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Posts Tagged ‘Cai Guo Qiang’

Tsong Pu discusses six artworks: Part III – On local recognition of local art and the cube redefined

Posted by artradar on September 15, 2010


TAIWANESE CONTEMPORARY ART INSTALLATION TAIWAN-CHINA RELATIONS ARTIST INTERVIEW

When Tsong Pu was studying overseas in the 1970s he would introduce himself as Chinese or as being from China. Later, as China opened it’s borders and more art from the country was exposed to the outside world, Tsong began to introduce himself as Taiwanese. Now, he introduces himself as a Shanghai-born artist who lives in Taiwan.

Cultural relations between Taiwan and China have always been complicated and the current success Chinese contemporary artists are enjoying globally generally outstrips that of artists who are living and working in Taiwan. Although originally from China himself, abstract artist Tsong Pu does not see much collaboration between the two countries.

“Each side does their own thing. At the moment you will find that very few Taiwanese artists show their work in Mainland China, in galleries or in museums. But you will find that many artists from China show their works in Taiwanese galleries or museums.”

Tsong believes that Taiwanese artists and art professionals need to work hard to change this situation, “to give collectors and buyers more confidence in Taiwanese art.” He goes on to state that the Chinese art market is created and supported by the Taiwanese collector.

“Much of the artwork coming out of China is being sold to Taiwanese collectors. The [Taiwanese] government supports Chinese artists, but the Chinese government doesn’t support Taiwanese artists.”

This view is expressed in the installation One Comes from Emptiness (2009, mixed media), which we discuss with Tsong in this article. Blake Carter, writing for the Taipei Times in November last year, talked about the piece:

“I was surprised to find that some of the ropes he installed at the Biennial fall onto a bent metal signpost that reads ‘Taiwan Contemporary Art Museum.’ There is no such place. Many artists complain that Taiwan’s museums – especially in the capital, and specifically the Taipei Fine Arts Museum (TFAM) – don’t pay enough attention to the country’s artists.”

Blake went on to say that “Taiwanese artists are relegated to the museum’s smaller galleries downstairs while Chinese artists Fang Lijun, Cai Guo-Qiang and Ai Weiwei get large exhibitions at TFAM.” When asked by Blake whether One Comes from Emptiness was a comment on Taiwan’s art institutions and their treatment of Taiwanese art and artists, Tsong replied, “Yes.”

This is part three of a three part series. In this part we relay to you Tsong’s views on the artistic relationship between Taiwan and China and look at two further installations by the artist. Both of these works are tied to the artist’s signature grid pattern, the repetition of 1 x 1 cm squares often intersected with a diagonal line. This grid form is represented in the weave of the nylon rope in One Comes from Emptiness (2009, mixed media) and pulled apart and reconstituted in the separate canvases of Declaration Independence (first presented 1996, mixed media). For more on what to expect from the first and second parts of this series, please read the notes at the bottom of this post.

Tsong Pu, 'One Comes From Emptiness', 2009, mixed media installation, 10 x 1075 cm. Image courtesy of the artist.

Tsong Pu, 'One Comes from Emptiness', 2009, mixed media installation, 10 x 1075 cm. Image courtesy of the artist.

One Comes from Emptiness (2009, mixed media installation) was shown at Viewpoints and Viewing Points: 2009 Asian Art Biennial. In your artist statement for this exhibition you suggested that people from the West and people from the East will perceive this installation differently. Could you explain further?

“I tried to pretend that the rope is just like calligraphy: more natural and softer. This soft line is like Chinese calligraphy or Chinese traditional ink painting. When you see a Chinese courtyard, it makes you feel very natural, it’s soft…. It has something representing the water, the wind, the earth. I used very simple lines or string to create circles. These circles remind me of a Japanese courtyard, its oriental elements, and the lines are like the rain. A traditional Chinese courtyard always expresses these kinds of things. I tried to … merge [this] with Western style.

The steel part is more structural – it has more strength – and represents Western art expression: strong, energetic, long lasting. I am influenced by an artist from England called Anthony Caro who creates sculptures from steel.”

Why do the circles overlay the steel?

“At the very beginning, I tried to present only the circles and the simple white lines but I thought it was too beautiful…. It didn’t have any power. [The circles overlap the steel because] the nylon rope is soft and flexible. It can’t be cut or broken and it will flow over things. Of the material, you can see that one is soft and one is hard, so they contrast. That is the basic structure [of the work]. Different style, different shape, different material, different thinking. But when they come together they can merge.”

