Indian architect Balkrishna Doshi’s first retrospective in China at Power Station of Art, Shanghai

The exhibition celebrates the architect’s career of over six decades and highlights the experience of architecture as habitat.

Running until 29 October 2017, the show in Shanghai showcases notable works of Balkrishna Doshi, a supporter of the arts who founded the Visual Arts Centre and the Kanoria Centre for Arts in Ahmedabad. His architectural projects include personal and public housing, community projects, educational institutions, urban planning and furniture design.

Artist Balkrishna Doshi in front of ‘Aranya Low Cost Housing’ model at the "Celebrating Habitat - The Real, the Virtual & the Imaginary" exhibition at Power Station of Art, Shanghai, 2017. Image courtesy Power Station of Art, Shanghai.

Artist Balkrishna Doshi in front of ‘Aranya Low Cost Housing’ model at the “Celebrating Habitat – The Real, the Virtual & the Imaginary” exhibition at Power Station of Art, Shanghai, 2017. Image courtesy Power Station of Art, Shanghai.

Works from different stages of the architect’s career are showcased in “Balkrishna Doshi: Celebrating Habitat – The Real, The Virtual & The Imaginary” in multiple scales. As part of Power Station of Art’s themed programme “Architecture & City” launched in 2013, this is the Indian architect’s first retrospective in China.The aim of the exhibition is to raise the awareness of young Chinese architects about Balkrishna Doshi’s philosophy on architecture, as well as to highlight the purpose of architecture as habitat.

A talk named “Porosity, Paradox, Practice – In Conversation with Doshi” was held on 28 July 2017, moderated by Rajeev Lochan, the director of National Gallery of Modern Art, New Delhi. The sharing allowed the audience to gain insight into the architect’s background, beliefs and practice.

"Celebrating Habitat - The Real, the Virtual & the Imaginary", 29 July - 29 October 2017, Power Station of Art, Shanghai. Image courtesy Power Station of Art, Shanghai.

“Celebrating Habitat – The Real, the Virtual & the Imaginary”, 29 July – 29 October 2017, Power Station of Art, Shanghai. Image courtesy Power Station of Art, Shanghai.

Balkrishna Doshi, was born in Pune, India in 1927. Following his studies at the JJ School of Architecture in Bombay, India, he worked with Le Corbusier in Paris in the early 1950s. In 1955, he established Vastu-Shilpa (Environmental Design), his own office. Later, he launched the Vastu-Shilpa Foundation for Studies and Research in Environmental Design to create affordable housing for India’s underprivileged people, specialising in city planning. Doshi also worked closely with Louis Khan on the project of the Indian Institute of Management (IIM) in Ahmedabad, in which he explores the spatial forms for academic institutions.

"Celebrating Habitat - The Real, the Virtual & the Imaginary", 29 July - 29 October 2017, Power Station of Art, Shanghai. Image courtesy Power Station of Art, Shanghai.

“Celebrating Habitat – The Real, the Virtual & the Imaginary”, 29 July – 29 October 2017, Power Station of Art, Shanghai. Image courtesy Power Station of Art, Shanghai.

The acclaimed Indian architect is also an educator and he established numerous institutions, such as the School of Architecture, Ahmedabad; School of Planning; Centre for Environmental Planning and Technology; Visual Arts Centre, Ahmedabad; and Kanoria Centre for Arts, Ahmedabad. He is a Fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects and a Fellow of the Indian Institute of Architects.

"Celebrating Habitat - The Real, the Virtual & the Imaginary", 29 July - 29 October 2017, Power Station of Art, Shanghai. Image courtesy Power Station of Art, Shanghai.

“Celebrating Habitat – The Real, the Virtual & the Imaginary”, 29 July – 29 October 2017, Power Station of Art, Shanghai. Image courtesy Power Station of Art, Shanghai.

The exhibition is curated by his granddaughter, Khushnu P. Hoof, who is based in Ahmedabad, India. She graduated from the School of Architecture, CEPT University, and has been working with architect Balkrishna Doshi since 2003. The show at Power Station of Art is presented in a non-linear and non-chornological fashion, but connected through space. Doshi’s architectural models, sketches and paintings, photos and videos, as well as music are arranged in an interconnected yet intuitive manner.

Balkrishna Doshi, Aranya Low Cost Housing, 1982-ongoing, Indore, India. Image courtesy John Paniker.

Balkrishna Doshi, Aranya Low Cost Housing, 1982-ongoing, Indore, India. Image courtesy John Paniker.

Architecture as habitat and social experience

Doshi is known for his emphasis on the human experience of architecture, especially when he builds housing meant for communities. In providing a habitat and living space, he likes to bring together communities instead of segregating them into different social classes.

The architect speaks about the role of an architect in a talk at the Bengal institute earlier on:

I think as a professional, our job is also to look at the society as a whole, and think about how do we look at these as a part and a person. […] Architecture is one of the ingredients of life, and I think that ingredient must become as living as the life is.

Balkrishna Doshi, LIC Mixed Income Housing, 1970-1973, Ahmedabad, India. Image courtesy the artist.

Balkrishna Doshi, LIC Mixed Income Housing, 1970-1973, Ahmedabad, India. Image courtesy the artist.

In the same talk, he also comments on the philosophy behind his housing projects:

I had a chance to do 4000 houses for the economically weaker section – the people who came – migrants – people who came from outside, who had no land, no money, and those people who needed something. […] Over time they have the initiative of earning and doing something of their own […] Now twenty years later, things will change, and the houses will become better – they get a job, they rent the houses, they sublet – and the community also changes. At the periphery, bigger houses surround the smaller houses, so the children of the rich and the poor live together, and they grow together. […] The architecture profession is not only the building itself, it is the organism and it is actually an extension of a biological order. […] I think the role of the architect is also to be a social activist.

Balkrishna Doshi, Amdavad ni Gufa, 1991-1994, Ahmedabad, India. Image courtesy Vinay Panjwani.

Balkrishna Doshi, Amdavad ni Gufa, 1991-1994, Ahmedabad, India. Image courtesy Vinay Panjwani.

Balkrishna Doshi, Kamala House, 1959-1961, Ahmedabad, India. Imagec courtesy the artist.

Balkrishna Doshi, Kamala House, 1959-1961, Ahmedabad, India. Imagec courtesy the artist.

Space and design

A site-specific installation of the Kamala House forms the entrance of the exhibition. Completed in 1961, the Kamala House is Doshi’s home. It invites the viewers to experience architecture as a habitat through their presence in the space. Meanwhile, Amdavad ni Gufa is an art gallery that Doshi designed that is below ground level. It resembles a cave and displays Indian artist M. F. Hussain’s work in its interior. These structures highlight the use of space and the feelings architecture invoke to people who occupy the space.

Balkrishna Doshi, Sangath – Architect’s Studio, 1976-1980, Ahmedabad, India. Image courtesy Vinay Panjwani

Balkrishna Doshi, Sangath – Architect’s Studio, 1976-1980, Ahmedabad, India. Image courtesy Vinay Panjwani

Doshi’s studio, Sangath, located in Ahmedabad, consists of a series of vaults. Surrounded by gardens and landscape designs, the studio exemplifies the fusion of Western modernism and Indian contemporary architecture.

Balkrishna Doshi, Sangath – Architect’s Studio, 1976-1980, Ahmedabad, India. Image courtesy P. Dalwadi.

Balkrishna Doshi, Sangath – Architect’s Studio, 1976-1980, Ahmedabad, India. Image courtesy P. Dalwadi.

Balkrishna Doshi, Tagore Memorial Hall, 1963-1967, Ahmedabad, India. Image courtesy Pranlal Patel.

