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Posts Tagged ‘Cao Fei’

Top 20 Asian artists June 2010: Art Radar Asia’s most-searched artists

Posted by artradar on July 26, 2010


TOP ASIAN CONTEMPORARY ARTISTS

In January this year, we published the article, “Top 17 Asian artists 2009: Art Radar’s most-searched artists, listing Art Radar Asia‘s most searched for artists to the end of 2009. This was so popular with our readers that we have decided to publish these results again. This list below highlights artists searched for between 30 June 2009 to 30 June 2010.

Takashi Murakami

Takashi Murakami

Art Radar Asia receives an average of 27,000 page views a month. Our readers come to us in various ways: via links from other websites, from Twitter, facebook and other social media, from our email newsletter, from word of mouth referrals and, of course, via search engines.

Many readers find us by typing a specific artist name into Google or another search engine and finding a story written or image published by Art Radar Asia. Our analytics package tracks these search terms for us and we thought you might be interested in this data, too. The search terms used by readers when finding each artist are varied. For example, common search terms recorded for Japanese artist Takashi Murakami included: “takashi murakami”, “murakami”, “murakami takashi”, “takashi murakami art” and “takeshi murakami”.

Art Radar Asia‘s 20 most searched artists – the list

We can’t claim that this list is a reliable proxy for the most-searched Asian artists on the Internet overall (take a look at our notes at the bottom of this article). However, we do think the list throws up some fascinating data, particularly when compared with the 2009 results.

  1. Takashi Murakami – male Japanese anime painter and sculptor – 36,086  searches (34,000, December 2009)
  2. Shirin Neshat – female Iranian photographer – 4,532 searches (2,200, December 2009)
  3. Anish Kapoor – male British-Indian sculptor – 4,246 searches (3,500, December 2009)
  4. Marina Abramović – female New York-based Serbian performance artist – 3,092 searches (not listed, December 2009)
  5. Yoshitaka Amano – male Japanese anime artist – 829 searches (460, December 2009)
  6. Cao Fei – female Chinese photographer and new media artist – 672 searches
  7. Terence Koh – male Canadian-Chinese photographer, installation and multimedia artist – 634 searches
  8. I Nyoman Masriadi – male Indonesian painter – 625 searches
  9. AES+F – Russian photography and video collective – 521 searches
  10. Hiroshi Sugimoto – male Japanese photographer – 503 seaches
  11. Subodh Gupta – male Indian painter, installation artist – 417 searches
  12. Ori Gersht – male Israeli photographer – 408 searches
  13. Ronald Ventura – male Filipino painter – 393 searches
  14. Farhad Ahrarnia – male Iranian thread artist – 377 searches
  15. Farhard Moshiri – male Iranian painter – 363 searches
  16. Jitish Kallat – male Indian painter – 329 searches
  17. Gao Xingjian – male Chinese-French ink artist – 301 searches
  18. Bharti Kher – female Indian-British painter, sculptor and installation artist – 270 searches
  19. Shahzia Sikander – female Pakistani miniaturist – 264 searches
  20. Zhang Huan – male Chinese performance artist – 237 searches

How has the top 5 changed?

As with the last list, published at the end of 2009, Takashi Murakami is still holding the title spot with more than 36,000 searches. This is compared with 34,000 in 2009’s list. Shirin Neshat and Anish Kapoor have switched places since the previous list, although the difference between their numbers is somewhat insignificant. Yoshitaka Amano is new to the top 5, moving up to 5th place from 6th place in 2009, perhaps due to the 2010 announcement that he has established a film production company called Studio Deva Loka, in addition to directing a 3D anime named Zan. These announcements followed a small solo tour of his artwork. Marina Abramović has surged into the top 5 this time around, particularly notable as she did not appear on the 2009 list. This is most likely due to her 2010 MoMA exhibition, “Marina Abramovic: The Artist Is Present”.

Marina Abramovic, 'Happy Christmas', 2008, silver gelatin print, 53.9 x 53.9

Marina Abramovic, 'Happy Christmas', 2008, silver gelatin print, 53.9 x 53.9

How has the list changed since it was first published?

