Japanese artist Shingo Yoshida at Gallery on the Move in collaboration with Tulla Center

Japanese artist Shingo Yoshida explores the relationship between human and environment through the lens of story telling.

Albania-based Gallery on the Move presents three Shingo Yoshida film works, drawing inspiration from diverse sources, from Jules Verne to folklore raven tales. The exhibition is open until 1 April 2017.

Shingo Yoshida, 'The End of Day and Beginning of the World', 2015. Color, sound, 21 min, Siberia-Chukotka (Russia) 2015. Image courtesy the artist.

Shingo Yoshida, ‘The End of Day and Beginning of the World’, 2015, color, sound, 21 min, Siberia-Chukotka (Russia) 2015. Image courtesy the artist.

Nature and human: a protagonist in his own movie

Shingo Yoshida is a Japanese photographer and video artist whose work often departs from his research into local myth and folklore and traditions of human and nature interactions. His work The End of Day and Beginning of the World (2015) – one of the three films displayed in Gallery on the Move’s exhibition – is a 20-minute homage to the expansive and stark Siberian regions of Chukota and Beringa. Speaking in a recent interview about what drew his attention to the region, Yoshida explained:

Whenever I fly back to Japan, I mostly take the route via Russia and each time I am still astonished by the vast size of this country that owns such a cultural diversity. It even owns the date line at the 180th meridian and separates two calendar days. Since my stay in the Amazonian jungle I have been into the idea of going to the South Pole as another place of extreme conditions.

Shingo Yoshida, 'I prepared the perfect answer for what you wanted', 2013. Color, sound. Image courtesy the artist.

Shingo Yoshida, ‘I Prepared the Perfect Answer for What you Wanted’, 2013, color, sound. Image courtesy the artist.

Yoshida refers to a period he spent in the Amazon jungle, researching and filming for his video I Prepared the Perfect Answer for What you Wanted (2010). In the work we find the artist alone in the middle of the Amazonian jungle. He tries in vain to find his place and utility, confronted by a nature in which every element participates in the formation of a vital ecosystem, a meaningful ensemble. Contrary to the distance that Romanticism creates between human and environment in an aestheticising project that pits nature as a cure for human suffering, Yoshida approaches nature as an extension of the human body and experience. As the protagonist of his own movie, Yoshida is seen trying to balance the practical need for survival and existential questions of meaning and relevancy.

Shingo Yoshida, 'The end of day and beginning of the world', 2015. C-print, 90x60 cm. Image courtesy the artist and MikikoSato Gallery.

Shingo Yoshida, ‘The End of Day and Beginning of the World’, 2015, c-print, 90 x 60 cm. Image courtesy the artist and MikikoSato Gallery.

Raven tales

In The End of Day and Beginning of the World Shingo Yoshida returns to the landscape of the Russian far East – as terrifying as it is beautiful – and documents his own dialogue with the environment through the lens of local raven folk tales. Raven spirits are traditionally revered in various forms by various indigenous peoples of the zone studied by Yoshida. Kutkh appears in many legends as a key figure in creation – a fertile ancestor of mankind, as a mighty shaman and as a trickster. He is a popular subject of the animist stories of the Chukchi people and plays a central role in the mythology of the Koryaks and Itelmens of Kamchatka.

Many of the stories regarding Kutkh are similar to those of the Raven among the indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest Coast, suggesting a long history of indirect cultural contact between Asian and North American peoples. In a statement about the work, Shingo Yoshida described the production process:

The “Chukchi” people showed us “Yaranga”, their tents out of the cities. On our way we saw Eskimos ancient housing made of whale bones. To the North pole and Arctic regions we took meat and bread as sacrificial offerings to nature and the ravens to thank them for their protection during the trip. There is a junction where the Arctic Circle crosses the 180th meridian. The latter runs vertically to set the basis for the International Date Line, which separates two consecutive calendar days.

Shingo Yoshida, 'The end of day and beginning of the world', 2015. C-print, 90x60 cm. Image courtesy the artist and MikikoSato Gallery.

Shingo Yoshida, ‘The End of Day and Beginning of the World’, 2015, c-print, 90 x 60 cm. Image courtesy the artist and MikikoSato Gallery.

Talking in the aforementioned interview about his reaseach process, Yoshida highlights his interest in starting from an enquiry into local myth, stating:

The research I like the most is about folklore when I get to talk to local people who tell me their stories during my journeys. Folklore plays a crucial part of documenting our own culture and at the same time there is always an amount of it being fiction, which you can hardly know. I like this tension.

Shingo Yoshida, 'The end of day and beginning of the world', 2015. C-print, 90x60 cm. Image courtesy the artist and MikikoSato Gallery.

Shingo Yoshida, ‘The End of Day and Beginning of the World’, 2015, c-print, 90 x 60 cm. Image courtesy the artist and MikikoSato Gallery.

The meaning of life

Shingo Yoshida’s work raises the question of one’s origin, roots and identification, and stresses the notion of psychological and geographical territories. In the video SOS Morse code-Fernsehturm (2010), the artist stages himself at the top of the Fernsehturm, sending out a Morse code SOS to a city that remains unconcerned. With proximity to theatre of the absurd, Yoshida questions the meaning of existence without finding pertinent answers.

Shingo Yoshida, 'Error', 2013. (Still). 11:00 min, HD video, color, sound. Image courtesy the artist.

Shingo Yoshida, ‘Error’ (still), 2013, HD video, color, sound, 11:00 min. Image courtesy the artist.

Shingo Yoshida, 'Error', 2013. (Still). 11:00 min, HD video, color, sound. Image courtesy the artist.

Shingo Yoshida, ‘Error’ (still), 2013, HD video, color, sound, 11:00 min. Image courtesy the artist.

Also included in the exhibition are Yoshida’s works Error (2013) and Voyage Au Centre de la Terre (2014). Error focuses on a glitch in a street lamp at Berlin Alexanderplatz, the rhythmic flickering appears almost to be staged. This malfunction, those moments when the lights turn off, mark its presence. It paradoxically shows itself only as it suddenly disappears. Yoshida relates this curious public incident, that occurs night after night just outside his studio, to a silent personal reflection of one’s own alienated presence amidst an urban setting, where an overwhelming network of functionality attempts to guide us so that we do not have to grope in the dark. A clip of the video can be seen here.

Shingo Yoshida, ‘Voyage Au Centre De La Terre’, 2014. C-Print, Ed. 5, 50 x 33 cm. Image courtesy the artist.

Shingo Yoshida, ‘Voyage Au Centre De La Terre’, 2014, c-print, Ed. 5, 50 x 33 cm. Image courtesy the artist.

Shingo Yoshida, ‘Voyage Au Centre De La Terre’, 2014. C-Print, Ed. 5, 50 x 33 cm. Image courtesy the artist.

Shingo Yoshida, ‘Voyage Au Centre De La Terre’, 2014, c-print, Ed. 5, 50 x 33 cm. Image courtesy the artist.

Voyage Au Centre de la Terre is a personal hommage to Jules Verne’s book of the same title. For the work, the artist travelled to the site in Iceland described by the book, stating in a description of the work that he then proceeded to make a representation of the text “in his own way”. The videos by Shingo Yoshida constitute an investigation of the individual and his or her place and relevance in today’s reality. They reveal the difficulty for contemporary human beings to integrate themselves into a constantly changing environment, to find an identity and function within globalized realities, mutating and confused cultures and intensified migrations.

Shingo Yoshida, ‘Voyage Au Centre De La Terre’, 2014. C-Print, Ed. 5, 50 x 33 cm. Image courtesy the artist.

Shingo Yoshida, ‘Voyage Au Centre De La Terre’, 2014, c-print, Ed. 5, 50 x 33 cm. Image courtesy the artist.

