Archive for the ‘East Asian’ Category
Posted by artradar on October 20, 2010
USA MUSEUM SHOWS CHINESE PHOTOGRAPHY
AW Asia, a private organisation that promotes the field of Chinese contemporary art through institutional loan and museum acquisitions, curatorial projects, publishing, and educational programs, has released a press release announcing that three major US institutions – The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Museum of Modern Art, and the J. Paul Getty Museum – will include works by Chinese contemporary photographers in major group exhibitions.
Exhibiting artists include: Weng Fen (exhibiting at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York), Ai Weiwei and Zhang Dali (both exhibiting at The Museum of Modern Art in New York), Hai Bo, Liu Zheng, Song Yongping, RongRong, Wang Qingsong, Huang Yan, Qiu Zhijie, and Zhang Huan (all exhibiting at the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles).
For more details on each exhibition, read the press release below:
For Immediate Release
June 15, 2010
MAJOR U.S. MUSEUMS EXHIBIT
CHINESE CONTEMPORARY PHOTOGRAPHY
THIS SUMMER SEASON& BEYOND
Contemporary Chinese photography is becoming increasingly prominent in the field of international contemporary art. In the coming months, three major US institutions – The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Museum of Modern Art, and the J. Paul Getty Museum – will include works by Chinese contemporary photographers in major group exhibitions.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York recently acquired a collection of photographic works by Chinese artists from an anonymous donor. Contemporary Chinese artists whose photography is now represented in the Met’s permanent collection include Hai Bo, Sheng Qi, Song Dong, Zhang Huan, Hong Hao, Wang Qingsong, Xing Danwen, and Weng Fen. The upcoming group exhibition, Between Here and There: Passages in Contemporary Photography (July 2, 2010 – February 13, 2011), explores themes of dislocation and displacement in our progressively global society, and will feature work by Chinese artist Weng Fen. The exhibition will also feature works by international artists Dennis Oppenheim, Robert Smithson, Jeff Wall, and Thomas Struth, among others.
At The Museum of Modern Art in New York, The Original Copy: Photography of Sculpture, 1839 to Today (August 1 – November 1, 2010) will feature photography by Chinese artists Ai Weiwei and Zhang Dali. This show examines the intersection between photography and sculpture, investigating how one medium informs the analysis and creative redefinition of the other. Bringing together over three hundred photographs, magazines, and journals by one hundred artists, the exhibition showcases work by both sculptors and photographers, including Auguste Rodin, Constantin Brancusi, Man Ray, David Smith, Bruce Nauman, Barbara Kruger, Hannah Wilke, and Robert Smithson. Photographic works by Ai Weiwei and Zhang Dali entered MoMA’s permanent collection in July 2008; this is the first show in which these works will be displayed at the museum in a group-exhibition context.
Later this year the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles will present Photography from New China (December 7, 2010 – April 3, 2011). Offering a contrast to the nineteenth-century views of China and other parts of East Asia by Felice Beato concurrently on view in the Getty Center for Photographs, this exhibition offers a cross-section of Chinese photographs produced since People’s Republic leader Deng Xiaoping ushered in a new era of opening and reform in the late 1970s. Highlighting the Getty’s recent acquisition of photographs by Hai Bo, Liu Zheng, Song Yongping, Rong Rong, and Wang Qingsong, Photography from New China showcases several approaches that are characteristic of recent Chinese contemporary art, including performance for the camera, the incorporation of family photographs, and an emphasis on the body. Supplemented by loans of work by Huang Yan, Qiu Zhijie, and Zhang Huan, the exhibition explores such themes as pre-revolutionary Chinese literati, vestiges of the Cultural Revolution, and newly rampant consumerism.
