Art Radar gives you some highlights of Asian art at this year’s Frieze in New York.
Frieze art fair in New York City opens its doors on 9 May until 12 May 2014. Participating galleries from Asia are few, but the works by Asian artists on offer are a must-see. Art Radar gives you some highlights of the contemporary Asian art on show.
The third edition of Frieze New York will launch on 9 May 2014 at Randall’s Island Park. This year’s fair features over 190 participating galleries from across the globe, with 53 coming from New York alone. The fair includes its critically acclaimed Projects, Talks, Sound and Education Programmes. Main presenting established galleries, Frame featuring solo presentations by galleries under eight years old, and Focus with curated projects and solo stands by galleries founded in or after 2003 make up the three sections of the fair.
The 2014 New York edition has a handful of participants from Asia, while the majority are galleries from the West. Nonetheless, the Asian galleries this year are presenting works by some exciting artists from across Asia. Art Radar selected some highlights that are featured by Asian galleries in the main section of the fair.
Activist artist Ai Weiwei presents his work Crystal Hanger (2013), a crystal reproduction of a plastic clothes hanger. In April 2011, Ai was detained at Beijing International Airport and was then later held at a military police base in Beijing’s suburbs. The room, devoid of any comfort, even lacked storage for clean laundry. Upon Ai’s request, guards provided him with six plastic hangers. This work evokes memories of Ai’s secret detention.
Chen Zhen (1955, Shanghai – 2000, Paris) was one of the first generation of Chinese avant-garde artists who travelled abroad to study art in the mid-1980s. Chen developed a pluralistic artistic style that explored the conjunction of eastern and western thought. He searched for a common ground between the world’s different perspectives, to created what he referred to as “trans-experience”, which dominated his sculpture and installation work.
Shilpa Gupta (b. 1976) is interested in perception and how we understand and transmit information. She works in various media, incorporating found objects into her video works, installations and performances. Gupta is drawn to how objects, places, people and experiences are defined, and questions how these definitions are played out through the processes of classification, restriction, censorship and security. Her works communicate how dominant forces across cultures act on communities and encourages a re-evalution of social identity and status.
Lee Ufan (b. 1936) is a prominent Korean minimalist painter and sculptor. The artist, who has been based in Japan for much of his life, was honoured with the Order of the Rising Sun in 2009 by his host country’s government for having “contributed to the development of contemporary art in Japan.” He was part of the Mono-ha movement, a group of twentieth century Japanese artists known for anti-modernist sculptures and installations that incorporated natural materials as well as ephemeral elements, with a minimal artist intervention. Often, the site-specific works were destroyed after being created.
Lee Seung-taek (b. 1932) is a pioneer of the Korean Avant-Garde and is part of the first generation of Korean experimentalists of “non-materialisation”. Lee’s art explores disorders in cultural consciousness and the ruptures between reality and traditions in Korean culture, after its transformation due to the western influx in the twentieth century. The artist embraces contingency and ephemerality, trying to involve natural phenomena like fire, wind, water and smoke in his work. This concept, which is the essence of Lee’s art, is referred to as “Anti-Materialisation” or “Non-Sculpture”.
This year, Taro Nasu from Tokyo brings to its booth Japanese artists Koichi Enomoto and Takashi Homma and British-Japanese Simon Fujiwara, along with two Western artists, Ryan Gander and Djordje Ozbolt.
Simon Fujiwara (b. 1982) is a young British-Japanese artist whose works often deal with autobiographical explorations of identity and sexuality and blend fact and fiction into rich, absorbing narratives. He mounts complex installations that incorporate sculpture, performance, video and photographic elements to create fully imagined scenarios that explore the interdependence of personal history and more universal narratives.
His work Rebekkah (2012) is inspired by a 16-year-old girl from Hackney, who was one of the protagonists of the 2011 London Riots. The 100 terracotta statues of the girl are made on the model of the terracotta warriors in Xi’an, China and stand as a representative symbol of a new breed of British-born warrior and a soldier for social change.
Tokyo-based Taka Ishii Gallery presents the work of six Japanese artists: Ei Arakawa, Koji Enokura, Yuki Kimura, Kunie Sugiura, Yosuke Takeda, Katsuhiro Yamaguchi.
Brooklyn-based Japanese artist Ei Arakawa (b. 1977, Fukushima) produced a collaborative film and installation with German filmmaker Henning Bohl for 2013 Carnegie International. Entitled Helena and Miwako, the work talks about a post-nuclear future without football, where the sport has suffered disappearance after too much commercialisation and footballs are used as money. Set in Arakawa’s hometown, Fukishima, the film shows the abandoned football fields and the sci-fi landscapes of a not-so-impossible future. Along with the film are decorated footballs made by other participants in the project.
Koji Enokura (1945 – 1995) is one of the central figures of the Mono-ha movement in Japan. He first came to prominence in the 1971 Biennale de Paris with his work Wall – a three-metre high concrete wall installed in the gap between two trees. The artist is known for his artistic interventions that put in sharp relief spatial and material relationships by making only minimal alterations to the environment.
C. A. Xuan Mai Ardia
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- Central Asia in focus at Art Dubai: Marker 2014 – in pictures – March 2014 – the Marker section of Art Dubai 2014 featured art from Central Asia and the Caucasus region curated by the art collective Slavs and Tatars
- Chinese artists at Armory Focus 2014: Alexandre Errera’s watch list – March 2014 – Founder and CEO of online platform Artshare.com, reveals his five favourite artists and artworks from the Armory Focus:China
- 10 great artists at Art Stage Singapore 2014 – picture feast – January 2014 – Art Stage Singapore, which returned for its fourth year, introduced a new format to put bigger focus on art from the Asia Pacific region
- Landmark contemporary ink exhibition at New York’s MET – picture feast – December 2013 – “Ink Art: Past and Present in Contemporary China” focuses on works influenced by ink painting, calligraphy and literati aesthetics this year
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