Balkrishna Doshi, Tagore Memorial Hall, 1963-1967, Ahmedabad, India. Image courtesy Pranlal Patel.

Balkrishna Doshi, Central Bank of India, 1972-1975, Ahmedabad, India. Image courtesy the artist.

Balkrishna Doshi, Central Bank of India, 1972-1975, Ahmedabad, India. Image courtesy the artist.

Modernism and philosophy in architecture

From the 1950s onwards, Doshi worked with architects Le Corbusier and Louis Khan, who greatly influenced his practice. In the Post-Independence Era, Doshi’s work incorporates both modernist architectural philosophies, as well as elements in the Indian context. In doing so, the architect, alongside with other Indian modern architecture pioneers, such as Charles Correa and Raj Rewal, develops a starting point for the next generation to construct and express India’s modernity.

Balkrishna Doshi, Institute of Indology, 1954-1959, Ahmedabad, India. Image courtesy Vinay Panjwani.

Balkrishna Doshi, Institute of Indology, 1954-1959, Ahmedabad, India. Image courtesy Vinay Panjwani.

Balkrishna Doshi, Indian Institute of Management (IIM),Bangalore, 1977-1997, Bangalore, India. Image courtesy Vinay Panjwani. Balkrishna Doshi, Indian Institute of Management (IIM),Bangalore, 1977-1997, Bangalore, India. Image courtesy Vinay Panjwani.

Balkrishna Doshi, Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Bangalore, 1977-1997, Bangalore, India. Image courtesy Vinay Panjwani.

Brutalist architecture in the Indian context

Brutalist buildings by the Indian architect include Central Bank of India, Tagore Memorial Hall and Institute of Indology, as well as the campus of the Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Bangalore. Bangalore is known as the ‘garden city’ of India. To adapt to the Indian context, the architect, in his tour of the campus, cites Indian temples as his inspiration and emphasises the use of gardens and open spaces:

I think this building is made around corridors – around not closed corridors – not only the roof and columns, but a corridor with vague parts, so that you are partly inside and outside. You are constantly in this campus – outside and inside – wherever you cast your eyes, you will see the gardens.

Balkrishna Doshi, Indian Institute of Management (IIM),Bangalore, 1977-1997, Bangalore, India. Image courtesy Vinay Panjwani.

Balkrishna Doshi, Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Bangalore, 1977-1997, Bangalore, India. Image courtesy Vinay Panjwani.

He also shares the role of experimentation in the construction of this Brutalist building:

…we had three contractors, and no contractor had done work of this kind. […] for everybody it was an experiment. And the experiment was like this: for example, when you cast a staircase, how do you cast concrete? […] Concrete at that time in Bangalore wasn’t that much…

Valencia Tong

1851

Related topics: Indian artists, architecture, art and architecture, photography, installation, museum shows, events in Shanghai

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Palestinian photographer Ahlam Shibli on photography and home – artist profile

Palestinian photographer Ahlam Shibli presents “Staring”, an online commission at Remai Modern.

“Staring” is the online project by Palestinian Ahlam Shibli presenting 27 never seen before photographs.

Ahlam Shabli, 'The Spanish Specialities Store or Mari Dolores Sabates Juliana who came from Barcelona to Kassel in 1973', 2008. Image screen grab from Remai Modern and courtesy the artist.

Ahlam Shabli, ‘The Spanish Specialities Store or Mari Dolores Sabates Juliana who came from Barcelona to Kassel in 1973’, 2008. Image screen grab from Remai Modern and courtesy the artist.

“Staring”, which viewers could experience as the online commission on Remai Modern’s website during August 2017 (the exhibition is still online), consists of two bodies of work, with 27 images in total. Made in Hebron, the first series Unrecognized (2002) is an account of a Palestinian village that the Israeli state does not acknowledge. The other series entitled Trauma (2008–09) is the result of the artist’s investigation conducted in Kassel around communities that share experiences of exile, expellees from the eastern territories of the former German Reich after World War II and the “guest workers” who came from southern Europe and North Africa from the 1950s to 1970s.

Across these very diverse places, informed by diverse historical conditions, Ahlam Shibli revelas her continuing search for the “material” evidence of home. What the artist found were, according to the commission’s introductory text,

manifestations of an evasive place that was imagined and disappropriated, constructed and denied, remembered, sought, rejected, reclaimed. Home appeared inseparable from contestation and ideological, political, and economic violence.

Ahlam Shibli, 'Bicycles at the Hay atYahud/Avraham Avinu Israeli Settlement', 2009. Image screen grab from Remai Modern and courtesy the artist.

Ahlam Shibli, ‘Bicycles at the Hay at Yahud/Avraham Avinu Israeli Settlement’, 2002. Image screen grab from Remai Modern and courtesy the artist.

Both series have been displayed in institutions before, however what is currently available to see online are the images that Shibli herself excluded, or did not fit in the original showings of the series. Shibli thus explores the “online commission” as an alternative site for exploring the relations between representation and institutional limits, visibility and quantity. The images are organised in various thematic groupings, including “Origins”, “Pigeons”, “Gaze”, “Enclosure”, “Sports”, “Community” and “Representation”. Shibli states in an artist statement about the web commission:

I recombined these images to examine what is similar and what is different in situations apparently so far apart.

Ahlam Shibli, 'Puppets made by French prisoners of war at the stalag IX A Ziegenhan prison camp (the site has been used since 1948 to accommodate refugees of German descent, becoming the municipality of Trutzhain in 1955', 2009. Image screen grab from Remai Modern.

Ahlam Shibli, ‘Puppets made by French prisoners of war at the stalag IX A Ziegenhan prison camp (the site has been used since 1948 to accommodate refugees of German descent, becoming the municipality of Trutzhain in 1955’, 2009. Image screen grab from Remai Modern.

Shibli has long been working through notions of “home” in her photography. The artist’s first major retrospective at the Museum of Art Barcelona was entitled “Phantom Home”, and featured nine series of her documentary-style photographs, dating from 2000 to 2012. In a text commenting on the work Shibli made for 2017’s Documenta 14 in Kassel, the writer refers to Shibli’s conceptual concern with

matter that transcends the divisions between private and public: the mosaic of gestures and places that includes “views” (landscapes), speech situations (elicited by the artist), and biographical documents (excerpted from family archives).

Ahlam Shibli, ‘Untitled (Death, no. 37)’, 2011-12, Chromogenic print, Image courtesy the artist and MACBA Barcelona.

Ahlam Shibli, ‘Untitled (Death, no. 37)’, 2011-12, chromogenic print. Image courtesy the artist.

For Shibli, born in Galilee in 1970 of Bedouin descent, the notion of a homeland is a complex semantic, material, spiritual notion, encompassing the concept of family, the nation state as well as the body. Her photography practice pushes the limits between a documentary aesthetic and intimate profile, landscape and portrait, often choosing as her subject sites where notions of home and belonging are complicated by systems of oppression, structural racism or invisibilised historical narrative.

In a photographic series entitled “Death” (2013), Shibli depicts people across Palestinian society rehearsing their right to remember those lives lost due to years of Israeli military occupation and resistance movements. The project spotlights the memorial gestures of the families and friends of the Palestinian dead, including, for example, the first Palestinian woman to carry out a suicide bombing in Israel. In the public spaces of Nablus, commemorations are common and can be seen across the concrete walls or inside cafes and living rooms. The series seeks to document civil society’s informal art practices, which take the form of graffiti, memorial, posters and collective actions, which the artist recuperates as resistance to colonialism.