Related Topics: Chinese artists, photography, USA venues
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Posted in Chinese, Photography, USA | Tagged: Ai Weiwei, art press release, Auguste Rodin, AW Asia, Barbara Kruger, Between Here and There: Passages in Contemporary Photography, Bruce Nauman, Chinese art, Chinese artists, Chinese contemporary art, Chinese contemporary photographers, Chinese contemporary photography, Chinese literati, Constantin Brancusi, consumerism, Cultural Revolution, David Smith, Deng Xiaoping, Dennis Oppenheim, group exhibitions, Hai Bo, Hannah Wilke, Huang Yan, J. Paul Getty Museum, Jeff Wall, Liu Zheng, Man Ray, photography, Photography from New China, press release, Qiu Zhijie, Robert Smithson, RongRong, sculpture, Song Yongping, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Museum of Modern Art, The Original Copy: Photography of Sculpture 1839 to Today, Thomas Struth, USA venues, Wang Qingsong, Weng Fen, Zhang Dali, Zhang Huan | 1 Comment »
Posted by artradar on October 19, 2010
AI WEIWEI CHINESE ART TATE MODERN UNILEVER SERIES INSTALLATION SCULPTURE
Ai Weiwei – artist, architectural designer, curator and social commentator – unveils his work for the prestigious Unilever Series for Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall – Britain’s largest contemporary art commission. It features the first living artist from the Asia-Pacific region to be commissioned for this series. Guest poster Pippa Dennis provides an in-depth look into the production and exhibition of this breakthrough installation.
Sunflower Seeds by Ai Weiwei is a sensory and immersive installation which sees the vast 1000 square meters of the Turbine Hall covered with over a hundred million porcelain replicas of sunflower seeds, ten centimetres deep and weighing in at 150 metric tons. Each seed is individually made, intricately handcrafted by over 1600 expert artisans brought together specifically for this project in the city of Jingdezhen, home to porcelain manufacturers since the days of Imperial China.
Each ceramic seed goes through a process of twenty to thirty steps in its production, they are molded, fired and ultimately hand painted. The artist jokes that he made a few himself, but his contribution was hastily rejected by the artisans in charge, such was the level of craftsmanship involved.
Ai Weiwei. Image courtesy of Tate Modern.
“Ai Weiwei has created a truly unique experience for visitors to this year’s Unilever Series. The sense of scale and quality of craftsmanship achieved in each perfectly formed sunflower seed is astonishing. In trying to comprehend their sheer quantity, Ai provokes a multitude of ideas, from the way we perceived number and value, to the way we engage with society at large.” Sheena Wagstaff, Chief Curator, Tate Modern
Initially, the audience was invited to touch, walk on and listen to the seeds shifting beneath their feet. Image courtesy of Pippa Dennis.
The effect is a highly simplistic and subtle creation, yet complex and powerful in its depth and potential for interpretation. The sunflower itself is a profoundly symbolic object for Chinese people. A common street snack shared by friends and enjoyed by everyone, but requiring a certain skill in breaking the husk and releasing the seed in a singular movement of the teeth and tongue. For the artist it has more personal significance as he remembers it as a staple during the Mao years when material goods were virtually non-existent and food was in short supply. At this time he remembers the sharing of them as a gesture of human kindness and generosity in a period of extreme poverty and uncertainty. It was also a symbol adopted by the Communists. Propaganda pictures from this era depict Mao as the sun, and the mass of people as sunflowers turning towards him.
Ai has used the sunflower seed repeatedly in his work since his period in New York, such as Hanging Man (1983), and here this simple motif works to examine the concepts of mass production and traditional craftsmanship, an important aspect of Ai Weiwei’s work. The phenomena of “Made in China” and the association that accompanies it – repetition, copying and mass production – are all themes deeply rooted in Chinese tradition whilst recently they have taken on a new significance in the current geopolitics of cultural and economic exchange.
Ai Weiwei believes the role of the artist is not only about raising issues but transforming them. Here the seeds also raise questions about ourselves and society, what does it mean to be an individual in China, an individual in this world? Individualism in China was heavily criticized during the Mao years but now with its radical economic and urban transformation China’s attitude is starting to shift, particularly amongst the younger generations. Ai has commented “From a very young age, I started to sense that an individual has to set an example in society. Your own acts and behaviour tell the world who you are and at the same time what kind of society you think it should be”.
Each seed is individually made, intricately handcrafted by over 1600 expert artisans brought together specifically for this project ... and goes through a process of twenty to thirty steps in its production, they are molded, fired and ultimately hand painted. Image courtesy of Londonist.com.
Ai Weiwei’s work has always had an element of political and social commentary and he has not only become an important contemporary artist on the international stage but also a leader of social thought in China and the world. He comments, “My art may be political but I never intended to create political art”. However in recent years these themes, particularly for public commissions, have become increasingly prominent and in interviews and on his blog he openly criticises the Chinese government, calling for freedom of press and speaking up for human rights. He has always said his life is ready-made, “I’m my own ready-made”, acknowledging his most significant influence, Marcel Duchamp.
