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Contemporary art trends and news from Asia and beyond

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Archive for the ‘Biennials’ Category

Curators announced for Central Asian Pavillion, 54th Venice Biennial

Posted by artradar on October 20, 2010


VENICE BIENNIAL CENTRAL ASIAN PAVILLION ART CURATORS

How and with whom does the contemporary art of Central Asia communicate? To whom is it addressed? In which language does it speak? Does it use a lingua franca, the language of most effective communication, or does it twist its language towards outsiders?

This is the proposition set down by the curators for the Central Asian Pavilion at next year’s 54th Venice Biennial. Georgi Mamedov (Moscow) Boris Chukhovic (Montreal) and Oksana Shatalova (Rudnyi) have sent out an open call to artists from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan to submit work under the theme of “Lingua Franca”. The project has been commissioned by Asel Akmatova (Bishkek) and Andris Brinkmanis (Venice) with Beral Madra (Istanbul) and Gulnara Kasmalieva and Muratbek Jumaliev (Bishkek) as special consultants.

Red Flag, by Oksana Shatalova, 2008. 5 lambda prints on dibond 180 x 155cm each. Rudny, Kazakhstan.  Image taken from: https://artradarasia.wordpress.com/2009/08/26/east-of-nowhere-important-exhibition-of-rare-post-soviet-central-asian-art-in-italy-2009/

Oksana Shatalova, 'Red Flag', 2008, five lambda prints on dibond, 180 x 155 cm each.

The focus of the pavilion looks to play upon the gap in artistic communication, similar to the project Making Interstice that featured at Venice two years ago. The curators maintain that in communicative terms, the contemporary art history of Central Asia is balanced between two poles; communicating with the international “Western” art scene and with the “local” community.

How far are these respective forms of communication effective? Next year’s project will explore not only this gap in communication but how they might be brought together.

Installation view of "Making Interstices", Central Asian Pavilion, 53rd Venice Biennial, 2008. Image taken from www.centralasiaart.org.

Installation view of Making Interstices, Central Asian Pavilion, 53rd Venice Biennial, 2008. Image taken from centralasiaart.org.

HG/KN/HH

Related Topics: Central Asian artists, Kazakhstani artistsbiennials

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Globalisation of contemporary art market evident in growth of art fairs – The Economist

Posted by artradar on August 17, 2010


ART FAIRS ECONOMY

A recent article in the Economist comments on the globalisation of art and how art fairs accelerate the transnational exposure of artists, something that could become necessary for artists if they want to attract the attention of serious collectors and art investors. Importantly, it also identifies the current international art fair hot spots. Read on for our summary of this article.

Globalisation of the art market

Globalisation is one of the most important phenomenon in the history of recent art. Contemporary art needs the potential of a global market and thus enters the art fair. Biennials and landmark exhibitions help to initiate global change in the art scene. International art fairs spread belief in contemporary art through the help of banks and royalty, from Deutsche Bank to local rulers in the Middle East.

In addition, the article quotes Marc Spiegler and Annette Schönholzer, co-directors of Art Basel, as saying that private collections are becoming increasingly international. Collectors start by acquiring art from their own nation and eventually acquire internationally. In many countries contemporary art has become an economic project involving collectors, dealers and huge cultural districts with museums and art fairs.

Art Basel 2009.

Art Basel 2009.

For an art fair to be properly diverse, careful curation is essential. For good international fairs, this not only means that attending galleries show talented artists, but also that they show artists that live in the country the gallery is located in. As quoted in The Economist,

As Lucy Mitchell-Innes of Mitchell-Innes & Nash, a New York gallery, warns: ‘It’s a problem if four or five booths have the same artist’s work. A good international fair wants Chinese galleries to bring talented Chinese artists, not another Antony Gormley.’

International art fair hot spots

The locational hierarchy of art fairs differs from that in the auction market. For art auctions, the three most prominent cities are New York, London and Hong Kong, in that order. When talking about art fairs, Basel would come first, but what follows this lead is unclear: Miami or London, New York or Paris?

Even more notable are the art fairs currently sprouting up in Asian countries. These are creating alternate markets for art and challenging Western leadership. Adding to the hierarchical ladder are two newcomers: Hong Kong’s ART HK (Hong Kong International Art Fair) and Abu Dhabi Art, operating from the Middle East.

What art fairs mean for artists and their art

In general, art fairs can accelerate the transnational exposure of all artists represented. Art Basel is unrivalled in this category and it may be because it has always defined itself as international. The frenzied demand for new art peaked with the creation of smaller art fairs. Some of them work as satellites to the major European events, the biennials, art festivals and fairs such as Basel. These budding fairs cater to lesser known, emerging artists.