On his website, the artist states:

Our being as a single human is a humble existence. Still, while feeling meaningless there is the perception of surprise due to devastating magnificence. My primary intention is by all means to restate my memory of such a magnificent experience. Due to the fact that I become aware of the little existence I am, I can face myself. The result is similar to a comparison: As method to reconfirm myself, I try to find legends and myths, states of society that are hidden somewhere in the world and almost forgotten or lost. Finally this is the reason why I continue traveling.

 Rebecca Close

1597

Related Topics: Japanese artists, nature, new mediainstallation, videogallery shows

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“Prejudice at Home: A Parlour, a Library, and a Room”: British-Nigerian artist Yinka Shonibare at James Cohan, New York – in pictures

British-Nigerian artist Yinka Shonibare highlights issues of power and prejudice through the lens of history.

In these three major installations, Yinka Shonibare exposes the roots of power and the constructs of social hierarchy. Art Radar has a look at the exhibition before it closes on 18 March 2017.

Yinka Shonibare MBE, 'The Victorian Philanthropist's Parlour', 1996-1997, Dutch wax printed fabric covered wood, cast iron, brass, marble, mirror, bound printed books, porcelain, glass, framed works on paper, and props, 8.5 x 16 x 17.4 feet. Image courtesy James Cohan gallery and the artist.

Yinka Shonibare MBE, ‘The Victorian Philanthropist’s Parlour’, 1996-1997, Dutch wax printed fabric covered wood, cast iron, brass, marble, mirror, bound printed books, porcelain, glass, framed works on paper, and props, 8.5 x 16 x 17.4 feet. Image courtesy James Cohan gallery and the artist.

At James Cohan gallery in New York from 17 February to 18 March 2017 British-Nigerian artist Yinka Shonibare MBE (b. 1962) holds his solo exhibition “Prejudice at Home: A Parlour, a Library, and a Room”. The exhibition features three major installations considering the theme of otherness. The works include the freestanding installation The Victorian Philanthropist’s Parlour (1996-97), the photo suite Dorian Gray (2001) and the large-scale work The British Library, which was opened to critical acclaim at the Brighton Festival in 2014.

Yinka Shonibare MBE, 'The Victorian Philanthropist's Parlour', 1996-1997, Dutch wax printed fabric covered wood, cast iron, brass, marble, mirror, bound printed books, porcelain, glass, framed works on paper, and props, 8.5 x 16 x 17.4 feet. Image courtesy James Cohan gallery and the artist.

Yinka Shonibare MBE, ‘The Victorian Philanthropist’s Parlour’, 1996-1997, Dutch wax printed fabric covered wood, cast iron, brass, marble, mirror, bound printed books, porcelain, glass, framed works on paper, and props, 8.5 x 16 x 17.4 feet. Image courtesy James Cohan gallery and the artist.

Yinka Shonibare came to prominence in the late 1990s and was part of the Young British Artists generation. He has been exhibited in Documenta10 (2002) and the 52nd Venice Biennale (2007) and a survey of his work was developed in a major exhibition that toured from the MCA, Australia to the Brooklyn Museum and the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African Art, Washington, D.C.

Yinka Shonibare MBE, 'The British Library', 2014, hardback books, Dutch wax printed cotton textile, gold foiled names, five wooden chairs, five iPads, iPad stands, headphones, interactive Application and antique wind-up clock, dimensions variable. Image courtesy James Cohan gallery and the artist.

Yinka Shonibare MBE, ‘The British Library’, 2014, hardback books, Dutch wax printed cotton textile, gold foiled names, five wooden chairs, five iPads, iPad stands, headphones, interactive Application and antique wind-up clock, dimensions variable. Image courtesy James Cohan gallery and the artist.

Yinka Shonibare MBE, 'The British Library', 2014, hardback books, Dutch wax printed cotton textile, gold foiled names, five wooden chairs, five iPads, iPad stands, headphones, interactive Application and antique wind-up clock, dimensions variable. Image courtesy James Cohan gallery and the artist.

Yinka Shonibare MBE, ‘The British Library’, 2014, hardback books, Dutch wax printed cotton textile, gold foiled names, five wooden chairs, five iPads, iPad stands, headphones, interactive Application and antique wind-up clock, dimensions variable. Image courtesy James Cohan gallery and the artist.

Yinka Shonibare MBE, 'The British Library', 2014, hardback books, Dutch wax printed cotton textile, gold foiled names, five wooden chairs, five iPads, iPad stands, headphones, interactive Application and antique wind-up clock, dimensions variable. Image courtesy James Cohan gallery and the artist.

Yinka Shonibare MBE, ‘The British Library’, 2014, hardback books, Dutch wax printed cotton textile, gold foiled names, five wooden chairs, five iPads, iPad stands, headphones, interactive Application and antique wind-up clock, dimensions variable. Image courtesy James Cohan gallery and the artist.

The works in “Prejudice at Home: A Parlour, a Library, and a Room” explore individual and collective identity viewed through the lens of history, challenging the prejudices of society. The British Library consists of 6,000 books on shelves, bound in brightly coloured Dutch wax cloth, a colourful style that Shonibare is well known for. Visitors can explore the whole list of names and additional video documentation online, as well as record their own stories on iPads within the installation.

Yinka Shonibare MBE, 'The British Library', 2014, hardback books, Dutch wax printed cotton textile, gold foiled names, five wooden chairs, five iPads, iPad stands, headphones, interactive Application and antique wind-up clock, dimensions variable. Image courtesy James Cohan gallery and the artist.

Yinka Shonibare MBE, ‘The British Library’, 2014, hardback books, Dutch wax printed cotton textile, gold foiled names, five wooden chairs, five iPads, iPad stands, headphones, interactive Application and antique wind-up clock, dimensions variable. Image courtesy James Cohan gallery and the artist.

Yinka Shonibare MBE, 'The British Library', 2014, hardback books, Dutch wax printed cotton textile, gold foiled names, five wooden chairs, five iPads, iPad stands, headphones, interactive Application and antique wind-up clock, dimensions variable. Image courtesy James Cohan gallery and the artist.

Yinka Shonibare MBE, ‘The British Library’, 2014, hardback books, Dutch wax printed cotton textile, gold foiled names, five wooden chairs, five iPads, iPad stands, headphones, interactive Application and antique wind-up clock, dimensions variable. Image courtesy James Cohan gallery and the artist.

The spines of the books list both well known and unfamiliar names, such as T. S. Eliot, Henry James, Hans Holbein, Kazuo Ishiguro, Zaha Hadid, Mick Jagger, George Frideric Handel and Anish Kapoor. The individuals have all made a contribution to British culture although some have been opposed to a diverse makeup of Britain, like Nigel Farage, Joan Collins and Jonathan Arnott. The work challenges perceptions of global migration and refugees at a time when immigrants are being vilified in public discourses. Shonibare highlights the contributions of migrants and asks what Britain would look like without their inputs.

Yinka Shonibare MBE, 'The Victorian Philanthropist's Parlour', 1996-1997, Dutch wax printed fabric covered wood, cast iron, brass, marble, mirror, bound printed books, porcelain, glass, framed works on paper, and props, 8.5 x 16 x 17.4 feet. Image courtesy James Cohan gallery and the artist.

Yinka Shonibare MBE, ‘The Victorian Philanthropist’s Parlour’, 1996-1997, Dutch wax printed fabric covered wood, cast iron, brass, marble, mirror, bound printed books, porcelain, glass, framed works on paper, and props, 8.5 x 16 x 17.4 feet. Image courtesy James Cohan gallery and the artist.

