collection of contemporary art in the mid-1990s and from then, video became the core focus of their collection, which has become one of the top of its kind in the world (listed among the top ten collections of video and new media art in the world by Larry’s List in 2014).

In an interview with curator Benjamin Weil, the Lemaîtres reveal they started collecting video art in 1996, when they encountered the work of Gillian Wearing. They decided then to combine their passion for cinema with their collection of contemporary art. They say:

[…] we are interested in what video is now, with a multitude of references.We want our collection to reflect our place in time. We are surrounded by images of all kinds, and at the same time tools have become more accessible to shoot, to edit and to present work. As a growing number of artists use video as part of the many tools they use to make art, there is maybe a more fluid way to produce moving images: video is a medium that makes complete sense today.

We also like the fact video is a time-based media. You have to take your time to enjoy it: somehow the moving image imposes its time on you as a viewer. In a day and age when all goes fast, and when we tend to zap and hurry, it is nice to have a good reason to slow down, and focus!

Ryan Gander, 'Things that mean things and things that look like they mean things', 2008, 26m:48s. Image courtesy the artist, Lemaître Collection and Shanghai Himalayas Museum.

Ryan Gander, ‘Things That Mean Things and Things That Look Like They Mean Things’, 2008, 26:48 min. Image courtesy the artist, Lemaître Collection and Shanghai Himalayas Museum.

In another interview with Independent Collectors, the Lemaîtres also reveal the role that photography played in their choice of collecting video art and the challenges of collecting when they first started:

Video works have finally been accepted as works of art. Before, it was looked upon as a consumer product, just like photography had been previously. […] When we had just begun acquiring video works, and still weren’t well-known as collectors, we had to fight against museums and other institutions in the galleries – the dealers wanted to sell only to museums and institutions.

In the same interview, the collectors reveal about the first ever piece of video art they bought:

That was “Boy Time” (1999), by the British artist Gillian Wearing. In the piece, four young adolescents attempt to keep up the illusion of a group portrait. Staying still in one position for a whole hour – that’s not easy for youngsters. Boredom creeps in, as does irritation, griping, and cursing at curious passersby. The still pose begins to fall apart. And the artist films this. It’s an interesting work! We bought it from a London gallery. We then continued with works by Steve McQueen and Mark Wallinger, Tacita Dean and then we began to look beyond Europe.

Beatrice Gibson, 'Necessary Music', 2009, 30m:00s. Image courtesy the artist, Lemaître Collection and Shanghai Himalayas Museum.

Beatrice Gibson, ‘Necessary Music’, 2009, 30 min. Image courtesy the artist, Lemaître Collection and Shanghai Himalayas Museum.

A history of video art in one show

“Welcome to My Life” brought together a number of works that span the last 30 years, covering a wide spectrum of video art. The exhibited works engage with a range of topics, from psychological storytelling, science fiction, social issues and the urban environment, to isolation and irony, collective cooperation, urbanization, and language and the preservation of 16mm film. The exhibition was organised into five sections, and as the press release writes,

Departing from the traditional notion of the “black box” in film exhibitions, here one follows a specifically guided experience through a series of films ordered and presented in new combinations. From one-minute shorts to films spanning nearly an hour in duration, the entire exhibition includes 5 hours, 51 minutes, and 57 seconds of footage, weaving together sound and silence, light and dark, conflict and harmony, beauty and tragedy.

Mika Rottenberg, 'Sneeze', 2012, 3m:00s. Image courtesy the artist, Lemaître Collection and Shanghai Himalayas Museum.

Mika Rottenberg, ‘Sneeze’, 2012, 3 min. Image courtesy the artist, Lemaître Collection and Shanghai Himalayas Museum.

According to Yongwoo Lee, as he writes in his curatorial essay, “Video art can be generally divided into three genres”: “aesthetical video art” based on formalistic aesthetics; “political video art” as documentary works that prioritise audience participation; and video works exploring “experimental narratology or complex storylines in the manner of feature films”.

It is the last type which is at the core of the exhibition and as Lee continues in his essay,

As if a painter would create a painting with expressive brush marks, many of the videos in the show hide their cold, mechanical characteristics by revealing their humanistic features. The celebrated progenitor of video art, Nam June Paik once stated, “If one cannot freely employ technical elements like a painting brush, the technology within art simply remains a s a trick more than anything else.” His perceptive remark reminds us that all technology exists as ‘humanized technology’ to serve for the benefit of humanity.

Tacita Dean, 'The Green Ray, 2001, 2m:30s. Image courtesy the artist, Lemaître Collection and Shanghai Himalayas Museum.

Tacita Dean, ‘The Green Ray’, 2001, 2:30 min. Image courtesy the artist, Lemaître Collection and Shanghai Himalayas Museum.

In his essay, Lee provides a brief history of the origins of video art, mentioning how South Korean Nam June Paik, considered the “father of video art”, was among a group of artists that in the 1960s rebelled against television and information privatisation, following the reinterpretation of conventional artistic media and populist art by the Fluxus artists and John Cage.

Mark Wallinger, 'Threshold to the Kingdom', 2000. Image courtesy the artist, Lemaître Collection and Shanghai Himalayas Museum.

Mark Wallinger, ‘Threshold to the Kingdom’, 2000. Image courtesy the artist, Lemaître Collection and Shanghai Himalayas Museum.

Influential works of video art

Mark Wallinger’s Threshold to the Kingdom (2000) is appropriately positioned at the entrance to the exhibition, as if to ask viewers whether they are ready to enter the “kingdom of video art”. The work shows a set of automatic doors at the International Arrivals Terminal in London Heathrow, where travellers arrive and adjust their demeanour to walk through customs.

Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster presents a film of 11 short, poetic “psycho-geographic portraits” of cities around the world, including Kyoto at dusk. In the meantime, voice-overs narrate descriptions that are of different cities than the one on screen, offering an alternative perception or understanding of a city as “emotional, transitory, premature, and open to multiple readings”.

Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster, 'RIYO', 1999, 9m:42s. Image courtesy the artist, Lemaître Collection and Shanghai Himalayas Museum.

Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster, ‘RIYO’, 1999, 9:42 min. Image courtesy the artist, Lemaître Collection and Shanghai Himalayas Museum.

Arash Nassiri, 'Tehran Geles', 2014, 18m:09s. Image courtesy the artist, Lemaître Collection and Shanghai Himalayas Museum.

Arash Nassiri, ‘Tehran Geles’, 2014, 18:09 min. Image courtesy the artist, Lemaître Collection and Shanghai Himalayas Museum.

Arash Nassiri’s Tehran Geles (2014) is a fictional vision of Tehran that uses Los Angeles as its setting. The film projects the past of the Iranian city into the present of Los Angeles, and as the artist writes,

During an aerial journey we discover an uncanny landscape. While flying over boulevards, personal souvenirs of migrants create an echo to the collective story of the Iranian capital. Arriving in Downtown, the buildings are saturated with neon signs, pulsating with the voices, taking us on a hallucinating trip.

Koki Tanaka, 'A piano played by five pianists at once', 2012, 57m:00s. Image courtesy the artist, Lemaître Collection and Shanghai Himalayas Museum.

Koki Tanaka, ‘A Piano Played by Five Pianists at Once’, 2012, 57 min. Image courtesy the artist, Lemaître Collection and Shanghai Himalayas Museum.

In Koki Tanaka’s A piano played by five pianists at once takes the artist’s “chance operations” of improvised performance into the real of “chance music” or “aleatory music” – a method of composition that introduces elements of chance or unpredictability regarding the composition or its performance (PDF download). Tanaka invited five musicians to compose and play a piece of music on a single piano in front of his camera, providing a different, contingent model of collaboration and, by extension, collectivity.

Nikhil Chopr, 'Yog Rajchitakar visits Lal Chowk Srinagar', 2007, 12m:00s. Image courtesy the artist, Lemaître Collection and Shanghai Himalayas Museum.

Nikhil Chopra, ‘Yog Rajchitakar Visits Lal Chowk Srinagar’, 2007, 12 min. Image courtesy the artist, Lemaître Collection and Shanghai Himalayas Museum.

Yog raj chitakar visits lal Chowk Srinagar by Nikhil Chopra sees the artist walk to Lal Chowk (Red Square), the symbolic centre of Srinagar in Kashmir, the site of numerous political agitations since 1989. The performance involved Yog Raj Chitrakar making a charcoal drawing of the clock tower in the square. Lasting for about an hour, the performance continued through a police crackdown that happened while the artist was drawing on the ground.

Nikhil Chopr, 'Yog Rajchitakar visits Lal Chowk Srinagar', 2007, 12m:00s. Image courtesy the artist, Lemaître Collection and Shanghai Himalayas Museum.

Nikhil Chopr, ‘Yog Rajchitakar visits Lal Chowk Srinagar’, 2007, 12 min. Image courtesy the artist, Lemaître Collection and Shanghai Himalayas Museum.

As Chopra himself writes,

Even as I was aware of the politically sensitive history of the chosen site, the performance was not intended to be a self-conscious act of public protest or disobedience. However the turn of events that followed during my performance brought me face-to-face with a ground reality of the people living in Srinagar. This performance became especially significant to my practice as it reaffirmed to me that the act of drawing and performing could be used as a tool of powerful critical intervention.

Takehito Koganezawa, 'Until the end of a tape', 2008, 26m:48s. Image courtesy the artist, Lemaître Collection and Shanghai Himalayas Museum.

Takehito Koganezawa, ‘Until The End of a Tape’, 2008, 26:48 min. Image courtesy the artist, Lemaître Collection and Shanghai Himalayas Museum.

Until the end of a tape marks a new orientation in Takehito Koganezawa’s style, with a focus on the lyrical and solitary. The video is a real reflection on the notion of the classifiable and unclassifiable, and questions the connection between time and experience and between apprehension and perception of an object.

Moroccan artist Yto Barrada’s Le Magicien follows a magician in action, whose skills are not quite surprising enough, and whose concentration contrasts neatly with the simple presence of his stage props. At once the illusionist and the disillusioned, the magician appears as a ridiculous figure.

Yto Barrada, 'Le Magicien', 2003, 18m:00s. Image courtesy the artist, Lemaître Collection and Shanghai Himalayas Museum.

Yto Barrada, ‘Le Magicien’, 2003, 18 min. Image courtesy the artist, Lemaître Collection and Shanghai Himalayas Museum.

In the last galleries, Yang Fudong presents Backyard: Hey, Sun is Rising, which follows four main characters seeking places on the streets and in parks to smoke, play poker, take part in Chinese massages and practice fencing. Their serious demeanors are foiled by the meaninglessness of their actions – a farce exposing the loss of older customs in today’s society.

Yang Fudong, 'Backyard: Hey, Sun is Rising', 2001, 13m:00s. Image courtesy the artist, Lemaître Collection and Shanghai Himalayas Museum.

Yang Fudong, ‘Backyard: Hey, Sun is Rising’, 2001, 13 min. Image courtesy the artist, Lemaître Collection and Shanghai Himalayas Museum.