Within the art market, that an artist is “international” has become a selling point. Consequently, the local artist has become almost insignificant, while those called “national” are damned with faint praise.

Art fairs, with their aggregation of art dealers forming a one-stop shoppers’ marketplace for art, attract high-spending collectors, generate greater sales and have to some extent replaced galleries with their increasing drawing power. Still the globalisation of the art is not just about money. There are a growing number of non-profit biennials that are developing along with the market structures. As quoted in The Economist,

Massimiliano Gioni, a curator based in Milan and New York, who is overseeing the Gwangju Biennial, which opens in South Korea in September, recalls that the avant-garde was ‘built on a transnational community of kindred spirits,’ adding, ‘sometimes I long for that.’

This is an Art Radar summary of “Global frameworks – Art-fair musical chairs, first published in The Economist.

JAS/KN

Related Topics: art fairs, international artists, market watch – globalisation

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Posted in Artist Nationality, Biennials, Business of art, Collectors, Events, Fairs, Festival, Gallerists/dealers, Globalisation, International, Market transparency, Market watch, Promoting art | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Will Youtube become a new platform for video art? Guggenheim experiments

Posted by artradar on July 28, 2010


YOUTUBE GUGGENHEIM VIDEO ART ONLINE BIENNIALS

The world’s most popular online platform for video sharing, YouTube, will soon be put to the test as a potential new platform for art expression in joint initiative with the Guggenheim Museum. Launched this year, YouTube Play. A Biennial of Creative Videos is a creative video competition and art project committed to the exploration of online video art.

A media and an art institutions are cooperating to find out how the internet is changing the video art form and whether there is art in online videos – an emerging media which is continually establishing new ways to create, distribute and consume videos.

The promotional imagery for YouTube Play. A Biennial of Creative Video.

The promotional imagery for YouTube Play. A Biennial of Creative Video.

“This collaboration with YouTube gives us a chance to explore digital media, bring it into the museum, and see how it functions, see if it functions. And through the process learn more about the phenomenon, because we would like to believe that art is transformative.” Nancy Spector, deputy director and chief curator of the Guggenheim Foundation (as quoted in the Otago Daily Times)

For the competition, each applicant may submit one original video entry of ten minutes or less that he or she has created in the past two years. When the competition closes for entry at the end of this month, a team of Guggenheim curators will review all the entries and create a shortlist of 200. A separate jury of nine professionals – from various disciplines such as visual arts, filmmaking, animation, graphic design and music – will then select twenty to be screened in four Guggenheim museums worldwide. All 200 entries will be available to view on the YouTube Play channel.

“We are, in a sense, inviting people to raise the standards of YouTube. This is aspirational for people who are interested in seeing their work be taken artistically.” Nancy Spector, deputy director and chief curator of the Guggenheim Foundation (as quoted in the Washington Post)

The project provides an opportunity for anyone, albeit art professionals or amateurs, to submit an innovative, original video to YouTube Play to compete for the chance of having his or her winning entry shown in October in four Guggenheim museums simultaneously: the Solomon R. Guggenheim in New York, the Deutsche Guggenheim in Berlin, the Guggenheim Bilbao in Spain and the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice. The jury is looking for innovative works that debate on, discuss, test, experiment with and elevate the video medium. They expect to see something “different” – not “what’s now” but “what’s next”.

“People who may not have access to the art world will have a chance to have their work recognized. We’re looking for things we haven’t seen before.” Nancy Spector, deputy director and chief curator of the Guggenheim Foundation (as quoted in the New York Times)

To express your thoughts and opinions of the biennial visit The Take, a platform for commentary and discussion of the project by Guggenheim-invited guests, staff, and web site visitors.

CBKM/KN

Related Topics: media – video, themes and subjects – technology, events – biennials

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Posted in Art and internet, Biennials, Business of art, Crossover art, Emerging artists, Events, Medium, Museums, New Media, Overviews, Promoting art, Technology, Themes and subjects, Trends, Video | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Animamix Biennial – an alternative biennial pushes aesthetic of comic art – interview curator Victoria Lu

Posted by artradar on February 16, 2010


ANIMATION ART BIENNIAL

The Animamix Biennial is unique. The first was held in 2007, organised by Victoria Lu, an experienced curator and the Artistic Director of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Shanghai. This years show, also curated by Lu, spans four galleries: the Museum of Contemporary Art (Taipei, Taiwan), the Museum of Contemporary Art (Shanghai, China), Today Art Museum (Beijing, China) and the Guangdong Museum of Art (Guangzhou, China).