So they can exist together?

“Yes, yes. Together they can generate something new, a new way of thinking.”

Is there anything else you’d like to say about One Comes from Emptiness?

“This work was created in 2009. During this year a major typhoon hit Taiwan. This typhoon caused a landslide which covered a mountain village. Because of this event, the natural environment and the view of the landscape was changed. A house that has been moved or destroyed might not actually look so terrible in its new position. After you have viewed it for sometime, you might realise that it actually looks quite beautiful.”

Tsong Pu, 'Declaration Independence', 1996, mixed media installation, 480 x 260 x 360 cm. Image courtesy of the artist.

Tsong Pu, 'Declaration Independence', 1996, mixed media installation, 480 x 260 x 360 cm. Image courtesy of the artist.

We are interested in your installation Declaration Independence (first presented 1996, mixed media) because you showed it in 1996 and then again this year at your TFAM retrospective, “Art From the Underground“. Can you explain the relationship between the objects and each painting?

“The idea for this work comes from [Transposition of Light and Water (1992, mixed media installation)] but it is represented in a different space. I took one cube from this work and distributed it into several pieces.”

The way you have used the gallery space in Declaration Independence is quite different to how you have used it in other installation pieces.

“These are canvases, just like [The White Line on Grey (mixed media, 1983)] is a canvas. I used the same technique [to paint them both]. The ones that are the same are grouped together. The paintings are like different pages in a book; the pattern [on the canvases] resembles words without any special meaning.

This [coat hanging on the wall] is an object and this object has some dimension – it is 3D and not flat – but [the paintings] are flat, so when they are placed with the 3D objects they will have a conversation. The paintings are like a code and when I separate them in this way they are like the pages [of a book] on the wall.

The paintings have no meaning, but the objects may project some meaning onto them. Among the objects are some maps. When all these things are separate they have no meaning but when they are placed together they could have some meaning. I am not sure whether the paintings influence the objects, or the objects influence the paintings. When you open a book there is a lot of information in it. It is like this book on the wall has been opened and many things have started to happen. There is a conversation between [the paintings and the objects], a relationship.”

And is it you, the artist, who brings meaning to this book, or is it the task of the viewer?

“It should be both. I hope it is the viewer.”

Tsong Pu, 'Declaration Independence', 2010, mixed media installation, 480 x 260 x 360 cm. Image courtesy of the artist.

Tsong Pu, 'Declaration Independence', 2010, mixed media installation, 480 x 260 x 360 cm. Image courtesy of the artist.

About this series

This Art Radar interview with Taiwanese artist Tsong Pu has been presented in three parts. In part one, Master Tsong discusses two works in which he has used and adapted his most well known technique, a 1 cm by 1 cm grid pattern. In part two, the artist speaks on two very different installation pieces, close in date of construction but not in their theory of development. Part three talks about some of the artist’s most recent installation work.

We have also premised each part with some of the artist’s views on the current Taiwanese contemporary art industry, as developed from his roles as mentor, curator and master artist.

KN

Related Topics: Taiwanese artists, interviews, installation art

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

Posted by artradar on August 25, 2010


BIENNALES ART EVENTS AUSTRALIAN ART CONTEMPORARY ART GLOBALISATION ENLIGHTENMENT

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

From European Enlightenment to globalisation

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

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

Diverse art styles, heavy demand for new technologies

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

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

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

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

Australian arts were promoted

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Major Asian artworks at the biennale

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mixed response from professionals and blog critics

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CBKM/KN

Related topics: art events, Australia venues, promoting art

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Surprising sell-through rates for Chinese art recorded in London’s February auctions

Posted by artradar on March 28, 2010


CHINESE CONTEMPORARY ART MARKET

Chinese Contemporary Art Lots Sell Out in London

Major auctions held in February 2010 in London featured impressive sales of Chinese contemporary art works reports Jing Daily with surprisingly high sell-through rates compared with works from other markets. The rising presence of Chinese collectors and bidders underpins the phenomenal performance in sales and the momentum is expected to continue claims the newspaper.

Ian McGinlay, Head of Client Development for Asia at Sotheby’s, expects mainland Chinese collectors to become increasingly ubiquitous — and forceful — at auctions of contemporary art, with these buyers going for works by “blue-chip” Chinese artists like Cai Guo-Qiang, Zhang Xiaogang, Zeng Fanzhi and others.