Liu Zhenchen, 'Adieu', 2012, 18m:00s. Image courtesy the artist, Lemaître Collection and Shanghai Himalayas Museum.

Liu Zhenchen, ‘L’Adieu’, 2012, 18m:00s. Image courtesy the artist, Lemaître Collection and Shanghai Himalayas Museum.

Closing the show, Liu Zhenchen’s L’Adieu, 100 years after the Titanic sees the world’s most famous luxury liner ship “Queen Mary 2” set sail, as the Museum describes,

its passengers wave goodbye to the continent while the ship cruises into the sunset in a single slow-motion shot, hinting at the question of whether or not they will be seen again.

C. A. Xuan Mai Ardia

1194

Related Topics: South Asian artists, European artists, Chinese artists, West Asian artists, collectors, art and the community, urban, video, museum shows, events in Shanghai

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“But a Storm Is Blowing from Paradise”: Guggenheim UBS Map Middle East and North Africa

The Guggenheim gives a kaleidoscopic of contemporary arts in the Middle East and North Africa.

Guggenheim UBS MAP Global Art Initiative opens its third phase with its extensive exhibition “But a Storm Is Blowing from Paradise”, presenting artists from the Middle East and North Africa.

"But a Storm is Blowing from Paradise: Contemporary Art of the Middle East and North Africa", 29 April - 5 October 2016, Solomon R. Guggenheum Museum, New York. Image courtesy Solomon R. Guggenheim.

“But a Storm Is Blowing from Paradise: Contemporary Art of the Middle East and North Africa”, 29 April – 5 October 2016, Solomon R. Guggenheum Museum, New York. Image courtesy Solomon R. Guggenheim, New York.

“But a Storm Is Blowing from Paradise:Contemporary Art of the Middle East and North Africa” is an exploration of the issues of migration and movement with an intensive focus on the rapidly evolving Middle East and North Africa. Curated by Sara Raza, the exhibition is on view at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum from 29 April to 5 October 2016, and later in 2017, it will travel to the Pera Museum, Istanbul.

The Guggenheim UBS MAP Global Art Initiative, a multiyear collaboration which has previously mapped and explored the contemporary art of the South and South East Asian and the American regions, has launched its third phase with the exhibition of 17 Middle Eastern and North African artists. As the title makes amply clear, “But a Storm Is Blowing from Paradise” focuses on the practices of contemporary artists from the region, including artists originating from Afghanistan, Algeria, Egypt, Iran, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, Turkey and the UAE.

Incorporating installation, video, painting, drawing and sculpture, the exhibition is a creative, philosophical and historical inquiry into a plethora of issues relating to a region in flux: that of the lingering historical experience of colonialism, of migration and movement and of liminal spaces.

Ori Gersht, 'Evaders', 2009, two-channel colour video projection, with sound, 15 min. Image courtesy Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York. Guggenheim UBS MAP Purchase Fund, 2015.

Ori Gersht, ‘Evaders’, 2009, two-channel colour video projection, with sound, 15 min. Image courtesy Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York. Guggenheim UBS MAP Purchase Fund, 2015.

Geometry is the prism that the curator Sara Raza adopts as much to serve as a unifying theme to the exhibition as to question the standard narratives of history. She says:

Central to the exhibition is the theme of geometries, as the mathematical branch of the “thinking sciences,” and for its conceptual quality and how it relates to ideas around logic. I looked at the idea of logic as truth—pure logic is truth—and I wanted to almost manipulate that a little bit, and dissect it within this show, and see how artists are playing with it from a curatorial angle, but also in terms of their own individual practices.

Raza hints at the perilous misdirection of the standard historical narratives and stresses on the importance of excavating history as we are told:

Some of the important ideas that we are using in our everyday practices actually originated from the mentioned region of this MAP project, the MENA region. Navigation, astrology, and astronomy are all valid examples, not to mention many philosophical ideas that have actually emerged. Scientific thought was very much initiated in this region, and how we understand mathematics. A simple example is geometry. And I’m very much interested in those ideas— ideas that somehow lost their way in contemporary thinking, in contemporary culture—to kind of revert back to that, to show that this is the origin of meaning, in particular, which is very fascinating.

Also an art critic, Raza took up this project as a part of her two-year residency at the Guggenheim Museum in New York.

Rokni Haerizadeh, 'But a Storm is Blowing from Paradise', 2014, gesso, watercolour and ink on inkjet prints, 24 parts, 30 x 40 cm each. © Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York. Guggenheim UBS MAP Purchase Fund, 2015.

Rokni Haerizadeh, ‘But a Storm is Blowing from Paradise’, 2014, gesso, watercolour and ink on inkjet prints, 24 parts, 30 x 40 cm each. © Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York. Guggenheim UBS MAP Purchase Fund, 2015.

Exploring contemporary politics

The eponymous But a Storm is Blowing from Paradise (2014-15) is a series of paintings by the Iranian artist Rokni Haerizadeh. Often deploying wit, irony and humour, and liberally drawing from contemporary politics of Iran and beyond, in But a Storm is Blowing from Paradise Haerizadeh paints surreal images over printed stills from Youtube and television news broadcasts of events in the Middle East and North Africa. Borrowing the title from the German Philosopher Walter Benjamin’s description of Paul Klee’s 1920 print Angelus Novus – which meditates on the nature of history and progress – Haerizadeh transforms stills of contemporary life in the region into comical surreal images, raising questions about the authenticity of the very image that lies underneath his imagic interpolations.

Abbas Akhavan, 'Study for a monument', 2013-16, bronze and cotton, dimensions variable. Image courtesy Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York. Guggenheim UBS MAP Purchase Fund, 2015.

