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Archive for the ‘Cultural Revolution’ Category

Russian-born Lena Liv captures Moscow’s socialist subways in Tel Aviv museum show

Posted by artradar on September 9, 2010


PHOTOGRAPHY INSTALLATION LIGHT BOXES MUSEUM SHOWS RUSSIA ISRAEL ITALY

Artist Lena Liv takes her shots in the early morning, capturing various Moscow subway stations before people crowd the architecture. Her interest in these Stalin-era “palaces for the Proletariat” may stem from a need to capture examples of the city’s “show architecture”, remnants of a building style that once mirrored state ideologies.

Russian-born, Liv has returned to her homeland after many years living and working in Italy and Israel. Her photographic installations, capturing as they do the extraordinary in the everyday, are now on show at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art in an exhibition titled “Cathedrals for the Masses | Lena Liv: Moscow Metro“.

Lena Liv, 'Taganskaya', 2006-2009, transparency on glass, fluorescent light, wood and metal construction. This station was opened on 1 January, 1950 and is themed on medieval architecture. Image courtesy of Tel Aviv Museum of Art.

Lena Liv, 'Taganskaya', 2006-2009, transparency on glass, fluorescent light, wood and metal construction. This station was opened on 1 January, 1950 and is themed on medieval architecture. Image courtesy of Tel Aviv Museum of Art.

The museum summarises the exhibition on its website:

“Lena Liv’s lens exposes a paradox in the metro’s heroic building work: on the one hand, the buildings were meant to contain within their monumental dimensions a human body in search of domestication; on the other hand, this is building whose far-reaching ideology sought to turn Moscow from an ancient capital to the center of world Proletariat—to sow the “seeds of the new, socialist Moscow,” in the words of the journalists of the time. Above all, it seems that Lena Liv’s works testify that this show architecture was the first sprouts of a city that never materialized.”

Cathedrals for the Masses | Lena Liv: Moscow Metro is curated by Prof. Mordechai Omer and runs in collaboration with Centro per l’arte contemporanea Luigi Pecci, Prato, Italy. The exhibition runs until 9 October this year.

Lena Liv 'Grand Mayakovskaya', 2006-2009, transparency on glass, fluorescent light, wood and metal construction. This station was opened on 11 September, 1938 and is considered a masterpiece of Soviet Art Deco. It won the 1939 Grand Prize at the New York World's Fair. Image courtesy of Tel Aviv Museum of Art.

Lena Liv 'Grand Mayakovskaya', 2006-2009, transparency on glass, fluorescent light, wood and metal construction. This station was opened on 11 September, 1938 and is considered a masterpiece of Soviet Art Deco. It won the 1939 Grand Prize at the New York World's Fair. Image courtesy of Tel Aviv Museum of Art.

Lena Liv, 'Elektrovodskaya 1 and 2', 2005-2006, transparency on glass, fluorescent light, wood and metal construction. This station was opened on 15 May, 1944 and is themed on the home front struggle of the Great Patriotic War. It was the winner of the 1946 Stalin Prize. Image courtesy of Tel Aviv Museum of Art.

Lena Liv, 'Elektrovodskaya 1 and 2', 2005-2006, transparency on glass, fluorescent light, wood and metal construction. This station was opened on 15 May, 1944 and is themed on the home front struggle of the Great Patriotic War. It was the winner of the 1946 Stalin Prize. Image courtesy of Tel Aviv Museum of Art.

Lena Liv, 'Novokuznetskaya', 2006-2009, transparency on glass, fluorescent light, wood and metal construction. This station was opened on 20 November, 1943 and is themed on WWII. It was built as a monument to Soviet military valor. Image courtesy of Tel Aviv Museum of Art.

Lena Liv, 'Novokuznetskaya', 2006-2009, transparency on glass, fluorescent light, wood and metal construction. This station was opened on 20 November, 1943 and is themed on WWII. It was built as a monument to Soviet military valor. Image courtesy of Tel Aviv Museum of Art.

KN/HH

Related Topics: Russian artists, Israeli artists, European artists, photography, light art, museum shows

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Beijing first to host Arles program outside France

Posted by artradar on June 1, 2010


PHOTOGRAPHY FESTIVAL BEIJING EXHIBITIONS

In the first part of Art Radar Asia’s coverage of Beijing’s Caochangdi PhotoSpring (17 April-30 June, 2010) we presented the winners and semi-finalists of three photography awards. This article aims to explore some of the 27 photography exhibitions, several of which are from the long-established Les Rencontres d’Arles, with which Caochangdi PhotoSpring has partnered for the next three years. These Arles exhibitions are, for the very first time, being showcased outside of France.