Look for work by Wang Guangyi at upcoming Sotheby's auctions

As Jing Daily reports, the overall sell-through rate of the four auctions held by the three auction houses Christie’s, Sotheby’s and Phillips de Pury — 90.5% (19/21) — was well above the overall performance of the entire aggregated sales.

At Sotheby’s, 100% of Chinese works (9/9) sold; at Christie’s, 82% (7/9); at Phillips, 100% sold (3/3).

For more of the original coverage, Jing Daily has more.

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LLH/KCE

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Which museums are collecting Chinese contemporary art? New database just released

Posted by artradar on November 22, 2009


MUSEUM COLLECTIONS CHINESE ART

The AW Asia gallery in New York has just released a valuable new resource for collectors and researchers intererested in Chinese contemporary art. Searchable by artist or museum its database, which is available online at no cost, lists Chinese artists held in permanent museum collections around the world.

According to AW Asia, the “Chinese Contemporary Art in Museum Collections” database is the first international compilation of its kind, which currently represents 42 contemporary Chinese artists and 67 domestic and international museums.

Artists include heavyweight internationally-recognised multimedia artists such as Ai Weiwei, Cai Guoqiang, Zhang Huan and Xu Bing, photographers such as Cang Xin, Hong Hao, Weng Fen and Hai Bo, ink artists Gu Wenda and Yun-fei Ji , Cynical Realist artists such as Yue Minjun, sculptors including Zhan Wang  and video artists Yang Fudong and Yang Zhenzhong.

AW Asia, a private organization in New York City that promotes Chinese contemporary art through institutional loans and acquisitions, curatorial projects, publishing, and educational programs.

Although the database is not yet comprehensive, it starts to shed light on which international museums are validating contemporary Chinese art. If you are a curator or museum representative with additional information regarding Chinese contemporary art in a permanent museum collection, AW Asia would like to hear from you. Please write to  info@awasiany.com

As the database is still under development Art Radar would like to suggest an additional feature:  a feed so that news sources can be alerted to the latest additions to museum collections. In the meantime, congratulations on creating a useful new resource.

Click to visit the Chinese contemporary art in museums database.

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SF/KCE

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Liquidity propels prices, Chinese Political Pop is back – Sothebys Contemporary Asian Art Auction 2009 Hong Kong

Posted by artradar on October 16, 2009


SOTHEBY’S AUCTIONS HONG KONG CONTEMPORARY ASIAN ART

Although called a Contemporary Asian Art auction, this sale was dominated by Chinese artists which was a canny move by Sotheby’s given that mainland liquidity is driving prices of property in Hong Kong to record high prices of US$1,000 per square foot and sending Chinese stock markets soaring. According to Bloomberg, Chinese money supply has grown by 55% since the beginning of 2007 compared with 20% in the UK and US.

Some of this liquidity has found its way into the art market at this auction. Mainland buyers were active and revealed some surprising preferences.

Hong Kong artists back in a second showcase

Sotheby’s followed up its inaugural and successful showcase of 8 Hong Kong artists in the ‘Spring auction earlier this year with an expanded selection of works by 10 artists. Affordable prices meant that all but two of the works found buyers with successful bids mostly coming in around estimates.

Simon Go, Hong Kong Old Shops, Inkjet on Bamboo Paper

Simon Go, Hong Kong Old Shops, Inkjet on Bamboo Paper

Works by two artists, sculptor Danny Lee and photographer Simon Go who were both new to the auction this year, did better than estimates. Danny Lee produces stainless steel sculptures which are reminiscent  – though in a more organic liquid form –  of the stainless steel scholar rocks made by the world-renowned sculptor Zhan Wang  whose works have been collected by institutions such as the British Museum . Danny Lee’s Mountain and Stream IV sold for HK$170,000 against a top estimate of HK$160,000 (before premium). (US$1 = HK$7.7)

Danny Lee, Mountain and Stream IV, Steel wood

Danny Lee, Mountain and Stream IV, Steel wood

Simon Go’s set of 2 photographic works called Hong Kong Old Shops: Wing Wo Grocery and Keng Ming Mirror Shop achieved a price of HK$80,000 against an estimate of HK$30-50,000 (before premium). This lot points to several collector trends. According to Larry Warsh, a New York-based dealer, there is a growing interest in Chinese photography and Wing Wo Grocery ( an image of a family clan in an old-style grocery shop from the colonial era recently shut down in preparation for urban renewal) embodies trends identified at an ArtInsight seminar last month called ‘Trends and Opportunities in Photography” . The panelists identified documentary photography and ‘slice of lif’e’ photography as hot areas for collectors now.