Abbas Akhavan, ‘Study for a monument’, 2013-16, bronze and cotton, dimensions variable. Image courtesy Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York. Guggenheim UBS MAP Purchase Fund, 2015.

Contemporary politics also forms a basis for the works of Abbas Akhavan and Ori Gersht. Akhavan’s Study for a Monument (2013-16) is a collection of bronze casts of plants native to the Tigris and Euphrates river systems of Mesopotamia – a region roughly coincident with contemporary Iraq. The casts are carefully laid out on a white sheet on the floor as though one were viewing an aerial map or a make-shift market of smuggled artefacts. The casts are fragmented and out of proportion, some are charred and oxidised from exposure to air and light – things a war does to the environment.

Ori Gersht’s video Evaders (2009) is about evaders, or people who undertook the journey through the borderline mountain range in France that offered an escape route for Nazi occupied Europe and a way for communists to flee General Franco’s fascist regime in Spain. It refers to the final journey of Walter Benjamin, who travelled from France to Spain with the intention of entering Portugal before heading to the United States, but was unfortunately denied entry and subsequently committed suicide.

Mariam Ghani, 'A Breif History of Collapse', 2012, two-channel colour video projection, with sound, 21m:49s. Image courtesy Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York. Guggenheim UBS MAP Purchase Fund, 2015.

Mariam Ghani, ‘A Breif History of Collapse’, 2012, two-channel colour video projection, with sound, 21m:49s. Image courtesy Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York. Guggenheim UBS MAP Purchase Fund, 2015.

A look into history and colonialism

Enquiry into history and experiences of colonialism is a dominant theme in many of the works in the exhibition. Mariam Ghani’s video A Brief History of Collapses traces the parallel histories of two distinguished buildings in two very different locations and socio-political contexts, namely the Museum Fridericianum built by Simon Louis du Ry in Kassel, Germany in 1779, and the Darul Aman Palace built by Walter Harten in Kabul in 1929.

What comes to the fore are the ideological associations and architectural similarities between the two buildings, despite which the two meet very different fates: the former renovated and in use currently, the latter in ruins, a reminder of the trajectories that modernity took in the region.

Kader Attia, 'Untitled (Ghardaia)', 2009, couscous, two inkjet prints and five photocopy prints. Dimensions: couscous diameter: 500 cm; inkjet prints: 180 x 100 cm and 150 x 100 cm; photocopy prints: 150 x 100 cm. Image courtesy Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York. Guggenheim UBS MAP Purchase Fund, 2015.

Kader Attia, ‘Untitled (Ghardaia)’, 2009, couscous, two inkjet prints and five photocopy prints. Dimensions: couscous diameter: 500 cm; inkjet prints: 180 x 100 cm and 150 x 100 cm; photocopy prints: 150 x 100 cm. Image courtesy Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York. Guggenheim UBS MAP Purchase Fund, 2015.

A further exploration into the exploitative nature of colonialism in the realm of ideas is made by Kader Attia’s Untitled (Ghardaia). Made entirely from couscous, a regional culinary staple, Untitled (Ghardaia) is a scale model of the Algerian city of Ghardaia. It is juxtaposed against the prints of Western modernist pioneer architects Le Corbusier and Fernand Pouillon, and a copy of a UNESCO certificate that designates Ghardaia as a World Heritage Site.

The work draws attention to the fact that both the architects borrowed and reworked the Mozabite architecture, which is native to the city of Ghardaia and to the ancient Mzab region, but none credited their sources. It also draws attention to France’s 19th century colonisation of Algeria and the relationship of exploitation that it was sustained on.

Gülsün Karamustafa, 'Create your own story with the given material', 1997, cotton, 30 parts, 30 x 40 cm each. Image courtesy Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York. Guggenheim UBS MAP Purchase Fund, 2016.

Gülsün Karamustafa, ‘Create your own story with the given material’, 1997, cotton, 30 parts, 30 x 40 cm each. Image courtesy Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York. Guggenheim UBS MAP Purchase Fund, 2016.

The migratory movements

An underlying theme that runs through the exhibition is migration and movement. Most artists in the exhibition have either mixed heritages or have lived and practiced in between places and cultures, bringing a peculiar depth to their artistic meditations.

Gülsün Karamustafa, one of Turkey’s most outspoken and celebrated artists, is a veteran in examining issues of gender, globalisation and migration. Her Create Your Own Story with the Given Material (1997), as addressed in the explanatory title, is a statement on creating new lives and meanings with whatever is thrown one’s way at the advent of a life in new, often alien places. It features child-sized white cotton shirts that have been sewn shut with black cord – a reference to the plight of immigrant children in Turkey for whom safe passage into the country does not guarantee subsequent freedom of movement, nor a better life.

Nadia Kaabi-Linke, 'Flying Carpets', 2011, stainless steel and rubber, 420 x 1300 x 340 cm. Image courtesy Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York. Guggenheim UBS MAP Purchase Fund, 2015.

Nadia Kaabi-Linke, ‘Flying Carpets’, 2011, stainless steel and rubber, 420 x 1300 x 340 cm. Image courtesy Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York. Guggenheim UBS MAP Purchase Fund, 2015.

One of the most exciting works on display is Nadia Kaabi-Linke’s Flying Carpets (2011). Born in Tunisia but currently based in Berlin via Kiev and Dubai, Kaabi-Linke, like many of her counterparts in the exhibition, has a personal history of migration across cultures and political borders. Flying Carpet is created in steel, aluminium and thread, and hovers suspended over the viewer.