Life for the artist is art, politics and exchange. The act of individuals voicing their opinions and communicating with one another is of great importance to him and his practice. In Remembering (2009), he harnessed the powers of the Internet to recruit two hundred local and regional participants in the research and archiving of the names of the children who lost their lives in the Sichuan earthquake. This project resulted in five thousand names being collated and recorded and is considered the first civil rights activity in China.
In Sunflower Seeds, he harnesses the powers of social media to take his “social sculpture” to another level. Combining online and video technologies, this commission has enabled the artist to engage in a global dialogue about the work. Below the Turbine Hall, Ai Weiwei has installed a series of video booths to record questions and comments to the artist, whilst outside the Turbine Hall the audience can connect with the artist via Twitter. One to One with the Artist also marks a milestone in the Tate’s use of new media technology and the Internet, transforming the Turbine Hall at Tate Modern into a hub of global conversation.
Marc Sands, director of audiences and media at the Tate said,
“In recent years, Tate Media has found a variety of new ways for visitors to engage with the Unilever Series commissions, from iPhone apps to interactive websites. Ai Weiwei’s own passion for new communication technologies has made it possible for us to develop something really special this year, which we hope people around the world will enjoy”.
'Sunflower Seeds' (2010). Image courtesy of Tate Modern.
Originally, the audience was invited to touch, walk on and listen to the seeds shifting beneath their feet. However, after a very enthusiastic response from visitors, staff noticed a fine dust rising off of the seeds, and after it was confirmed that the dust “could be damaging to health following repeated inhalation over a long period of time”, the Tate was forced to cordon the sculpture off. Visitors are still invited to view the installation “from a walkway above the hall.”
The immediate critical response has been extremely positive. The Guardian’s Adrian Searle comments, “I love it. It is a world in a hundred million objects. It is also a singular statement, in a familiar, minimal form – like Wolfgang Laib’s floor-bound rectangles of yellow pollen, Richard Long’s stones or Antony Gormley’s fields of thousands of little humanoids. Sunflower Seeds, however, is better. It is audacious, subtle, unexpected but inevitable. It is a work of great simplicity and complexity. Sunflower Seeds refers to everyday life, to hunger (the seeds were a reliable staple during the Cultural Revolution), to collective work, and to an enduring Chinese industry.”
The Telegraph’s Richard Dorment observes, “For the 11th commission in the Unilever Series, Tate Modern has offered the poisoned chalice to the Chinese artist and political activist Ai Weiwei – and he’s come up with a masterpiece.”
With the seeming success of this event and Tate Modern’s curatorial commitment to show art from new territories, we can look forward to more opportunities to see art from the Asia-Pacific region in such significant spaces as London’s premier contemporary art museum.
About Pippa Dennis
Pippa Dennis is a Chinese art specialist based in London. She has an MA in Art History and spent ten years making documentaries for the BBC before living in Shanghai and working at Eastlink Gallery. She subsequently set up Asia Art Forum, an educational platform to promote the understanding of Asian contemporary art.
Related Topics: Chinese artists, installation art, participatory art, political art, London art
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Posted in Ai Weiwei, Ceramics, Chinese, Installation, London, Pippa Dennis, Sculpture | Tagged: Adrian Serle, Ai Weiwei, Asia Pacific, Chinese art, Chinese contemporary art, contemporary art, Hanging Man, Jingdezhen, Made in China, Mao, Marc Sands, Marcel Duchamp, mass production, One to One, One to One with the Artist, Pippa Dennis, porcelain, Remembering, Richard Dorment, sculpture, Sheena Wagstaff, Sunflower Seeds, Tate Media, Tate Modern, traditional craftmanship, Turbine Hall, Unilever series, video booths | Leave a Comment »
Posted by artradar on October 14, 2010
ART GALLERIES JAPAN ART EXHIBITIONS CHINESE ARTISTS
MEM, an art gallery based in Tokyo that represents mainly Japanese contemporary artists, has moved to a new gallery space in NADiff a/p/a/r/t in Tokyo. MEM announced this news in early September so should now be settled into the new space.