Yinka Shonibare MBE, 'The Victorian Philanthropist's Parlour', 1996-1997, Dutch wax printed fabric covered wood, cast iron, brass, marble, mirror, bound printed books, porcelain, glass, framed works on paper, and props, 8.5 x 16 x 17.4 feet. Image courtesy James Cohan gallery and the artist.

Yinka Shonibare MBE, ‘The Victorian Philanthropist’s Parlour’, 1996-1997, Dutch wax printed fabric covered wood, cast iron, brass, marble, mirror, bound printed books, porcelain, glass, framed works on paper, and props, 8.5 x 16 x 17.4 feet. Image courtesy James Cohan gallery and the artist.

The stand-alone installation The Victorian Philanthropist’s Parlour is a replica of a typical Victorian philanthropist’s living room, a figure whose money was made at the expense of others. The installation is treated like a specimen, or a museum exhibit cordoned off with a velvet rope, which talks back to the 19th century ethnographic displays at the world fairs that displayed people from “exotic” lands in recreated habitats.

Yinka Shonibare MBE, 'The Victorian Philanthropist's Parlour', 1996-1997, Dutch wax printed fabric covered wood, cast iron, brass, marble, mirror, bound printed books, porcelain, glass, framed works on paper, and props, 8.5 x 16 x 17.4 feet. Image courtesy James Cohan gallery and the artist.

Yinka Shonibare MBE, ‘The Victorian Philanthropist’s Parlour’, 1996-1997, Dutch wax printed fabric covered wood, cast iron, brass, marble, mirror, bound printed books, porcelain, glass, framed works on paper, and props, 8.5 x 16 x 17.4 feet. Image courtesy James Cohan gallery and the artist.

Yinka Shonibare MBE, 'The Victorian Philanthropist's Parlour', 1996-1997, Dutch wax printed fabric covered wood, cast iron, brass, marble, mirror, bound printed books, porcelain, glass, framed works on paper, and props, 8.5 x 16 x 17.4 feet. Image courtesy James Cohan gallery and the artist.

Yinka Shonibare MBE, ‘The Victorian Philanthropist’s Parlour’, 1996-1997, Dutch wax printed fabric covered wood, cast iron, brass, marble, mirror, bound printed books, porcelain, glass, framed works on paper, and props, 8.5 x 16 x 17.4 feet. Image courtesy James Cohan gallery and the artist.

By turning the stereotypes around, Shonibare searches for the origins of current day prejudice. He explains that his art is like a Trojan Horse, questioning representations of power:

My work comments on power, or the deconstruction of power, and I tend to use notions of excess as a way to represent that power – deconstructing things within that.

Yinka Shonibare MBE, 'Dorian Gray', 2001, 11 black and white resin prints, 1 digital lambda print, overall: 130 x 175 inches. Image courtesy James Cohan gallery and the artist.

Yinka Shonibare MBE, ‘Dorian Gray’, 2001, 11 black and white resin prints, 1 digital lambda print, overall: 130 x 175 inches. Image courtesy James Cohan gallery and the artist.

Yinka Shonibare MBE, 'Dorian Gray', 2001, 11 black and white resin prints, 1 digital lambda print, overall: 130 x 175 inches. Image courtesy James Cohan gallery and the artist.

Yinka Shonibare MBE, ‘Dorian Gray’, 2001, 11 black and white resin prints, 1 digital lambda print, overall: 130 x 175 inches. Image courtesy James Cohan gallery and the artist.

The series of 12 photographs, Dorian Gray (2001), is a metaphor that explores roots of power and the constructs of social hierarchy. The filmic photos display Shonibare as a disabled black man of African origin and tell the story of how narcissism and a sense of power led to the belief that the character is the master of the universe who is able to define nature.

Claire Wilson

1593

Related topics: Nigerian artists, mixed mediagallery shows , events in London, art about society

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Art jobs and opportunities | Museum of Fine Arts Boston, Queensland Art Gallery & Gallery of Modern Art… and more

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

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

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

New this week!

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JOB | Brisbane | Curatorial Manager, Australian Art | Queensland Art Gallery & Gallery of Modern Art (QAGOMA) – 14 April 2017

The Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art (QAGOMA) is Queensland’s premier visual arts institution and a major cultural destination for Queensland. Located on the South Bank of the Brisbane River, as part of a unique and thriving Cultural Precinct, QAGOMA’s strategic vision is to be the leading institution for the contemporary art of Australia, Asia and the Pacific. QAGOMA is seeking a candidate to lead the Australian Art curatorial department by providing strategic and conceptual direction for the department, its exhibitions, collection development and research. The successful candidate will be a key member of a dynamic and creative senior management team and enhance access to the collection through the delivery of exhibitions, publications and involvement in programming. The candidate’s leadership will bring out the best in his/her team and colleagues who share the same passion, specialist knowledge and art museum expertise. MORE HERE

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OPEN CALL | Brooklyn | Call for Curators | A.I.R. Gallery – 21 April 2017

A.I.R. Gallery invites curators to submit proposals for their next CURRENTS exhibition that will take place between 4 January and 4 February 2018. CURRENTS began in 2010 as a timely and innovative biennial exhibition programme, and addresses contemporary issues that warrant expanded critical attention in the art world. Proposals should describe an original concept for a group exhibition that can be aligned with the mission of A.I.R. Gallery, and refer to its relevance today. The proposal should not include a selection of artists, but should only focus on the concept of the exhibition and its importance for the institution and the audience. The selection of works will be made from a subsequent open call for artists after the curator has been selected. A.I.R. Gallery will publish a catalogue of the exhibition, which will include images of the artwork and a written essay from the selected curator. A stipend will be available. MORE HERE

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JOB | Boston | Department Chair, Art of Asia | Museum of Fine Arts Boston – apply by unspecified

The MFA’s Asian art collection covers the creative achievement of more than half the world’s population since 4000 BC. The collection of more than 100,000 objects includes paintings, prints, sculpture, ceramics, metalwork, and other art forms from Japan, China, Korea, South and Southeast Asia, and the Islamic world. The Chair will lead in developing the artistic vision of the Art of Asia department, and the development of exhibition and collection projects that are based in the institution’s Strategic Plan, and which deliver on its commitment to audience engagement. The Chair will work collaboratively with other curators and colleagues to achieve departmental initiatives and institutional strategic goals. MORE HERE

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JOB | Hong Kong | Head of Research | Asia Art Archive – apply by unspecified

The Head of Research is responsible for articulating and strengthening AAA’s role as a platform for new research, knowledge and ideas. The Head of Research works with the Executive Director to set research and content priorities in line with AAA’s vision and the wider context of the field, while driving projects against this framework. The individual builds AAA’s networks, engages leading professionals, and expands and sustains institutional partnerships. As a key voice within the arts community, the Head of Research takes a macro view of the field and develops innovative approaches to strengthen ‘research infrastructures’, including research grants and tools. In addition, the Head of Research helps the Executive Director to develop long-term organisational strategies, including budgeting, to strengthen the team and institution. MORE HERE

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JOB | Beijing | Marketing & Media Coordinator | Red Gate Gallery – apply by unspecified

Red Gate gallery represents 20 artists who work with various media, reflecting the dynamic and ever-evolving local art scene. With monthly exhibitions, the gallery showcases painting, works-on-paper, graphics, sculpture, photography and installation by both established artists and emerging talents. The successful candidate for the position of Marketing & Media Coordinator will be expected to increase traffic to both the online and bricks & mortar galleries in Beijing by maintaining the gallery’s bilingual websites, creating content for social media platforms, and liaising with all traditional and new media partners. He/she will also be expected to work closely with artists and clients. Proficiency in Chinese and English is essential, experience in the arts or media world is preferred. The successful candidate will be creative, methodical and deadline oriented. The role covers Red Gate Gallery, Red Gate Residency and SURGEArt.com. Interested candidates may send their CV and cover letter to: Brian@redgategallery.com, along with a sentence or two explaining their favourite Red Gate or SURGEArt.com artists. MORE HERE

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

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

Closing this week!