Some of the Arles exhibitions seen in Beijing

Rimaldas ViksraitisGrimaces of the Weary Village won him the 2009 Recontres d’Arles Discovery Award. This Lithuanian born photographer has chosen to document the lives of his country’s village dwellers who, in order to face the difficult economic situation they are in, have turned to excessive drinking. Many of his subjects are intoxicated and the photographer’s portrayal of their nudity and often degrading behavior lends an air of the surreal to his images. This show, curated by Anya Stonelake and Martin Parr, was exhibited at the Three Shadows Photography Art Centre.

Rimaldas Viksraitis, Grimaces of the Weary Village, 1998, image courtesy Three Shadows Photography Art Centre

Rimaldas Viksraitis, Grimaces of the Weary Village, 1998. Image courtesy of Three Shadows Photography Art Centre.

A number of ’70s vintage prints by renowned Japanese photographer Daido Moriyama were also on display in a solo exhibition entitled Tono Monogatari – The Tales of Tono, presented with the cooperation of Taka Ishii Gallery (Tokyo) and Zen Foto Gallery (Tokyo). Moriyama was the winner of the No Limits Award at Les Rencontres d’Arles 2004 and his images of densely populated Tokyo districts are “characterized by blur, high contrast and rough printing.” His celebrated image of a stray dog, Misawa (1971), has come to describe both the dog and his style of photography: “ragged, savage and disoriented”. More recently his work has also been labeled “random, irrational and zero technique.” A Moriyama retrospective will be held 2011 at the National Museum of Art in Osaka.

Daido Moriyama, Misawa, 1971, Gelatin silver print, Courtesy of Taka Ishii Gallery & Caochangdi PhotoSpring

Daido Moriyama, Misawa, 1971, gelatin silver print. Image courtesy of Taka Ishii Gallery and Caochangdi PhotoSpring.

ArtMia Foundation showed the work of renowned photographer Lucien Clergue (b. 1934) who was one of the co-founders of Les Recontres d’Arles in 1969. This Arles native was a long-time family friend of Pablo Picasso and the exhibition, entitled Picasso Close Up, documents this friendship as well as other intimate views into the daily life of the painter. We get glimpses of Picasso as a father, husband and friend. We see him in a kimono, on an outing with his family, playing drums with musician friends, casually conversing with a cab driver or warmly engaging with Clergue’s daughter, who was Picasso’s god-child. This exhibition also featured eight original lithographs by Picasso.

Lucien Clergue, Picasso and Olivia C., Mougins 1967

Lucien Clergue, Picasso and Olivia C., Mougins, 1967

Another of the Arles exhibitions, Under the Skin, was held at the Galerie Urs Meile Beijing-Lucerne in collaboration with Juana de Aizpuru Gallery (Madrid) and featured the haunting portraits of Pierre Gonnord. These portraits are in a style reminiscent of the great Spanish masters and have come from two series. The first series, Utopians, portrays the underprivileged dwellers of Madrid. The second series, Gypsies, attempts to record the lives of inhabitants of an isolated part of Seville.

Pierre Gonnord, MARIA 2006, image courtesy Caochangdi PhotoSpring

Pierre Gonnord, MARIA, 2006. Image courtesy of Caochangdi PhotoSpring.

Mo Yi presented black and white photographs, video and an installation in his My Illusory City – 1987-1998-2008. The Tibetan-born artist has for most of the past thirty years chosen the city as his subject. He states, “the city has already become my long-term subject, and photography has become the most convenient language with which to transform this subject.”

Mo Yi, My Illusory City No. 5, silver gelatin print, image courtesy Caochangdi PhotoSpring

Mo Yi, My Illusory City No. 5, silver gelatin print. Image courtesy of Caochangdi PhotoSpring.

At Taikang Space a solo exhibition of two series by photographer and filmmaker Wu Yinxian (吴印咸), entitled Beijing Hotel-1975 and The Great Hall of the People, was on display. The former was completed toward the end of the Cultural Revolution and the latter in the early Eighties. These photographs were taken in an attempt to record the power and grandeur of the government at the time. His images are those of a bygone era, both in terms of changes in the political climate of China as well as the outdated furniture and faded patina.

Wu Yinxian, Meeting Room, 1975, image courtesy Caochangdi PhotoSpring

Wu Yinxian, Meeting Room, 1975. Image courtesy of Caochangdi PhotoSpring.