The gallery has announced the opening in conjunction with an exhibition of RongRong & inri, a pair of artists who live and work in Beijing, China. They are also the founders of Three Shadows Photography Art Centre, an important institute for Chinese contemporary art and photography.
RongRong & inri, Untitled, no. 25, 2008, gelatin silver print. Image courtesy of MEM.
NADiff is an art bookshop and gallery located just off the fashionable Omotesando strip in Tokyo’s youth culture centre of Shibuya.
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Posted in Art spaces, Chinese, East Asian, Events, Gallery shows, Japan, Venues | Tagged: art exhibitions, art galleries, Chinese contemporary artists, gelatin silver print, Japan, Japanese art galleries, Japanese contemporary artists, MEM, NADiff a/p/a/r/t, Omotesando, photography, RongRong & inri, Shibuya, Three Shadows Photography Art Centre, Tokyo, Untitled no. 25 | 1 Comment »
Posted by artradar on October 14, 2010
TAIWANESE ARTIST VIDEO ART UK EXHIBITIONS
Following his successful exhibition in the United States, Chen Chieh-jen (b. Taoyuan, Taiwan, 1960), an internationally acclaimed video artist, presents the UK premiere of “Empire’s Borders II – Western Enterprises Inc.” at the Chinese Arts Center in Manchester, UK.
The first iteration of Empire’s Borders, Chen’s critical response to the convoluted systems implemented as a result of Cold War policies, was featured in the Taiwanese Pavilion at the 53rd Venice Biennale in 2009. In this commissioned work, Chen Chieh-jen examines the history of Taiwan within a globalisation context.
Chen Chieh-jen, Empire's Borders II, 2010, video still. Image courtesy of the artist.
The show, which runs from 2 October to 20 November this year, showcases a three-channel film installation including an autobiography of the artist’s father, a member of the Anti-Communist National Salvation Army (NSA), a list of NSA soldiers killed during the China offensive, an empty photo album and an old army uniform. Dr. Marko Daniel with Yu-ling Chou as assistant curated the show.
As profiled in the Taiwanese exhibition information on e-flux, “Chen Chieh-jen was born in 1960 in Taoyuan, Taiwan, and graduated from a vocational high school for the arts. He currently lives and works in Taipei, Taiwan. Chen created a series of photographic and video projects that re-imagine, re-write and re-connect his experience of living in a marginalised region and the intrinsic spirit of Taiwanese society, as well as propose possible ways of subverting dominant neoliberal logic.”
Chen Chieh-jen, Empire's Borders II, 2010, video still. Image courtesy of the artist.
On Taiwanese-UK art blog +8 the artist’s career highlights are described: “He represented Taipei in the Venice Biennale in 2009, has been selected for Artes Mundi 2010, was included in the curated shows at the 1999 and 2005 Venice Biennales, the Liverpool Biennial 2006 and is showing in the 6th Asia Pacific Triennial in 2009-10. He has had solo exhibitions at the Asia Society, New York, and the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía 2008. In 2000, he was awarded the Special Prize at the Gwangju Biennale in Korea and in 2009 he was awarded Taiwan’s prestigious National Award for Arts for outstanding cultural achievement.”
The exhibition is produced as part of the Abandon Normal Devices (AND) Festival of New Media and Digital Culture in collaboration with the Chinese Arts Centre. It is also supported by the Council for Cultural Affairs, Taiwan.
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Posted in Documentary, Family, Taiwanese, Video | Tagged: +8, 53rd Venice Biennale, 6th Asia Pacific Triennial, AND Festival of New Media and Digital Culture, Anti-Communist National Salvation Army, art blog, art exhibitions, Artes Mundi, Asia Society New York, autobiographical, autobiography, Chen Chieh-Jen, China, Chinese Arts Center, Cold War, curator, documentary, Dr. Marko Daniel, e-flux, Empire’s Borders II – Western Enterprises Inc., Family, festival, Globalisation, Korea, Liverpool Biennial, Manchester, Martha Soemantri, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, National Award for Arts Taiwan, Nationalism, New Media, NSA, political, Special Prize Gwangju Biennale, taiwan, Taiwanese artists, Taiwanese history, Taoyuan, UK, UK artist premiere, Video, Video art, video artist, video artists, Yu-ling Chou | Leave a Comment »
Posted by artradar on October 13, 2010
PERFORMANCE ART HONG KONG FESTIVALS
Art Radar Asia would like to notify you of what we consider an important and interesting Asia Art Archive performance art festival, Action Script – Symposium on Performance Art Practice and Documentation in Asia, which will be held in Hong Kong later this month. We have copied the press release below to give you more information:
Event flyer for Action Script: Symposium on Performance Art Practice and Documentation in Asia, to be held in late October this year and organised by Asia Art Archive.
