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Archive for the ‘Biennales’ Category

Today’s societal image obsession explored in “10000 Lives”, Gwangju Biennale

Posted by artradar on August 31, 2010


KOREA ART BIENNALES IMAGE ART PHOTOGRAPHY DOCUMENTARY

Starting from the third of September this year and spanning sixty-six days, “Maninbo – 10000 Lives“, part of the eighth edition of the Gwangju Biennale, will focus on the 21st century’s obsession with images, journalistic or artistic. The Biennale presents itself as a “sprawling investigation of the relationships that bind people to images and images to people.” With works by more than a hundred artists created between 1901 and 2010, as well as several new commissions, the exhibition will be configured as a temporary museum that brings together artworks and cultural artifacts.

Hans-Peter Feldmann, '9/12 Frontpage (detail)', 2001, installation of 151 newspapers. © Hans-Peter Feldmann, courtesy 303 Gallery, New York.

Hans-Peter Feldmann, '9/12 Frontpage (detail)', 2001, installation of 151 newspapers. © Hans-Peter Feldmann. Image courtesy of 303 Gallery.

But why this focus on images? Biennale director Massimiliano Gioni, number 50 on Art Review‘s 2009 Power 100, explains:

Each day billions of images are produced and consumed. More than five hundred thousand images per second are uploaded to a single website. Americans alone take an average of five hundred and fifty snapshots per second. A record of fourteen million USD has been paid for the right to reproduce one single image. We seek comfort in images and carry out wars in their name, we congregate around images, we adore them, we crave for them, we consume them and destroy them.

The intriguing title of the exhibition comes from a thirty volume epic poem by Korean author Ko Un, called Maninbo or 10,000 Lives. The poem comprises over 3,800 portraits in words, describing every person Ko Un had ever met, including figures from history and literature. Like words for Ko Un, images for people today have come to be metonyms for cultures, people and events. While for most this seems to be a concept applicable more directly to photographs and documentary video, artists at the Gwangju Biennale have reportedly worked with a diverse range of media.

A significant part of the power of images today derives from the way the artist merges aesthetics or art with politics. The hundred life-size sculptures of the Rent Collection Courtyard that relate the suffering of the Chinese peasants at the hands of a tyrannical landlord, have become one of the foundational images of the Chinese Cultural Revolution and is being presented at the Gwangju Biennale in its entirety.

Zhao Shutong, Wang Guanyi and the Rent Collection Courtyard collective, 'Rent Collection Courtyard', 1974-78, 100 copper plated  fiberglass sculptures (exhibition view, Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt 2009). © Norbert Miguletz. Image courtesy Gwangju Biennale Foundation.

Zhao Shutong, Wang Guanyi and the Rent Collection Courtyard collective, 'Rent Collection Courtyard', 1974-78, 100 copper plated fiberglass sculptures (exhibition view, Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt 2009). © Norbert Miguletz. Image courtesy Gwangju Biennale Foundation.

The Rent Collection Courtyard was created between 1965 and 1978 by the students, artists and faculty of the Sichuan Fine Arts Institute and celebrates the power of images to educate and stir revolutions.

Hans-Peter Feldmann presents us a picture stamped on the minds of world populations. Presented as a collage of images that are distributed within the media, Feldmann produces an assertive archive of visual memory, its persistence hammered into the minds of those who view them.

The Gwangju Biennale was founded in 1995 in memory of the spirit of civil uprising resulting from the 1980 repression of the Gwangju Democratization Movement. In its eighth year, Gioni sums up his vision:

The exhibition 10,000 Lives attempts to present a series of case studies that explore our love for images and our need to create substitutes, effigies, and stands-ins for ourselves and our loved ones. The exhibition unravels as a gallery of portraits or as a dysfunctional family album. It tells the story of people through the images they create and the images they leave behind, but it also follows the lives of images themselves, tracing their endless metamorphoses, from funerary statue to commercial propaganda, from religious icon to scientific tool, from a mirror of ourselves to a projection of our desires.

The Gwangju Biennale will run from 3 September to 7 November this year.

AM/KN/HH

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Busan Biennale pushes for new discoveries in contemporary Asian art – artist list

Posted by artradar on August 25, 2010


KOREA ART EXHIBITIONS BIENNALES ART EVENTS EMERGING ARTISTS

The Busan Biennale 2010 will be held from 11 September until 20 November at several locations in Busan, including the Busan Museum of Art, as well as at the nearby Yachting Center and Gwangalli Beach, under the theme of ‘Living in Evolution’.