Future of Caochangdi PhotoSpring in limbo

We spoke briefly with RongRong, one of the directors of Caochangdi PhotoSpring, about the significance of this photography festival both for Beijing and China. “The Caochangdi PhotoSpring is the first major international photography festival in Beijing. It is an important event for photographers from all over China. Beijing is a global city that is convenient for a global gathering.”

However, the whole Caochangdi art district including the hub of the festival, the Three Shadows Photography Art Centre, and numerous other independent and commercial galleries, have recently been slated for demolition and eviction notices given to all village inhabitants. The art district is being cleared to make way for a “culture zone.”

Read part one here: 3 young Chinese artists awarded prizes at inaugural Caochangdi PhotoSpring

NA/KN

Related Topics: photography, art prizes, venues – Beijing

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Posted in Art districts, Beijing, China, Chinese, Cultural Revolution, Documentary, European, Installation, Japanese, Photography, Tibetan, Video | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Questioning “Made in China” – Interview Avant-Garde Beijing Artist: Huang Rui

Posted by artradar on October 28, 2009


CONTEMPORARY CHINESE ART

Artist Huang Rui standing in front of the Comerchina exhibition.

Artist Huang Rui standing in front of Shadow at Comerchina exhibition at 10 Chancery Gallery.

 Father of contemporary Chinese art, Huang Rui  is a Beijing artist who dares to think and act differently in a society that demands conformity. Prominent founder of the historically momentous 1979 Stars Group as well as the famous Beijing 798 Factory, Huang Rui showcases his exhibition Comerchina at 10 Chancery Lane Gallery (17 Sep – 10 Oct 2009) in Hong Kong.

Characteristic of his previous work such as “拆那(demolition)/China”, this series of new paintings called “Hall of Fame” is a collage that tweaks a pun on advertising imagery contributed by online participants.

In an exclusive interview with Art Radar, Huang Rui explains the layers of political and economic connotations in Comerchina, the difficulties facing art in this consumer society and the impossibility of escaping political scrutiny.

Q: Why is the exhibition called Comerchina?

ComerChina coverThe theme is related to commercialization and China. Ever since the 1990’s, China has become more and more commercialized in three aspects.

First, politics is becoming a servant of commerce. Second, commerce is labeled with cultural slogans. Third, the entire structure of society is changing and, as an integrated society,  is very dangerous.

 It’s different from a global society, which is only an element of an integrated society. It’s not a dictatorship, but rather a particular organizational system.  

Politics, the demand for a rise in economic standards and personal interests means that other important concerns such as art are being sacrificed. We need to reflect, criticize, and protest.

Q: How do your new paintings and installations in this show speak to over-commercialization and the power of money in China? What do the numbers represent? 

Hall of Fame 1-25 by Huang Rui, silk-screen printing/collage/canvas, 45X60X25cm pieces, 2009

Hall of Fame 1-25 by Huang Rui, silk-screen printing/collage/canvas, 45X60X25cm pieces, 2009

If someone attacks you, you attack him as well. It’s a natural response. In my work, the number represents you and me, since everyone uses cell phones. In the work of a 100-yuan bill with Mao, there are 100 numbers. 100 out of 100 represents an integrated society. “Made in China” refers to the global economy and the power of cooperation.

Q: How do you see contemporary art in China evolving? Where is it going (the trends)? Would you consider yourself a trend leader?

 

 

Chairman Mao Wan Yuan by Huang Rui, 128X88X4.6X6cm, 2006

Chairman Mao Wan Yuan by Huang Rui, 128X88X4.6X6cm, 2006

 

 

Huang Rui’s take on trends in Chinese contemporary art

It’s getting more commercialized, there is more variety and commerce is a factor that makes cooperation indispensable. Chinese society in the South including Hong Kong, Shanghai, and Shenzhen are producing imitation art. Hong Kong is focused on business, so real art is hard to develop. Artists in Hong Kong either have to bear with it or move out. It’s not up to the individual artists to enforce change. Our power is confined to criticizing and perhaps creating new structures or models, new thinking, and making proposals. To lead changes in the art world, it is up to the social elites, the politicians, and the urban planners.

Q: In your work Shadow, the characters taken together mean “maintain dictatorship of the proletariat”**. Would this work be permitted in mainland China?

