Archive for the ‘Museum shows’ Category
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 in Advisors, Artist Nationality, Chinese, Curators, Emerging artists, Events, Gallerists/dealers, Installation, Interviews, Laser, Li Hui, Light, Medium, Museum shows, Professionals, Sculpture, Spiritual, Styles, Themes and subjects, Venues, Z Artists | Tagged: Amber, Amber and Green?, art and technology, art technology, Barnett Newman, Berlin, Cage, Carmen Bat Ka Man, Central Academy of Fine Arts, Chinese artist, Christoph Noe, contemporary art, Cordelia Noe, Everything Starts from here, experimental art, experimentation, Germany, Holland, Internationale Lichttage Winterthur 2010, John jaspers, laser, LED, Li Hui, Light art, Mannheim, Netherlands, new technology, Reincarnation, Shamanism, Solo Exhibition, Switzerland, Technology, technology and the arts, The Centre of Artificial Light in Art, The Ministry of Art, Who's afraid of Red Amber and Green?, Who’s Afraid of Red Yellow and Blue?, Yellow and Blue | Leave a Comment »
Posted by artradar on September 16, 2010
TIBETAN CONTEMPORARY ART NEW YORK MUSEUM SHOWS
Until October 18, Rubin Museum, usually New York’s home for traditional art of the Himalayas, will run the first Tibetan contemporary art show in the city. Titled “Tradition Transformed: Tibetan Artists Respond“, this exhibition showcases the works of nine Tibetan artists born within the period 1953 to 1982. In a review published by The New York Times, critic Ken Johnson comments on each of the artists’ works.
Kesang Lamdark from Zurich presents Johnson’s most highly recommended works. On display is a sculpture made of perforated beer cans. As one peers through the drinking hole they can see a “glowing, dotted-line image of a Tibetan deity.” He also presents O Mandala Tantric, a pin-pricked black disk of four-foot diameter.
The holes on 'O Mandala Tantric' by Kesang Lamdark are back-lighted, such that they create a complex mandala pattern composed of images of skulls and animals, erotic Buddhist art imageries and modern pornography. The work touches upon themes of “debasement of sex in the modern commerce” and the East-West divide over views on eroticism.
The collages presented by Gonkar Gyatso from London are “graphically appealing,” but Johnson notes they would be more impressive if they advanced “the genre of Pop collage or ideas about spirituality and business.” One of the works on display is called Tibetan Idol 15.
'Tibetan Idol 15' by Gonkar Gystso is a collage of “hundreds of little stickers imprinted with familiar logos, cartoon characters and other signs of corporate empire” which form the “atomised silhouettes of the Buddha”.
The computer-generated prints by Losang Gyatso from Washington are, according to Johnson, “technically impressive” and “optically vivid”, but should attempt to draw a clearer relationship between “Buddha-mindedness” and “digital consciousness.” Clear Light Tara is one such work.
Large and colorful, 'Clear Light Tara' by Losang Gyatso is a computer-generated print which features “abstracted traditional motifs.”
Ken Johnson comments on the paintings like Water 1 by Pema Rinzin from New York, stating that they are “uncomfortably close to hotel lobby decoration.”
'Water 1' by Pema Rinzin is a painting of “curvy, variously patterned shapes gathered into Cubist clusters.”
Penba Wangdu from Tibet presents Links of Origination while Tenzin Norbu from Nepal presents Liberation. Both painters have the greatest “potential for narrative and symbolic elaboration,” but their works are “disappointingly decorous”, says Johnson.
Tenzin Norbu's 'Liberation' is made with stone ground pigments on cloth.
Penba Wangdu’s 'Links of Origination' outlines a sleeping woman whose body contains a “dreamy, pastoral landscape where little people make love, give birth, drink beer and paddle a boat on a peaceful lake.”
Tsherin Sherpa from Oakland, California, presents a large watercolor painting which features, as Johnson describes, an “angry blue giant with a vulture perched on his shoulder and flames roiling behind him.” Another of the artist’s major works, Untitled, features on the official website of the exhibition.
Tsherin Sherpa's 'Untitled'.
Tenzing Rigdol from New York presents a large watercolor painting named Updating Yamantaka.
'Updating Yamantaka' by Tenzing Rigdol is composed of “crisscrossing bands” which are “layered over colorfully traditional imagery of deities and ornamentation.”