It tells in complex geometric forms the story of the immigrant merchants and street vendors of Venice, who are primarily of African, Arab and South Asian origin, and their illegal business of selling counterfeit goods to tourists. They display their wares in rugs since they are easy to sweep up fast and run to safe locations in case of encounter with authorities. Their rugs become the flying carpets that transport them to temporary safety.

Lily Tekseng

1169

Related Topics: West Asian artists, African artists, migrationMuseum shows, New York

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“Portraits and Desire”: Chinese ink artist Qin Feng – in conversation

Art Radar speaks with the Chinese ink artist about his most recent solo exhibition and his artistic practice.

Merging an ink-and-wash and calligraphic style with a western abstract aesthetic, Chinese artist Qin Feng re-interprets the age-old medium of ink painting infusing it with a new life and colour.

Qin Feng, 'Portraits of the Great No. 059', 2014, ink and acrylic on linen paper, 148 x 285 cm (58 1/4 x 112 1/4 in). Image courtesy the artist and Ben Brown Fine Arts.

Qin Feng, ‘Portraits of the Great No. 059’, 2014, ink and acrylic on linen paper, 148 x 285 cm (58 1/4 x 112 1/4 in). Image courtesy the artist and Ben Brown Fine Arts.

“QIN FENG: Portraits and Desire” opened at Ben Brown Fine Arts in Hong Kong on 8 June 2016 and continues until 31 August 2016. The show offers an impressive selection of the contemporary artist’s large-scale ink paintings from the “Portraits of the Great” and “Desire Scenery” series.

Qin Feng’s (b. 1961) art blends Eastern and Western qualities. The “Portraits of the Great” paintings, for instance, follow the traditional Chinese manner of brushing black ink onto paper in a calligraphic style, but Qin’s aggressive physicality and spontaneously applied marks betray a deep understanding of Western gestural abstraction. Qin’s international outlook was born during his childhood herding sheep in China’s harshly beautiful and multicultural, far western Xinjiang Autonomous Region. In his early twenties, Qin travelled east to study at the Shandong University of Art and Design. Then, in his thirties, he taught at the Berlin University of the Arts, before going on to New York City and Boston, where he did a residency at Harvard University.

The seven “Portraits of the Great” works feature massive, exploding, inky strokes, sometimes suggesting Chinese characters and at other times appearing fully abstract, entwined in Qin’s signature thin, wiry, red veins that have been seen in the artist’s work for decades and are described by Ben Brown as “representing threads or arteries connecting past and present, life and death and seemingly opposing cultures”.

Qin Feng, 'Desire Scenery No. 051', 2014, acrylic on silk cotton paper, 153.4 x 178 cm (60 3/8 x 70 1/8 in). Image courtesy the artist and Ben Brown Fine Arts.

Qin Feng, ‘Desire Scenery No. 051’, 2014, acrylic on silk cotton paper, 153.4 x 178 cm (60 3/8 x 70 1/8 in). Image courtesy the artist and Ben Brown Fine Arts.

The exhibition’s most jarring visual statements, however, are the three “Desire Scenery” works, which are much more involved with corporeality and emotionally-charged colour than the “Portraits of the Great” paintings.

Qin rips through layer after layer of his handmade paper, uncovering an underlying fleshy, hot pink. The pink pigment, which the artist considers “the symbol of desire, lust and the most basic of human instincts”, lies on a bed of incredibly thick paper composed of blended rice fibre, wool, cotton, silk and sturdy linen taken from his old clothes and bedsheets. It is tempting to relate the wool and silk to the artist’s childhood days as a sheep herder in Xinjiang, an important thoroughfare along the Silk Road.

At a private viewing just before the exhibition’s opening, Art Radar had an extended conversation with Qin Feng, with Ben Brown Fine Arts’ Blake Kwok translating, and learned more about his life story, artistic philosophy and the works in the current exhibition.

Qin Feng, 'Portraits of the Great No. 063', 2014, ink and acrylic on linen paper, 180 x 150 cm (70 7/8 x 59 1/8 in). Image courtesy the artist and Ben Brown Fine Arts.

Qin Feng, ‘Portraits of the Great No. 063’, 2014, ink and acrylic on linen paper, 180 x 150 cm (70 7/8 x 59 1/8 in). Image courtesy the artist and Ben Brown Fine Arts.

How would you describe the interaction of Eastern and Western traditions in your artwork? How do they relate to each other?

There are three parts to it. The first part would be the physicality of my upbringing. There are more than 40 ethnicities active in that region [Xinjiang Autonomous Region] and more than 20 languages spoken on a daily basis. That’s number one. Even though it is a part of China and they all speak Chinese, the entire culture, the living environment and culture, the way of life, the mentality itself, is very Eurasian, because you have Mongolians, Kazakhstanis, Russians and so on. So, before I reached the age of 20, I was basically living abroad in that region. We were all clustered together. All those religions, Muslim, Eastern Orthodox, etc.

Second, there was a very stark contrast when I moved to Shandong, which is really Chinese. That is where Confucianism was born, and there were these very traditional and historical Chinese thoughts and philosophies. That had a very huge impact. The craftsmanship and artistic philosophy that all that espouses is what I acquired. It’s not just about calligraphy or ‘Chinese art’; it’s also the mindset behind it all, that education. And at the same time, because of westernisation – in China generally and specifically in that region – that was also when I was introduced to Western culture, and by ‘culture’ I do not just mean in books and lectures you attend; it’s in movies and food and other things.

Qin Feng, 'Portraits of the Great No. 068', 2014, ink and acrylic on linen paper, 148 x 148 cm (58 1/4 x 58 1/4 in). Image courtesy the artist and Ben Brown Fine Arts.