Animamix Biennial, 2009-2010, MOCA Shanghai

It presents art that develops or embodies the Animamix aesthetic, artwork that combines the styles of animation and comics.

The term “Animamix” was actually coined in 2004 by Lu when she became aware of the emerging stylistic trend while curating Fiction.Love at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Taipei, Taiwan.

Fiction.Love, 2004, MOCA Taipei

Animamix is now entering the mainstream, pushing the artists who have developed this style into the spotlight, artists such as Takashi Murakami (Japan), mixed-media visual artist Trenton Doyle Hancock (U.S.A.) and Brazilian painter Oscar Oiwa. As the style encompasses a broad range of mediums, and is often brightly coloured with bizarre narratives, it has an inherent ability to attract attention.

Animamix Biennial, 2009-2010, Guangdong Museum of Art, China

Always interested in exploring emerging trends, Art Radar Asia spoke briefly with curator Victoria Lu about the Biennial:

On Animamix as an artistic trend

The Animamix Biennial was inaugurated in 2007. Since then, has this art direction become more recognisable to mainstream audiences or does it still sit on the fringes?

This answer is rather difficult to define. If I judge by the growing numbers of Animamix direction artworks in the international art fairs, I can say yes. The Animamix direction is growing internationally.

Is this style popular internationally (for audiences, dealers and buyers) or is the popularity restricted to the Asian region?

There is more Animamix kind of artworks available in Asia market for the moment, so I believe Animamix art is more popular in Asia. But there are more and more artists in Europe working [with an] Animamix direction.

On the Biennial

Why did you want to start this Biennial?

I am tired of the current international biennials. There are a group of curators [which have been] leading the conceptual direction for too long. You will find [that] very similar artists list no matter where you go. So I want to try something new, something different. My concept for the Animamix Biennial is an ongoing evolution of art exhibitions and activities. This kind of biennial can really reflect the local art scene.

Would it be fair to say this Biennial is an Asian-initiated event focussing on an art trend that is becoming more globalised?

International biennials were started in Europe in the early last century. Now biennials are becoming more and more popular in the Asia, starting from the beginning of this century. Many cities in Asia are competing for the exposure of their art and culture.

Generally, how has the exhibition been received by critics and museum patrons?

My Animamix shows are very well received by audiences. So far we have also been well received by the critics.

Which artists have been well received by critics and audiences? Are there any “stars” of the Biennial?

I cannot say who the stars are. They are all important to me.

Animamix Biennial, 2009-2010, Today Art Museum, Beijing

The final leg of the Animamix Biennial, Dazzled and Enchanted – New Age Animamix, is now showing at the Guangdong Museum of Art in Guangzhou, China. The show will close on 28 February 2010.

KN

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A perspective on Viewpoints and Viewing Points – 2009 Asian Art Biennale

Posted by artradar on January 27, 2010


Writer for Art Radar Asia reflects on the exhibition

Kate Nicholson, a Taiwan-based contributor to Art Radar Asia, writes about her favourite picks from Viewpoints and Viewing Points , the 2009 Asian Art Biennale exhibition, currently on show at the National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts.

Viewpoints and Viewing Points, 2009 Asian Art Biennale exhibition, National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts

“It was just wonderful to start my day knowing that I would soon be surrounded by artwork spanning three galleries, created by 56 of Asia’s best artists. And what a show it was. Every sense was stimulated as there was every kind of art form on display, from painting and sculpture to film and photography and everything in between.

My favourite pieces, in no particular order, included: Takehito Koganezawa’s Propagation of Electric Current, all the works by Mia Wen-Hsuan Liu, a Taiwanese artist, and Bloated City and Skinny Language by Hung Keung.

The latter struck me with its beauty when I first entered the space and looked across to see what I assume to be stylised Chinese characters floating across the wall via projection equipment.

However, it became a whole new experience when a man and his very small daughter realised that if you stand at a certain point in the room the characters gently swarm around you and move with you as you move. It was beautiful to watch them interacting with the piece…”

Read the complete article at Kate Nicholson’s blog, jar of buttons.

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Is Singapore threatening Hong Kong as next Asian art mecca? Wall Street Journal

Posted by artradar on November 17, 2009


SINGAPORE AND HONG KONG’S COMPETING ART MARKET

Singapore’s art scene has grown rapidly since its 1989 government mandate to recognize the “importance of culture and the art.” Thriving to a point that, according to The Wall Street Journal, Hong Kong–Asia’s epicenter of art–is beginning to take its competitor seriously.