Dedron from Tibet is the only female artist in the show. We are Nearest to the Sun is painted to resemble to a “modern children’s book version of folk art.” It is a painting of a village “populated by little bug-eyed characters,” projecting the theme of “nostalgia for preindustrial times.”
'We are nearest to the Sun' by Dedron, the only female artist represented in "Tradition Transformed: Tibetan artists Respond".
Johnson sums up by stating that it is paradoxical that the “freedoms granted by modern art and culture” do not generate much imagination in the show’s artists, who still cling onto that classic Tibetan style of art that has existed “hundreds of years prior to the 20th century.” He conveys a hope that in future Rubin shows he will discover some Tibetan artists with “adventurous minds.”
Related Topics: Tibetan artists, museum shows, New York venues, Buddhist art
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Posted in Art spaces, Artist Nationality, Buddhist art, Classic/Contemporary, Collage, Comic, Critic, Emerging artists, Events, Female form, Installation, Landscape, Laser, Lists, Medium, Museum shows, Museums, New York, Painting, Professionals, Religious art, Reviews, Shows, Spiritual, Styles, Themes and subjects, Tibetan, Trends, USA, Venues | Tagged: art critic, art criticism, art of the himalayas, Asian Contemporary Art, Buddhist art, Carmen Bat Ka Man, Clear Light Tara, Dedron, Gonkar Gyatso, Ken Johnson, Kesang Lamdark, Liberation, Links of Origination, Losang Gyatso, Museum shows, New York City, O Mandala Tantric, oil painting, Painting, paintings, Pema Rinzin, Penba Wangdu, review, Rubin Museum, Tenzin Norbu, Tenzing Rigdol, The New York Times, Tibetan art, Tibetan artists, Tibetan contemporary art, Tibetan Idol 15, Tradition Transformed: Tibetan Artists Respond, Tsherin Sherpa, Updating Yamantaka, Water 1, We are Nearest to the Sun | 4 Comments »
Posted by artradar on September 7, 2010
DIGITAL ART SINGAPORE PUBLIC ART
Racing fever hits Singapore as the city prepares to host the Singapore Grand Prix from 17 to 26 September. And with the expectant influx of tourists, preparations are in full swing for the Digital Nights Showcase (DNS). The festival entails interactive new and digital artworks that will be displayed simultaneously with the Grand Prix for ten nights, allowing locals and tourists to enjoy works by internationally acclaimed European artists.
The DNS will feature at the Singapore Arts Museum and Orchard Road, Singapore’s high fashion street and as part of this, artist Tom Carr is getting ready to present his work for the first time in Asia. DNS Project Manager, Frederic Chambon says of the festival,
“Digital Nights will present some of the best works of world-renowned French and European artists in the digital arts field. Visitors of all ages and backgrounds will be able to interact with the artworks, designed to envelop the senses through stimulating visual and digital technology.”
A preparatory drawing for Tom Carr's 'A Red Carpet for Orchard Road' (detail). Image courtesy of the artist.
Tom Carr, one of a handful of contemporary European artists chosen to present at the DNS, will be showing A Red Carpet for Orchard Road. The artwork projects a red carpet onto the street, inviting everyone to walk on the digital projection for their moment of VIP experience. Unlike a real red carpet, the projections will not be static. Carr’s audience can play with shadows and lights, and become a part of the installation by moving around with the projection. A euphemism for celebrityhood, A Red Carpet invokes celebrity notions of beauty and fame; the location of Carr’s enterprise, Orchard Road, is also Singapore’s go-to street for celebrity fashion.
Carrʼs light projections have been shown at museums such as the Musée dʼArt Moderne de Céret in France, the Science Museum in Barcelona, Spain and the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia in Madrid, Spain. Carr lives and works in Sant Quirze del Valles, Spain. The dual concepts of space and time appear often in his works – most so with his famous installation for the Miro Foundation. His first project in Singapore is being facilitated by Bartha & Senarclens, Partners. Frederic de Senarclens from this firm says,
We are very excited to introduce a work of art by Tom Carr to the Singapore public. Public accessibility of new media and digital art in Singapore has increased tremendously in recent years, a demonstration of the governmentʼs recognition of the long-term implications of enhanced urban living through exposure to art and culture.
Digital Nights is being held from 17-26 September, 2010 in Singapore.