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OPEN CALL | UK | Call for Artists | Nour Festival of Arts 2017 – 27 March 2017

Nour Festival of Arts shines light on the best in contemporary arts and culture of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) every October and November in venues across the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea in London. Now in its eighth year, Nour showcases a broad spectrum of the arts – including film, food, music, literature, poetry, performance, design and visual arts – and reaches a diverse audience of local, national and international visitors. Nour now welcomes national and international arts organisations and artists, working across all art forms, to submit proposals that demonstrate the vision and values of the festival. MORE HERE

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OPEN CALL | Philadelphia | Curatorial Fellowship in European Decorative Arts and Sculpture | Philadelphia Museum of Art – 31 March 2017

The Museum announces a two-year Curatorial Fellowship in European Decorative Arts and Sculpture beginning on 1 September 2017. This fellowship is intended to provide individuals who have completed their graduate training in the field with firsthand curatorial experience. An MA in Art History or related field is required as well as proficiency in at least one European language. Candidates should be able to demonstrate a commitment to art-historical scholarship, to the interpretation and display of works of art, and to the engagement of the public through educational programming. The Curatorial Fellow will participate in all activities of the department, which is responsible for a collection of over 20,000 objects. The work that the Curatorial Fellow will be expected to undertake includes, but is not limited to, object research and cataloguing, public inquiries, exhibition and loan preparation, gallery reinstallation and administration. Fellows have the opportunity to organise an exhibition and/or gallery reinstallation from the permanent collection during the second year of the fellowship. MORE HERE

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

 

What to see at the inaugural Beijing Gallery Weekend 2017

2017 sees the first edition of the Beijing Gallery Week.

The Beijing Gallery Weekend (GWBJ), directed by Germany artist Thomas Eller, spotlights 14 galleries and 4 museums in Beijing between 17 and 19 March 2017.

Li Songsong, 'Historical Materialism', 2014. Oil on canvans. Image courtesy Pace Beijing.

Li Songsong, ‘Historical Materialism’, 2014, oil on canvans. Image courtesy Pace Beijing.

The first gallery weekend in the world opened in 2004 in Berlin, to offer a more intimate space for galleries and collectors in comparison to art fairs, and to attract more international art collectors to the city. The difference with Berlin is that many great young artists emerging in Beijing are not working together with a gallery. This event highlights the reciprocal relationship between galleries, collectors and artists necessary for a sustained long-term development of artists.

Song Peng, 'Perjury & Genesis, Drag and Death' , 2016. Acrylic on canvas. Image courtesy Hive Center

Song Peng, ‘Perjury & Genesis, Drag and Death’, 2016, acrylic on canvas. Image courtesy Hive Center.

Most of the galleries selected for the 2017 GWBJ are located in the 798 Art District, an old decommissioned complex of military factories that has housed a thriving artistic community since the early 1990s. The 14 galleries taking part are Boers-Li Gallery, Galleria Continua, Tang Contemporary Art, Long March Space, Hive Center for Contemporary Art, White Space, Galerie Urs Meile, Magician Space, INK Studio, Pace Beijing, PIFO Gallery, Shangh-ART Gallery, Gallery Yang and Platform China, while participating art institutions include M WOODS, Sishang Art Museum, Taikang Space and Ullens Center for Contemporary Art.

In conversation with Art Radar, Thomas Eller (who is the director of the Temporäre Kunsthalle Beijing) let Art Radar into the selection process for the events listed in Gallery Weekend Beijing:

If you want to create something meaningful for a place like Beijing, you need to be very focused. It was very clear in the beginning that we had to deliver a proposition. Come to Beijing the weekend before Art Basel Hong Kong and you will get to see the best exhibitions in Beijing in the year! The goal was to start with a dozen galleries only to be able to keep the promise of highest quality. We finally put together a list of 14 top galleries and completed that with four excellent private museums/art institutions, because they also play an important role in creating artistic value for the Beijing art world.

Art Radar highlights four must-see events.

Zhuang Hui,' Qilian Range', 2016. Image courtesy the artist.

Zhuang Hui, ‘Qilian Range’, 2016. Image courtesy the artist.

1. Galleria Continua — “Zhuang Hui: Qilian Range”

Galleria Continua Beijing presents a new solo show of Zhuang Hui, “Qilian Range”. Nearly all the works contained in the exhibition resulted from the artist’s trips to the Qilian Mountains. The works displayed in the main exhibition hall at Galleria Continua can be understood as a microcosm of Zhuang’s experiences in the mountains. Curated by Colin Siyuan Chinnery, “Zhuang Hui: Qilian Range” is the first step in a long-term project engaging ideas of landscape. Having spent six years observing and experiencing the Qilian landscape, Zhuang has gradually formed a personal connection with a part of his cultural heritage that has perhaps been lying dormant.

COME INSIDE, Love Spam, 2017, Mobile APP.   Courtesy of the artist

COME INSIDE, ‘Love Spam’, 2017, mobile APP. Image courtesy the artist.

2. Long March Space — “Marching in Circles”

Long March Space’s first exhibition of 2017 in the Year of the Rooster, “Marching in Circles”, featuring new work by Asian Dope Boys, COME INSIDE (Mak Ying-tung & Wong Ka-ying), Liu Wei, Yu Honglei and Zhang Xinjun, among others. The exhibition seeks to offer an imagined alternative to the increasing consumerist culture that exists in the (art) world where the members of the global (art) economy, in one way or another, can be seen as culprits. Particular highlights of the group exhibition are Tianzhuo Chen’s club-night-cum-record-label Asian Dope Boys (established by Tianzhuo Chen and China Yu in 2015), who will provide access to its visual archive by plastering a portion of the exhibition space with posters and photos of nightlife and other events as a testament to what artists can do outside the gallery proper. Hong Kong collective COME INSIDE (formed by Mak Ying-tung and Wong Ka-ying in 2016) also invite visitors into their world, by inviting them to download an app with two important core functions: transferring money to the starving artists behind the project, and receiving push notifications that alternate between life-coach cheerleading and the onset of depression.

Wu Chen, 'Bad Man Can Also End Up in Heaven', 2015. Acrylic on canvas,300×200cm. Image courtesy Magician Space.

Wu Chen, ‘Bad Man Can Also End Up in Heaven’, 2015, acrylic on canvas, 300 x 200 cm. Image courtesy Magician Space.

3. Magician Space — “Wu Chen: Bad Man Can Also End Up in Heaven”

Magician Space presents its second solo show for painter Wu Chen, “Bad Man Can Also End Up in Heaven”. Curator Liu Ye tells Art Radar about the artist:

If you are familiar with art history or the art world, looking at a painting by Wu Chen can be absorbing as it is interesting. He tampers, appropriates and mixes together works and artists found within the annals of art history. The art world is becoming more like an underworld of gangsters. When talking about art, the words of an artist are like ciphers understood only by their inner circle. If however, you happen to be not so conversant with art history, this shouldn’t put you off and turn you away either. A misreading has always been one other way of reading and often leads to the creation of something that can be much more unexpected.

Pu Yingwei, 'Roman Nomade-postercard Roman Nomade and Unknown Travel-A Brief History of a Colonialist', 2016. Image courtesy the artist.

Pu Yingwei, ‘Roman Nomade-postercard Roman Nomade and Unknown Travel-A Brief History of a Colonialist’, 2016. Image courtesy the artist.