Hong Kong’s challenging art scene

Today’s numbers would suggest that Hong Kong has nothing to worry about for competition.  Hong Kong is currently the third-largest auction market in the world with both Christie’s and Sotheby’s in its territory, and has set aside close to US$3 billion in order to create a much needed world class arts and culture development known as West Kowloon Cultural District. The project, however, has been slow to start and left many frustrated.

“The Hong Kong government first hit upon the idea in 1998 of building an integrated arts and culture neighborhood on 40 hectares of reclaimed land in the West Kowloon district. After many fits and starts, planning for the project recently picked up some momentum…Nevertheless, even if it all goes as planned, the first phase won’t be open until 2016.”

West Kowloon

One of the proposed models for the West Kowoon Cultural Centre

The West Kowloon project has been “frustrating and painful,” says Asia Art Archive’s Ms. Hsu, who is also on the advisory panel for the museum at the new West Kowloon development. “For the public it has looked like the government is stalling, but it gives me a lot of hope. The government is very concerned about getting it right.’”

Singapore makes its move

The time spent behind making Hong Kong’s “necessary cultural move” may eventually result in Singapore gaining ground in the market by the country’s pushing ahead with so many art-hub projects of their own.

“It [Singapore] invested more than US$1 billion in infrastructure, including several museums and a 4,000-seat complex of theaters, studios and concert halls called the Esplanade, which opened in 2002, and spiced up its arts programming with diversity and a regional flavor.”

singapore esplanade

The Esplanade, Singapore

The benefits of Singapore’s art initiatives are already apparent. According to Singapore’s National Arts Council “between 1997 and 2007, the ‘vibrancy’ of the local art scene, measured by the number of performances and exhibition days, quadruped to more than 26,000.”

However, Singapore is still missing a key ingredient to perhaps prosper further: a big art-auction market like Hong Kong’s.

“Some smaller art-auction houses hold sales in Singapore, but the big ones — Christie’s and Sotheby’s — have pulled out and moved their Southeast Asian art auctions to Hong Kong, the former British colony that is home to seven million people and became a Chinese territory in 1997.”

For a city, having the ingredients for a thriving art market creates a virtuous circle. The powerful marketing machines of the big auction houses, including public previews of coming sales, raises awareness and appreciation of art in the community. All this encourages local artists to create more art. And that momentum, in turn, contributes to the development of a city’s broader cultural scene, including music, theater and design.”

Singapore looks ahead

The relationship between big art-auction markets and a thriving art scene can be so entangled that it would appear difficult to navigate a new course in order to adequately compete. Singapore, it seems, is trying anyways.

“Undaunted, Singapore is diligently pushing ahead and has opened several museums and other arts venues while Hong Kong has dithered on the construction of West Kowloon. Christie’s also recently picked Singapore to be the site of a global fine-arts storage facility to open in a duty-free zone in January.”

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Shahzia Sikander questions authority with new video art medium at Para/Site in Hong Kong

Posted by artradar on September 23, 2009


PAKISTANI CONTEMPORARY VIDEO ART

SpiNN (2003) by Shahzia Sikander, still image of video

SpiNN (2003) by Shahzia Sikander, still image of video

Art Radar talks to Pakistani miniaturist and video-maker Shahzia Sikander on the occasion of her debut show in China.
The internationally acclaimed Shahzia Sikander spent 2003-2008 performing an in-depth study of the moving image and the fruits of her analysis are on display at “Authority as Approximation,” her first solo exhibition in China at the Para/Site Art Space in Hong Kong.
Curated by Alvaro Rodriguez Fominaya, the 5 works on display are video art pieces that challenge authority and question existing stereotypes of Pakistani culture.

The exhibition is unique as it stands as her first show comprising only moving images, and continues her practice of critically deconstructing traditional imagery of India and Pakistan.

For this event the venue is transformed into a black-box screening gallery, allowing viewers to appreciate Shahzia Sikander’s treatment of the video medium, which represents a departure from her seminal miniature drawings, and highlights her approach to new media.