Posted in Art spaces, Artist Nationality, Electronic art, European, Festival, Installation, Interactive art, Laser, Light, Museum shows, New Media, Open air, Participatory, Public art, Singapore | Tagged: Ananya Mukherjee, Bartha & Senarclens, Digital Nights Showcase, Frederic Chambon, Frederic de Senarclens, installation, Madrid, Miro Foundation, Muse Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Musee d'art Moderne de Ceret, Orchard Road, Partners, Red Carpet for Orchard Road, Sant Quirze del Valles, Science Museum Barcelona, singapore, Singapore Arts Museum, spain, Tom Carr | Leave a Comment »
Posted by artradar on August 24, 2010
KOREAN CONTEMPORARY ART MUSEUM EXHIBITIONS EMERGING ARTISTS
“The Penguin that goes to the Mountain“, an exhibition of contemporary art by young and emerging Korean artists, recently finished up this month at the Nam June Paik Art Center (NJPAC). It took the viewer on a journey from the ordered and well-known to the broken-up and disastrous. Embracing works beyond the visual arts, the exhibition presented practitioners that produced critical and demanding work often relating to the surreal and fictional. Below, Art Radar presents you with images from the exhibition and an interview with NJPAC curator Tobias Berger.
The Nam June Paik Art Center, established to celebrate and illuminate Nam June Paik‘s avant-garde spirit, finished running “The Penguin that goes to the Mountain” last week. The exhibition displayed various methods of expression, including the visual arts, stage productions, media, theatre and animated films from 23 emerging and relatively unknown artists and artist groups. These include:
Mano AHN, Sungeun CHANG, Eunphil CHO, Yeoja DDAN, Subin HEO, Intergate, Jaechoul JEOUNG, Dokyun KIM, Kimoon KIM, Minkyu KOH, Jihoi LEE, Jinwook MOON, Moowang MOON, Sohyun MOON, Adjong PARK, Seungwon PARK, post-EAT, Jinwoo RYU, Rhee SEI, Joonghyup SEO, Mongjoo SON, Hojun SONG, Vaemo, Donhwi YOUN
"The Penguin that goes to the Mountain", an exhibition held at Korea's Nam June Paik Art Center this year. Image courtesy of NJPAC.
Focusing on the concept of “intermedia”, the exhibition proposed imaginative alternative ways to look at artistic production. Deconstructing the art center’s existing space and previously defined exhibition criteria this exhibition pushed the boundaries of the working methodologies of all those involved in its preparation and reception – from the artists and curatorial and technical staff, to the gallery assistants, and even the audience.
The title comes from Werner Herzog‘s 2007 documentary film made in Antarctica called “Encounter at the End of the World“. The film chronicles the story of a penguin that leaves its normal habitat for the unknown world of a mountain. The idea for the exhibition came from the fact that pioneering artists such as the late Nam June Paik dared to explore new territories, combining many often unrelated genres.
Art Radar Asia spoke to Tobias Berger, Chief Curator of Nam June Paik Art Center, to find out more about the exhibition.
What prompted “The Penguin that goes to the Mountain”? What is the mission of NJPAC and how does this show fit with that mission?
It was the need to show some young, edgy new work by professionals from different disciplines; the try out of new curatorial concepts by using some ideas from theater productions; to blur borders between the different disciplines. These are all the parts of the misson of what the Nam June Paik Art Center is showing. Paik wanted this to be ‘the house where his spirit lives on for a very long time’ and showing interdisciplinary young works is certainly Paik’s spirit.
Moowang MOON, 'Neurogenic Plything', 2010. Image courtesy of NJPAC.
Can you tell us about how “The Penguin that goes to the Mountain” is organised? What are the themes?
We took a very strong curatorial approach to the exhibition and it’s basically a voyage from the rather clean and not minimal. The further you go through the exhibition, the more chaotic it becomes and the more difficult it becomes to navigate. There’s a chaotic room, where two walls in the middle are falling down and the works are very tied together … We tried to put in a more kind of theatric setting.
Are there styles or mediums which predominate in “The Penguin that goes to the Mountain”? Why do you think that is?
… we have sculpture to video to photography to big installations. As usual in contemporary art you do have quite a lot of videos.
Sohyun MOON, 'Poisoning of Light', 2007. Image courtesy of NJPAC.
How did you select the artists for “The Penguin that goes to the Mountain”? What characteristics were you looking for?