Zhan WangThe biggest story of the Hong Kong part of the sale was Tsang Tsou Choi’s calligraphy which saw excited bidding between several bidders in the room and on the phone resulting in a price (before premium) of HK$400,000 which was 8 times the lower estimate of HK$50,000. Work by this artist now deceased was also a surprising success in the Spring 2009 auction perhaps because of local media and public interest in the eccentric behaviour he displayed in his long art career.

Tsang Tsou Choi, Calligraphy, Acrylic on Canvas

Tsang Tsou Choi, Calligraphy, Acrylic on Canvas

In our Sotheby’s Spring 2009 auction post we wrote:

Tsang, Tsou Chin aka The Kowloon Emperor is a Hong Kong legend, famous for his calligraphy graffiti which he painted on public furniture. Undeterred by numerous warnings he roamed the streets for 50 years laying down his family genealogy and his personal history as an emperor in exile in blatant defiance of the Queen and English colonial rule. Deemed a lunatic by some, he was nevertheless recognised when in 2003 he became the very first Hong Kong artist to exhibit at the Venice Biennale.

Cynical Realist artists are back

In the next section of the sale a series of Chinese sixties-born artists, many from the Cynical Realist and Political Pop movements (Yue Minjun Feng Zhenghjie Zeng Fanzhi, Fang Lijun, Zhang Xiaogang) came under the hammer with hefty estimates of several hundred thousand and up to around $5 million per lot.

Yue Minjun, Hats Series - The Lovers, Oil on Canvas

Yue Minjun, Hats Series - The Lovers, Oil on Canvas

On a visit to London last month Art Radar heard several Western commentators describing Chinese art as ‘old’, ‘tired’ and ‘done’. This auction showed clearly that there are keen buyers for Chinese artists of this era who are willing to pay robust prices. Room bidders were mainly middle-aged Chinese men, who are perhaps collectors or more likely dealers for a growing middle class market in the mainland. Most lots in this section sold at estimate and some well above. Yue Minjun’s ‘Hats Series – The Lovers’ attracted several room bidders and a phone bidder eventually selling for HK$5.3m against a top estimate of HK$3.5m.

Institution-endorsed Chinese artists of the  fifties and sixties meet price resistance

Wang Keping, Untitled, Wood

Wang Keping, Untitled, Wood

It is no secret that Western critics regard some of the Cynical Realist artists as lightweight and lacking in intellectual rigour.  Instead major institutions such as the Royal Academy and British Museum in London have favoured and endorsed other mid-century born artists such as gunpowder artist Cai Guo-Qiang and Xu Bing, famous for his invented calligraphy . These artists sold well at lower price levels but lots with high estimates met resistance and failed. Cai Guo-Qiang’s Money Net No 2, part of Royal Academy of Art Project (estimate HK$4.7m – 5.5m) and Xu Bing’s Silkwom Series – The Foolish Old Man Who Tried to Remove the Mountain (estimate HK$5m – 5.5m) were bought in.

Frowns for part-increment bids

What we did see at this auction was a much stronger resistance by the two auctioneers in this marathon four-and-a-half  hour sale to partial bids. In recent auctions we have seen bidders make counter-offer bids at increments lower than standard. In the recent past these were accepted with alacrity by genial auctioneers. At this auction bidders were left waiting, frowned at and as often as not turned down.

Zhang Huan upset

Zhang Huan, My New York, Chromogenic Print

Zhang Huan, My New York, Chromogenic Print

Zhang Huan

, formerly a performance artist and more recently a sculptor and installation artist known for his works in ash and animal skins had 5 lots in the sale. Despite  backing by big-boy galleries in London and New York (Zhang Huan currently has an installation at White Cube in Picadilly London) four of his works including two sculptures and two chromogenic prints were bought in. The only work which was successful was a chromogenic print (numbered 3/8) recording his early endurance performance art which sees him running barefoot along the streets covered in raw meat. This work exemplifies another trend identified at the Artinsight photography seminar: growing interest in photographic documentation of performance art.