The show displays her past video work ‘SpiNN’ (2003), which was shown in the Venice Biennial Arsenale exhibition, and emphasizes her latest film, the video-essay ‘Bending the Barrels’ (2008), which debuted in New York early in 2009. The subject of Sikander’s ‘Bending the Barrels’ is a Pakistani Army military brass band performing in formation, which is examined as a politcal device. On the meaning of this film, cultural critic Aditya Dev Sood explains:

“In her choice of Pakistani Army Bands as a subject for visual capture and representation, Sikander triggers deep resonances from within the tradition of Indo-Islamic miniature painting. The corporeal language, rhythm, space-making and compositional effects that she discovers and creates in film appear rooted in courtly spectacles as well as in their painterly representation, in various Mughal and later Company and British Imperial styles.”

Bending the Barrels (2008), by Shahzia Sikander, still image of video.

Bending the Barrels (2008), by Shahzia Sikander, still image of video.

It’s all about the drawings

Sikander specializes in drawing, and all of her art is conceived in this way and then evolves into various mediums.

As an artist she wears many hats: she also programs animation and operates the camera when shooting film. She creates animations from scanned drawings using the applications Photoshop and Fireworks.

For her film work, she was permitted to operate the camera at the Pakistani military facility herself. However, regarding what medium she chooses, she remarks “the idea dictates the medium.” Unconcerned with medium, she has no preference whether an image is moving or not, and instead chooses what best facilitates communication. However, despite the medium of a work, it will eventually be reflected in Shahzia’s 2D drawings. She comments “Even during filming, it was all research or fodder for drawing.”

Unprecedented Access

Perhaps most surprising about this exhibit is that Sikander, who lives in New York City and is married to an American, was able to gain access into a Pakistani military facility to film original footage of the army’s brass band. Sikander explains that she was allowed inside and permitted to film because she won a military medal in 2003 as an honored Pakistani artist, and was thus granted entry. However, she added that “I find when a project is approached with intent and clarity, I have always been granted access and goodwill has been reciprocated.” Her American husband was also allowed inside the facility to film with her.

Video art: “It’s always been there”

Sikander’s exploration into the moving image reinforces the rising trend of video art. However, Shahzia sees video art as far more than a trend, saying “It’s always been there at the forefront of contemporary expression.” She suggests video art will only become more pervasive, commenting “It’s easier to send a disc, and its immediacy allows for a larger audience… [With Youtube] Everyone now has the freedom to become a videographer.”

The exhibition runs from Sept 2-Sept 30, 2009, at the Para/Site Art Space in Sheung Wan, Hong Kong.

-contributed by Erin Wooters

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Posted in Alvaro Rodriguez Fominaya, Art and internet, Asia expands, Biennials, Connecting Asia to itself, Hong Kong, Islamic art, Miniatures, New Media, Pakistani, Shahzia Sikander, Sound, Sound art, Video, War, Women power | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Thai Chinese artist Nipan Oranniwesna shows installation art made of baby powder in Hong Kong – review

Posted by artradar on August 25, 2009


THAI CONTEMPORARY ART IN HONG KONG

Is national identity still relevant within our globalized world, which is more interdependent than ever before? Where do we get our identity, and what does baby powder have to do with it? Art Radar talks with the renowned Thai contemporary artist Nipan Oranniwesna at the Osage Gallery in Kowloon, Hong Kong before the opening of his latest exhibition Being….. at homE.

Napin

Storytelling through sight, smell, and unexpected mediums

Nipan Oranniwesna had a big job ahead of him when he arrived in Hong Kong for his exhibition at the Osage Gallery, perhaps the most respected experimental art gallery in Hong Kong. In only 4 days, he would create 2 massive installation exhibits that sprawl across the floor of Osage’s Kwun Tong gallery space in Kowloon, which are sculpted out of only baby powder. Not just any baby powder either, mind you. Nipan’s baby powder installations require the signature scent of a product by Johnson & Johnson that is only available in Thailand, and countless packages needed to be flown into Hong Kong for the artist’s materials. The exhibition is essentially a story, and is complete with 3 narrative installation works that consider identity and the idea of home on a global scale, a national scale, and ends considering the idea of home and connectedness to one’s personal space.

Napin_2

Powder cities demonstrate fragility

The result of Nipan’s labor is astounding. The exhibition, titled Being….. At HomE questions the validity of nation-based identity within modern society. The first piece of the show, City of Ghost, is a massive cityscape made of baby powder that depicts 13 major metropolitan cities of the world as interconnected. A similar work of his was also on display at the 2007 Venice Biennale for 6 months, and other sprawling works of sculpted baby powder cities have sold to private collectors, fetching up to $20,000 USD. Nipan explains the meaning of this work:

“Every country is nationalistic, but is it real, or does it just manipulate our thinking? This piece challenges personal and national identity. We think we are Thai, but the interconnectedness of this work demonstrates a question… I used baby powder because global society is both beautiful and fragile. The smell of the specific brand was important, as I wanted this to be a full sensory experience, with a stronger, more serious scent.”