The following artists have returned since the 2009 list was published, but many have moved up or down by one or two places: Cao Fei (4, 2009); I Nyoman Masriadi (5, 2009); Ori Gersht (7, 2009); Terence Koh (8, 2009); AES+F (9, 2009); Ronald Ventura (10, 2009); Hiroshi Sugimoto (11, 2009); Farhad Moshiri (12, 2009); Subodh Gupta (13, 2009); Farhard Moshiri (12, 2009) ; Farhad Ahrarnia (14, 2009); Gao Xingjian (15, 2009); Jitish Kallat (16, 2009).

There are some new additions: Marina Abramović, perhaps due to her 2010 MoMA exhibition, “Marina Abramovic: The Artist Is Present”; Shahzia Sikander, whose medium has recently become popular with collectors and critics and who has herself surged into prominence with a win at ART HK 10 ; Bharti Kher, whose works are currently auctioning for large sums; and Zhang Huan, who has had a number of permanent sculptures installed in US cities this year, and whose company designed the permanent public sculpture for the US pavilion at the 2010 Shanghai World Expo.

Only Chinese ink artist Wucius Wong doesn’t reappear. His surge in popularity in 2009 may have been due to the retrospective exhibition, “Myriad Visions of Wucius Wong“, at The Art Institute of Chicago.

Preferred media of most-searched artists: miniatures and performance art rising in popularity

Most of the arists work in various media but in this list we have tagged them with the media they are best known for. Six of the artists are known primarily for painting, compared with only five in the 2009 list, and once again, this list is dominated by photographers, new media artists and sculptors. Miniature painting and performance art seem to be new topics of interest for readers.

Artist Age

Most of the artists were born in the 1960s and 1970s, as you would expect for a contemporary art website.

Interestingly, Shirin Neshat (Iranian photographer), Anish Kapoor (British Indian sculptor), Marina Abramović (Serbian performance artist), Yoshitaka Amano (Japanese anime), all born before 1960, were listed as number 2, 3, 4 and 5 respectively. Of course, due to their age and time spent working in the arts, they each have large bodies of work which are consistently being exhibited, collected and discussed.

Artist Gender

male 14 (13, 2009); female 5 (3, 2009); mixed collective 1 (1, 2009)

In the year to June 2010, there were more female artists on the list though men still dominated (approx. 75 percent). Those female artists who were on both lists appeared higher up this year than last.

Breakdown of artist nationalities

Chinese 4 (4, 2009); Indian 4 (4, 2009); Iranian 3 (3, 2009); Japanese 3 (3, 2009); Serbian 1 (not listed, 2009); Israeli 1 (1, 2009); Indonesian (1, 2009); Filipino (1, 2009); Russian (1, 2009)

As you can see, this result is almost identical to the previous result, with the edition of one Serbian artist (Marina Abramović, Serbian performance artist). Once again, artists from China and India are among the most searched nationality, despite fears the Indian art market would be slow to recover after the 2008-2009 global art market turndown.

Shahzia Sikander working on a mural in the USA.

Shahzia Sikander working on a mural in the USA.

Notes
This list is not a reliable proxy for the most-searched artists on the internet overall. Here is why: If we have not written a story on or tagged this artist, the search engines will not bring us traffic for this search term and it won’t appear on our traffic analysis stats page. As we have only been up for 18 months it is quite possible that we have not yet covered some higly-searched artists. And even if we have referenced an artist on our site and the artist is highly-searched, the searcher will not come to us unless we have a good page ranking for the story on the search engine.  For example if the story is, say, after page 4 of the search engine results, the searcher probably won’t find our story and will not appear in our stats. Despite these limitations the data is likely to be a reliable indicator for certain trends. Finally even if we have a story and the story is well-ranked, it may be that other stories on the same page are more alluring than ours and readers do not find their way to us.

KN/KCE

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Top 17 Asian artists 2009: Art Radar’s most-searched artists

Posted by artradar on January 5, 2010


TOP ASIAN CONTEMPORARY ARTISTS

We have been up and running for over 18 months now and we receive over 25,000 page views a month. Our readers come to us in various ways: via links from other websites, from twitter, facebook and other social media, from our email newsletter, from word of mouth referrals and of course via search engines.