Sculpture mixed

Sculpture had a mixed performance. Apart from Zhang Huan’s two failed lots and one by Hong Kong artist Kum Chi Keung, there was a surprise pass on Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama’s pink polyester mannequin Self-Obliteration (estimate $550-650,000). Most of the rest of the ten or so sculptures including Wang Keping’s wooden female forms, Zhang Wan’s scholar rocks, kitsch sculptures by the Luo Brothers and Huang Yan and a run of five works featuring sculpted heads  and figures (by various artists) sold at or above estimate.

Li Hui, Amber Dragon, Neon and steel

Li Hui, Amber Dragon, Neon and steel

Two lots by neon and steel sculptor Li Hui (1977) were highly sought after and attracted across-the-room bidding. Both pieces were purchased by an Asian family who were active bidders in the preceding sale of South East Asian art. The family also acquired an acrylic on canvas by Japanese artist Hiroyuki Matsuura and another by Ryuki Yamamoto. Traditionally collectors’ interests cluster geographically and more often than not collectors prefer to buy their national artists though there have been signs of changes. Despite the recession there is still momentum  behind this trend of pan-Asia buying.

Chinese photography fluid bidding

A handful of photographs were scattered through the sale but the bulk was found in an eleven lot run in the middle.  This run featured sixties-born Chinese photographers such as Hai Bo, Hong Hao, Wang Qingsong, Huang Yan, Cang Xin and Sheng Qi who were active in the nineties and many of whom came to international prominence in 2004 with Christopher Phillips’ seminal exhibition Between Past and Future at the International Center of Photography in New York. Since then major US institutions have been collecting the work of this group as we reported in April 2009:

Hai Bo, Red Guard, Chromogenic Print and Gelatin Silver Print

Hai Bo, Red Guard, Chromogenic Print and Gelatin Silver Print

The J. Paul Getty Museum is the latest institution to add works by Chinese contemporary artists to its holdings. Others include New York’s Museum of Modern Art, which recently acquired 28 works for its photography collection, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, and the Brooklyn Museum, as well as global institutions such as the Tate and the Pompidou Center.

“The acquisition of these works (Wang Qingsong, Hai Bo) affirms an important new direction for the Getty,” says noted photography dealer and collector Daniel Wolf, who helped establish the museum’s collection in the 1980s. “It reflects an interest in expanding the collection in this category.”

Prices were affordable and bidding was fluid. While editions were limited to the 8-20 range and many of the lots were made up of multiple images, sales were made at estimates which were surprisingly affordable. Most lots sold for between HK$40-75,000. Wang Qingsong’s triptych photograph Past Present, Future which sold at estimate for HK$260,000 was the exception.  One buyer snapped up several lots.

One upset was lot 765 by Cao Fei which was passed in. Her works are inspired by the internet, video games, role-playing and the virtual world and she has received wide coverage in London and beyond after a recent show at Battersea Power Station organised in conjunction with the Serpentine Gallery.

Japanese and Korean art

The sale was dominated by Chinese artists but there was a run of cartoon-style art, many by young Japanese artists, a third of the way through the sale which sold at prices HK$50-150,000. Heavyweight Japanese artists were priced much higher but did not always sell or meet the estimate.  Yoshimoto Nara’s It’s Everything sold at HK$3.3m compared with an estimate of HK$3.8-HK$5m. Work by Yoshitaka Amano (described by Time Out as ”the Japanese anime legend behind the Final Fantasy video game” and who attracted spirited phone bidding in the spring sale 2009) was passed in. Takashi Murakami was the exception achieving HK$520,000 for an untitled 1/50 edition screenprint carrying an estimate of just HK$50-70,000. Korean works also achieved mixed results.

Long long auction

The final run of 11 lots saw 6 passes despite affordable prices. This result is probably not worth analysing in depth as it likely had more to do with the numbing length of the 4-5 hour 2 auctioneer sale which saw a packed room of 200 or so dwindle away to 30 or 40 tired stalwarts at what felt like the dog-end of the sale. Perhaps Sotheby’s who charged for coffee and catalogues again this year is still in cost-slashing mode. Let’s hope that by next year there will be enough new money supply for a return to more coffee breaks and free coffee.