Ahlam Shibli, 'Sans titre Eastern LGBT n° 22, International', 20042006. Image courtesy the artist.

Ahlam Shibli, ‘Sans titre Eastern LGBT n° 22, International’, 2004/2006. Image courtesy the artist.

Ahlam Shibli, 'Sans titre Eastern LGBT n° 22, International', 20042006. Image courtesy the artist.

Ahlam Shibli, ‘Sans titre Eastern LGBT n° 22, International’, 2004/2006. Image courtesy the artist.

Shibli has also worked extensively across Europe, North America and the Asia-Pacific region. Previous projects, many of which were included in the “Phantom Home” exhibition, have focused on the monuments that commemorate members of the French Resistance against the Nazis together with French fighters in the colonial wars against peoples who demanded their own independence. Focusing on the bodies of sexual minorities across Europe, the project entitled “Eastern LGBT” (2004/2006) is a group of works portraying the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Eastern Europeans, exiled due to repression in their countries taking up residence across Tel Aviv, Barcelona, London and Zurich.

Ahlam Shibli, ‘Sans titre (Dom Dziecka n° 30), Dom Dziecka. The house starves when you are away’, 2008. Image courtesy the artist.

Ahlam Shibli, ‘Sans titre (Dom Dziecka n° 30), Dom Dziecka. The House Starves When You Are Away’, 2008. Image courtesy the artist.

“Dom Dziecka. The house starves when you are away” (2008) is a series of photographs taken in Polish orphanages – displayed for the first time at the Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw in 2009. Ahlam Shibli’s camera documents life in the orphanages. The artist observes the interiors, inquires the relationships among the members of the groups, follows the moments of intimacy and records all those apparently futile events in the daily routine.

Ahlam Shibli, ‘Untitled from “Dependence”’, 2007, Series of 29 photographs, 38 x 57.7 cm; 57.7 x 38 cm, Gelatine silver prints; chromogenic prints. Image courtesy the artist.

Ahlam Shibli, ‘Untitled from “Dependence”’, 2007, series of 29 photographs, 38 x 57.7 cm, 57.7 x 38 cm, gelatine silver prints, chromogenic prints. Image courtesy the artist.

Ahlam Shibli, ‘Untitled from “Dependence”’, 2007, Series of 29 photographs, 38 x 57.7 cm; 57.7 x 38 cm, Gelatine silver prints; chromogenic prints. Image courtesy the artist.

Ahlam Shibli, ‘Untitled from “Dependence”’, 2007, Series of 29 photographs, 38 x 57.7 cm, 57.7 x 38 cm, gelatine silver prints, chromogenic prints. Image courtesy the artist.

The series was made around the same time as a Barcelona-based project, which is also the result of the artist’s intensive research and preparatory work in a particular location. A year before Shibli spent time in Barcelona with migrant care workers co-constructing the project “Dependence” (2007), which focuses on the relations between immigrant care workers and their employers in Barcelona. The images in “Dependence” are, as much of her work, a product of her personal engagement with the subject she deals with, and her mission to cast light onto the otherwise “invisible” members and phenomena in society.

Rebecca Close

1843

Related Topics: Palestinian artists, site-specific installationphotography, art and politics, art about society, art and war

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“Beating a rainbow to death”: Singaporean artist Jeremy Sharma – in conversation

Art Radar sits down with Singapore-based multidisciplinary artist Jeremy Sharma.

Sharma recently presented a new body of video, sound and light installations for his solo exhibition “Spectrum Version 2.2” at Sullivan+Strumpf, Singapore. Art Radar talks to the artist to find out more about his practice and his recent work.

Jeremy Sharma, 'Spectrum Version 2.2', 2017, 12-channel lightbox system with custom programme (134 mins) with acrylic lens cover, metal rack, plywood, power data supply, mini-PC, network switch, cables, horn speakers, amplifier, selected books from artist’s collection, dimensions variable, installation view. Image courtesy Sullivan+Strumpf and the artist. Photo: Ng Wu Gang.

Jeremy Sharma, ‘Spectrum Version 2.2’, 2017, 12-channel lightbox system with custom programme (134 mins) with acrylic lens cover, metal rack, plywood, power data supply, mini-PC, network switch, cables, horn speakers, amplifier, selected books from artist’s collection, dimensions variable, installation view. Photo: Ng Wu Gang. Image courtesy Sullivan+Strumpf and the artist.

The glass windows and doors to Sullivan+Strumpf were covered with tinted grey film. Seemingly impenetrable from the outside, Jeremy Sharma’s exhibition “Spectrum Version 2.2” thrusted viewers into a sensuous visual and aural space that was disorienting and comforting upon entry. Square monitors radiated coloured lights that flickered and glowed in the dark room; horn speakers blared a muffled voice reading out fragmented sentences that led nowhere but back into the feedback of LED panels.

Jeremy Sharma is no stranger to the Singapore art scene. Trained as a painter at LASALLE College of the Arts Singapore, Sharma is one of those rare artists who have moved seamlessly from painting to sculpture and to video and light installation. Woven into his practice is a consistently rigorous inquiry into what constitutes an art object. Sharma has exhibited widely over the years at national institutions such as Grey Projects, Institute of Contemporary Arts Singapore and the Singapore Art Museum, as well as regionally and globally.

Art Radar spoke to Jeremy Sharma about his recent exhibition at Sullivan+Strumpf and the direction of his artistic practice.

You have had such a long practice as a painter; it was interesting to see you work with video, sound and light installations for “Spectrum Version 2.2”. Is there a reason you wanted to work in these media?

I’ve always wanted to work with several disciplines at once. I used to play a lot [of music] and now I am trying to incorporate my experiences as a musician into my practice. I’m trying to create work that’s more sensorial, one that engages more of your body, not just the sight. I never saw myself as a media artist or a data artist. I’m just using different technologies to create something. Digital media is such a fabric of our lives – working with interfaces and data – it’s part of our everyday. It is part of my practice to incorporate those experiences.

Jeremy Sharma, "Spectrum Version 2.2", 2017, installation view. Image courtesy Sullivan+Strumpf and the artist. Photo: Ruey Loon.

Jeremy Sharma, “Spectrum Version 2.2”, 2017, installation view. Photo: Ruey Loon. Image courtesy Sullivan+Strumpf and the artist.

You referenced several writers in a sound work you created for the installation Spectrum (Mahi Mahi). Are you interested in incorporating narratives into your work?

I was interested in working with fiction and thinking about how reading can be part of the multi-sensorial experience of an artwork. Language is part of our lives and you can’t ignore it or, at least, I can’t ignore it.

In Virginia Woolf’s To the Lighthouse, one of the main characters, Mrs. Ramsay, describes philosophy as something vaguely about “subject and object and the nature of reality”. I thought that aptly described what I’m trying to do in my work. Furthermore, Woolf’s technique of using multiple focalisations resonated with what I planned to make. I imagined an anachronistic scenario of inter-textual relationships where Virginia Woolf and the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein have monologues but, at some point, it becomes a conversation. Wittgenstein’s Remarks on Color is about color as a phenomenological problem. It focuses on the different kinds of qualia as opposed to the atmospheric stream-of-consciousness that is characteristic of Woolf’s prose. [The final sound work] is also intermixed with writing by Haruki Murakami, Marie Darrieussecq, Donna Haraway, Ernest Hemingway, Yann Martel, and even prayer books.

Jeremy Sharma, ‘Spectrum (Mahi Mahi)’ (detail), 2017, 12-channel lightbox system with custom programme (134 mins) with acrylic lens cover, metal rack, plywood, power data supply, mini-PC, network switch, cables, horn speakers, amplifier, selected books from artist’s collection, dimensions variable. Image courtesy Sullivan+Strumpf and the artist. Photo: Ruey Loon.