4. Hive Center for Contemporary Art — Pu Yingwei

Hive Center for Contemporary Art are holding “Roman Nomade: Pu Yingwei Solo Project”, commissioned by The Hive Becoming project, which present solo exhibitions of young artists who have foreign education background. Pu Yingwei (b.1989) is the first artist to be given the exhibition space. After his graduation from Sichuan Fine Art Institute in 2013, he continued his study at École nationale supérieure des beaux-arts de Lyon. Pu Yingwei’s creation is based on his research of literature; he believes that the individual experience and memory are evidences for one’s existence in the world. In this exhibition, all works and displays are from the artist’s collection on exotic culture and minority races from 2013 since he moved to France. Through different media such as video, installation, photography, painting and text, the artists crosses the boundaries of race, country, religion and language, finally creating his personal history. For this project, all texts provided by the artist are part of the show, as included in his profile and proposal.

Rebecca Close

1598

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Beijing Contemporary Art Galleries celebrate International Women’s Day – in pictures

Beijing’s Tree Gallery and EGG Gallery celebrate International Women’s Day with Chinese women artists exhibitions.

Just in time for the United Nations’ International Women’s Day on 8 March, two Beijing galleries highlight the work of several contemporary Chinese women artists, whose art is an expression of their unique individuality, experiences and interests.

Tree Gallery on the opening day of the exhibition “Hint”, 5 March 2017. The work of Zhou Yumei, 'What', 2017 can be seen behind the window. Image courtesy the curator.

Tree Gallery on the opening day of the exhibition “Hint”, 5 March 2017. The work of Zhou Yumei, ‘What’, 2017 can be seen behind the window. Image courtesy the curator.

Independent curator and art critic Ariel (Ai Lei’er) curated the show “Hint”, running from 5 to 20 March 2017 at Tree Gallery, and incorporated the works of six contemporary Chinese female artists, including Huang Huan, Lu Feifei, Li Xinmo, Tao Aimin, Zhou Chi and Zhou Yumei. She invited the well-known Chinese feminist scholar and art critic Xu Hong to act as academic chair for the show.

Artists, curator and art critics on the opening day of “Hint” at Tree Gallery, 5 March 2017. Image courtesy the curator.

Artists, curator and art critics on the opening day of “Hint” at Tree Gallery, 5 March 2017. Image courtesy the curator.

Artist Li Xinmo with curator Ariel in front of her work on opening day of “Hint” at Tree Gallery, 5 March 2017. Image courtesy the curator.

Artist Li Xinmo with curator Ariel in front of her work on opening day of “Hint” at Tree Gallery, 5 March 2017. Image courtesy the curator.

The curator statement suggests that in the 30-year history of the development of women’s art in China, there has been a shift from a discourse focused on gender identity to one that revolves around individuality. Ariel explains that it is not about a collective consciousness and a discourse on power. Rather the art world has arrived at a point when the multiple factors that affect the creation of female artists, such as visual experience, physical experience, knowledge systems, cognitive models and other aspects of diversity, are taken into consideration.

Artist Li Xinmo’s performance piece 'Relation No. 4' on the opening day of “Hint” at Tree Gallery, 5 March 2017. Image courtesy the curator.

Artist Li Xinmo’s performance piece ‘Relation No. 4’ on the opening day of “Hint” at Tree Gallery, 5 March 2017. Image courtesy the curator.

The curator asserts that the core idea of the exhibition is not to highlight the collective female identity among the artists, but rather a hidden factor that nevertheless points to a relationship among their works. A “hint” towards a non-determinable factor, diverging from the core doctrines and formulae and at the same time constituting, according to Ariel, an important expression of contemporary art.

Artist Tao Aimin with the curator in front of a image of her performance piece 'Ova', 2015. Image courtesy the curator.

Artist Tao Aimin with the curator in front of a image of her performance piece ‘Ova’, 2015. Image courtesy the curator.

The show consists of a mix of artists born in the 1970s such as Li Xinmo and Tao Aimin and those born in the 1980s or 1990s. It comprises a variety of media such as painting, mixed media works, installation, photography and performance art, underlining each artist’s distinct visual voice.

Lu Feifei’s photographic work 'Ye Men', 2015, as seen on opening day of “Hint”, 5 March 2017. Image courtesy the curator.

Lu Feifei’s photographic work ‘Ye Men’, 2015, as seen on opening day of “Hint”, 5 March 2017. Image courtesy the curator.

The second gallery showing the works of female artists on International Woman’s Day in Beijing is EGG Gallery. In its exhibition “Three Contained” running from 26 February to 2 April 2017, EGG Gallery presents the works of contemporary Chinese women artists Cai Jin, Tao Aimin and Pamela See.

Cai Jin, 'Landscape no. 93', 2014, oil on canvas, 150 x 120 cm. Image courtesy the artist and EGG Gallery.

Cai Jin, ‘Landscape no. 93’, 2014, oil on canvas, 150 x 120 cm. Image courtesy the artist and EGG Gallery.

Cai Jin shows her “Landscape” paintings, a series which she has been working on since 1991, but it was only in 2008 that she really felt she got a breakthrough. Her colourful abstracted images draw inspiration from water, clouds and even mildew.

Tao Aimin, 'Calligraphy in Form of Mountain No. 37', 2016, used rice paper, ink, propylene silver, 150 x 220 cm. Image courtesy the artist and EGG Gallery.

Tao Aimin, ‘Calligraphy in Form of Mountain No. 37’, 2016, used rice paper, ink, propylene silver, 150 x 220 cm. Image courtesy the artist and EGG Gallery.

Tao Aimin consistently draws inspiration from traditional Chinese art and culture. Her large scale multimedia work Calligraphy in Form of Mountain No. 37 not only uses traditional materials such as rice paper and ink, but also re-creates the well-known tradition of Chinese landscape painting and incorporates abstracted Chinese characters, resulting in a three-dimensional landscape. Also on view are works from her series “Calligraphy in Form of Bird” based on traditional bird calligraphy from her home province Hunan. Before the invention of paper, it was executed on bamboo to send messages to the emperor and the characters were said to resemble birds.

Pamela See, 'Bee Perfume', 2017, video still of hand-cut paper and animation, 25 min. Image courtesy the artist and EGG Gallery.

Pamela See, ‘Bee Perfume’, 2017, video still of hand-cut paper and animation, 25 min. Image courtesy the artist and EGG Gallery.

Pamela See (Xue Meiling) uses traditional paper cutting as her main medium but her visual expression conveys a contemporary spirit. Delicately hand-cut paper plants and insects are arranged to create whimsical tableaux. She also uses paper cut elements to create short animations, giving life to bees and butterflies flying amongst leaves and flowers.

Nooshfar Afnan

1601

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Chinese artist Fu Wenjun’s “digital painting photography” at the National Art Museum of China, Beijing – in pictures

57 works by the Chinese contemporary artist are on display in the Beijing museum for ten days.

“Harmony in Diversity” features the unique “digital painting photography” style developed by Fu Wenjun as a result of his experimentation with photography. The exhibition runs until 19 March 2017 at the National Art Museum of China in Beijing.

Fu Wenjun, "Harmony in Diversity" installation view at the National Art Museum of China. Image courtesy the artist.

Fu Wenjun, “Harmony in Diversity”, installation view at the National Art Museum of China, 2017. Image courtesy the artist.

Curated by Peng Feng, a professor at Peking University School of Arts and curator of the Chinese Pavilion at the 54th Venice Biennale, the exhibition “Harmony in Diversity” at the National Art Museum of China showcases five series by Fu Wenjun. The abstract, poetic works combine photography, installation and oil painting, coming together as what is referred to “digital painting photography”.