Napin_3

Chinese National Anthem in powder suggests vulnerability

The next piece, titled ...with our flesh and blood, examines the idea of home and identity at the national level, depicting the Chinese national anthem written in baby powder. Accompanying framed works also show the Chinese anthem created from small pierced holes on paper, creating a braille-like version of the lyrics. Through these works, Nipan was subtly suggesting the vulnerability of basing personal identity on one’s nationality or ethnicity.

Nipan_4

Come home, take off your shoes.

The last piece of the show, Narrative Floor, brings the audience to the most intimate interpretation of place and identity, the home. The piece invites viewers to get involved, take off their shoes and walk on the work, which resembles a hard wood floor inlaid with photographic ‘rain drops’. Upon closer inspection, these raindrops are revealed to be small scenes from Hong Kong, China, and Thailand. Nipan admits this piece reflects his heritage; he is ethnically Chinese, but native to Thailand. The work begs the question, when a person is connected to different places, where is home? Nipan suggests everywhere that touches someone becomes a part of him, and all of those places are his home. The piece invites viewers to take off their shoes, sit down, and even lie down, demonstrating home is a feeling that can be felt anywhere one happens to be.

It’s easy to miss the meaning

The last work, Narrative Floor, is decidedly different from the other pieces, most notably because it does not use baby powder. Nipan explains:

“I wanted to use a new language. Baby powder is just one language….. I deal with the perception of the viewer, especially using distance, the space between people and artwork, the space between people and other people. This is what I access in my work. In this piece you come inside…

The exhibition is also full of clues of meaning that could be easily missed. Nipan reveals:

Every piece and work is like a sign. The way to read the exhibition is to look for the signs, issues, even though they are almost hidden, very subtle… The red in this room suggests the color of the Chinese flag. The 5 dots that are present in the exhibition title are a reference to the 5 stars on the Chinese flag. The capital letters in the exhibition title Being….. at homE are a reference to the space between the word ‘be.’ I am concerned with what lies between. Of course my work can be read in other ways, and that is okay. But I want to deal with this triangle of me, Hong Kong, and China.

Problem: Fragile art gets harmed

The delicate nature of the work is part of the art’s significance, and also leads to inevitable mishaps. Staff at the Osage Gallery mentioned they considered turning down the air conditioning to prevent air flow from disturbing the powdery surface, and Nipan cheerfully recalled the footprint he discovered in the Venice Biennale’s installation.

Solution: That’s OK.

He explains that damaging the artwork is not encouraged, but minor accidents are natural and ultimately contribute to the participatory quality of the work, relating it to viewers. Such an attitude is wise, considering the tours of school children that parade through the gallery. Furthermore, upsetting the fragile medium reinforces the essence of the work. Nipan proves although something is not meant to be broken, it may still be far too easy to destroy.

Nipan’s exhibition is among 2 others on display at the Osage Gallery in Hong Kong. Other exhibited artists include Cheo Chai-Hiang from Singapore, and Sun Yuan & Peng Yu (China). The exhibition runs from August 21-October 4, 2009.

-contributed by Erin Wooters

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Posted in Biennials, Chinese, Hong Kong, Installation, Large art, Nationalism, New Media, Nipan Oranniwesna, Participatory, Political, Reviews, Shows, Space, Thai, Uncategorised, Venice | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Catch Palestinian Art in Venice – Islamic art in the spotlight or in a corner?

Posted by artradar on July 29, 2009


Emily Jacir, Stazione 2009

Emily Jacir, Stazione 2009

ART PALESTINE VENICE BIENNALE

The debut of Palestine contemporary art at the 53rd Venice Biennale (June 7th – Sept. 30th) attempts to elevate Palestine art to the international spotlight. This post explores whether Islamic art from Palestine has been marginalized and to what extent the inaugural show  throws light on Palestinian art today.

In the past, Venice played a merchant role as a fulcrum between the Western and the Islamic world. Now, as an artistic realm, Venice gives Palestinian art its virgin step to impress a wider audience in the west.

However, contrary to traditional art, contemporary Palestinian art does not equate to Muslim art, and perhaps that’s why the work of seven participating artists is being featured at the Biennale. To avoid religious controversy, Muslim message is absent, whether or not it’s a true representation of Palestinian art is questionable, but Palestinian art does emerge in a gamut of forms.