Jeremy Sharma, ‘Spectrum (Mahi Mahi)’ (detail), 2017, 12-channel lightbox system with custom programme (134 mins) with acrylic lens cover, metal rack, plywood, power data supply, mini-PC, network switch, cables, horn speakers, amplifier, selected books from artist’s collection, dimensions variable. Photo: Ruey Loon. Image courtesy Sullivan+Strumpf and the artist.

Your interest in the tension between qualia and stream-of-consciousness is particularly evident in Spectrum (Mahi Mahi). It was based on a fishing trip that you took recently, is that correct?

Yes, Spectrum (Mahi Mahi) revolves around an approximately 24-hour endeavour I undertook to find this mahi mahi fish. I got the idea from Yann Martel’s Life of Pi. In the novel, the protagonist beat a fish to death in order to survive. The colour of the fish changed as it died, and the protagonist described the experience as “beating a rainbow to death”. It was such a striking phrase. [I originally intended to] create paintings that change colours, but that divagated into many things; life is never quite a straight path or a single conceptual undertaking. Still, I wanted to look for a fish that exists in our tropical waters, so I arranged a fishing trip to Kuala Rompin, Malaysia. The whole expedition was a revelation to my senses, one that I had not observed in my life of routine on stable land. [I recorded the entire experience], edited the video down to two hours before translating the video data into lights. What you see is over 200 scenes of light that feed into the gallery space.

I think about this body of work in contrast to your foam paintings from 2013; they were inspired by waveforms of dying stars. You were thinking about time and space on such a grand scale. However, your works in “Spectrum Version 2.2” are very personal, with most of them originating from videos you shot at home or on your travels. How did you move from thinking about temporality on a universal scale to zooming in and becoming more introspective? I guess, you can think about time and space at both ends of the spectrum.

It’s nice that you use the word spectrum [laughs]. It’s the magnitudes of space that really interests me. It is abstract to think about it in a big way, but also in a very personal, lived way. I think this project relates to the conditions of personal time and space. It’s biographical but it’s also abstract. You don’t sense [the anecdotal aspect] until you find out more about the work. I like to relate it to Virginia Woolf and what she was writing: very personal but abstract prose. There are some tangents in this project that I want to bring forward to another project. I’m currently interested in things that could be perceived as objects, things like the human voice and atmosphere.

Jeremy Sharma, ‘Curtain’ (detail), 2017, six alternate strips of light nodes, custom programme (3.03 mins), power data supply, cables, iPlayer, humidifier, wireless speaker, dimensions variable, installation view. Image courtesy Sullivan+Strumpf and the Artist. Photo: Ruey Loon.

Jeremy Sharma, ‘Curtain’ (detail), 2017, six alternate strips of light nodes, custom programme (3.03 mins), power data supply, cables, iPlayer, humidifier, wireless speaker, dimensions variable, installation view. Photo: Ruey Loon. Image courtesy Sullivan+Strumpf and the Artist.

I think you have already started teasing that out in “Spectrum Version 2.2”. I am curious to know what you think about the translation of non-tactile forms – such as voice and atmosphere – to object.

I think a lot about translation, and I think sometimes the translation changes the form. Actually, I think in both terms: translations and displacements. When you translate something, you displace the original form and that creates something that is alienating or estranged. Curtain is a domestic scene from my home translated into naked LED strips. I wanted to capture the colour temperature, the warmth and dampness of that scene, and store an intimate memory in a form that would remain privy only to me. I was also thinking of ways to embed intimacy in technology, materiality, space and sound.

Do you think the translation of an intimate scene into LED lights might come across cold to the viewer? This would contradict and, perhaps, negate the intimacy of a domestic scene.

I think the work creates a strange reality so it’s not familiar or warm. I am also interested in science fiction. Susan Sontag once said, “Science fiction films are not about science. They are about disaster, which is one of the oldest subjects of art.” That’s something that has always resonated with me – thinking about a kind of ending and place of limbo where you aren’t sure where you are. Science fiction creates that element of estrangement where you feel [that the scene is] strangely familiar but uncanny.

Jeremy Sharma, ‘Curtain’, 2017, six alternate strips of light nodes, custom programme (3.03 mins), power data supply, cables, iPlayer, humidifier, wireless speaker, dimensions variable, installation view. Image courtesy Sullivan+Strumpf and the Artist. Photo credit: Ng Wu Gang.

Jeremy Sharma, ‘Curtain’, 2017, six alternate strips of light nodes, custom programme (3.03 mins), power data supply, cables, iPlayer, humidifier, wireless speaker, dimensions variable, installation view. Photo: Ng Wu Gang. Image courtesy Sullivan+Strumpf and the Artist.

What is it about disaster that appeals to you?

A lot of it is about death. I think it is used allegorically and metaphorically in my work. I’m seeing a world that is changing and thinking about how that relates to my own personal life. I think it’s a start of something new for me. I like what’s happening now and I think it’s triggering a lot of good ideas. Working with digital work, working with people, working with sound, I realised these are things that I really enjoy doing and I like seeing them come together. I like that struggle of not knowing exactly what I think but, maybe, you learn more in hindsight. I’m not obsessed with finding a meaning to what I’m doing. Jonathan Flatley once wrote that the extinction of human meaning restores to things the ability to speak in their own language. [For me], it’s a kind of trigger, a sensation, an impulse, desire; and then you put them all together. In that sense, it’s a lot like painting.

Jean Wong

1854

Related topics: Singaporean artists, environment, conceptual, installation, gallery shows, events in Singapore

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“Every Brilliant Eye: Australian Art of the 1990s” at the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne

The exhibition highlights the diverse time of growth in Australian art in the 1990s.

Art Radar takes a look at some of the highlights from the exhibition featuring more than 100 works and ephemera from the museum’s collection and beyond.

Installation of "Every Brilliant Eye: Australian Art of the 1990s" at the National Gallery of Victoria. images by Tom D Watson. Image courtesy the National Gallery of Victoria.

“Every Brilliant Eye: Australian Art of the 1990s”, installation view at the National Gallery of Victoria. Photo: Tom D Watson. Image courtesy the National Gallery of Victoria.

“Every Brilliant Eye: Australian Art of the 1990s”, on at the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) until 1 October 2017, explores diverse cultural phenomena. Ranging from grunge to techno, identity politics to cyborg culture, the exhibition features over 100 works in various media from the NGV Collection. It will also track the development of artist run spaces and collectives from the decade through on loan ephemera.

Installation of "Every Brilliant Eye: Australian Art of the 1990s" at the National Gallery of Victoria. images by Tom D Watson. Image courtesy the National Gallery of Victoria.

“Every Brilliant Eye: Australian Art of the 1990s”, installation view at the National Gallery of Victoria. Photo: Tom D Watson. Image courtesy the National Gallery of Victoria.

NGV Director Tony Ellwood comments:

”Every Brilliant Eye” will explore the complex cultural landscape of Australia in the 1990s, highlighting both the increasingly diverse approaches to art-making of that decade, and the artists’ innovative use of emerging technologies.

Installation of "Every Brilliant Eye: Australian Art of the 1990s" at the National Gallery of Victoria. images by Tom D Watson. Image courtesy the National Gallery of Victoria.

“Every Brilliant Eye: Australian Art of the 1990s”, installation view at the National Gallery of Victoria. Photo: Tom D Watson. Image courtesy the National Gallery of Victoria.