“Performance art” or the production of “live art” by artists has become a vital element in the flourishing contemporary art scene throughout Asia. Festivals celebrating performance art proliferate in Asian cities and provide significant platforms for interaction, activism, and creative development. In addition toquestions concerning the presentation, contextualisation, and reception of performance art, there are many issues surrounding the documentation of the ephemeral art form. Over the course of a few days in October, internationally respected performance artists, archivists, and researchers will gather together to critically discuss the various challenges associated with performance work. The aim is not only to provide better resources and a deeper understanding of performance art, but also to further encourage its cultivation.
21-22/10 [Thu & Fri]
Experts from around the world will come together to exchange ideas concerning the practice and preservation of performance art. Special attention will be given to such topics as festival as a platform for performance art, challenges faced by artists in the region, technical complexities of documentation, and the philosophical dilemmas ofarchiving/historicizing art creations that are inherently impermanent.Participating professionals include Martha Wilson of Franklin Furnace Archive (USA), Paul Clarke of Live Art Archives (UK), Farah Wardani of Indonesian Visual Art Archive, Thomas Berghuis who researches Chinese performance art, Ray Langenbach, a scholar and artist, and Wen Yau of Asia Art Archive. The 2-day roundtable discussion will be moderated by Debra Wacks, an art historian who specialises in performance art, and Ko Siu-lan, an artist and curator who has participated in numerous festivals across Asia. They will be joined by artists and festival organizers from the region to analyse past experiences and to consider the possible future of performance work in Asia.
Enquiry & registration：2815 1112 / firstname.lastname@example.org
Artist Talk by Tehching Hsieh: In conversation with art critic Lee Weng-choy
23/10, 2:30pm [Sat] Agnès b. CINEMA!, Hong Kong Arts Centre
The exceptional series of actions entitled One Year Performances by Tehching Hsieh from 1978 to 1986 have played a significant role in the history of performance art: for one year the artist locked himself inside a cage, another year he methodically punched a time clock every hour on the hour, one year he lived completely outdoors, one year he conducted his life while tied to another artist without ever touching, and for an entire year he did no art. Along with his Thirteen Year Plan of doing art without publishing for 13 years, Hsieh’s body of work explores essential concerns of life, time, and being. Hsieh will talk about his lifeworks in conversation with the Singapore-based art critic, Lee Weng-choy. (The talk will be conducted in English and some Mandarin.)
Seats are limited and on a first-come-first-served basis. Please make reservations in advance：actionscript＠aaa.org.hk / 2815 1112
23/10 [Sat] 4.30pm Outside Hong Kong Arts Centre 24/10 [Sun] 3pm McAulay Studio, Hong Kong Arts Centre
An opportunity to witness Asia’s vibrant performance art scene will be offered by local and regional artists presenting their exciting and thought-provoking work to the Hong Kong public. Some of the artists include: Lee Wen (Singapore), Chumpon Apisuk (Thailand), Wang Mo-lin (Taiwan), Shu Yang (Mainland China), Aye Ko (Myanmar), Yuan Mor’O Ocampo (the Philippines), Sanmu (Hong Kong), Yuenjie (Hong Kong), Mok Chiu-yu (Hong Kong), Ko Siu-lan (Hong Kong).
Tickets：$90 / $70* full-time students, senior citizens aged 60 or above, or people with disabilities) Enquiry：2891 8482 / 2891 8488 / email@example.com
Tickets will be available at URBTIX from 20/09/2010 onwards.
23/10/2010 [Sat] 10am-1pm McAulay Studio, Hong Kong Arts Centre
International and local performance artists will host a workshop to explore their creative processes involved. Suitable for anyone actively interested in doing performance work.
Fee：$300 / $150* (*full-time students) Enquiry & registration: 2891 8482 / 2891 8488 / firstname.lastname@example.org
Action Script at Lingnan University
Workshop, seminars and performances will be held at Lingnan University campus.