I think we looked for artists that really went to the edge or over the edge. That is the idea of this penguin that goes to the mountain. It’s a penguin that leaves the others and just goes this way. We more collected different works. It was not a show where we selected ten artists and asked them to do new works. It was more a show where we saw certain works that fitted into the idea of ‘The Penguin’ or into our curatorial context.
Which of your artists has drawn the most interest at “The Penguin that goes to the Mountain”?
There are some controversial video works that are quite challenging. One is talking about the subject of sex, which is a little bit of an interesting subject in South Korea. The other one is an animated video, where [the subject] kind of begins to cut off her fingernails and then her fingertips and then her fingers. It’s an animation, but it’s also quite visual. I think these works are quite controversial, but also in a good way controversial.
Mongjoo SON, 'The Animals Were Gone', 2008. Image courtesy of NJPAC.
The artists in “The Penguin that goes to the Mountain” are all emerging or young artists. What problems do you see for young artists compared with older generation artists working today? In what ways are young artists fortunate, as compared with older artists?
They all have problems and challenges. It’s going to be interesting, how do we justify and how do we not justify them? How do we relate to the art of the older generation? How do we look at it and how do we look at the artist in their mid-career. How do we judge them? You need curators, writers and critics that can evaluate different types of art. Museums can be stiff and kick out the most avant-garde. Maybe because they’re not commercial, maybe they’re a bit too challenging, maybe they’re too critical. So it is the question of the entry into the galleries or the museums or the institutions. A lot of times, the most interesting artists don’t find galleries because if you’re a media artist or performance artist your work doesn’t sell as easily as a painter. But you’re still certainly a much more interesting artist than a certain painter. How do we find a way to deal with that problem? So it has nothing to do with older or younger. It has more to do with genres.
How do you find dealing or working with young artists as opposed to established artists?
They are certainly much more involved in the process and much more interested in what’s going on, more than the established artists that have done big shows in museums many times. For [the young artists], it’s the first time to do an institutional exhibition and that brings a certain tension, but it’s basically good tension that brings out new works and quite interesting work.
Does NJPAC intend to feature other works from students, graduates or emerging artists?
In [“The Penguin that goes to the Mountain”], we cared if the work fitted into the context of the exhibition. Certainly we didn’t care if it was a young artist or an established artist, or if he’s Asian or European. But sure, we will in the future invite students or just-freshly-graduated artists again.
Hojun SONG, 'G.O.D.', 2009. Image courtesy of NJPAC.
Have there been any unusual, unexpected or interesting responses to “The Penguin that goes to the Mountain” from the viewers and critics?
It’s Paik Art Center. People expect tough or different art…. I think the people who come here know what they can expect. There was nothing surprising or unusual, because people expect the surprising and unusual at Nam June Paik Art.
“The Penguin that Goes to the Mountain” ran from 5 June until 22 August this year at South Korea’s Nam June Paik Art Center.
Tobias Berger also spoke with us about the Korean contemporary art scene: how accessible it is to non-Korean speakers; the current worldwide popularity of Korean art; the innovative non-profit art spaces in Korea. We will present this interview on Art Radar in the coming weeks.
Related Topics: Korean artists, museum shows, interviews, installations
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Posted in Artist Nationality, Computer animation software, Curators, Emerging artists, Events, Generation art, Installation, Interviews, Korea, Korean, Medium, Museum shows, Museums, Photography, Professionals, Sculpture, Styles, Tobias Berger, Venues, Video, Virtual | Tagged: Adjong PARK, animation, art school, art students, controversial art, Dokyun KIM, Donhwi YOUN, Encounter at the end of the world, Eunphil CHO, Hojun SONG, Intergate, Intermedia, Jaechoul JEOUNG, Jihoi LEE, Jinwoo RYU, Jinwook MOON, Joonghyup SEO, Julie Anne Sjaastad, Kimoon KIM, Korean art, Korean art scene, Korean artists, Korean contemporary art, Korean emerging artists, Mano AHN, Minkyu KOH, Mongjoo SON, Moon Moowang, Moon Sohyun, Moowang MOON, Nam June Paik, Nam June Paik Art Center, post-EAT, provocative art, Rhee SEI, Seoul, Seungwon PARK, Sohyun MOON, Son Mongjoo, Song Hojun, Subin HEO, Sungeun CHANG, The Penguin that goes to the mountain, Tobias Berger, Vaemo, visual arts, Werner Herzog, Yeoja DDAN | Leave a Comment »
Posted by artradar on August 10, 2010
RUSSIAN ARTIST COLLECTIVE PHOTOGRAPHY VIDEO
Made up of artists Tatiana Arzamasova, Lev Evzovitch, Evgeny Svyatsky, and Vladmir Fridkes, internatinoally acclaimed Russian collective AES+F returns once again to Moscow’s Garage Center for Contemporary Culture in the center’s newest exhibition, “The Feast of Trimalchio“.