The exhibition takes its name from an album by Australian rock band Died Pretty and follows on from the 2013 “Mix Tape 1980s: Appropriation, Subculture, Critical Style” exhibition at the NGV. Placing the iconic pieces next to lesser-known items, the exhibition aims to draw unexpected parallels and bind the objects into “loose groupings that share common conceptual, ideological or material concerns”.

Installation of "Every Brilliant Eye: Australian Art of the 1990s" at the National Gallery of Victoria. images by Tom D Watson. Image courtesy the National Gallery of Victoria.

“Every Brilliant Eye: Australian Art of the 1990s”, installation view at the National Gallery of Victoria. Photo: Tom D Watson. Image courtesy the National Gallery of Victoria.

The 1990s were a period of great change with social and political events such as the Gulf War, the AIDS crisis, the establishment of the World Wide Web and the landmark High Court Mabo native title ruling. With increased globalisation, Australia looked regionally for economic, social and cultural connections. This approach was supported in the cultural sector, with the establishment of initiatives such as the Asia-Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art in 1993.

Installation of "Every Brilliant Eye: Australian Art of the 1990s" at the National Gallery of Victoria. images by Tom D Watson. Image courtesy the National Gallery of Victoria.

“Every Brilliant Eye: Australian Art of the 1990s”, installation view at the National Gallery of Victoria. Photo: Tom D Watson. Image courtesy the National Gallery of Victoria.

In this time of change questions of identity were a common theme artists investigated in their work. As Jane Devery and Pip Wallis state in their catalogue essay,

In Australia, this new global situation engendered a cultural shift that saw increasing numbers of artists examine questions of identity, hybridity and multiculturalism. The influence of post-structural cultural theory gave rise to queer theory which sought to remove static categorisations of bodies and identities.

Jane Devery and Pip Wallis, Curators, Contemporary Art, NGV at "Every Brilliant Eye: Australian Art of the 1990s" at The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia, 2 June – 1 October 2017. Photo by Tom D Watson. Image courtesy the National Gallery of Victoria.

Jane Devery and Pip Wallis, Curators, Contemporary Art, NGV at “Every Brilliant Eye: Australian Art of the 1990s” at The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia, 2 June – 1 October 2017. Photo: Tom D Watson. Image courtesy the National Gallery of Victoria.

However, economic hardships also impacted the arts sector, leading to an increased role of the artist collectives and artist-run spaces. These artist led initiatives formed dynamic, new and independent networks that were not afraid of pushing boundaries.

Another key theme in the exhibition, perhaps related to the rise of artist-run spaces, was the development of a closer relationship between artists and their audiences. This can be seen in the rise of relational, participatory and performance practices of the time.

Here Art Radar highlights a few of the key works that can be found in the exhibition.

Highlights

1. Constanze Zikos

Born in Greece in 1962 and arriving in Australia four years later, Constanze Zikos draws upon influences from ancient history to modernist painting and popular culture. The work Fake Flag (1994) explores concepts of identity, as many of the works in the exhibition do. Through inclusion of symbols from other cultures to create the iconic Southern Cross, the work highlights the multicultural aspects of Australia. The layers of everyday materials – enamel house paint and laminex adhesives – create lurid colours and patterns that are typical of Zikos’ fascination with surfaces as well as his interest in geometric abstraction.

Constanze Zikos, 'Fake flag', 1994, thermo-setting laminate, enamel paint, crayon, metallic and plastic self-adhesive tape on composition board, (a-h) 198.1 x 262.2 cm (overall). In the collection of the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, purchased, 1999. Image courtesy the artist.

Constanze Zikos, ‘Fake Flag’, 1994, thermo-setting laminate, enamel paint, crayon, metallic and plastic self-adhesive tape on composition board, (a-h) 198.1 cm x 262.2 cm (overall). In the collection of the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, purchased, 1999. Image courtesy the artist and the National Gallery of Victoria.

2. Marco Fusinato

Marco Fusinato (b. 1964) has several works in ”Every Brilliant Eye”, including a number of speed paintings using only the colour red. As reported in the exhibition, Fusinato said (PDF download) of his work that he “always 
used one colour to eliminate imagination, decoration, narrative and any decisions about composition […]. The intention was always to get from point A to point B in the most direct manner, using the most elementary means, as quickly as possible.” Also a musician, he is well known for experimental improvisations with electric guitar and other electronics.

Installation of "Every Brilliant Eye: Australian Art of the 1990s" at the National Gallery of Victoria. images by Tom D Watson. Image courtesy the National Gallery of Victoria.

“Every Brilliant Eye: Australian Art of the 1990s”, installation view at the National Gallery of Victoria. Photo: Tom D Watson. Image courtesy the National Gallery of Victoria.

3. Gordon Bennett

Gordon Bennett (1955-2014) was a prominent member of the Australian art scene who gained recognition in the 1990s, especially after he won the Moët & Chandon Australian Art Fellowship in 1991. His work Interior (Abstract Eye) (1991) investigates postcolonial questions of identity and history, as does much of his work in this period. He uses appropriation as a method through which to draw attention to challenges of representation from both Aboriginal and non‐Aboriginal perspectives.

4. Leah King-Smith

Leah King‐Smith (b. 1956) also tackled questions of representation through her 1990s photographic work involving indigenous Australians. As she observed (PDF download) at the time,

This photo- composition series is essentially about renewing people’s perceptions of Aboriginal people […].By re‐placing the Koories in my work, I am showing my concerns about how the original photographs, and those generally
of Indigenous peoples in the nineteenth century, are evidence of the cultural bias of the civilisation which produced them, and […] generate an inaccurate version
of the presence of Aboriginal people from this point
of view.

Installation of "Every Brilliant Eye: Australian Art of the 1990s" at the National Gallery of Victoria. images by Tom D Watson. Image courtesy the National Gallery of Victoria.

“Every Brilliant Eye: Australian Art of the 1990s”, installation view at the National Gallery of Victoria. Photo: Tom D Watson. Image courtesy the National Gallery of Victoria.

5. Patricia Piccinini

Patricia Piccinini (b. 1965) was born in Sierra Leone and lived briefly in Italy before migrating to Australia in 1972. She is well known for integrating the relationship between nature, science and technology through her surreal sculpture. In the 1990s she drew inspiration from the genetic engineering debate and reflected upon the idea of designer babies in her 1995 Love Me Love My Lump series. In Psychogeography (1996) she develops these questions through photos of an actor carrying a surreal life form. Piccinini blurred the lines between reality and fantasy, asking the audience to see results of genetic engineering and the technological advances as a positive and creative possible future, rather than something to be feared.

Patricia Piccinini, 'Psychogeography', 1996, printed 1998 from the 'Psycho' series 1996, in The mutant genome project 1994, type C photograph, 120.6 x 258.4 cm (image), 126.9 x 278.8 cm (sheet), ed. 1/6. In the collection of the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne Purchased through The Art Foundation of Victoria with the assistance of Optus Communications Pty Limited, Member. © Patricia Piccinini.

Patricia Piccinini, ‘Psychogeography’, 1996, printed 1998, from the “Psycho” series 1996, in “The Mutant Genome Project” 1994, type C photograph, 120.6 cm x 258.4 cm (image), 126.9 cm x 278.8 cm (sheet), ed. 1/6. In the collection of the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne. Purchased through The Art Foundation of Victoria with the assistance of Optus Communications Pty Limited, Member. © Patricia Piccinini. Image courtesy the National Gallery of Victoria.