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Posted in Auctions, Business of art, Cai Guoqiang, Cao Fei, Cartoon, China, Chinese, Hong Kong, Hong Kong Artists, Japanese, Korean, Li Hui, Market watch, Photography, Sculpture, Takashi Murakami, Xu Bing, Yayoi Kusama, Yoshitaka Amano, Yue Minjun, Zeng Fanzhi, Zhang Huan, Zhang Xiaogang | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Outlook for Chinese art market – interview Larry Warsh – Arttactic podcast

Posted by artradar on May 26, 2009


CHINESE ART MARKET

Larry Warsh of AWAsia in New York, a private organisation which provides Chinese contemporary art sourcing and curatorial services to global institutions such as MOMA and the Getty Museum, talks about his take on the outlook for the Chinese art market on Arttactic’s newly-launched free podcast service.

Warsh’s expertise lies in Chinese painting and photography by the first generation of historically important Chinese artists who came to prominence between 1989 and 1999.

Topics discussed include:

  • the evolution of US interest in Chinese art – Americans ‘came late to the party’, Christopher Phillips’ show at ICP ‘Past Present Future’ 2004-5 was the start

 

  • why the Cynical Realists appealed to the West

 

 

  • recommended books about Chinese art

 

  • weaknesses of Chinese art scene (as yet undeveloped education, infrastructure and curatorial skills)

 

  • opportunities in the market – Chinese photography

 

The promotion of Chinese art is Warsh’s self-confessed mission so it is not surprising that the bulk of the interview claims great investment opportunities for selected Chinese artists. He suggests that scarcity of supply (he says there are only 30-40 historically important contemporary artists) and the future potential of the Chinese buyer base (favourable demographics, population size and a growing interest in contemporary art) means that prices are bound to rise.

Asked why the top auction houses seem to be featuring less Chinese art in their recent sales, Warsh explains that he sees this as evidence of the scarcity of supply of quality Chinese art rather than lack of demand.

We are not quite convinced by this argument. If supply is scarce but the demand still exists, then the pieces that have been coming to the market recently would have made heady prices but instead they have fallen along with other art categories and asset classes. In Hong Kong’s Spring sales 2009 works by Zhang Huan failed to sell at Sotheby’s and at Christe’s a Cai Guo Qiang edition ‘Kaleidoscope Time Tunnel’ and a Yue Min Jun lot were passed in.

No matter, we like controversial opinions. Arttactic promises more podcasts with ‘key’ figures so we look forward to hearing a variety of views. To listen to this one go to ArtTactic Podcasts and search for Larry Warsh May 22 2009.

Unfortunately we cannot give you a direct page link – we hope that ArtTactic will iron out this wrinkle in its promising new service.

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Posted in Auctions, Books, Chinese, Globalisation, Interviews, Market watch, Museum collectors, New York | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Internationally known Asian artists’ collaborative art project in Laos ends after 4 years

Posted by artradar on July 30, 2008


Between 2004 and 2008, fourteen internationally renowned artists undertook residencies in Luang Prabang, Laos and developed art projects with local communities, including the Sangha (the Buddhist community of monks), artisans and students.

The artists were Marina Abramovic, Janine Antoni, Hans Georg Berger, Cai Guo-Qiang, Ann Hamilton, Manivong Khattiyarat, Dinh Q. Lê, Jun Nguyen-Hatsushiba, Shirin Neshat, Vong Phaophanit, Allan Sekula, Shahzia Sikander, Nithakhong Somsanith, and Rirkrit Tiravanija.

They created works ranging from photographic series to films to large-scale embroideries and collectively the project is titledThe Quiet in the Land: Art, Spirituality, and Everyday Life . These works addressed the tensions between cultural traditions and the financial temptations of tourism.

The Quiet in the Land: Art, Spirituality, and Everyday Life is the third project of The Quiet in the Land, a non-profit organization founded by the contemporary art curator France Morin.

Morin founded The Quiet in the Land in 1995. Previously senior curator of the New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York she had organized a series of provocative exhibitions in search of a way of working differently. Liberated from the constraints that come with working in an institution, she hoped to open up new spaces for bringing art and life together.

Particularly interested in investigating the spiritual nature of art and its potential for transformation, it was no surprise that the first project of The Quiet in the Land was a collaboration with the only active Shaker community in the world, located in Sabbathday Lake, Maine; and the second a collaboration with Projeto Axé, a non-governmental organization that works with former street children, located in Salvador, Brazil; and the third in Luang Prabang, where the traditions of Theravada Buddhism permeate everyday life.