The Biennale’s website describes the theme as such:

The official 2010 Busan Biennale poster, designed by Lee Pooroni. Based on the theme ‘Living in Evolution’.

The official 2010 Busan Biennale poster, designed by Lee Pooroni and based on the theme ‘Living in Evolution’.

We are living individual lives. Yet at the same time, we are living in the processes of evolution. Evolution will continue. But no one knows the direction of this evolution.

This exhibition will try to think through the relations between art, society, world, history and the future by considering the dual time axes in which we are living today.

Featuring 161 works from 72 artists, the art festival will make a new attempt of integrating three existing exhibitions – “Contemporary Art Exhibition”, “Sea Art Festival” and “Busan Sculpture Project” – into one.

The Busan Biennale has been held every two years since the beginning of 2000. This year’s biennale makes an attempt at new discoveries and insights on relations between individuals and mankind, past and future and arts and society.

Kiichiro Adachi, 'Antigravity Device', 2009, Tulip, soil,neodymium magnet, stainless steel, halogen light

Kiichiro Adachi, 'Antigravity device', 2009, tulip, soil, neodymium magnet, stainless steel, halogen light.

In an unusual move, the 2010 Busan Biennale will have one single director, Azumaya Takashi, planning for all exhibitions. As an independent curator hailed for his experimental approach to exhibitions, Azumaya has held curatorial posts at the Setagaya Art Museum and the Mori Art Museum in Tokyo. He was commissioner of the 2002 Media City Seoul and guest curator for the 2008 Busan Biennale.

The art festival aims to help forge a closer link between the public and contemporary art through creating connections between the featured works and exhibition venues. Large-scale installations will be placed at several key spots in the city to serve as landmarks, depicting the exhibition theme and symbolising civilisations.

Along with the main exhibition, directed by Azumaya, the 2010 Busan Biennale will be composed of special exhibitions such as “Now, Asian Art” and joint exhibitions such as “Gallery Festival” and “Exhibition at alternative spaces”.

Featuring young and experimental artists from Korea, China and Japan,”Now, Asian Art” aims to tighten regional networks in Asia and strengthen contemporary Asian art. “Gallery Festival” is a set of special exhibitions presented by local art galleries, again featuring artists from Korea, China and Japan.

Educational programs, including a contemporary art course called “Art Story”, will be available. The course is scheduled to open in October and targets adult art lovers and aspiring artists. In addition, a conference of art editors in Asia will be held on September 12 under the title of the “Asian Editors’ Conference”.

Asian artists participating in the 2010 Busan Biennale include:

Donghee Koo, 'Souvenir', 2008, wood, light fixture, mirror, and artificial plant

Donghee Koo, 'Souvenir', 2008, wood, light fixture, mirror, and artificial plant.

Korea
Min-Kyu KANG
Tae Hun KANG
Donghee KOO
Dalsul KWON
Eunju KIM
Jung-Myung KIM
Shinjung RYU
Bal Loon PARK
Sung Tae PARK
SATA
Moo-kyoung SHIN
Sangho SHIN
Dayeon WON
Kibong RHEE
Byungho LEE
SongJoon LEE
Young Sun LIM
Seung JUNG
Jinyun CHEONG
Hye Ryun JUNG
Jung Moo CHO
Ki-Youl CHA
Bongho HA

Thaweesak Srithongdee, 'Zoo', 2009, Acrylic on canvas

Thaweesak Srithongdee, 'Zoo', 2009, acrylic on canvas.

Japan
Kohei NAWA
Saburo MURAOKA
Kiichiro ADACHI
Kenji YANOBE
Miki JO
Akira KANAYAMA
Tomoko KONOIKE
Kosei KOMATSU

China
MadeIn
Shun YUAN
Anxiong QIU

Thailand
Imhathai SUWATTANASILP
Thaweesak SRITHONGDEE

Turkey
Emre HÜNER
Inci EVINER

UK, Israel
Yishay GARBASZ
Zadok BEN-DAVID

Mongolia
Amarsaikhan NAMSRAIJAV

Vietnam
Dinh Q. LÊ

Philippines
Christina DY

Taiwan
Shih Chieh HUANG

Egypt
Doa ALY

VL/KN

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The 17th Sydney Biennale – Art Radar rounds up highlights, disappointments and critiques