6. Rosalie Gascoigne

New Zealand-born Rosalie Gascoigne (1917-1999) used everyday materials in her work in order to capture the open spaces and the silences of the countryside. In the work Clouds III (1992) she used weathered and painted composition board to evoke the transience of clouds, reflecting on the metaphysical quality of the clouds in her solid material objects.

Claire Wilson

1743

Related topics: new media artinstallationpoliticalmuseum shows, feature, events in Melbourne, Australian artists

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Art jobs and opportunities | Tang Contemporary Art (Hong Kong), International Awards for Art Criticism (IAAC), Socially Engaged Art Support Grant (Japan)… 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 | Melbourne | Venue Coordinator | The Wheeler Centre – 18 September 2017

The Wheeler Centre is a nationally and internationally renowned institution for the art of conversation, ideas, writing and publishing. The organisation is seeking a part-time Venue Coordinator acting as receptionist and first point of contact for a wide variety of stakeholders. Key responsibilities include venue hire, programme and project support, reception and facilities service, and administrative tasks. The base level salary is AUD50,000 (approx. USD40,138) per annum with additional superannuation. MORE HERE

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OPEN CALL | Global and Shanghai | Call for Art Critics | International Awards for Art Criticism (IAAC) – 24 September 2017

The Fourth Edition of the International Awards for Art Criticism (IAAC 4) of 2017 is calling art critics and writers all over the world to submit their unpublished works in Chinese or English about any contemporary art exhibition held between 20 September 2016 and 20 September 2017. The First Prize will consist of a cash award of EUR10,000 (approx. USD11,972) and a fully funded short programme of visits and meetings in Shanghai or London. Each of the three Second Prizes will be awarded a cash prize of EUR3,500 (approx. USD4,189). Submissions may be no longer than 1,500 English words or 2,000 Chinese characters. Applicants may upload supporting high-quality visual elements. MORE HERE

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OPEN CALL | Global and Japan | Call for Artists | Socially Engaged Art Support Grant – 22 October 2017

Kawamura Arts and Cultural Foundation is a Tokyo-based cultural organisation that provides support in the form of assisting and subsidising national and international cultural arts. The Foundation is now calling international artists or organisations to apply for 2017 Socially Engaged Art Support Grant. Eligible proposals are socially engaged contemporary art projects that will take place in Japan between 1 April 2018 and 31 March 2019, and commit to the improvement of local communities and wider society. The grant worth a maximum of JPY5,000,000 (approx. USD45,642) will be paid in divided terms. MORE HERE

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JOB | Hong Kong | Sales and Marketing Director/Manager | Tang Contemporary Art – apply by unspecified

Tang Contemporary Art is recruiting a Sales and Marketing Director/Manager for its Hong Kong gallery. Working closely with Director and the sales team, the ideal candidate will take on a leadership role in sales management, customer service, Public Relations and marketing, and overseeing gallery inventory and sales system. Applicants must provide a proven track record of sales, and have degree and experience in art or business-related field. Holding HK work visa is an advantage; however, the successful candidate will be assisted in obtaining one for the position. if interested, email cover letter and CV with expected salary to vivian@tancontemporary.com.hk MORE HERE

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JOB | Los Angeles | Visitor Services Associate | The Broad – apply by unspecified (rolling basis)

The Broad is a contemporary art museum founded by philanthropists Eli and Edythe Broad that holds over 2000 works of art in the Broad collection. The Museum is seeking a part-time Visitor Services Associate to ensure a positive visiting experience. The candidate will receive cross-training and work in three visitor-facing areas: visitor orientation and ticketing, in-gallery experience, and safety and security. Major responsibilities include visitor greeting, facilitating ticket-checking, traffic flow invigilating and answering visitors’ questions. The Visitor Services Associates can be scheduled to work up to 25 hours per week depending on their availability and will be scheduled for at least one weekend day. 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 | Worldwide and Online | Call for Submissions | ArtMaze Magazine – 14 September 2017

ArtMaze Magazine is a bi-monthly publication both in print and digital supporting and promoting the work of emerging and mid-career artists worldwide. The Magazine’s ANNIVERSARY AUTUMN 2017 International Issue is calling artists from around the world to submit works in any medium for the opportunity to be published and shown internationally. An EUR30 (approx. USD35) non-refundable submission fee will apply per entry. MORE HERE

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OPEN CALL | Iceland | Call for Artists | Skaftfell Center for Visual Art – 15 September 2017

The Skaftfell Center for Visual Art is based in the small fjord town of Seyðisfjörður, East Iceland. With a population of around 650, the Center runs an artist residency programme calling artists from all around the world. Taking place in 2018, the residency programme is ideal for self-directed and solitude-needed research for the production of work. The programme is best suited for visual artists but artists with interdisciplinary practices and curators are also welcome to apply. Opportunities during residency include artist talks, open studios, workshops for the local community and for primary school children and the Skaftfell educational programme. The applicant may choose the duration of the residency from 1 to 6 months, either in a private or shared residency. MORE HERE

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OPEN CALL | Global | Call for Funding Applications | Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF) –15 September 2017

In recognising how integral mobility is for artists and cultural professionals, the Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF) has launched “Mobility First!”, a funding initiative, to support the travel for professional creative engagement between Asia and Europe. Individuals and art organisations of all artistic and cultural forms and practices are welcome. Candidates must be of ASEF member nationality or based in the member countries. Previous grants have supported projects such as artist residency trips from Sweden to Japan and festival attendance from Korea to Malaysia. The application process is on a rolling basis with 6 rounds announcing a total of up to 10 successful candidates every first week of the month until October 2017. MORE HERE

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OPEN CALL | Hong Kong | Call for Entries | WMA Masters – 15 September 2017

Based in Hong Kong, the WMA Masters is a non-profit photography award aiming to nurture the growth of photography as an art form in Hong Kong with a focus on social engagement. The WMA Masters is currently inviting Hong Kong and international artists and image-makers to submit photographic works that are related to Hong Kong. This year’s theme, “Transition”, looks at the in-between experience, the shift and the transformation of the personal, the social as well as the global. Finalists will be selected by a panel of international judges from relevant fields and their works will be exhibited in Hong Kong in Spring 2018. A full-colour catalogue will be published to coincide with the exhibition. The winner will receive a cash prize of HKD250,000 (approx. USD32,010). Each of the finalists will receive HKD15,000 (USD1,920). MORE HERE

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OPEN CALL | Tokyo | Call for Media Arts Creators | The Residency Program for Overseas Media Arts Creators – 19 September 2017

The Residency Program for Overseas Media Arts Creators is an annual artist-in-residence programme for emerging Media Arts creators from around the world to come to Tokyo and create new works. Organised by the Agency for Cultural Affairs, Japan, the Residency provides travel expenses and insurance, living allowance, housing, workplace, professional assistance, exhibition and networking opportunities in Japan. The residency will take place from 12 January to 12 March in 2018. No application fees are required, but the residents are responsible for the production expenses. 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.

A Point of Encounter for Asia-Pacific: Sydney Contemporary 2017 art fair – highlights round-up

Sydney Contemporary dispelled fears of a weak market with healthy sales and strong artist presentations.

The third edition of Sydney Contemporary gathered artists, collectors and gallerists from across the Asia-Pacific region.

"Installation" group exhibition. Installation view at Sydney Contemporary 2017. Image courtesy Sydney Contemporary 2017.

“Installation” group exhibition. Installation view at Sydney Contemporary 2017. Image courtesy Sydney Contemporary 2017.