Instead of pushing forward a message, it is more about preserving a collective memory. Subject to approval, chef d’oeuvres such as Gregor Schneidor’s enormous black cube, inspired by the Ka’aba in Mecca, did not pass through the religious sensitivity screening.

While accepted in the Muslim community in Germany, it was rejected at the Biennale in 2005 because some viewed it as a terrorist threat. Despite Venice’s ingrained connections to Islam culture, what is representative of all Islamic symbols is still not tolerated at the exposition. 

If the theme does not revolve around Islamic roots, Palestinian artists must borrow other elements from their culture and history to assert a unique statement about their artwork. Free from religious implications, their artwork references Palestinian issues both on a local and global scale, bridging the past and the present.

Among the participating artists at the Biennale, Emily Jacir installs a stazione that encourages cultural exchange between Venice and the Arab world within architectural space and design. Situated on all of the vaporetto #1 stops, stazione provides a link between Venice’s heritage and the Arabic world, with Arabic translations inscribed on the shops in order to inform tourists of the rich origins. 

Shadi HabibAllah, Ok, hit, hit but don't run 2009

Shadi HabibAllah, Ok, hit, hit but don't run 2009

Another artist Shadi HabibAllah, through video and animation of hominoids, delves into the visual perception of natural objects surrounding us in the mechanical state – that work is a living experience, not just a visual reference.

To evoke notions of collective past memories, Taysir Batniji uses multimedia approach by playing the “Date Video”, significant in abstracting a process where time is suspended, as the ticks resonated the length of time since the border closures that forbid him from returning home.

Via photography and video of the panorama of the structural architecture and geography of the Shufhat Refugee camp in Jerusalem, Jawad Al Malhi explores the refugee population that is marginalized and neglected. Since outsiders don’t have access to narrow passages in the camp, the panoramic view enables exploration of the image of camp as well as the entropic nature of the space of the camp. By exploring claustrophobia and containment within the camp, he casts light on the dark side of reality in the land of promise.

Taysir Batniji, Atelier 2005

Taysir Batniji, Atelier 2005

Sandi Hilal and Alessandro Petti employ a sound installation device to explore the contemporary spatialization of urban centers. They take a dialogue in the dark approach, where the visitors enter a black-out room, blinded and only able to hear murmurs and cries of recorded discourse of what it is like to live in the Palestinian community. Heartbeats and musical interventions compounded the effect further. These two artists endeavor to illustrate the Ramallah Syndrome, which references the illusion of the new spatial social order and economic opportunities after the Oslo peace process. They question how Ramallah maintains as the city of Normalcy despite Israeli occupation and daily destructions.

Last but not least on the list of exhibiting artists, Khalil Rabah applies the Biennale idea to his work “A Geography: 50 Villages -The 3rd Riwaq Biennale”. This imaginary biennale takes place in the public space of 50 Palestinian villages, all of which are characteristic of ancient and original architecture and archways. While it rethinks confinement in physical space , it also runs parallel with Riwaq’s goal to protect and promote cultural heritage in Palestine. Meanwhile, by omitting large-scale and formal artistic presentation, it protests against the homogenization of the standard in the international art market. Moreover, it reexamines the biennale culture and ways to link Palestine art with the rest of the world.

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Contributed by Wendy Ma

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Posted in Biennials, Calligraphy, Electronic art, Fantasy art, Islamic art, Italy, Palestinian, Photography, Religious art, Sound art, Time, Venice, Video | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Chinese art to move to conventional venue says Chairman Venice Biennale

Posted by artradar on July 9, 2009


CHINESE ART AT THE VENICE BIENNALE

This post gives an overview Chinese art on exhibit at the 53rd Venice Biennale until November 2009 with a blogs-eye round-up of images and reviews. We also take a look at how Chinese art has grown in prominence over the years and how proposals for the future, by the Chairman of the Biennale, promise further validation.

Chinese exhibiting artists

The seven contemporary Chinese artists on display in the Chinese Pavilion at the 53rd Venice Biennale are:

  • He Jianwei
  • Liu Ding (read about his artwork at the Biennale Liu Ding’s Store)
  • He Sen
  • Fang Lijun
  • Zeng Fhanzi
  • Qiu Zhijie
  • Zeng Hao

This year, along with the seven artists who are participating at the Chinese pavilion, Chen Zhen, Chu Yun, Huang Yong Ping, Tian Tian Wang (interview with Tian Tian Wang) and Xu Tan are showing their works in the main exhibition ‘Making Words’.