Qin Feng, ‘Portraits of the Great No. 068’, 2014, ink and acrylic on linen paper, 148 x 148 cm (58 1/4 x 58 1/4 in). Image courtesy the artist and Ben Brown Fine Arts.

And then you think about the political circumstances of that day and age when China was on the brink of modernisation. It was a very turbulent decade [the 1980s] and you had the rise of scholar-artist students who were trying to strive for a new China. That way of thought is especially important, because that was a really crucial period of time for the enlightenment in China after it was established in 1949 and after Deng Xiaoping and all that. After that, when I went back to Xinjiang, I had already been exposed to so much and with my new outlooks and horizons I started engaging myself in creative pursuits, not just art, but with stage props and theatre designs, conveying traditional theatrical symbolism with new terms. It wasn’t like I just locked myself in a studio.

Then it was Beijing for four or five years and then it was Germany. I noticed there was an overall atmosphere [in Beijing] with students in the academic realm, and so for political reasons in China, I had to go to Germany, which was a lot more tolerant. In Berlin, I taught at the university level but with a translator. I was teaching contemporary art, the creative process and painting, Eastern and Western together. I was part of the faculty and was expected to expound upon my own practices to European students.

Qin Feng, 'Portraits of the Great No. 054', 2014, acrylic on silk cotton paper, 150 x 290 cm (59 1/8 x 114 1/8 in). Image courtesy the artist and Ben Brown Fine Arts.

Qin Feng, ‘Portraits of the Great No. 054’, 2014, acrylic on silk cotton paper, 150 x 290 cm (59 1/8 x 114 1/8 in). Image courtesy the artist and Ben Brown Fine Arts.

So would you say that multiculturalism is readily identifiable in your individual paintings?

From an academic perspective, definitely. That is something that has been commented on by art critics and people who teach art within the field. If you were to dissect a piece and look at the lower hand corner of this work [pointing to Portraits of the Great No 054 – 2014], for instance, you may say is it Eastern or Western. If you were to take out the ink wash part over here, you might say that is very Chinese because it is very easily recognisable. But you cannot just point a finger at it and say this part is Chinese and this part is Western and this part is obviously influenced by American modernism, because even if this material is wielding in an old Chinese fashion, another material over there is probably not part of the tradition of ink painting.

For example, with the red lines especially, that [paint/pigment] is probably more of a Western material but then fused together here with other things, in this work, it doesn’t seem Western anymore. So it is not just about embodying all of these different types of culture anymore, it also about the period or epoch we are in right now, the age of modernism, the age of digitalisation, but then at the same time paying homage to historical practices and where this all developed from – it all had an origin – and having a platform that represents all of that.

In this work the printed frame evokes Western classicism, but they all seem to coexist somehow. It’s like how the iPhone is so successful, because it doesn’t just present itself as an ‘American invention’, but it’s got more to do with being a technological breakthrough. How people can use it to communicate, sending messages for instance, breaks boundaries. It doesn’t matter who you are. Who is going to say ‘I don’t think we should communicate’. If you can achieve that communication, it means you’ve succeeded.

Qin Feng, 'Desire Scenery No. 055', 2014, acrylic on silk cotton paper, 153.4 x 178 cm (60 3/8 x 70 1/8 in). Image courtesy the artist and Ben Brown Fine Arts.

Qin Feng, ‘Desire Scenery No. 055’, 2014, acrylic on silk cotton paper, 153.4 x 178 cm (60 3/8 x 70 1/8 in). Image courtesy the artist and Ben Brown Fine Arts.

Tell more us about the paper you use.

In the first place, this paper was conceived because it has to be able to carry and compliment the colour scheme that I had in mind. It was tailor made to fit what I had in mind. And the blotchiness and the pink pigment has to be able to come through in a certain way; that’s why the paper was made in such a way. Because if you use something that is water repellent then how are you going to hold that colour in? It has to be absorbent enough but at the same time it has to not have that washy kind of feeling. That cannot be achieved through traditional Chinese xuanzhi (宣紙) (rice paper).

Canvas has always been associated with the finest Western art, from the Renaissance period onward, as long as it’s not works on paper. But xuanzhi (宣紙) is for traditional Chinese ink painting, whatever dynasty it is doesn’t matter, whether it is a portrait or a landscape. By combining those two qualities of cotton and rice paper and creating this you are jumping out of those parameters and you’re creating something new, while at the same time paying tribute to the origins. Still, the quality of it surpasses the original predecessors. This is a paper of our century. We are doing our own thing now. Multiculturalism is not just about ideas; now it is physical, it’s manifested.

The layers of paper here [pointing to Desire Scenery No 055 – 2014], you see they are not just stacked right on top of each other, but you see the layering until you reach the top layer. Well, think about it as a journey through time. We were here before, but as you slowly peel off these layers you will eventually find those roots. It is a journey of development in art history and practices. The red colours themselves are entirely Western; this is not Chinese ink. But as part of the formula for creating this paper, I have infused into it my whole existence and memories.

You see the wooliness? It’s like my bedsheets, all through the years. So part of me is there. And those things symbolise the environment in which you were in. It’s not just me as an artist, but also my own memories and the collective experiences of those communities I was a part of. Cotton, linen and Chinese xuanzhi, those fabrics from my own belongings go into this, the remains of a human experience. But however these things were conveyed or presented it’s all a form of beauty, of art, so at the end of the day this is what you get.

Is there a physical or sexual aspect to the “Desire Scenery” works?

You know how some artists are very specific about what they are conveying? They’ll say ‘I see your point, but that is not what I’m trying to do’. I am not one of them. Obviously, there is a general direction, but then some people think about humanity, some people think about the course of art, some people think about history, and that’s all valid to me.