While the cancellation of the biannual Melbourne Art Fair in 2015 appeared to some as a sign of the instability of the Australian commercial art market, for Sydney Contemporary it was good news. The fair opened on Thursday 7 September 2017 with a host of returning local and international galleries from across the Asia-Pacific region and closed with a list of healthy sales, the third edition confirming the fair as Australia’s most important commercial art event. Despite the commercial nature of such events, gallery stands and an exhibition curated by Museum of Contemporary Art’s Rachel Kent were generous and artist presentations were strong. Art Radar picks a few favourites.

Uji Handoko Eko Saputro works on Speculative Entertainment No. 1, 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art. Photo: Jacqui Manning. Image courtesy the artist and Sydney Contemporary.

Uji Handoko Eko Saputro works on ‘Speculative Entertainment No. 1’, 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art. Photo: Jacqui Manning. Image courtesy the artist and Sydney Contemporary.

The stands

In Indonesian artist Uji Handoko Eko Saputro’s Speculative Entertainment No. 1 (Sydney Edition) (2017) art fair visitors were invited to buy sections of one of Hahan’s large paintings for twice the price of their art fair ticket. Once purchased, visitors could then auction off their segment for whatever they could get, an exercise in speculating on their investment through which Hahan himself took a 10 percent commission. The performative work exposes the structure of art fair calculation and investment in a comic gesture that both engages and critiques the art fair environment.

teamLab, ‘Continuous Life and Death at the Now of Eternity’, 2017, digital work, 9 channels, Length: endless. Edition of 10 + 2. Image courtesy the artist and Martin Browne Contemproary.

teamLab, ‘Continuous Life and Death at the Now of Eternity’, 2017, digital work, 9 channels, Length: endless, Edition of 10 + 2. Image courtesy the artists and Martin Browne Contemporary.

At local gallery Martin Browne Contemporary, visitors could see Japanese collective teamLab showing their ambitious multi-screen digital work entitled Continuous Life and Death at the Now of Eternity (2017). Slotting into the trend of emerging digital animators interested in probing and revealing political and social (information) infrastructures (such as US artist Ian Cheng), the work is a real-time animation that responds to the seasons outside the exhibition halls through a series of algorithms that produce a field of seasonal flowers floating over a gold leaf background.

Can Xin, ‘Art Speaks in Tongues’ (1996-present) performance. Photo: Jacqui Manning. Image courtesy the artist, Vermillion Gallery and Sydney Contemporary.

Can Xin, ‘Art Speaks in Tongues’, 1996-present, performance. Photo: Jacqui Manning. Image courtesy the artist, Vermillion Gallery and Sydney Contemporary.

At Vermillion, a Sydney gallery that focuses on Chinese contemporary art, viewers could see a performance by Can Xin. Art Speaks in Tongues (1996-present) is a typical performance for an artist who began using his tongue to lick objects as a means of artistic expression in 1996. Can licked various elements of the art fair setting, just as the artist has, according to the fair website,

licked London, Rome, Beijing, hairbrushes, bricks, passing pedestrians, mobile phones, dead ducks, portraits of Sartre and Nietzsche and pretty much everything sold in the supermarket.

Hiromi Tango, ‘Red Room’, installation. Installation view at Kid Contemporary at Sydney Contemporary. Photo: Jacqui Manning. Image courtesy the artist and Sydney Contemporary.

Hiromi Tango, ‘Red Room’, installation. Installation view at Kid Contemporary at Sydney Contemporary. Photo: Jacqui Manning. Image courtesy the artist and Sydney Contemporary.

Another stand out booth was Kid Contemporary’s presentation of an immersive installation by Japanese artist Hiromi Tango. Entiteld “Red Room”, the work is intended for children, and is part of a collaboration with an art-therapy programme called Arterie@RPA at Sydney’s Royal Prince Alfred Hospital. Tango herself was present, springing from a trampoline or hanging out lying across the floor while two dancers moved around her. During the installation at Sydney Contemporary, healthcare professionals from RPA interacted with the children, and their observations will be used to develop research into art therapy. The artist herself, as reported by the Australian, does not use the term “art therapy”, stating:

I like to call it art magic. There’s a certain pressure with the word ‘therapy’ that you have to get better. There’s a stigma or ­embarrassment attached to it.

Shoufay Derz, ‘1024 Full Stops’, 2015, Copper, 1024 holes, quills, liver of sulphur, 240 x 240 cm. Image courtesy the artist and Artereal Gallery, Sydney.

Shoufay Derz, ‘1024 Full Stops’, 2015, copper, 1024 holes, quills, liver of sulphur, 240 x 240 cm. Image courtesy the artist and Artereal Gallery, Sydney.

Installations

Perhaps the most beguiling event was an exhibition entitled “Installations” organised by renowned Museum of Contemporary Art curators Rachel Kent and Megan Robson. 15 contemporary Australian and international artists were tasked with responding to the unique architecture of Carriageworks. Shoufay Derz’s 1024 Full Stops consists of copper sheets that have been pierced at intervals with 1024 full stops. White feather quills are placed in each hole but many miss their marks, lying fallen. The work explores the fragility of the voice and poetry against the industrial quality of the copper.

Hayden Fowler, 'Together Again', 2017. Installation at Sydney Contemporary. Photo: Jacqui Manning. Image courtesy the artist and Sydney Contemporary.

Hayden Fowler, ‘Together Again’, 2017. Installation at Sydney Contemporary. Photo: Jacqui Manning. Image courtesy the artist and Sydney Contemporary.

In Hayden Fowler’s work Australia (2017), an intricate, circular table holds up the piled bones of Australia’s past. This colonial-styled relic appears too as sun-bleached bone, suggesting the fated dependency of a malignancy on its host. However, the insistent ringing of cicadas portends a timeless resistance and a claiming back, an idea that the spirit of the continent will one day thrive again.

The Austrailian artist also happened to be installed (himself) in another part of the fair at Performance Contemporary for his Together Again (2017): a “live-in” performance in which the artist occupied a cage space with a dingo throughout a part of the duration of the fair. The work is reminiscent of the famous Joseph Beuys work in which the artist shared the gallery space with a coyote, only in Together Again the artist is not actually “present”. Fowler was wearing virtual reality goggles and viewers visting the fair were able to watch on a screen as he navigated landscapes and interacted with his dingo called “Juno”, who also had sensors attached to him. Speaking to the Sydney Morning Herald, the artist explained:

Australians are living in this bubble where we’re basically in a virtual reality. We live in box apartments and watch Netflix and we’re on our phones on Tinder or Grindr or whatever. It’s like we’re living in this prison, but with VR goggles on so we can believe the hype about this glossy, happy life we’re supposed to be living. But I’m also thinking much more positively in my work as well, with the physical interaction between me and the dingo. We’re together and I’m in an equal relationship and a collaboration with this animal that is Australia’s apex predator, yet it’s become so marginalised that it’s facing extinction.

LARA MERRETT, ‘Time After Time (Compendium of Gestures)’, 2017, Acrylic on canvas, Dimensions variable, Installation view, Superposition of Three Types, Artspace, Sydney, 2017. Photo: Jessica Maurer. Image courtesy the artist and Jan Murphy Gallery, Brisbane.

LARA MERRETT, ‘Time After Time (Compendium of Gestures)’, 2017, acrylic on canvas, dimensions variable. Installation view, Superposition of Three Types, Artspace, Sydney, 2017. Photo: Jessica Maurer. Image courtesy the artist and Jan Murphy Gallery, Brisbane.

Laura Merrett responded to the curators invitation to make a sit-specific work by spraying, brushing and pouring paint onto large stips of hanging canvas. Other highlights include work by Japanese artist Maio Motoko, which typically employ a range of traditional and idiosyncratic materials from metallic foils and kozo paper to vintage textiles, found documents and persimmon juice. Motoko’s Moment By Moment Heartbeat By Heartbeat (2007), uses a set of particular materials as references to relationships, memories or traditions, creating a hybrid memento-monument that has both personal and historical resonances.