 

Shadow(1-25) by Huang Rui, 90X60X27cm, oil on canvas, silkscreen lithograph, 2009

Shadow(1-25) by Huang Rui, 90X60X27cm, oil on canvas, silkscreen lithograph, 2009

 

 

It is now permitted, but this only happened recently. There were a lot of controversies with the Twin Tower (2001), which comprised layers of words and political expressions. My intent was to draw an analogy. The Twin Towers in New York were a symbol of menace as well as a political and economic strength. Likewise, the thinking of Mao and that of Jiang Ze Min are symbols of power yet also have tones of menace. Another work of mine that was banned from exhibition was “Chairman Mao Wan Yuan“(2006) [Note: wan sui in Chinese refers to “longevity” or “10,000 years”. The character wan also means 10,000.]

Many of my works were not just banned in China, but also elsewhere such as Japan, where I used to live. In 2005, there was a 3D Asian Art Fair in Korea and Singapore, but the Consulate General of China protested against the exhibition of my work.

**note: In the Commerchina book that Huang Rui gave me, there are pages of quotations by Mao categorized respectively under upholding, proletariat, classes, and dictatorship

Twin Tower by Huang Rui

Twin Tower by Huang Rui

Q: Tell us about your activity as an artist against political force.

I participated in the Wall of Democratic Rule (1978-1981) in Beijing. With Deng Xiao Ping’s permission, people could voice their opinions, until Deng Xiao Ping withdrew the democratic wall in 1980. I also participated in an underground magazine about arts and literature.  In 1979, I founded the Stars Group of 1979 along with other members. Just search on the web and you’ll easily unearth a lot of information about the group.

WM/KE

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Posted in Activist, China, Chinese, Collage, Consumerism, Cultural Revolution, Hong Kong, Huang Rui, Logos, Mao art, Money, Numbers, Political, Profiles, Words | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Schoeni gallery Hong Kong plans online archive for website

Posted by artradar on May 4, 2009


ART ARCHIVE WEB

Head of Schoeni gallery Nicole Schoeni told Art Radar that as part of the revamp of the website, there are plans to digitise their artist literature to form an on-line archive, “though it may take a while given that there is 16 years’ worth of material” she warned with a laugh.

Zhang Lin Hai

Zhang Lin Hai

Nicole’s father Manfred  Schoeni along with Johnson Chang of Hanart were pivotal in the nineties in bringing Chinese contemporary art to the international stage. For example Schoeni held the historically important 8+8+1 exhibition in 1997 which showcased the works of 15 contemporary Chinese artists many of whom are now internationally famous including Yue Min Jun, Zeng Fan Zhi, Zhang Xiao Gang, Guo Jin and Yang Shao Bin.

Harnessing the web to share historically important art materials with a global audience is, perhaps surprisingly, still an unusual initiative. While museums are making big strides, few galleries as yet are making materials pubicly available even when this would help promote current exhibitions. No doubt this will change and we look forward to the day when research , images and interviews, previously locked down in print publications such as catalogues,  are released to a wider web audience as a matter of course.

In the meantime, Schoeni is also making its first forays into the world of video documentary with a just-released video of Chinese artist Zhang Lin Hai’s recent show ‘Stunned Speechless at Today Museum in Beijing.

Zhang Lin Hai’s work often features a repeated signature motif of a bald male child  against hauntingly bleak backdrops. This motif was born out of his own experiences of being adopted as a child and witnessing the devastation of the Cultural Revolution.

Nicole Schoeni is featured in the video which shows the artist supervising the installation of his work in the museum space.  

see Zhang Lin Hai video

Related links: Schoeni Gallery, Zhang Lin Hai

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Posted in Beijing, Children, China, Chinese, Cultural Revolution, Gallery shows, Hong Kong, Human Body, Videos | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Altered States video – what inspires Zhang Huan and why he is taking a break from performance art

Posted by artradar on February 20, 2009


CHINESE ARTIST VIDEO

Zhang Huan

Zhang Huan

Zhang Huan, a leading performing artist from China  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This 2007 video covers:

Ash Head series

Ash Head series

 

 

  • how museums are studios for Zhang Huan
  • why Zhang Huan stopped his performance art and his plan to return to it
  • how his prints are inspired by martial arts books and astrology
  • how  giant sawn off body parts of Tibetan Buddhist relics destroyed during the Cultural Revolution inspire him
  • what makes a good artist “A good artist is illogical”

Links: Zhang Huan website, Zhang Huan on wikipedia

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Posted in Art spaces, Ash, Buddhist art, Chinese, Conceptual, Cultural Revolution, Human Body, Large art, Museums, Performance, Photography, Public art, Religious art, Sculpture, Videos, Zhang Huan | Tagged: , , | 1 Comment »

Sexual desire was capitalistic, prohibited says founding father of Chinese contemporary art Wang Keping

Posted by artradar on November 27, 2008


 

Untitled 29 1990 cherry 18cms

Untitled 29 1990 cherry 18cms

 

 

 

 

 

 

CHINESE ART MUSEUM SHOW REVIEW

Review of Wang Keping works 1979-2006 show at He Xiangning Art Museum in Shenzhen China from 25 October 2008 to 23 November 2008.