Qin Feng, 'Portraits of the Great No. 056', 2014, acrylic on silk cotton paper, 150 x 295 cm (59 1/8 x 116 1/8 in). Image courtesy the artist and Ben Brown Fine Arts.

Qin Feng, ‘Portraits of the Great No. 056’, 2014, acrylic on silk cotton paper, 150 x 295 cm (59 1/8 x 116 1/8 in). Image courtesy the artist and Ben Brown Fine Arts.

When Art Radar was looking at the exhibition earlier we were told by the Ben Brown staff that you did not really care how some of your paintings were hung, horizontally or vertically, and that seemed very strange. Would you explain your mindset?

There was a study conducted at MIT that says whenever there are three or more works however they are positioned or oriented they all work together somehow. […] The series is called “Desire Scenery”. Originally I thought how should I put those two (concepts) together. What are you looking for? What do you see? You see what you want. You want what you see. And then the scenery ends up being what you perceive. There are multiple angles. It’s like a glass of water. If I turn it over and it doesn’t spill you would ask ‘Why is water still in it? It is supposed to spill.’ You are not bound by those laws of physics with this type of [abstract] art. But with a glass of water, even if you spill it, it is not the end of the world. You just have a water puddle.

My art is really aligned with my philosophies, rather than a purely pictorial depiction of real life. If you spin the work 360 degrees, it will just look different at different angles; you might see different things a little. You stare at this one object standing up or sitting down for your whole life and then all of the sudden one day you lie on your side and you think, ‘Oh, I’ve never seen this before.’

There were these kids who once came up to me and looked at one of these paintings and said: “Is this new, I really like it.” And I said “That is the same piece you saw before” and I realised I had flipped the orientation. Then every time I would turn it, the kids would say “Oh, it is so much better than the last time! It is totally different from the last time.” [the artist laughing]. But by the fourth time I had turned it 90 degrees, we went back to square one and the kids would say “Oh, I’ve seen this before! But I can’t put a finger on it though.”

Qin Feng, 'Desire Scenery No. 047', 2014, acrylic on silk cotton paper, 153 x 283 cm (60 1/4 x 111 3/8 in). Image courtesy the artist and Ben Brown Fine Arts.

Qin Feng, ‘Desire Scenery No. 047’, 2014, acrylic on silk cotton paper, 153 x 283 cm (60 1/4 x 111 3/8 in). Image courtesy the artist and Ben Brown Fine Arts.

Where are you living now?

Beijing, Shanghai, New York. I have four studios.

How would you compare the art scenes in Beijing and Shanghai to the art scene here in in Hong Kong?

In Hong Kong the pace is so fast. Even the rhythm of crossing the road is totally different. The atmosphere doesn’t allow you to create art. It’s not as apparent as it would be in Beijing or Shanghai for sure. Commercially speaking, yes, it’s not up and coming; it is established already. But from a creative perspective, no. Hong Kong is starting to become like Shenzhen or the other way around. Shenzhen and Hong Kong are beginning to blur into one in terms of the culture and the pace of life. I don’t live in Hong Kong, but these are my impressions. I feel there is a sense of connection with the past, with art history, through the older things. But aside from these icons, I don’t have strong impressions of Hong Kong that would really separate it or make it stand out from, say, Shenzhen.

Because in Beijing you have a lot of dialogue going on. Artists hang out and we have filmmakers and you have all of these exchanges, but in Hong Kong, no. It’s not part of our culture here in Hong Kong to just hang out and just talk about ideas for three or four hours. It’s ‘Time to go to work, see you’ here in Hong Kong. You’re always pressured to think about your next step here. You can’t just take a breather.

Qin Feng, 'Portraits of the Great No. 052', 2014, acrylic on silk cotton paper 150 x 280 cm (59 1/8 x 110 1/4 in). Image courtesy the artist and Ben Brown Fine Arts.

Qin Feng, ‘Portraits of the Great No. 052’, 2014, acrylic on silk cotton paper
150 x 280 cm (59 1/8 x 110 1/4 in). Image courtesy the artist and Ben Brown Fine Arts.

What direction do you see yourself going in the future with your work?

These works are part of a twenty-year plan actually. It’s not going to be a departure from my ideas because it is what I believe in, but how I present it and how it matures and develops later on, it will hold up for a while. So it will not be ‘That is the end of my “Portraits of the Great” days, bye’ or ‘I will dedicate the rest of my life to “Desire Scenery”’. For example, the red, it is all interconnected. I always go back to this one way or another.

And it is still here today after 35 years. The significance of the red thread is so important that it will always be with me even in my final piece. However, the way it is presented, it may even just be an edge or a halo-like aura. The lines will be with me. And then one day maybe later on people will see that red line and say “Oh, that is a Qin Feng piece; I recognise that.” It might not be depicted by a brush or pencil, but the lines are there.

James Ellis

1177

Related Topics: Chinese artists, abstract, calligraphy, gallery show, London event

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The 5th Anyang Public Art Project: pondering art and society

Opening in October 2016, APAP 5 will feature a roster of significant Korean and international artists.

The South Korean public art project in the city of Anyang has recently announced its invited artists, whose works will be curated by Jang Hyejin and Park Jaeyong, and directed by Eungie Joo, curator of Sharjah Biennale 12.

Im Heung-soon, 'Bukhansan', 2015, HD video, 26m:00s. Image courtesy the artist and APAP.

Im Heung-soon, ‘Bukhansan’, 2015, HD video, 26 min. Image courtesy the artist and APAP.