We hope to provide some coverage of the event in November for those readers who are not based in Hong Kong or cannot attend. Keep an eye open.
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Posted in Endurance, Festival, Hong Kong, Performance, Taiwanese | Tagged: Action Script, Action Script - Symposium on Performance Art Practice and Documentation in Asia, art festivals, art scholars, art seminars, artist talk, Asia Art Archive, Aye Ko, Chumpon Apisuk, Farah Wardani, festivals, Franklin Furnace Archive, hong kong, Indonesian Visual Art Archive, Ko Siu-lan, Lee Wen, Lee Weng-choy, Lingnan University, live art, Live Art Archives, Martha Wilson, Mok Chiu-yu, Paul Clarke, performance art, performance artists, Ray Langenbach, Sanmu, Shu Yang, Tehching Hsieh, Thomas Berghuis, Wang Mo-lin, Wen Yau, Yuan Mor'O Ocampo, Yuenjie | Leave a Comment »
Posted by artradar on October 7, 2010
CHINESE INK CHINESE ARTISTS ARTIST INTERVIEWS
In a conversation with Chinese-based art blog RedBox Review the artist Liang Quan (b. 1948), living and working in Shenzhen, China, explains how ink painting is used in contemporary art and how this exploration continues to follow the philosophy of traditional Chinese painting.
Liang Quan is considered as one of the pioneers of contemporary ink painting.
“Ink painting”, also known as “wash painting”, was developed in China during the Tang Dynasty. Ink painting or shui-mo hua in Chinese (水墨畫) is composed of water, shui and Chinese ink, mo. In Western art, using similar techniques, it is known as drawings.
Liang Quan, 'Tea Stain No. 3', 2008, ink and paper, 63.8x48 cm.
In this conversation Liang Quan highlights to RedBox the difference between ink painting and ink art:
The exploration of using ink and referring to the tradition of Chinese painting is part of a greater narrative to define a cultural identity.
American contemporary artists like Brice Marden and Cy Twombly inspired Liang Quan while he was living and working abroad. On top of using ink painting and water, Liang incorporates paper into his works.
Liang’s ink painting seems abstract but in reality he follows the philosophy of this art. He aims to capture the soul of the subject rather that trying to reproduce the exact appearance of it. As he relates to RedBox,
My use of collage, combining strips of ink and/or tea stained paper, may seem abstract to the unknowing eye, and without direct correlation to a depiction of reality. But my works, collages, are actually diagrams of traditional Chinese landscape paintings and the Chinese still life painting genre of birds and flowers.
Interesting difference between ink painting in West and East: perspective
Having explored ink painting in Western art, Liang Quan observed a major difference between it and Chinese landscape painting: multiple points of perspective are used where Western painting uses only one or two. As he relates to RedBox,
To view a Chinese painting, one’s eye usually follows the flow of water from the bottom of the mountains as it meanders farther into the hills and up the composition of the painting.
Following this philosophy and adding paper strips and color makes Liang’s painting abstract.
After exploring the multiple points of perspective in Chinese landscape painting, Liang Quan combined this concept with the ideals of Nan Pai, also known as Southern School. As said in the RedBox article,
By addressing the theme of Chinese tradition, he is distinguished from his contemporaries choosing to use painting as a depiction of or social response to modern society.
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Posted in Artist Nationality, Calligraphy, China, Chinese, Classic/Contemporary, Collage, Drawing, Ink, Interviews, Landscape, Painting, Shenzhen, Styles, Themes and subjects, Trends | Tagged: Brice Marden, Chinese art, Chinese art blogs, Chinese contemporary art, Chinese ink, Chinese tradition, collage, contemporary art, Cy Twombly, drawings, ink painting, Liang Quan, Nan Pai, perspective, Redbox Review, Saloua Bougajdi, Shenzhen, shui-mo hua, Southern School, Tang Dynasty, Tea Stain No. 3, traditional Chinese Landscape, Western art | 1 Comment »
Posted by artradar on September 28, 2010
CHINESE ARTIST SOLO EXHIBITION LIGHT ART NETHERLANDS
Li Hui at work. Image courtesy of Ministry of Art.