The series included in the exhibition are “Harmony in Diversity”, “A Wind From Yesterday”, “Thought Reading”, “Game” and “Digital Painting Abstract Photography”. Also included is a photography installation entitled Post-industrial Era. The exhibition is organised by the Chongqing Federation of Literary and Art Circles.

Fu Wenjun, 'Harmony in Diversity No. 1', 2016-17, digital painting photography. Image courtesy the artist.

Fu Wenjun, ‘Harmony in Diversity No. 1’, 2016-17, digital painting photography. Image courtesy the artist.

What is digital painting photography?

Fu Wenjun refers to this as a “new” style of photography, developed after years as a documentary photographer, which blurs the lines between photography and painting. In many ways this experimental style furthers the boundaries of the photographic medium, providing the artist with the freedom to use symbolism and “collect visual elements” to create new meanings.

Fu Wenjun, 'A Long Journey', 2014-15, digital painting photography. Image courtesy the artist.

Fu Wenjun, ‘A Long Journey’, 2014-15, digital painting photography. Image courtesy the artist.

Having studied oil painting at Sichuan Fine Arts Institute in 1983, Fu uses the similar concept of multiple layering to create dense, subjective works with “academic characteristics”. He has said:

Conceptual photography is an independent and unique way of making painting. Its major difference from other forms of photography lies in its expression of the subjective mood of the artist, and the artist takes photography as the medium to raise [a] meaningful topic or theme and then brings forth even deeper thinking on it. 

Fu Wenjun, 'Game No. 1', 2013, digital painting photography. Image courtesy the artist.

Fu Wenjun, ‘Game No. 1’, 2013, digital painting photography. Image courtesy the artist.

A confluence of cultures

According to the exhibition press release, the artist focuses on themes such as

the relationship between different cultures in the age of globalisation; the heritage of traditional Chinese culture in a rapidly changing society; industrialisation and urbanisation in Chinese cities.

This is explored, for example, by the visual coexistence – rather than blending – of elements from Chinese traditional paintings and Western classical sculptures.

Fu Wenjun, "Harmony in Diversity" installation view at the National Art Museum of China. Image courtesy the artist.

Fu Wenjun, “Harmony in Diversity”, installation view at the National Art Museum of China. Image courtesy the artist.

The artist told China Daily that the idea of combining different elements, such as a Chinese landscape painting with a Western-style sculpture and ancient rice paper, stemmed from his global museum visits:

I think a lot about culture, history and stories behind them when I see antiques from across the world displayed in museums such as the British Museum and the Louvre.

Fu Wenjun, 'Thought Reading No. 1', 2009-2011, digital painting photography. Image courtesy the artist.

Fu Wenjun, ‘Thought Reading No. 1’, 2009-2011, digital painting photography. Image courtesy the artist.

“Thought Reading” (2010) comprises images of the Dazu Rock Carvings in Chongqing, a UNESCO World Heritage site steeped in history. The conceptual series utilises and modifies religious iconography.

Fu Wenjun, 'Post-Industrial Era', 2015, photography installation. Image courtesy the artist.

Fu Wenjun, ‘Post-Industrial Era’, 2015, photography installation. Image courtesy the artist.

Post-Industrial Era is made up of five wheels showcasing photos and a video. The images are of Chongqing’s factories, taken in the early 2000s to “record economic and social changes in the city”.

Fu Wenjun, 'A Wind From Yesterday No. 1', 2016-17, digital painting photography. Image courtesy the artist.

Fu Wenjun, ‘A Wind From Yesterday No. 1’, 2016-17, digital painting photography. Image courtesy the artist.

In “A Wind From Yesterday”, created for this exhibition, Fu overlays images of the poplar tree (huyang) – which are known to survive for centuries – with images of paper used in ancient books.

Fu Wenjun, "Harmony in Diversity" installation view at the National Art Museum of China. Image courtesy the artist.

Fu Wenjun, “Harmony in Diversity”, installation view at the National Art Museum of China. Image courtesy the artist.

More about the artist

Fu Wenjun (b. 1955) graduated from the Sichuan Fine Arts Institute and has been practicing photography for nearly three decades. He lives and works in Chongqing. He has had notable solo exhibitions at the Today Art Museum (Beijing), the United Nations Headquarters (New York), and the Guangdong Museum of Art (Guangzhou). In addition, he has participated in shows at the 5th Guangzhou Triennial, NordArt, and the collateral exhibition of the 2013 Venice Biennale.

Fu Wenjun, "Harmony in Diversity" installation view at the National Art Museum of China. Image courtesy the artist.

Fu Wenjun, “Harmony in Diversity” installation view at the National Art Museum of China. Image courtesy the artist.

The artist has won several accolades, including the first prize at the International Biennial of Contemporary Art in Argentina and the Lorenzo il Magnifico award at the X Florence Biennale. His work is included in several international collections, such as the Today Art Museum, Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum and Societe Nationale des Beaux Arts in France.

Kriti Bajaj

1600

Related Topics: Chinese artists, installation, multimedia, new media, painting, photography, picture feasts, museum shows, events in Beijing

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Asia Week New York: 6 highlights of contemporary art

Involving 50 exhibitions and five auction houses, Asia Week New York 2017 shines a spotlight on contemporary art.

Art Radar takes a look at some of the contemporary art highlights in this year’s edition of Asia Week New York.

Hiroyuki Asano, 'Sunrise Now', black granite. Image courtesy Carole Davenport.

Hiroyuki Asano, ‘Sunrise Now’, black granite. Image courtesy Carole Davenport.

From 9 to 18 March 2017, Asian art takes over New York. Presented across 50 privately curated exhibitions and five auction houses, the 10-day Asia Week New York attracts collectors, museum curators, designers and scholars. There is a mix of ancient and contemporary art from China, India, the Himalayan region, Southeast Asia, Japan and Korea. The artworks highlighted throughout Asia Week range from examples of porcelain, jewellery and textiles to paintings, ceramics, sculpture, bronzes, prints and photographs.

MIWA Ryusaku 三輪龍作, 'Love', Stoneware, 13.7" x 15" x 7". (35 x 38.2 x 18 cm). Image courtesy Dai Ichi Arts, Ltd.

MIWA Ryusaku 三輪龍作, ‘Love’, stoneware, 13.7 x 15 x 7 in (35 x 38.2 x 18 cm). Image courtesy Dai Ichi Arts, Ltd.

There have been 13 new additions to the gallery list this year, including contemporary art galleries such as Tina Kim Gallery, Pace Gallery and Yewn. This shows growing support for the initiative, which started out with 16 galleries in its inaugural year of 2009.

Art Radar takes a look at a few of the contemporary art highlights from the week.

Toshio Shibata, 'Osaki City Miyagi Prefecture', 2016, C-print. Image courtesy Laurence Miller Gallery.

Toshio Shibata, ‘Osaki City Miyagi Prefecture’, 2016, c-print. Image courtesy Laurence Miller Gallery.

1. Laurence Miller Gallery

Photography specialists Laurence Miller Gallery present the work of Japanese artist Toshio Shibata (b. 1949). Toshio Shibata’s abstract photographs interweave infrastructure and landscape, evoking a balance between nature and the manmade. He often uses long exposures to capture the movement and strength of water as it spills over constructed sluices and channels. He uses a large format camera to eliminate most references to scale, sky and horizon while providing crisp detail and texture. Toshio Shibata first developed his practice in Japan, and in 1996 he captured images of American public work projects with his distinct aesthetic.

Lee Ufan, 'Untitled', 2016, Painting on porcelain, 66 x 64 cm. Image courtesy Pace Gallery and the artist.

Lee Ufan, ‘Untitled’, 2016, painting on porcelain, 66 x 64 cm. Image courtesy Pace Gallery and the artist.