Anyang is a city that retains a strong spiritual significance, surrounded by lush nature such as the Gwanak, Samseong, Suri, Cheongye and Morak Mountains, as well as eight rivers and streams. Located in South Korea’s Gyeonggi Province, approximately 20 kilometres south of Seoul, the city ranks as the 15th largest city in the country. Anyang takes its name from a historic temple founded during the Goryeo Dynasty (918–1392 ACE), Anyang-sa, named for the Buddhist concept of heaven, or the utopia where people wish to be reborn.

Anyang, first developed during the Japanese occupation, was an official satellite city during the expansion of Seoul. The city suffered massive devastation during the Korean War, industrial pollution from the now defunct textile and paper manufacturing industries, and land displacement from flooding in the 1970s. Its rebirth has split the city in two major areas: the wealthy bedroom community of Pyeongchon to the east, and an aging downtown in Manan-gu to the west.

View of the Anyang Art Park from Anyang Peak, a production by MVDRV at the 1st edition of APAP. Image courtesy APAP.

View of the Anyang Art Park from Anyang Peak, a production by MVDRV at the 1st edition of APAP. Image courtesy APAP.

It is in this urban tableau, which embodies symbolic rebirth, that the Anyang Public Art Project (APAP) takes place since 2005, creating links between architecture, design and art. APAP is currently the only recurring international art event dedicated to public art in Korea. The press release writes:

Today the people of Anyang live tactile experiences of work, school, family, neighborhood, city, and nation. And like many of us, they also live in an increasingly collapsed world of real and simulated experience, striving to maintain their specificity, pace, and economic stability. A city long in service to others, its art and development initiative, the Anyang Public Art Project (APAP) sought to reassert a unique cultural presence. Since 2005, the project has brought over 80 art and architectural interventions to the city, yet continues to struggle for relevance locally and nationally.

mixrice, 'Light of a Factory', production still, 2016. Image courtesy the artists and APAP.

mixrice, ‘Light of a Factory’, production still, 2016. Image courtesy the artists and APAP.

APAP 5

Opening on 15 October 2016, the Anyang Public Art Project will run for two months until 15 December. It will see the participation of over 20 artists and collectives based in Korea and internationally, as well as ones working in Anyang and the region.

The final list of participating artists will be revealed in September. So far, the invited artists include, among others:

  • House of Natural Fiber/HONF (founded 1999, Yogyakarta, Indonesia)
  • Michael Joo (b. 1966 US. L/W New York)
  • Kim Beom (b. 1963 Korea. L/W Seoul) + Choi Seungho (b.1984, L/W Seoul)
  • mixrice (founded 2002, Seoul, Korea)
  • Oscar Murillo (b. 1986 Colombia. L/W London)
  • Damián Ortega (b. 1967 Mexico. L/W Mexico City)
  • Park Chan-kyong (b. 1965 Korea. L/W Seoul)
  • Stone & Water (founded 2002, Anyang, Korea)
  • SUPERFLEX (founded 1993, Copenhagen, Denmark)
  • Adrián Villar Rojas (b. 1980 Argentina. L/W Rosario)
  • Danh Võ (b. 1975 Vietnam. L/W Mexico City & Berlin)
Artistic Director Eungie Joo. Image courtesy Sharjah Foundation.

Artistic Director Eungie Joo. Image courtesy Sharjah Foundation.

The artistic director of APAP 5 is Eungie Joo, who curated Sharjah Biennial 12 (“The past, the present, the possible”, 2015). Joo was Keith Haring Director and Curator of Education and Public Programs at the New Museum, New York from 2007 to 2012, where she led the Museum as Hub initiative, curated the 2012 Triennial, The Ungovernables and published the Art Spaces Directory (2012), a guide to over 400 independent art spaces from 97 countries. She was also commissioner of the Korean Pavilion at the 53rd Venice Biennale in 2009 and Founding Director and Curator of the Gallery at REDCAT, Los Angeles (2003–07). Previous artistic directors of APAP include Lee Young Chul, Kim Sungwon, Kyong Park and Beck Jee-sook.

APAP Tour. Image courtesy APAP.

APAP Tour. Image courtesy APAP.

Joo has appointed Jang Hyejin and Park Jaeyong as curators of APAP 5. Jang previously served as curatorial team manager of SeMA Biennale, Mediacity Seoul 2014: Ghosts, Spies, and Grandmothers. Park was curator of exhibitions at Ilmin Museum of Art, Seoul. Jang and Park are founders of the curatorial project Work on Work.

APAP 5 will begin with community workshops and research starting this summer, then officially opening on 15 and 16 October, with public programmes and temporary works on view until 15 December. In November, House of Natural Fiber (HONF), a media art laboratory based in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, will present Anyang Public Lab, a research programme, creative incubation programme, and public project presentation, whose aim is broadening the exchange of skills between artists and creative people with entrepreneurs and technologists.

On site at the Pulitzer Arts Foundation, 2015. Image courtesy dosa, inc.

On site at the Pulitzer Arts Foundation, 2015. Image courtesy dosa, inc.

APAP 5, as its predecessors have done, will present a significant programme and collection of artworks that aim to recognise the uniqueness of the place and the importance of the relationship between art and society, community and the world, as APAP writes:

APAP 5 recognizes the uniqueness of this place and wonders: how can we experience meaningful, shared moments in real time? How can such experiences improve our comprehension of the larger world? How can we expand our understanding of our roles in intersecting communities that come together to form a society? And how can we appreciate the responsibilities and dreams such roles require?

C. A. Xuan Mai Ardia

1195

Related Topics: biennials, public art, Asian artists, events in Korea

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