Following his impressive solo exhibition last year in Mannheim, Germany, young Chinese artist Li Hui brings yet another surprise to the European art scene. In the pitch-dark exhibition space provided by The Centre of Artificial Light in Art in the Netherlands, Li Hui presents a spectacular display of four of his light works entitled “Who’s afraid of Red, Amber and Green?“. The show, which runs from 16 July to 24 October this year, showcases Li’s experiments with laser and LED light.
The current show, the title of which may remind people of Barnett Newman‘s painting Who’s Afraid of Red, Yellow and Blue?, exhibits four of Li Hui’s works: Amber, Reincarnation, Cage and Everything Starts from Here. The works were selected jointly by John Jaspers (director of The Centre of Artificial Light in Art), Christoph and Cordelia Noe (co-directors of The Ministry of Art who represent Li Hui) and the artist.
In an interview with the museum, printed on the museum guide, Li Hui describes his works:
“I can imagine that if someone sees my work for the first time, it can have a very strong visual impact. Just like in Newman’s paintings, the bright colors first have to get stored in one’s brain. I also understand that there are elements in my works that might make people feel a little puzzled or even a little scared when first confronted with them. However, from what I have experienced, it is not just the visual impact, but also the ‘otherness’ or their mysticism that can have this kind of result. It is somehow similar to … Shamanism.”
Art Radar Asia spoke to Li Hui about the ideas in his works, the challenges he faces and his future plans.
Light not an intended media
Specialising in sculpture at the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing, Li Hui learnt to use stainless steel and wood but not light. In fact, he never meant to use light in all of his works, and would not call himself a light artist. It was in the process of production that he thought of light as a possible media for some of his works. He gives an example of how he came up with using LED light for Amber.
“I wanted the transparent material to glow, and I found that LED light is the only light that can produce the effect I wanted. The material is also thin enough for me to install inside the work, so I used it.”
Using LED light led to his discovery of the properties of laser light, a non-heating light which produces pure colors, and he started to experiment with it for other works. Light is not a usual medium for art in China or the world and Li says of this phenomenon,
“Light doesn’t seem like a material that can be used in art – if you do not handle it well, the outcome will be awful. Everyone can use light in their work, but light may not always be a good material to help them express what they want to express.”
"What I want to create is smoke rising from the bed softly and freely. It is a work that would evoke emotions, but this may not be obvious from photos," relays Li Hui. Readers who are interested in experiencing these emotions firsthand can click on the image to watch a video. (Please note that the video is presented in Dutch.) 'Reincarnation' (200 x 110 cm; height variable) is a sculpture made of laser lights, fog, metal and medical bandages. Image courtesy of Ministry of Art.
At this point, Li hasn’t thought about specialising in light art, and says that he would use whatever materials suit his concepts. Asked about what he is going to do next, Li says that he is interested in the spiritual and the inner world. When asked whether there are particular philosophies that Li Hui wants to convey in his works, he answers no.
“I want to create feelings which cannot be expressed in languages. There are just too many works attached [to] some kind of philosophy, but to me that’s not what art is about. You create feelings in art – if you can feel it, others will feel it too.”
Li Hui says about his work 'Cage': "There are two cages inside the work made of laser beams. Laser beams are special in a way that they look tangible while in reality they are not. The two cages appear alternatively so that a group of people who find themselves 'trapped' in the cage in one moment would suddenly find themselves outside the cage in the next. This work brings out the contrast between reality and illusion." 'Cage' (each 200 x 200 cm; height variable) is made of laser lights, mirrors and iron. Image courtesy of Ministry of Art.
Technological skill toughest obstacle
You may imagine Li Hui’s laboratory crammed with a lot of professional equipment to support his experiments, but in reality he has to seek technological support from others, such as LED light producers, to create his light works. In fact, technology is one of the greatest challenges in the artist’s production process.
“It is impossible to do the works in my own studio. I have to cooperate with others. I don’t have their professional equipment. It is very costly…. The most difficult [thing] is skill – I am not talking about artistic skill, but technological skill. Sometimes the problems are just impossible to solve.”
For Li Hui, every work is born from rounds of brain-storming followed by rounds of experiments in an effort to work through and predict potential problems.
“Experiments push toward the final outcome. At the initial stage of production, I may draw on the computer. Then I begin experimenting with materials. For example, I test a few shots of laser beams with smoke and find the proportion that suits what I want to express.”