2. Pace Gallery

For Asia Week New York, Pace Gallery presents the exhibition “Lee Ufan: Ceramics”, the first solo exhibition that explores Korean artist Lee’s work in this medium. Throughout his 50-year career, Lee Ufan (b. 1936) has worked in sculpture, installation, painting and drawing, developing work that delves into philosophical theories of the East and West. The works in the show were developed in conjunction with the Manufacture de Sèvres, an atelier near Paris renowned for its production of porcelain and for working with artists.

Lee Ufan, 'Untitled', 2016. Image courtesy Pace Gallery and the artist.

Lee Ufan, ‘Untitled’, 2016. Image courtesy Pace Gallery and the artist.

In the 1960s Lee was one of the founders and major proponents of the avant-garde Mono-ha (“School of Things”) group, Japan’s internationally recognised contemporary art movement that rejected Western notions in in the interrelationships between space and matter. A that time Lee worked principally in steel and stone. Lee has commented that the “highest level of expression is not to create something from nothing, but rather to nudge something that already exists so that the world shows up more vividly.”

Asia Week New York guests, 9-18 March 2017. Image courtesy Asia Week New York.

Asia Week New York guests, 9-18 March 2017. Image courtesy Asia Week New York.

3. M. Sutherland Fine Arts 

Sutherland Fine Arts presents the exhibition “Guo Hua: Defining Contemporary Chinese Painting”. Guo hua’s literal meaning is “national painting” and refers to art that is painted in China and based on traditional Chinese themes of painting. The exhibition explores the limits of this term in the context of contemporary Chinese art, questioning whether oil painting or collage could be included in the term if it articulated a philosophical viewpoint expressed in traditional Chinese painting. The exhibition involves 11 artists: Fung Mingchip, Hai Tao, Hsia Ifu, Hsu Kuohuang, Hu Xiangdong, Hung Hsien, Jia Youfu, Liang Quan, Yang Mian, Zhu Daoping and Zhu Jinshi.

Hsu Kuohuang, 'Waterfall Hidden', 2016, ink and colorwash on paper. Image courtesy M. Sutherland Fine Arts, Ltd and the artist.

Hsu Kuohuang, ‘Waterfall Hidden’, 2016, ink and colorwash on paper. Image courtesy M. Sutherland Fine Arts, Ltd and the artist.

Hsu Kuohuang’s 2016 work Waterfall Hidden uses splashed ink and colour to portray a contemporary view of a flattened out mountain range. It could be considered guo hua because of its subject matter, a traditional landscape theme, as well as because of the use of ink.

Suzuki Osamu (Kura), 'Shino-glazed vessel', ca. 1985. Image courtesy Joan B. Mirviss, Ltd.

Suzuki Osamu (Kura), ‘Shino-glazed Vessel’, ca. 1985. Image courtesy Joan B. Mirviss, Ltd.

4. Joan B. Mirviss

Joan B. Mirviss presents the exhibition “Timeless Elegance in Japanese Art: Celebrating 40 Years”, in which the gallery gives attention to contemporary ceramics such as master ceramist Suzuki Osamu. Suzuki Osamu has developed a modern take on the traditional shino (creamy white feldspathic glaze), using thicker walls, longer firing time and slower cooling periods. The result is work that presents a modern feel to a traditional art form. Suzuki Osamu is the son of a ceramist and learnt his art from his father. He studied traditional methods in the Mino area before adapting his work to gas-fired kiln methods. His new style has been termed shino-yaki and in 1994 he was designated as a Living National Treasure (LNT) for Shino ware.

Luo Jianwu, 'Sandalwood Tree', 2013, a folding-fan-shaped painting, ink and color on paper. Image courtesy Kaikodo LLC.

Luo Jianwu, ‘Sandalwood Tree’, 2013, a folding-fan-shaped painting, ink and color on paper. Image courtesy Kaikodo LLC.

5. Kaikodo LLC

Kaikodo, specialists in Chinese and Japanese art, are presenting five contemporary works in their exhibition “River of Stars”. Several of the works draw from traditional ink on paper techniques, while two works involve contemporary photographs mounted as hanging scrolls. A key work in the exhibition is Luo Jianwu’s (b. 1944) Sandalwood Tree (2013), which is an ink and colour on paper folding-fan-shaped painting. Luo Jianwu often depicts ancient trees as a way to pay respect to their life. The branches of the sandalwood writhe like snakes and are like a forest in themselves. Yet the viewer wonders how long this old tree will last, with its harvest being desired by many religions.

Beili Liu, 'Rise & Fall Series, Wind Drawing (Panel 1)', 2016, Blown Sumi Ink on Stretched Canvas. 92 x 57.5 inches (2.5" deep). Image courtesy FitzGerald Fine Arts.

Beili Liu, ‘Rise & Fall Series, Wind Drawing (Panel 1)’, 2016, blown sumi Ink on stretched canvas, 92 x 57.5 inches (2.5″ deep). Image courtesy FitzGerald Fine Arts.

6. FitzGerald Fine Arts

Another gallery of interest is FitzGerald Fine Arts, who is presenting Beili Liu’s blown sumi ink on canvas entitled Rise & Fall Series, Wind Drawing. The large-scale triptych embraces transience, fragility and the passage of time through an evocation of the wind’s movement. Liu creates immersive material-driven and process-driven, site-responsive installations. Liu often explores opposing forces, such as lightness as opposed to heft, fierceness countered by resilience and chaos balanced by order. She uses common materials, such as thread, scissors, paper, stone, fire and water, and unpacks their complex cultural meanings. Her pieces often combine eastern continuity over time with western passion for the new.

Claire Wilson

1590

Related topics: curatorial practiceAsia expands, events in New York, Asian art

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“Tryst”: commercialising Japanese art history with Ei Arakawa at Taka Ishii Gallery, New York

Ei Arakawa’s new installation “Tryst” explores the commercialisation of Japanese art history.

Art Radar takes a look at Japanese artist Ei Arakawa’s recent exhibition “Tryst”, which ran until 11 March 2017 at Taka Ishii Gallery in New York.

Ei Arakawa, “Gutai Under Feet (Basel LED)”, 2017. LED strips on hand-dyed fabric, LED transmitter, power supplies, SD cards, wood, transducers, cardboard, amplifiers, media player, Music composed by David Zuckerman, Lyrics co-written with Dan Poston. Photo credit Kenji Takahashi. Image courtesy of Taka Ishii Gallery.

Ei Arakawa, ‘Gutai Under Feet (Basel LED)’, 2017, LED strips on hand-dyed fabric, LED transmitter, power supplies, SD cards, wood, transducers, cardboard, amplifiers, media player. Music composed by David Zuckerman. Lyrics co-written with Dan Poston. Photo: Kenji Takahashi. Image courtesy Taka Ishii Gallery.

This is performance artist Ei Arakawa’s third solo exhibition project with Taka Ishii Gallery and sees the artist once again turning to musical elements. For the exhibition, Arakawa chose five famous paintings by the Japanese Gutai Group artists, each of which was shown through a hand-made LED screen. These screens were displayed in a kind of scenography that borrowed the visual marketing language of the Art Basel fair. A series of musical compositions weave a narrative that seeks to offer a re-reading of the paintings (seminal in the Japanese postwar art scene) as markers of the commercialisation of vital questions. The exhibition “Tryst” saw the performance artist once again turning to the “musical” to communicate ideas of celebrity, image, commercialisation and circuits of production of value in the art world.

Ei Arakawa, “Tryst”, installation view at Taka Ishii Gallery Tokyo, Feb 10 – Mar 11, 2017. Photo credit Kenji Takahashi. Image courtesy of Taka Ishii Gallery.