Posted by artradar on August 25, 2010


BIENNALES ART EVENTS AUSTRALIAN ART CONTEMPORARY ART GLOBALISATION ENLIGHTENMENT

With an unprecedentedly high attendance of over half a million visitors, the 17th Sydney Biennale has also been the largest in scale since the biennale was first held in 1973. From 12 May to 1 August, 444 works by 167 artists from 36 countries sprawled out over seven exhibition venues, including the Museum of Contemporary Art, Cockatoo Island, Pier 2/3, Artspace, the Sydney Opera House, the Royal Botanic Gardens and the entrance court of the Art Gallery of New South Wales. What follows is an Art Radar summary of this year’s artists and events and a collection of comments and critiques made by various arts writers and bloggers.

From European Enlightenment to globalisation

Titled The Beauty of Distance: Songs of Survival in a Precarious Age, this year’s biennale celebrated the end of European Enlightenment in art and welcomed a new era of shifted balance of power. David Elliott, artistic director of the biennale, spoke to The New Zealand Herald about the breaking down of previous political and geopolitical structures and the changing dispersion of power and knowledge in the present world.

In an effort to explore this new world – a world in which Western superiority is being replaced by equality among different cultures – the biennale selected and presented works from diverse cultures, predominantly Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Scandinavia, Britain and China, works created mostly by artists who are new to international exhibitions.

Diverse art styles, heavy demand for new technologies

As the subtitle Songs of Survival in a Precarious Age suggests, the biennale presented arts with themes that are closely connected to contemporary realities. A recent article posted on c-artsmag mentioned how the biennale pointed to a world which “is fragmented and fractured, hobbled by inequalities and necessitating historical reassessment.” Common themes of the exhibited works include poverty, famine, inequality, environmental despoliation and globalisation.

The biennale presented works of a variety of styles. In Sydney Morning Herald, Adam Fulton describes that,

“The modern art – traversing installation, sculpture, painting, film, cross-media and performance – goes from the sublime (110 Aboriginal memorial poles in the Museum of Contemporary Art) to the bizarre (a giant ship sculpture with oozing foam and pierced baby-doll faces on Pier 2/3, Walsh Bay).”

There was a heavy demand for new technologies to support the audio and visual effects in many biennale works. A review by Colin Ho on ZDNet reports that over 70% of the budgeted expenses for artworks and installations of the biennale were spent on audio-visual and IT infrastructure.

Australian arts were promoted

The biennale represented the largest number of Australian artists in history. 65 Australian artists exhibited their works, and most of the 68 artists who premiered new works were also Australians.

An example is Peter Hennessey’s sculptural work, My Hubble (the universe turned in on itself) (2010), with which visitors can play to modify and create their own universes that they can then view in the eye piece located high in the air.

Peter Hennessey's 'My Hubble', which allows viewers to create and view their own universes, was part of this year's Sydney Biennale.

Peter Hennessey's 'My Hubble', which allows viewers to create and view their own universes, was part of this year's Sydney Biennale.

Another example is Brook Andrew’s Jumping Castle War Memorial (2010). The seven-metre-wide bouncy castle is not designed for the children, but for adults over sixteen only. The plastic-enclosed turrets contain skulls which represent the victims of genocide worldwide.

The plastic-enclosed turrets of Brook Andrew’s 'Jumping Castle War Memorial' contain skulls which represent the victims of genocide worldwide. The interactive installation is part of this year's Sydney Biennale.

The plastic-enclosed turrets of Brook Andrew’s 'Jumping Castle War Memorial' contain skulls which represent the victims of genocide worldwide. The interactive installation is part of this year's Sydney Biennale.

Major Asian artworks at the biennale

Among all the exhibited works, one of the most visited, media-covered and praised artwork was Chinese artist Cai Guo Qiang’s Inopportune: Stage One, his largest installation to date.

Cai Guo-Qiang’s 'Inopportune: Stage One' (2004) is a colossal installation made with nine cars and sequenced multichannel light tubes which create an impression of a series of cars exploding and rotating through space.

Cai Guo-Qiang’s 'Inopportune: Stage One' (2004) is a colossal installation made with nine cars and sequenced multichannel light tubes which create an impression of a series of cars exploding and rotating through space.