AES+F, 'Triptych #1. Panorama #2', 2010, digital collage. Image courtesy of Garage Center for Contemporary Culture.
Curated by Olga Sviblova, the collective’s interpretation of Satyricon, a work by Roman poet Gaius Petronious Arbiter, features a nine channel video installation of a hotel resort paradise threatened by disaster. The artists’ website states:
the atmosphere of ‘The Feast of Trimalchio’ can be seen as bringing together the hotel rituals of leisure and pleasure … On the other hand the ‘servants’ are more than attentive service-providers. They are participants in an orgy, bringing to life any fantasy of the ‘masters’.
The show, which runs from 19 June to 29 August, features both the video installation as well as several brand new, never-before-seen panoramic digital collages.
Watch Garage Center’s short preview of “The Feast of Trimalchio” here (video length, 1:07 mins)
Related Topics: AES+F, Russian, photography, video art
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Posted in AES+F, Collaborative, Consumerism, Fantasy art, Human Body, Moscow, Museum shows, Olga Sviblova, Photography, Russia, Russian, Utopian art, Video | Tagged: AES+F, art video, artist collaboratives, collaborative art, contemporary photography, contemporary video art, Erica Holloway, Evgeny Svyatsky, exhibition, fantasy art, Gaius Petronious Arbiter, Garage Center, Garage Center for Contemporary Culture, Lev Evzovitch, Olga Sviblova, panoramic digital collages, photography, photography exhibitions, Roman poetry, Russian art, Russian artist, Russian artists, Russian contemporary art, Russian contemporary artists, Russian curator, Russian galleries, Russian installation art, Russian photography, Russian video art, Satyricon, Tatiana Arzamasova, The Feast of Trimalchio, utopian art, Video, Video art, video installation, Vladimir Fridkes | Leave a Comment »
Posted by artradar on August 5, 2010
INTERVIEW ASIAN ART MUSEUM CONTEMPORARY ART PAKISTANI ARTISTS
Revolutions come far and few in between in the museum world. This season promises to be different. The Musée Guimet, France’s leading ancient Asian art museum, has opened its doors to contemporary Asian art for the first time since its inception in 1898. Leading the transition from the museum’s rich history of antique collections to a contemporary view of art is a show called “Perpetual Paradox”, featuring works by Pakistani artist Rashid Rana.
The director of Musée Guimet Jacques Gies, who is also one of the curators of the show, says of this move,
The museum is much more than a safety-deposit box for antiques. In view of the value of the Asian dynamic in our modern-day world – where Asian cultures are for the first time in Western history making a place for themselves that grows larger every day – the time has come, we believe, to reflect on and reconsider our notion of the museum.
Rashid Rana, 'Red Carpet', 2007.
Art Radar Asia spoke with Jacques Gies and Caroline Arhuero, curators of “Perpetual Paradox” at the Musée Guimet about, among other things, what the move means for the Musée Guimet and the museum world in general.
Since 1945, Musée Guimet has been home to a prestigious, one of a kind collection of ancient Asian art. With “Perpetual Paradox”, the museum exhibits contemporary art for the first time. What prompts this foray into contemporary Asian art? Does the museum have plans to build a contemporary Asian art collection?
This policy of the ‘Contemporary Factory of Art’ will to be the spearhead of a new acquisition policy, in resonance with the collection. This is in order to extend the historical competency of the museum until the contemporary time and also towards the future.
How did the curators zero down on Rashid Rana?
We heard of the artist’s name from the president of Sotheby’s France, Mr. Guillaume Cerutti, and then we conducted the research and here we are today.
Tell us about the experience of working with Rashid Rana on “Perpetual Paradox”?
With the artist, a very positive working relationship … hearing each other out. So, we were able to well place his works, with his agreement, within the permanent collections of the museum.
How does this experience compare with other shows you have organised?