On two floors of the little known He Xiangning Art Museum in Shenzhen China, sculptor Wang Keping’s works stand dark and squat on white pedestals: bulging globular forms which seem to hang bauble-like in mid air. Ranging from table top-sized to several feet high, the works selected span the period from 1979 to 2006 and show how his oeuvre has evolved from his earlier ideologically-inspired creations to later works which reflect his preoccupation with nature and in particular the female form.

Like other Chinese sculptors, Wang Keping has developed his own instantly recognisable style. Gleaming burnished woods are formed into what seems to be tight piles of bulbs and irregular orbs. From a distance, framed by the rectangular white architectural pillars and beams of this intimate museum, the sculptures appear to be abstract. Close up however the viewer can discern glowing breasts, round chignons and curved arms holding the balled body of a baby. Closer again, the viewer is drawn to reach out and smooth hands over the cracks and grains in the wood which are an integral part of each final sculpture.

wang-keping Untitled ash

Untitled 14 2001 ash 46cms

“Wang Keping sometimes takes a year, sometimes up to three years to complete a sculpture” explains gallerist Katie de Tilly of 10 Chancery Lane who co-curated this show with Feng Boyi of the He Xiangning Museum. “He selects the wood when it is wet and then he waits to see how the wood cracks while it is drying and he lets these cracks direct him as he works towards the final form”.

Regarded as a founding father of Chinese contemporary political art which emerged after the end of the Cultural Revolution in 1979, Wang Keping was one of the first artists to use his work publicly to criticise China and its government. In that year 23 artists came together to create the ‘Stars’ (Xing Ning) exhibition. This was an illegal exhibition in which the non-conformist and mostly self-taught artists hung their work on the railings of the National Art Museum of China before it was closed down by police.

Katie de Tilly takes up the story “After struggling with the authorities they managed to have it reopened in Behai Park two months later and this created an explosion which threw the doors to political and artistic freedom in China wide open.” The ground-breaking Stars Exhibition received international press coverage and the sculpture Silenceby Wang Keping made it to the front page of the New York Times where Fox Butterfield the newspaper’s Beijing correspondent commented “…Mr Wang’s brazenly political often grotesque sculptures stole the show”.

In 1984 frustrated by the restrictions of his homeland, Wang Keping emigrated to France with his wife Catherine Dezaly a French teacher at the Beijing University. The liberal climate in Europe allowed him to embrace his interest in the female form. “It is not only because I am a man, it is also because ..desire was prohibited. The leaders told us to work for the masses, the party. Sex was immoral, evil and capitalistic. At that time we never saw a woman’s body not even in books or films but it was something we always were thinking about”.

A man of strong enthusiasms Wang Keping’s appreciation of wood is sensual and his eyes light up with passion as he talks about its elemental qualities. “the wood whispers to me its secrets. Trees are like a human body with hard parts like bones, tender parts like flesh. You cannot go against its nature. I can do nothing but follow the wood and accept being its accomplice”.

But don’t be deceived by the distinctive tyle and repetition of motifs in Wang Keping’s works. He plays no part in contributing to China’s reputation for formulaic ‘pile ’em high’ market-feeding art. For example Wang Keping does not work with assistants: “Sculpting is like making love” he says “I don’t need anyone to help me”.

His art is slow, his vision unique and his execution his own. Perhaps this is what makes Wang Keping so confident that his work will stand the test of time. “What is important is that you create something that will remain throughout history. And with time it stays. Often all the superficial things float to the top and all the things that weigh sink to the bottom and when the water is poured away it is the things at bottom that remain.”

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Posted in China, Chinese, Cultural Revolution, Curators, Human Body, Museum shows, Political, Sculpture | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

Buddhist motifs, artist collectives in Tibetan art – Asia Art Archive

Posted by artradar on October 24, 2008


BUDDHISM, COLLECTIVES CONTEMPORARY ART TIBET OVERVIEW

The last couple of decades have seen an explosion of international interest in Tibetan contemporary art writes Amy Holmes-Tagchungdarpa, assistant Professor of the University of Alabama in a column for Asia Art Archive.