Ei Arakawa, “Tryst”, installation view at Taka Ishii Gallery Tokyo, 10 February – 11 March 2017. Photo: Kenji Takahashi. Image courtesy Taka Ishii Gallery.

Arakawa, the Gutai Group and commercialisation

This is the second work in which the artist has made a direct reference to the Gutai group: his 2011 performance See Weeds also includes moments in which the same paintings used in “Tryst” flash up on a series of screens, while songs and conversations between them serve to develop a collage narrative. The Gutai Group was one of the most important artist collectives in postwar Japan. Founded by Yoshihara Jirō in 1954 near Osaka, its name translates as “concrete”, a reflection of the artists’ desire to push beyond the abstract painting of the day with experiments in pure materiality. Early experiments, such as Kazuo Shiraga‘s calligraphic paintings made by smearing paint around on a canvas evoking the gestural abstraction of Jackson Pollock or Art Informel, were soon followed by an emphasis on performances, immersive installations and video. For a nation emerging from the shadow of totalitarianism, Gutai’s call for vitality, play and new artistic frontiers served as a jolt to a culture of consensus.

Ei Arakawa, “Tryst”, installation view at Taka Ishii Gallery Tokyo, Feb 10 – Mar 11, 2017. Photo credit Kenji Takahashi. Image courtesy of Taka Ishii Gallery.

Ei Arakawa, “Tryst”, installation view at Taka Ishii Gallery Tokyo, 10 February – 11 March 2017. Photo: Kenji Takahashi. Image courtesy Taka Ishii Gallery.

All the paintings referred to in both See Weeds and Tryst were produced around 1959, and thus represent a selection from a significant turning point in Gutai’s history, when artworks had been gradually exported to nations such as France as examples of Art Informel in Japan and the group was garnering international attention. Arakawa’s decision to focus on this period seems to reflect an interest in, on the one hand, the timelessness of questions surrounding the relationship between the body and representation (which stand at the heart of both Arakawa’s and the Gutai group’s artistic practices) and on the other hand, the commercialisation of these vital questions through their distribution among the commercial art circuit.

Ei Arakawa, “Gutai Under Feet (Basel LED)”, 2017. LED strips on hand-dyed fabric, LED transmitter, power supplies, SD cards, wood, transducers, cardboard, amplifiers, media player, Music composed by David Zuckerman, Lyrics co-written with Dan Poston. Photo credit Kenji Takahashi. Image courtesy of Taka Ishii Gallery.

Ei Arakawa, ‘Gutai Under Feet (Basel LED)’, 2017, LED strips on hand-dyed fabric, LED transmitter, power supplies, SD cards, wood, transducers, cardboard, amplifiers, media player. Music composed by David Zuckerman. Lyrics co-written with Dan Poston. Photo: Kenji Takahashi. Image courtesy Taka Ishii Gallery.

Ei Arakawa, “Gutai Under Feet (Basel LED)”, 2017. LED strips on hand-dyed fabric, LED transmitter, power supplies, SD cards, wood, transducers, cardboard, amplifiers, media player, Music composed by David Zuckerman, Lyrics co-written with Dan Poston. Photo credit Kenji Takahashi. Image courtesy of Taka Ishii Gallery.

Ei Arakawa, ‘Gutai Under Feet (Basel LED)’, 2017, LED strips on hand-dyed fabric, LED transmitter, power supplies, SD cards, wood, transducers, cardboard, amplifiers, media player. Music composed by David Zuckerman. Lyrics co-written with Dan Poston. Photo: Kenji Takahashi. Image courtesy Taka Ishii Gallery.

“Tryst” and the Art Basel aesthetic

“Tryst” thus departs from what Arakwa sees as the moment in which the Gutai group began to seek global success and he connects this with the commercialisation of the art world in general. The artist expresses this idea through his choice to frame the installation using the marketing literature (logos, parafenailia, typeface) of Art Basel, one of the most well-attended, international art fairs across its Basel, Miami and Hong Kong editions. The digitalisation of the original paintings in the exhibition (through its LED display) further questions how our current digital condition and networked society influences the state of painting.

Ei Arakawa, “Tryst”, installation view at Taka Ishii Gallery Tokyo, Feb 10 – Mar 11, 2017. Photo credit Kenji Takahashi. Image courtesy of Taka Ishii Gallery.

Ei Arakawa, “Tryst”, installation view at Taka Ishii Gallery Tokyo, 10 February – 11 March 2017. Photo: Kenji Takahashi. Image courtesy Taka Ishii Gallery.

“Tryst”: the musical as means of exploring “augmented authorship”

Arakawa has appropriated numerous avant-garde artists from Japanese art history in his works, which have referenced predecessors such as Jikken Kobo, Gutai, and Fluxus members who served as pioneers in creating forms of collaborative and interactive artworks. Arakawa’s interest in appropriation, reinvention and collective authorship over time has led the performance artist to settle on the musical form in recent years, which requires the necessary assembly of a cast and a re-reading of the original score or script at every new moment of presentation.

Ei Arakawa, “Tryst”, installation view at Taka Ishii Gallery Tokyo, Feb 10 – Mar 11, 2017. Photo credit Kenji Takahashi. Image courtesy of Taka Ishii Gallery.

Ei Arakawa, “Tryst”, installation view at Taka Ishii Gallery Tokyo, 10 February – 11 March 2017. Photo: Kenji Takahashi. Image courtesy Taka Ishii Gallery.

Performance view of How to DISappear in America: The Musical, 2016. Photo credit: Gayla Feierman. Image courtesy Ei Arakawa; Dan Poston; Stefan Tcherepnin; Reena Spaulings Fine Art, New York; Taka Ishii Gallery, Tokyo.

Performance view of ‘How to Disappear in America: The Musical’, 2016. Photo: Gayla Feierman. Image courtesy Ei Arakawa, Dan Poston, Stefan Tcherepnin, Reena Spaulings Fine Art, New York, Taka Ishii Gallery, Tokyo.

Much of Arakawa’s recent work has veered into musical production, namely his 2016 work How to Disappear in America, which premiered at Reena Spaulings Fine Art in Chinatown New York. How To Disappear in America: The Musical (2016) is based on a book with the same title by US artist Seth Price. The adaptation of the work continues Arakawa’s practice of translating previous artistic works into musical form. Published in 2008, Price’s elliptical handbook alludes to 1960s countercultural guides but uses material taken almost entirely from the internet, updating methods of disappearance for the current digital (and highly surveilled) age. Developed in collaboration with writer Dan Poston (who also wrote the lyrics for “Tryst”) and composer and artist Stefan Tcherepnin, the musical and installation form a lip sync performance using the pre-recorded voices of the performers – showing how shifts in context can reframe previous artworks to produce radically augmented meaning.

Ei Arakawa, “Tryst”, installation view at Taka Ishii Gallery Tokyo, Feb 10 – Mar 11, 2017. Photo credit Kenji Takahashi. Image courtesy of Taka Ishii Gallery.

Ei Arakawa, “Tryst”, installation view at Taka Ishii Gallery Tokyo, 10 February – 11 March 2017. Photo: Kenji Takahashi. Image courtesy Taka Ishii Gallery.

“Tryst” as an installation work not only offers a creative and irreverent re-contextualisation of postwar Japanese art by reaffirming the Gutai group’s place not just in the history of art but in the history of the commercialisation and distribution of art. It also plants wider questions about how any artist can possibly balance the drive for success with the development of creative practice and critical thought. Arakawa suggests that in the digital age it is practically impossible, suggesting instead that we should perhaps give in to the music and dance.

Rebecca Close

1574

Related Topics: Japanese artistsnew mediainstallationgallery shows, events in New York

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