Last year, at the first ever exhibition of the “contemporary art factory”, with the living artists Hung-Chih Peng and Chu Teh-Chun, we experienced the same great interest for this difficult exercise. Moreover, these artists [are] very aware of the quality of the ancient works [currently in the museum], even showed some concern about this challenge. Only the greatest [contemporary artists] have this modesty.
What challenges have you faced? What have you enjoyed the most? What has surprised you the most as the curator of “Perpetual Paradox”?
They were numerous, as this exhibition by principle requests a tricky solution to avoid “over interpretation”. [We needed to] create dialog between the works, those of Rashid Rana and the historical collection, without over interpretation [and] find the secret link that can give each his dimensions. The greatest satisfaction is that this setting was rewarding because it was just. My surprise was to see the first works by R. Rana – especially the “sculptures” – integrated particularly well [into the museum’s collection]…
The exhibition, “Perpetual Paradox”, places Rana’s “paradoxical” pieces amongst ancient Asian art pieces. This opens up several dialogs between the past and the present. How have the curators and the artist envisioned this?
The cross-historical dialog is precisely what we want to give [and] to see … integrate the work of a contemporary artist, that with this stimulus somehow our audience may feel the contemporary dimension of the works from the past … the museum can be this link crossing all times. Aren’t we [the viewer] the contemporary of all creations of art, as we receive them in the present, from the paintings [at] Lascaux to contemporary pictures?
Can you name some of the works in “Perpetual Paradox”? How did the curators narrow down on the works?
The selection of the works was made in consultation with the artist. It can be looked at it [in] fives ways: (1) “The Idea of abstract”; (2) “Transcending Tradition”; (3) “Real Time, Other Spaces”, (4) “Between Flesh and Blood”; and (5) “Self in other”.
Rana’s work is truly contemporary in the way he uses technology. His content is driven in some ways by the presence of technology in our lives. But at the same time, his free use of traditional motifs sets him apart from a lot of artists. How would you place this contradiction within Rana’s work? What is it that you think makes him an important artist today?
Here is precisely the paradox! But there is no contradiction between the use of a process, a very modern technology, and the ancient subjects. This is precisely because he assumes both…
This is the second showing of Rana’s work in France, after the first at a group show in 2006. How have the viewers responded to Rana’s work?
It seems this is the first exhibition of this scale in France, certainly for a monographic exhibition. The first ever reactions, including [those] from the staff of the museum, are extremely positive. They see a new step in the policy of the Musée Guimet.
Museum shows are stepping stones in an artist’s career. This is Rana’s eighth museum show in nine years. “Perpetual Paradox” is also his first solo in France. What do you foresee for this prolific artist?
We are convinced of the large stature of the artist R.Rana. It is clear that his name will shine; that he will be an artist contributing to a refocus of the international artistic scene in Asia.
What would you say about the growing interest in Asian contemporary art? Do you see a substantial change in the last, say ten to fifteen years?
Definitely. This is a question we could not imagine five years ago.
Are there more contemporary shows in the pipeline at the Musée Guimet?
Of course. We underline it, a coherent policy with the title “Contemporary Factory of Art in Asia”.
About Rashid Rana and “Perpetual Paradox”
Trained as a painter, Rana is well known for using a variety of media like photography, video and installations, but dislikes being called a photographer, video-artist or sculptor.
Rashid Rana, 'Sites_1-C Print+ DIASEC', 60.96cm x 91.44cm, 2009.
In “Perpetual Paradox”, Rana’s work in digital imaging allows him to associate opposing elements in the same piece by inlaying micro-photographic details and creating pixellated images. By associating the seen with the unseen, the artist highlights the hostility between cultures, holding responsible those who create today’s images and therefore play a role in the construction of tomorrow’s traditions. Rana says of his work,
In this age of uncertainty we have lost the privilege of having one world view. Now every image, idea and truth encompasses its opposite within itself.
Rana made his mark on the Asian art circuit with his first-ever international show in 2004 at New Delhi’s Nature Morte art gallery run by Peter Nagy. Thematically, Rana’s work express a solid affiliation with the miniature arts tradition but his fascination seems to be with the idea of “gestalt” – that the whole is perceived as more than the sum of its parts.