A common theme of this art is religious iconography – including celestial beings, Buddhas, and ritual implements – being adapted to portray  ideas of identity, cultural preservation, globalization, and tensions with the perceived colonizers – the Chinese immigrants that represent the control of the Chinese state.

The various collectives of Tibetan artists that exist both within the PRC and also abroad in exile have distinct philosophies regarding their art. However, all of them include artists who consciously use Buddhist themes and iconography to convey very different concepts of identity, cultural preservation and globalization.

Interestingly, some contemporary artists originally studied under a traditional Tibetan system of artisan apprenticeship (for example, Karma Phunstok) before becoming a ‘contemporary artist’, while others have chosen to do so as a means of developing their contemporary practice (for example, Gonkar Gyatso).

Certainly, many contemporary artists do not associate their work with Buddhism; some resist associations explicitly to avoid stereotypes of the Shangri-La image of Tibet, whereas others such as the prominent artist Gade (b. Lhasa, 1971) use Buddhist images in a playful way to explore contemporary issues in Tibet.

Others consciously identify their motivation in undertaking particular pieces as being connected to their Buddhist faith and practice. The artists mentioned below are individuals who use Buddhist terminology in describing their art, and cite their motivations as being similar to traditional artisans – as a form of meditation, or an offering.

Artist statements often deflect attempts to politicize their work through the incorporation of traditional forms of vocabulary. Despite growing up during the Cultural Revolution when religious was suppressed many artists strongly self-identify as Buddhist and depict this identity in their work.

Several different artistic collectives reflect some of the different motivations of contemporary Tibetan artists.

Sweet Tea House

Sweet Tea originally started in Lhasa in the late 1980s with the intention of portraying and exploring contemporary Tibetan life through art, though was short lived due to government interference. However, one of its members, Gonkar Gyatso (b. Lhasa, 1961) revived the name in 2003 when he opened a gallery in London.

Gongkar Gyatso portrays some of the ambivalence felt among Tibetan artists about the connection of Tibetan identity with Buddhism. In an interview, he discussed how in traditional Tibetan art as well as in Maoist ideology the ‘assertion of individualism … [is] outlawed.’ Gyatso’s incorporation in his work of Buddhist motifs and the body of the Buddha, in particular, is used as a signifer of Tibetan identity, as well as commenting on contemporary images and political images surrounding Tibet.

Disney Plus 3 (2004), for example, includes an image of the Buddha along with images of Mickey Mouse. Both of these images are instantly recognizable as cultural markers, but the depiction of them together subverts expectations of their traditional uses.

Gedun Choephel Artists’ Guild

The Gedun Choephel Artists’ Guild is based in Lhasa, and artists from the group often collaborate and exhibit in Gyatso’s Sweet Tea House gallery. One of its most prominent members, Gade, like Gyatso, has grown up without a traditional Buddhist education. His work is a commentary on contemporary Tibetan issues yet often incorporates traditional motifs. Railway Train (2006) is an example of a piece that depicts this contrast which includes images of traditional Tibet, such as monks and nomads, alongside Coca-cola signs and the train that dominates the landscape,

Mechak

Mechak is a more recently formed initiative that encompasses other collectives through the use of the internet and by including artists from within the PRC as well as those in exile. The term ‘Mechak’ itself conveys the ideas of the group: me (me) meaning fire and chak (lcags) meaning iron refers to a traditional Tibetan iron-edged tool used for creating sparks. Mechak states that its mission is to ‘ignite a renewal of Tibetan culture’ through the inclusion of Tibetan artists from around the world. One of the group’s intentions is to explore new forms of expression while maintaining ‘a spiritual centre’. Indeed, many of the artists involved, including one of the founders, Losang Gyatso, use Buddhist imagery and themes.

Ang Sang (b. Lhasa, 1962) is one artist who incorporates traditional themes, particularly Buddhist ones, in his art for example in ‘White Tara’, a modern image of the goddess Tara. In his artist statement Ang declares that, ‘Painting to Ang Sang is the Buddha Nature in his heart; his works express faith and devotion. Through the exploration of the artistic language of Tibetan spirituality, he tries to find common characteristics between ancient and traditional Tibetan art and Western avant-garde art.’