He Sen, The World of Taiji

He Sen, The World of Taiji

According to AccessibleArtNY, at first glance the images in He Sen’s The World of Taiji appear to be simple with no perceivable details, but upon closer inspection, the brushstrokes are visible and Chinese characters are decipherable. The concept was to juxtapose what Sen considered a “weak” culture (China) with the strong Western cultural frames. He hoped that the viewer would take the time to look closely at the work.

He Sen The World of Taiji (detail)

He Sen The World of Taiji (detail)

Images of Chinese art at 53rd Venice Biennale

Review of the Chinese Pavilion

It has been ten years since the late Harald Szeemann’s 1999 Venice exhibition ‘APERTO Over All’ paved the way for the West’s understanding of contemporary art, aptly nicknamed the “China Biennale” due to its inclusion of nearly twenty Chinese artists, says Redbox Review

Yet the curatorial strategy behind this year’s Chinese Pavilion titled ‘What is to Come’, conceived by artist Lu Hao and curator Zhao Li, was unable to generate much buzz for China during the festival’s opening days.

The  Chinese artists provided highly individualized works. …And although each work may be considered a strong example of each artist’s conceptual prowess, the lack of immediate cohesion disengages a viewing audience that transcends the display’s symbolic ambitions. Note 1

History of Chinese art at the Venice Biennale

If this year is less successful than the past, who and what was on display in previous years? The Korean magazine Art in Asia has published a useful overview of the history of Japanese, Korean and Chinese art at the Venice Biennale. Below is an excerpt (including typos) covering Chinese art:

Harold Szeemann’s 1999 48th Venice Biennale exhibition, “dAPERTutto Over All,” included Chinese artists such as Ai Weiwei, Zhou Tiehai, Zhuang Hui, Wang Xingwei, Yang Shaobin, Fang Lijun, Qiu Shihua, Xie Nanxing, Zhang Peili, Yue Minjun, Zhao Bandi, Wang Jin, Zhang Huan, Liang Shaoji, Ma Liuming, Lu Hao, Chen Zhen, Cai Guoqiang and Wang Du.

Since the national Chinese pavilion was not yet built at the time, works by these nineteen Chinese artists chosen for the “d APERTutto” section were displayed both in the Giardini, specifically in the Italian pavilion, and in the Arsenale.

The Italian pavilion hosted no less than ten Chinese artists, and in the newly restored spaces of the Arsenale, dazzling installations by Cai Guo-Qiang were housed and shown. Szeemann, whose inclusion of Chinese artists at the Venice Biennale in 1999 and 2001, made a major contribution towards popularizing the Chinese avant-garde in the West.

In 2005, for the 51th Biennale, the first official Chinese pavilion was built by the Chinese Ministry of Culture, but it was temporary. Commissioners for the 2005 Chinese pavilion included Xu Jiang, the President of the China Academy of Art, Fan Di’an, the Vice President of the Central Academy of Art, Artist Cai Guo-Qiang, Wang Mingxian, the Vice Director of the Architecture Institute of China, and Pi Li, who was from the Central Academy of Art. Artists Yung Ho Chang, Liu Wei, Peng Yu & Sun Yuan, Wang Qiheng and Xu Zhen participated under the theme “Virgin Garden: Emersion.” This premier national pavilion of China marked a turning point in the cultural growth within Chinese contemporary art.

In 2007, having already curated the 2003 exhibition “Z.U.O.” in the context of the 50th Venice Biennale headed by Francesco Bonami, internationally renowned curator Hou Hanru highlighted the contributions of four women artists to Chinese contemporary art at the pavilion. These four female artists, Cao Fei, Kan Xuan, Shen Yuan and Yin Xiuzhen, created site-specific works in the building and at the Vergini Gardens, under the theme “Everyday Miracles.” Note 2

And the future for Chinese art?

According to a report in the Independent “at least one change to tradition has been signalled. The chairman of the Biennale is proposing that in future years the Chinese Pavilion moves in among the “conventional venues”. Recognition at last that the world order, even the cultural world order, has changed since 1895.” Note 3

About the Venice Biennale

The Venice Biennale – the world’s oldest and most high-profile contemporary art exhibition –  opens its doors to the public from 6th June to 22nd November 2009.

It was founded in 1895 to celebrate new developments in international art.

National pavilions were built in the Giardini – or public gardens – to house exhibitions from each participating country’s chosen artists. But as more and more countries wish to take part, the Biennale has spread across the Italian city.

It has been described as the Olympic games of the art world – 77 countries from Armenia to Venezuela are showcasing the work of their leading artists. All are hoping to win the top prize – the Golden Lion. Note 4

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