For instance, in a 2005 show called “Beyond Borders: Art of Pakistan” at the National Gallery of Modern Art, Mumbai, Rana’s Creating Identity showed the human body as the sum of a thousand fragmented pieces which were put together in a way such that one could see visible cracks between each fragment. Viewed from afar, the digital print showed people with their gaze affixed at the sky during a National Day Parade. On closer view, it became apparent that the bodies were made up of miniature images of scenes from Bollywood films, an obsession shared by people across the India-Pakistan border.
Similarly in a 2010 show called “Hanging Fire” at Asia Society, New York, showcasing Rana’s “Red Carpet” series, the carpet works as a euphemism for buyable cultural memories and heirlooms.
Rana’s images work to undo the intricate beauty and cultural historicism of the carpet and create a new layer of meaning by appropriating gory, actual photo-images comprising thousands of tiny images, “pixels”, depicting the slaughter of goats as prescribed by Halal law. Rana’s works impact through a series of additions, subtractions, cultural associations and interpretations, all the while challenging one’s “one world view”.
Related Topics : museum collectors, Pakistani artists, museum shows
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Posted in Acquisitions, Art spaces, Asia expands, Caroline Arhuero, Carpet art, Collectors, Computer animation software, Curators, Events, France, From Art Radar, Installation, Interviews, Islamic art, Jacques Gies, Museum collectors, Museum shows, Museums, New Media, Pakistani, Photography, Professionals, Rashid Rana, Sculpture, Venues, Video | Tagged: Ananya Mukherjee, antique art, antiques, art acquisition, art acquisitions, art curators, art interviews, art relics, Asia Society New York, Asian art, Asian art museums, Asian art scene, Asian Contemporary Art, Beyond Borders: Art of Pakistan, Bollywood, Caroline Arhuero, Chu Teh-chun, classic/contemporary trend, Contemporary Factory of Art, Creating identity, digital photomontages, digital printmaking, France, Gestalt, Guillaume Cerutti, Halal Law, Hanging Fire, Hung-Chih Peng, installations, Jacques Gies, Lascaux, Miniature arts, monographic exhibition, Musee Guimet, museum acquisitions, museum collectors, museum curators, museum exhibitions, Museum policy, Museum shows, Museum solo, Museums, National Gallery of Modern Art Mumbai, Nature Morte, New Delhi, Pakistani art, pakistani artists, Paris, Perpetual Paradox, Peter Nagy, photography, Pixels, Rashi Rana, Red Carpet, sculpture, Solo show, Sotheby's France, Video | Leave a Comment »
Posted by artradar on July 28, 2010
KOREAN ASEAN CONTEMPORARY PHOTOGRAPHY EXHIBITION
Created to showcase the range of dynamic contemporary photography coming from Korean and Southeast Asian artists, “Emerging Wave“, currently on view at the GoEun Museum of Photography in Busan (South Korea), features works from 27 artists ranging from emerging creators to established veterans.
Established in March 2009, the ASEAN-Korea Centre promotes both cultural and economic cooperation between Korea and the ten ASEAN (Association of South East Asian Nations) member countries. The organisation recently partnered with Seoul Art Centre’s Hangaram Art Museum to open their 2010 photo exhibition which features 27 artists from 11 countries.
The exhibition, which is the second since ASEAN-Korea Centre’s launch, exposes the international community to new work by some of Southeast Asia’s brightest contemporary photographers. While many of the participants are veterans, the exhibition gives younger artists exposure to the contemporary art scene of a major city such as Seoul.
“Emerging Wave” attracts artists from all over ASEAN region
For example, for emerging Bruneian photographers Hirfian Hussain and Akmal Benangsutera, the exhibition is an opportunity to showcase the budding photography scene in their home country, as well as a chance to connect with dedicated artists from outside of Brunei.
Artists well-established in other media also make up this year’s selected names such as Burmese performance and installation artist Po Po. While not considered a prolific artist – he has had only two solo exhibitions since 1987 – his work is thoughtful and full of depth. As an artist who works with different media there is much crossover within his work. With his photography he employs elements of cubism, a movement he considers to be painting’s “highest state of intellectual approach.”
Po Po, 'Searching for Identity: Bottle # 1', 2002-2007, C-print, 167 x 305 cm.
“How can I make cubist photos which present every aspect of a thing? These works are not objects of material. They are objects of mind”.
Although in an article on the Myanmar Times website Po Po states his distinterest in “flashy technology or visual hype”, his selected photos demonstrate his willingness to experiment with newer media to create complex, visually stimulating images without losing the sincerity of his message.