The biennale exhibited other Asian premier works including Japanese artist Hiroshi Sugimoto’s Faraday Cage, Chinese artists Sun Yuan and Peng Yu’s Hong Kong Intervention and Chinese artist Jennifer Wen Ma‘s New Adventures of Havoc in Heaven III.

Japanese artist Hiroshi Sugimoto’s premier work 'Faraday Cage' is an installation created with light boxes from his previous “lightening fields” which experiment with photographically imaging electricity on large-format film.

Chinese artists Sun Yuan and Peng Yu’s premier work 'Hong Kong Intervention' (2009) reflects on the socio-economic inequity between the now mobile and globalised Filipino domestic maid workforce in Hong Kong and their employers.

Chinese artists Jennifer Wen Ma's premier work 'New Adventures of Havoc in Heaven III', a video installation in which smoke projection beams an animated image of the Monkey King from Chinese mythology.

Go here to view videos highlighting some of the major works in the 17th Sydney Biennale including Jennifer Wen Ma’s New Adventures of Havoc in Heaven III, Peter Hennessey’s My Hubble and Brook Andrew’s Jumping Castle War Memorial.

Mixed response from professionals and blog critics

While the consensus among critics and bloggers is that the Sydney Biennale this year was better than those in previous years, there are mixed comments about the biennale. John McDonald makes a summary of the biennale as a circus which relies too much on the natural ambience of Cockatoo Island. As he wrote in the Brisbane Times,

“This Biennale is as much a circus as ever, with some impressive works and a huge amount of filler. It is a better, more consistent show than the previous Biennale, although it still contains many exhausting hours of video and leans heavily on the extraordinary ambience of Cockatoo Island.”

He also questions whether the diverse selection of works is based on a central theme or just David Elliott’s taste.

“The sheer diversity of this collection makes a mockery of the conceptual framework outlined by the director. He might just as easily have said: ‘These are works that I like, made by some friends of mine.’ Instead, we are subjected to the usual preposterous claims that this art will leave us gasping for breath and spiritually transfigured. If it doesn’t, the problem lies with us, not the show.”

A blogger, writing on Art Kritique, shares a similar view with John McDonald and describes the biennale as confusing, banal and tricksy.

“The Biennale of Sydney is confusing. A friend of mine recently described it as a ‘car crash mishmash’ and she was right, sometimes the unexpected juxtapositions make for magical surprises, more often they leave you with a headache … The inherent ghostly palimpsest of the island’s history, the shapes and textures of architecture and machinery speak so eloquently themselves that much of the work feels banal and tricksy.”

But some appreciated the biennale as being thought provoking and the works as being engaging and of high standard.

“Remarkably coherent and thoughtful, Elliott’s biennale mostly avoids the pitfalls of political correctness by including art that is thought-provoking, engaging and, in some instances, even beautiful.” Christina Ruiz, writing in the Art Newspaper.

“The Sydney Biennale … is usually more Banale than Biennale but not this year. The Beauty of Distance: Songs of Survival in a Precarious Age, curated by David Elliott, is at turns poetic, ironic, and provocative. With tonnes of interesting artists doing amazing and often very humorous things, from Cai Guo Qiang and Shen Shaomin from China, to Folkert de Jong from the Netherlands, Paul McCarthy from the US, and Kader Attia from France. Roxy Paine’s ‘Neuron’ installation outside the Museum of Contemporary Art is particularly arresting, its stainless steel nerve cell of tree roots exploding in front of the MCA’s rather authoritarian 1930s facade. In my view, it is the best Biennale since the ‘The Readymade boomerang’ curated by René Block in 1990.” Chris Moore, writing in Saatchi Online TV and Magazine.

“The Biennale has a delightfully freewheeling and inclusive spirit, but it is the high standard of the art work, carefully selected and displayed, that makes the big exhibition so enjoyable at all its venues, not just Cockatoo Island … It helps that there is very little art of the ‘my three year old could have drawn that’ school. The easy pose of ironic detachment which sometimes puts people off contemporary art is almost completely absent, or is at least leavened by a political and conceptual eagerness which eloquently expresses the Biennale’s seemingly unwieldy theme, “The Beauty of Distance: Songs of Survival in a Precarious Age.” Alan Miller, writing in the Berkshire Review for the arts.

CBKM/KN

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