Li Hui says about his work 'Everything Starts From Here': "This is a discovery in an experiment. The light beams strike through the transparent dining goblets to project a very impressive light image on the wall. Most of my works are large but this one is not because it is an experimental work." 'Everything Starts From Here' (20 x 30 x 20cm) utilises laser lights, a metal box with a crank, glass and projectors. Image courtesy of Ministry of Art.
Ministry of Art dedicated to Chinese art in Europe
Art Radar Asia spoke with Christoph Noe, one of the directors of The Ministry of Art, an art advisory and curatorial company based in China which represents Li Hui, to find out more about how European opportunities are secured for Chinese or other Asian artists.
“The Ministry of Art … has a broader scope than [just being] a gallery. Our idea is to give artists the opportunity to cooperate with museums or art institutions in Europe … as a lot of the Chinese artists have already had the opportunity to exhibit their works in China or Asia, and some of them lack the opportunity to exhibit in Europe. We come in with our expertise because of our European origins and networks with European institutions. Once we are excited about a Chinese artist we can find an institution that fits very well for that artist.”
Li Hui will participate in a group show called Internationale Lichttage Winterthur 2010 in Switzerland in November. He will present another solo exhibition in June 2011 in Berlin, Germany.
Related topics: Chinese artists, light art, museum shows, emerging artists
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Posted by artradar on September 20, 2010
SOUTH KOREA CONTEMPORARY ART INTERVIEW CURATOR
Art Radar Asia recently spoke with German-born curator Tobias Berger, who currently holds the position of Chief Curator at the Nam June Paik Art Center, about the Center’s exhibition “The Penguin that goes to the Mountain“. During this interview, Berger also revealed a few of his observations on living and working in the Korean art environment.
Korean art has always been in the shadow of Japanese and Chinese artistic success, often “dismissed as a mere conduit between the two mega cultures.” This may be because few of the local magazines, exhibition catalogues and other art texts produced on Korean contemporary art are available in English. As Berger states, “There are none. They’re all in Korean. There’s nothing really good in English.” And while the local art scene is perhaps not on par with what can be experienced in these neighbouring countries, Berger notes that the art that is being produced in Korea is of a very high quality, due to good art schools, a diversity of art spaces, talented pioneers and governmental support.
'Shamoralta Shamoratha' (2007) by Inbai Kim was shown at "Korean Eye: Moon Generation" in 2009. Korean Eye was founded in 2009 as a way to support emerging Korean artists by providing international exhibition opportunities.
As a European who formerly lived and worked in the Hong Kong art scene, how do you find the South Korean art scene compares?
“The Seoul art scene is probably the most sophisticated art scene in Asia. It has really good independent spaces, good commercial galleries, interesting art schools and good museums. It has this whole pyramid of different art spaces, exhibition possibilities, and it has a lot of really good and wonderful artists. That level of depth and the level of different kinds of art spaces is incomparable. Certainly in Beijing [you] have galleries, but you don’t have any independent spaces, and in Tokyo it’s also very different.”
How do you keep up to date with the Korean art scene?
That is a problem because it’s all in Korean and it’s very difficult to keep up [with]. I mean, you just go to the 10-15 [art] spaces once a month … and you talk to your friends and your colleagues that go to the big exhibitions…. You just have to look at how it is. There was a [recent] survey show called “Bright Future” but it only had twelve artists.
Tell us about the art school system in Korea? How does it differ from other places?
It’s the most sophisticated [system] because it had some good pioneers [and] a lot of governmental help. [South Korea] has some good art schools and it has a lot of good artists that have studied overseas and come back. This allowed a lot of critical discourse and [there were] a lot of magazines. That allowed the art scene to grow well and in the right way.
Korean art is becoming popular with international collectors. “Korean Eye“, for example, was shown at The Saatchi Gallery in London earlier this year. Can you tell us why you think this is happening now?
“Here in South Korea you don’t feel that there’s much happening. The Korean scene is nothing compared to what’s happening in China…. On the one side, these shows, where this is popular or that is popular, don’t really mean a thing. There is a lot of good art in South Korea and the quality of the art is really on a high level, because art education has been good for 15-20 years. A lot of people are educated in Europe and America and have very good support and certainly output good quality art…. I mean, you don’t want to buy or you don’t want to show an artist because he’s Korean, you want to show an artist because he’s a good artist.”
Related topics: Korean artists, interviews, Tobias Berger, curators
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