Like Po Po, Singaporean artist Mintio incorporates multiple overlapping angles in photos from her “Concrete Euphoria” series (2008-2009).
Mintio, 'Kuala Lumpur City Centre', 2008, D-print, 152 x 122 cm.
In spite of being relatively young Mintio, who got her start at a major commercial studio at age 16, has already created a stir with her documentation of Asia’s largest cities using long-exposure techniques. For Mintio, the process is about both rediscovery and finding the unknown in familiar things.
“At the end of the day, no matter how familiar we think we are with a person or a place, there always will be jewels left undiscovered. Perhaps the answer of what a place or city means might just be a continuous journey of finding those jewels.”
Also on display is work by fellow Singaporean Zhao Renhui, a resident artist and member of the Institute of Critical Zoologists. Zhao channels his fascination with man’s perception of animals into photos sometimes depicting live or taxidermy creatures, and other times depicting man’s often futile attempts to be at one with nature. In an interview with Asian Photography Blog, Zhao expresses the idea that photography is a medium through which people “relate to animals and the world”. At the same time it is a medium which “blurs the distinction between fact and fiction”. In one particular image he presents a zoologist who appears nearly invisible with the aid of a camoflague cloak and photo manipulation.
Zhao Renhui, 'Tottori Sand Dunes', 2009, archieval piezographic print, 84 x 121 cm.
In doing so, Zhao presents a surreal image as reality and challenges the validity of photography as a medium for depiciting truth. For the artist, reality in photography is illusory and constantly in flux. Viewers must try to make sense of the natural, scientic world through a manipulated, and possibly false, image.
A fascination with perceptions of truth also permeates the photographs of Thai artist Dow Wasiksiri and Vietnamese artist Richard Streitmatter-Tran. While Streitmatter-Tran makes no attempt to hide the artifice of his composite images, Wasiksiri’s saturated photos capture a side of Thai culture that he feels foreigners are not exposed to when viewing the “styled and staged” images of Thailand. According to the artist’s statement on his website:
“Visitors are presented with contrived, idealized images of Thainess by Thais ourselves … countless published views of Thailand are staged and styled. The contrivance and the reality rarely match, leading to startling juxtapositions”.
In presenting what he calls the “unexpected moments”, Dow aims to show unabashed ‘Thainess’ with humor and unself-consciousness.
Indonesian photographer Angki Purbandono makes use of what he calls a “freestyle” approach which allows him to employ methods ranging from collage to the scannography technique used in “Avocado Horse” (2010). Even so, Purbandono doesn’t separate himself from other photographers too much.
“Just like other people working with photography, I play with objects, considering light as important and employing a dark room to print my work.”
Angki Purbandono, 'Avocado Horse', 2010, scannography, 100 x 100 cm.
Korean artists well represented in “Emerging Wave”
Although most of the eleven countries are represented by two artists, organisers made sure to give Korean artists plenty of additional exposure. Bright candied flora populate the work of Koo Seong Youn while Hyun Mi Yoo seems to suspend falling objects in time with skillful compositions. The warped perspectives of Zu Do Yang, Wawi Navarroza’s impersonation of Mexican artist Frida Kahlo, and “real vs. unreal” themes explored by artist Lee Yeleen add to the diversity of subject matter and style. Given that they were chosen for their talent and thoughtful innovation, it comes as no surprise that “Emerging Wave” participants turn the idea of photography on its head. With their photos they call on viewers to question the factual nature not just of the images they view but also the experiences which they have come to accept as normal and routine.
Koo Seong Youn, 'Ht01 (+ Ht02), C-Prints, 2009, 120 x 150 cm.
Other artists included in the show are Koreans Choi Jung Won, Lee Won Chul, and Nanda; Laotians Manichanh Pansivongsay and Phonephet Sitthivong; Indonesian artist Arya Pandjalu; Filipina artist Bea Camacho; Malaysian artists Liew Kung Yu and Tan Nan See; Burmese artist Thit Lwin Soe; Tanapol Kaewpring; Vietnamese artist Le Kinh Tai; and Cambodians Sok Sophal and Tralong Borin.
The exhibition has moved from the Hangaram Art Museum to the GoEun Museum of Photography in Busan and will close on 8 August.
Related Topics: Southeast Asian, photography, museum shows
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