INDIA SINGAPORE CHINA KOREA TAIWAN The UK’s first Asian Art Triennial opens 5 April -1 June 2008 and is conceived by Shisha, the UK’s premier international agency for contemporary South Asian crafts and visual arts, in partnership with Castlefield Gallery, Chinese Arts Centre, Cornerhouse, The International 3, Manchester Art Gallery and Manchester Metropolitan University.
Asia Triennial Manchester 08 shows fresh and innovative work that represents the best of contemporary visual art from Asia: a festival of visual culture that not only celebrates Manchester’s diverse communities but also explores cultural, artistic and political debates of the 21st century. The international programme features stunning venue-based exhibitions, surprising site-specific new commissions, innovative residencies and extraordinary publicly sited work by artists from Mainland China, Hong Kong, India, Korea, Singapore and Taiwan. None of the work featured has been seen in the UK before and for some of the artists ATM08 will be their UK debut.
The inaugural Asia Triennial Manchester (ATM08) programme echoes Manchester’s radical political and social history, reflects new artistic practice, and seeks resonances between the city and Asia by exploring the notion of ‘protest’ – in its widest sense.
Castlefield Gallery is working with Channel A (Hongjohn Lin and Ella Raidel) from Taiwan and p-10 (Woon Tien Wei, Jennifer Teo working with collaborators Jeremy Chu and Kai Lam) from Singapore who will reside in Manchester in the lead up to ATM08. The gallery space will become a hive of activity with both groups presenting new site-specific work that has been developed through their time in the city.
Channel A will reinvent the identity of the 18th century bogus Taiwanese, George Psalmanaazaar, as an estate agent, in order to explore the notion of property and fantasy in Manchester and Taiwan. p-10 will create a symposium platform for an accumulative research based investigation into different notions of ‘localness’ within the context of the international Triennial and Biennial. Chinese Arts Centre has initiated both a residency and exhibition programme.
There will be two artists’ residencies, March – April with Chinese artist Mao Yan Yang, who will continue his interrogation of the media’s depiction of events focusing on the Triennial’s theme of protest and May – June with Hong Kong comic artist Kong Kee.
For the exhibition, the Centre is working with two Mainland Chinese artists, Chen Shaoxiong and Qiu Anxiong, who both use Chinese ink painting in an experimental way. Using their daily life story and a modern city portrait, they create new ink paintings and animation, which illustrate a sense of insecurity of the rapid urban development in China.
Cornerhouse is staging “What do you want?” with artists Tejal Shah, Jasmeen Patheja, Shilpa Gupta, Surekha and Shaina Anand, all living in India and working amongst a new generation of artists with activist concepts. The exhibition and community project challenges traditional cultural opinion, contemporary political issues and controversial social situations, the artists use photography, performance, sculpture, video and new media to analyse problems faced by Indian women and those living within conventional family structures.
The International 3‘s project features Chinese artist Han Bing whose work uses photography, video and performative social interventions to question everyday living and the impact of human progress. Han Bing’s art manifests a kind of amor mundi — love of the world — investing ordinary objects with a subtle sense of the sacred. For ATM08, Bing is planning to involve approximately 100 local people in the European premiere of a surprising outdoor performance in Manchester on Saturday 12 April.
Manchester Art Gallery presents contemporary work by two Korean artists, Gwon Osang and Choe U- ram. Gwon Osang makes extraordinary life-size sculptures of people. He uses hundreds of photographic images to build up the surface appearance of his models, including the face, their hair and their clothes. The process gives his beautifully crafted figures both photo-realist and surreal qualities. Following a recent Manchester residency, Gwon is now creating new work including a sculpture of the musician Graham Massey – best known as a member of Manchester’s electronic pioneers 808 State. This will be exhibited from 5 April together with an existing work Control.
Manchester Art Gallery also presents Gwon’s first major UK solo exhibition from 21 June – 21 September 2008. Choe U-ram uses precision cut and polished metals, machinery and electronics to create stunning kinetic sculptures inspired by sea creatures and plant life. Two of the artist’s enormous robotic works, Urbanus Female and Urbanus Male, will be exhibited for the first time in the UK in the gallery’s atrium 5 April – 21 September 2008.
Source: press release