Other young artists also incorporate Buddhist themes in their work, although their subject matter may not appear as explicitly to be Buddhist.

Palden Weinreb (b. 1982, ) born in and still living in New York City was educated in a western artistic tradition. His work incorporates mixed media and also refers to Buddhism. In his artist statement, he describes how, frustrated on one occasion, he began to recite mantra (symbols recited as a form of spiritual practice), reached a meditative state and found his pencil moving of its own accord. Fascinated by the results, Palden continued to use this method, explaining that through doing so, ‘I discovered a new sensibility in approach and aesthetics. I possessed a new appreciation for the illusion and deception held within a mark, creating ambiguous passages and environments … There was a beauty and a depth in the relation between systematic and unconscious patterns.’

Tibetan artists incorporate Buddhist motifs in their work for different reasons. Some reflexively use them as signifiers of ‘Tibetan-ness’; others as social or political commentaries. However, some artists have also consciously used them in a manner similar to traditional artists: as a form of spiritual practice.

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Posted in Art as meditation, Buddhist art, Cultural Revolution, Identity art, Overviews, Pop Art, Religious art, Tibetan | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Saatchi back with new gallery, school programme, China show, – Reuters, BBC

Posted by artradar on October 12, 2008


COLLECTOR SHOW CHINESE ART

Influential British art collector Charles Saatchi is back after three years out of the limelight, opening a major new gallery in central London showcasing some of China’s hottest artists reports Reuters. The man who introduced the world to Britart stalwarts like Damien Hirst and Tracey Emin has been largely absent from the art scene since his gallery was forced out of its previous home on the River Thames in 2005. Now he is back with a huge new exhibition space in upmarket Chelsea, where he hopes free entry to the imposing former headquarters of the Duke of York will attract passers by.

Critics have lauded the imposing three-storey building with its glass and white-walled interior, and welcomed back one of contemporary art’s biggest players. But the inaugural show, opening on Thursday, has earned mixed reviews.

The Revolution Continues: New Art from China” is dedicated to Chinese artists including established stars like Yue Minjun, Zhang Xiaogang and Zeng Fanzhi, whose painting fetched $9.7 million in May, a record for Asian contemporary artwork.

Some critics have categorized the crazed, laughing men of Yue or the gray, stylized portraits of Zhang as repetitive, even “mass production” art.

Generally more popular were the sculptures, particularly an installation piece called “Old Persons Home” by Sun Yuan and Peng Yu, involving 13 aging men on wheelchairs moving randomly around a large basement room. Their striking resemblance to late world leaders turns the work into a commentary on the pitfalls of power and conflict. The gallery calls it “a grizzly parody of the U.N. dead.”

But the gallery’s head of development, Rebecca Wilson, said Saatchi’s target audience was less the experts — critics, collectors and curators — and more the general public, most of whom are unfamiliar with contemporary Chinese art. “There was a feeling that all of these artists were suddenly emerging from China, doing very well at auction, there were the Beijing Olympics coming up,” she told Reuters. “There was this kind of convergence of interest in China, so we felt it should be the exhibition that we open with.”

IRAN, IRAQ ART TO COME

Early next year the Saatchi Gallery will put on a show dedicated to contemporary Middle Eastern art, including from Iran and Iraq, by artists never seen in Britain before.

“None of those artists have been seen in this country before and will be very little known elsewhere in the world as well,” said Wilson. “I think Charles has been searching for months to try to find interesting works.”

Saatchi sells some art after an exhibition ends, partly to fund his enterprise. Auction house Phillips de Pury is supporting the gallery to ensure entry will be free.

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BBC coverage:

Only free contemporary art museum in world

The BBC reports that the Saatchi gallery claims to be the only completely free entry contemporary art museum of its size in the world. Simon de Pury, of auction house Phillips de Pury & Company, who is sponsoring the exhibition, said they expected “millions” of visitors.

Ground-breaking school education programme to come

The gallery said it was seeking to establish a “ground breaking” education programme “to make contemporary art even more accessible to young people.

“It is anticipated that the facilities that the Saatchi Gallery plans to offer – at the gallery, via its website and the gallery’s own classroom – will ensure that teachers receive the best on-site and outreach support for their students.”