Dinh Q. Lê and Nithakhong Somsanith, who is a descendant of the Lao royal family and one of the only surviving practitioners of the traditional Lao courtly art of gold- and silver-thread embroidery, developed a series of large-scale gold- and silver-thread embroideries on Lao natural-dyed silk, a medium that has been in decline since the abolition of the monarchy in 1975.

The challenge was how to invest this medium with new relevance to contemporary social realities. One of the works they created, Inner Self and Outer World (2005), addressed this challenge by juxtaposing images of twenty satellite dishes mounted on tall poles, arrayed in a staccato rhythm, like notes on a sheet of music, across a greenish-gold field, with images of three meditation huts, clustered to the left.

Jun Nguyen-Hatsushiba created a film, The Root, the Ground, and the Air: The Passing of the Bodhi Tree (2007), in collaboration with fifty students from the Luang Prabang Fine Arts School, which explored the challenges faced by the young people of Luang Prabang as the pace of economic change accelerates, forcing them to choose between the past and the future.

In the film’s most dramatic sequence, a flotilla of fifty boats motors down the Mekong River each with an art student who balances at the helm of the boat before an easel, trying to paint or draw the landscape as it slips by. As they approach the Bodhi Tree (the species of tree under which the Buddha attained Enlightenment) of Vat Sing, a monastery outside of Luang Prabang, some of the youths jump out of their boats and swim toward the tree. By contrast, others float by without stopping.

Source Asia Art Archive
For full piece plus images http://www.aaa.org.hk/newsletter_detail.aspx?newsletter_id=514

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Guggenheim shows copy of Cai Guo Qiang sculpture

Posted by artradar on July 25, 2008


CHINESE NEW YORK EVENT “Unbeknownst to the casual viewer, Cai’s spectacle, “Inopportune: Stage One,” isn’t the real thing. It’s a copy. The original is 3,000 miles away at the Seattle Art Museum” says Newsweek.

A small army of assistants and a team of rock climbers under the artist’s direction transformed the Guggenheim’s famous rotunda into the site of an explosive tumble of nine cars decked out in blinking lights—an installation that Guggenheim director Thomas Krens says “may be the best artistic transformation of the Frank Lloyd Wright space we’ve ever seen.”

But unbeknownst to the casual viewer, Cai’s spectacle, “Inopportune: Stage One,” isn’t the real thing. It’s a copy. The original is 3,000 miles away at the Seattle Art Museum. It’s made of more or less the same parts—white automobiles and LED light rods—but it’s oriented horizontally rather than vertically. The only clue for Guggenheim visitors that they weren’t seeing the “original” was the small print on a wall label that labeled the piece an “exhibition copy.”

But what exactly is an exhibition copy? If the artist oversaw its creation, why isn’t it an original? The Cai exhibit, which drew huge crowds to the Guggenheim, raises questions that many museum goers have probably never considered. And when we’re talking about contemporary art made from common or mass-produced materials, how do we know when a work of art is the “real thing”?

Cai’s car piece may be the single most extravagant exhibition copy ever made. It came about because its owner, the Seattle Art Museum, didn’t want to loan the flashy artwork, which is its lobby centerpiece. At that point, according to Guggenheim curator Alexandra Munroe, Cai came up with the solution of creating the copy.

There is very little consensus in the museum community about who has the authority to copy a work of art and what constitutes “good” reasons for doing so. Last October, the Tate Modern in London held a conference called “Inherent Vice: The Replica and its Implications in Modern Sculpture,” which raised heated debates about just these issues.

Most commonly the question comes up when a work of art degrades, and if the artist is alive, he or she gets the final say on what to do. (Think Damien Hirst’s decaying shark in a tank of formaldehyde, which after a time needs a fresh carcass.)

But if an artist has died and an artwork has deteriorated beyond recognition, is it better to repair it, re-create it entirely or let it die? If it’s re-created from scratch, should the replica and the deteriorated version be exhibited together, as co-representatives that add up to the most authentic possible whole?

Part of the reason for the endless nuance has to do with sculpture’s historically complex relationship with replication. A painting has no mold, but a sculpture can be recast. In the 19th century, all the great American museums proudly displayed plaster casts of classical sculptures, thinking they’d never be able to get their hands on the originals and that copies were better than nothing. When originals became all-important, museums destroyed or stuffed away entire collections of copies.

Of course, artists are always ahead of the curve…..for full story http://www.newsweek.com/id/140167/page/1

Source Newsweek   http://www.newsweek.com/id/140167/
Image details Cai Guo Qiang: Inopportune Stage One

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