BETTY KUNTIWA PUMANI, ‘Antara,’ 2017, Synthetic polymer paint on linen, 200 x 500 cm overall; 2 panels each 200 x 250 cm. Image courtesy the artist, Mimili Maku Arts and Alcaston Gallery, Melbourne.

Betty Kuntiwa Pumani, ‘Antara,’ 2017, synthetic polymer paint on linen, 200 x 500 cm overall; 2 panels each 200 x 250 cm. Image courtesy the artist, Mimili Maku Arts and Alcaston Gallery, Melbourne.

A five-metre long diptych painting by Betty Kuntiwa Pumani also stood out. Antara (2017) is the largest and most significant painting the artist has completed to date. Using a reduced palette, Pumani depicts the land of the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) region in the northwest of South Australia. The site is home for Pumani and the Pitjantjatjara people and famously holds many Tjukurrpa songlines that cross this area of country. The contrasting areas of white and its subtle tonal shifts are a quiet and patient counterpoint to the pulsating reds in a work that evidences pain as well as resistance to colonialism.

Rebecca Close

1853

Related topics: events in Sydney, film, installation, news

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Gwangju Biennale announces its 2018 edition: “Imagined Borders”

The Gwanju Biennale has announced that its 12th edition in 2018 will revolve around the theme “Imagined Borders”.

Using multiple curators the biennale will focus predominantly on the history and symbolism of its geographic context of Gwanju, South Korea. 

Gwangju Biennale Exhibition Hall. Image courtesy Gwangju Biennale Foundation

Gwangju Biennale Exhibition Hall. Image courtesy Gwangju Biennale Foundation

Ahead of its 2018 edition, the Gwanju Biennale was founded in 1995 in memory of “spirits of civil uprising of the 1980 repression of the Gwangju Democratization Movement”, and now serves as Asia’s oldest biennial of contemporary art. This week, it announced its intentions for its next presentation, implementing a multiple curator system in the hope that this will

formulate diversified exhibitions that ruminate on both the past and the present of human civilization and explore alternatives for the future while re-illuminating the city of Gwangju.

This process of co-curating will hopefully instil new energy into the exhibition, allowing a diverse set of ideas and discourses to form the structure of the work and themes on display at the Biennale.

Gwangju Biennale Foundation. Image courtesy Gwangju Biennale Foundation

Gwangju Biennale Foundation. Image courtesy Gwangju Biennale Foundation

Crucial to the 2018 iteration is the theme of “Imagined Borders”, a term appropriated from Benedict Anderson’s literature on nationalism titled Imagined Community. This theme will consider issues including economics, politics, psychology and the idea of “borderlessness”, and existing within and outside of borders. As the Biennale explains, this is particularly important now,

at a time when invisible yet iron borders – not dichotomous borders (e.g., between nations and generations) but the more complex borders among diverse elements – have emerged, the theme “Imagined Border” will provide an opportunity to reconsider the agenda of the global community of our times.

Anna Jamieson

1861

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A Growing Platform for Photography and Moving Image in Asia: PHOTOFAIRS | Shanghai – round-up

PHOTOFAIRS | Shanghai took place over the weekend, with over 50 galleries from 28 different cities exhibiting at the Shanghai Exhibition Centre.

A platform for photography and moving image, the 2017 edition was supported by Presenting Partner Porsche and saw over 30,000 visitors through its doors. 

Image courtesy PHOTOFAIRS | Shanghai.

Image courtesy PHOTOFAIRS | Shanghai.

Established in 2014, PHOTOFAIRS | Shanghai is a leading commercial platform for photography in Asia. Its fourth edition comprised of its main gallery presentation, praised this year for being both artistically focused and diverse, alongside a selection of smaller exhibitions and projects. This year proved to be its largest and most successful effort yet, with prominent collectors and curators Simon Baker (Tate Modern, London), Jefferson Hack (NOWNESS), Qiao Zhibing (Qiao Space, Shanghai) and Adrian Cheng (K11 Art Foundation, Shanghai) in attendance.

Image courtesy PHOTOFAIRS | Shanghai.

Image courtesy PHOTOFAIRS | Shanghai.

One of Asia’s most diverse presentations on photography and moving image, participating galleries included Robert Mann Gallery (New York), Magnum Photo (London) and ShanghART Gallery (Shanghai, Singapore, Beijing).

Its most international iteration to date, a highlight this year included “Staged”, a curated initiative which examines the relationship between photography and other mediums, including installation, sculpture, performance and painting. Relevant artists were spotlighted in distinct “chapters” around the fair space.

Image courtesy PHOTOFAIRS | Shanghai.

Image courtesy PHOTOFAIRS | Shanghai.

The fair also considered the historical development of colour photography through “Insights | A Color Explosion: The Rise of Contemporary Photography”, with works by internationally renowned photographers such as William Eggleston, Harry Callahan and Luigi Ghirri.

The fair was praised by leading curators and figures in the art world. “The fourth edition of PHOTOFAIRS | Shanghai demonstrated a new stage of maturity,” commented curator Christopher Phillips:

The mix of Asian galleries and those from other parts of the world struck a perfect balance. The special curated exhibitions showed that Asian artists and collectors have reached a remarkably high level of sophistication. And certainly, everyone at the fair noticed the presence of leading American and European collectors and museums curators, who all seemed to be planning major acquisitions of Chinese photography.”

Image courtesy PHOTOFAIRS | Shanghai.

Image courtesy PHOTOFAIRS | Shanghai.

Similarly, Jean-François Dubos (Maison Européenne de la Photographie, Paris) commented on the lack of ‘déjà vu’ within the gallery presentation and the fair’s talks programme, offering visitors an opportunity to unearth “new discoveries from the contemporary Chinese art scene”.

Giving feedback to PHOTOFAIRS, most galleries unanimously agreed that the fourth edition of the art fair showed a broader scope of both the public’s appreciation for contemporary photography, and the range of collector’s attending the fair. As Magnum Photos explains,

The fair gives us a valuable platform to build and develop connections with collectors and expand our longstanding work with the Chinese market. It’s amazing how engaged people are and it feels like photography is exploding as a sector in China.

Image courtesy PHOTOFAIRS | Shanghai.

Image courtesy PHOTOFAIRS | Shanghai.

These feelings were consolidated from Georgia Griffiths, PHOTOFAIRS Group Fair Director, who spoke to Art Radar:

We are delighted to see such an enthusiastic response to our galleries and programming this year. Strong sales across the board to leading collectors and international and regional curators proves that marketing China for photography is stronger than ever. Highlights of this year’s fair included an expanded public programme with new sections of ground-breaking contemporary photography such as Staged, and special presentations of work by contemporary artists Birdhead and Liu Shiyuan.
Other works sold include video work by Yang Yongliang, and pieces by Daido Moriyama, Wang Wusheng, Liang Xiu, Wang Man and Zhang Kechun.

As well as the range and calibre of artists’ work and visitor appreciation, the fair continues to attract museum curators and collectors, developing vital client bases. As Leo Xu Projects (Shanghai) explains, “Having seen the fair develop over the last three years, I am pleased to be here as it offers a very focused environment and fulfils my needs to meet a new client base.”

Blindspot Gallery from Hong Kong agreed, commenting on how this year there were many more museum professionals and curators than previous years.

Anna Jamieson

1855

Related Topics: photographyAmerican artistsEuropean artistsAsian artistsart fairsevents in Shanghaimarket watch

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