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Artists: Zhang Dali, Zeng Fanzhi, Wang Guangyi, Zheng Guogu, Zhang Haiying, Zhang Hongtu, Zhang Huan, Qiu Je, Xiang Jin, Shi Jinsong, Fang Lijun, Yue Minjun, Li Qing, Wu Shuanzhuan, Shen Shaomin, Li Songsong, Zhan Wang, Liu Wei, Zhang Xiaogang, Zhang Xiaotao, Cang Xin, Shi Xinning, Li Yan, Bai Yiluo, Sun Yuan and Peng Yu, Zhang Yuan, Yin Zhaohui, Feng Zhengjie

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Manga, ink and new generation Chinese – Top ten shows in Hong Kong September 2008 part 1 – Saatchi Online

Posted by artradar on September 4, 2008


EXHIBITIONS HONG KONG
Yoshitaka Amano 'Deva Loka Bleu'

Yoshitaka Amano

Yoshitaka Amano – New Works

Art Statements Gallery
30 August to 10 October 2008

Fans of Japanese cartoons and animations are in for a treat this September at Art Statements Gallery where legendary Japanese manga artist Yoshitaka Amano is presenting a solo exhibition of new works. No longer a subculture with a limited following, manga has grown into one of the most significant creative forces exported from Japan in recent history and its influence on mainstream popular culture in film, advertising, industrial design, fashion and graphic design is now regarded as nothing short of a phenomenon. Born in 1952 Amano shot to fame in the 1970s with his cartoon series ‘Gatchaman’ (G-Force) and since then has created many popular epics including the hugely successful video game series ‘Final Fantasy’. Featuring several 2 metre long aluminium panels depicting fantastical creatures, warriors, heroines and superheroes, this is a must-see show for manga buffs and manga neophytes alike.

Chan Yu 'Where is my childhood? no 9'

Chan Yu

Showcase 82 Republic!


Mixed media group show: Chan Yu, Liu Ja, Guo Hongwei, Wan Yang, Zhou Siwei
Connoisseur Gallery
1 September to 30 September 2008

September is going to be an exciting month for Connoisseur’s stable of young artists who will be exhibited in four locations across Asia. Known as the 82 Republic artists, this generation Y group of four painters and one sculptor was born in the eighties and incubated in their own dedicated gallery of the same name. Now ready for the world, their work will be shown in two of Connoisseur’s gallery spaces in Hong Kong – Connoisseur Art Gallery and Connoisseur Contemporary – as well as at the international art fairs at ShContemporary in Shanghai and KIAF in Seoul, Korea and in Connoisseur’s Singapore gallery as a parallel event of the Singapore Biennale 2008. Zhou Siwei’s cartoon-like character in ‘Infection – Astroboy no 7’ and the flat translucent shapes of Chan Yu’s ‘Where is My Childhood? No 9’ exemplify the new ‘spirit’ of this era which has been powerfully influenced by animation, toys and digital culture.

Xue Song: A Tale of Our Modern Time
Kwai Fung Hin Art Gallery
4 September to 27 September

An alarming accident was responsible for a crucial turning point in Xue Song’s art practice: “In 1990, a big fire broke out in my dormitory”. His books, magazines, newspapers, pictures and prints, damaged and burnt, were “released from their frames” leaving Xue Song with a new deeper understanding of the fragmentary, mutable nature of life. From these ashes emerged the embryo of his own significant unique visual language quite distinct from his contemporaries: a language of burning, restructuring, collage and drawing. The retrospective show exhibits Xue Song’s range of interests since the fire from his pop art-coloured Mao series made in the 1990s inspired by leader portraits, model operas, big-character posters (Dazibao) and Red Guards to his more recent preoccupation with modern Shanghai and the intriguing relationship between people and cities.

New Ink Art: Innovation and Beyond
Group exhibition
Hong Kong Museum of Art
22 August to 26 October 2008

“Ink has been part of our history for over 3,000 years,” says guest curator Alice King. “I want to show people how Chinese ink painting has evolved through the ages. It is no longer painted the way it was even twenty years ago”. Comprising 64 works by nearly 30 artists from Hong Kong and the mainland, this thorough survey places the increasingly popular Chinese contemporary ink genre in its historical context with a particular emphasis on the part played by Hong Kong master Lui Shou-kwan who, with his New Ink Movement, has inspired ink artists since the 1960s, amongst them Wucius Wong, Leung Kui-ting, Irene Chou and Kan Tai-keung. The exhibition looks to the future too with some controversial exhibits in the boundary-pushing section called “Is it Ink Art?” Some would say that works such as Cai Guoqiang’s gunpowder images, organic installations and digital works are not ink art at all. This show asks us to question our view of ink as a medium and to appreciate it as an essence, an aesthetic which can find expression in a variety of forms.

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