Many readers find us by typing a specific artist name into Google or another search engine and finding a story or image written by Art Radar. Our analytics package tracks these search terms for us and we thought you might be interested in this data too.

Wucius Wong

Wucius Wong

We can’t claim that this list is a reliable proxy for the most-searched Asian artists on the internet overall (take a look at our caveats below). However we do think the list throws up some fascinating data.

  1. Takashi Murakami – Male Japanese anime painter and sculptor – 34,000 searches
  2. Anish Kapoor – Male British Indian sculptor – 3,500
  3. Shirin Neshat – Female Iranian photographer – 2,200
  4. Cao Fei – Female Chinese photographer and new media artist – 550
  5. I Nyoman Masriadi – Male Indonesian painter – 520
  6. Yoshitaka Amano – Male Japanese anime artist – 460
  7. Ori Gersht – Male Israeli photographer – 380
  8. Terence Koh – Male Canadian Chinese photographer, installation and multimedia artist – 340
  9. AES+F – Russian photography and video collective – 320
  10. Ronald Ventura – Male Filipino painter – 280
  11. Hiroshi Sugimoto – Male Japanese photographer – 260
  12. Farhad Moshiri – Male Iranian painter – 240
  13. Subodh Gupta – Male Indian painter, installation artist – 210
  14. Farhad Ahrarnia – Female Iranian thread artist – 180
  15. Gao Xingjian – Male Chinese ink artist – 180
  16. Jitish Kallat – Male Indian painter – 170
  17. Wucius Wong – Male Hong Kong Chinese ink artist – 160

The most startling finding is the “‘winner takes all” phenomenon. Takashi Murakami searches are 10 times the second most-searched artist and more than 100 times most of the artists on the list. This correlates with some of the latest findings on internet searches which are tending towards an L shape ie  there are blockbuster categories and a long tail of niches in which a vast number of categories each receive very few searches.

I Nyoman Masriadi

I Nyoman Masriadi

The well-known book “The Long Tail”‘ first brought the long tail phenomenon to light and it was expected that searchers given the choice would no longer need to cluster around a blockbuster because that was what was most readily available but would be able to choose between a myriad of interest categories. The latest research is showing that the long tail is indeed happening but that the long tail is not diminishing interest in blockbusters, instead the long tail is taking away from the middle-interest categories.

This pattern seems to be borne out in our data.  This trend could have some profound implications for the way that artists are marketed in the future. Perhaps art galleries as we now know them will go the way of independent bookstores and publishers, unable to afford the marketing costs needed to create blockbusters and unable to sell enough in the niches to survive. We would like to hear more about your thoughts on this subject in the comments section below.

Farhad Ahrarnia, The Struggle Within

Farhad Ahrarnia, The Struggle Within

Preferred media of most-searched artists

Most of the arists work in various media but in this list we have tagged them with the media they are best known for. Only 5 of the artists are known primarily for painting and this list is dominated by photographers, new media artists and sculptors.  Chinese ink, thread and anime make intriguing appearances on the list too.

Age

Most of the artists were born in the 1960s and 1970s as you would expect for a contemporary art site. But there are some surprise appearances for 2 older artists Gao Xingjian born 1940 and Wucius Wong born 1936. What is even more interesting is that both of these artists are Chinese and work in the same, very national genre of ink. While new media dominates, the inclusion of traditional Chinese ink art suggests a countertrend in which historical media and disciplines are being appreciated by contemporary art enthusiasts.

Gender

Male 13, Female 3, Mixed collective 1

Farhad Moshiri

Farhad Moshiri

Breakdown of nationalities

Chinese 4, Indian 3, Iranian 3, Japanese 3, Israeli, Indonesian, Filipino and Russian 1 each

While it is commonly known that there is now great international interest in the Chinese, Indian and Iranian art scenes we were fascinated to note the high ranking of two painters from Southeast Asia: Indonesian artist I Nyoman Masriadi and Filipino Ronald Ventura.  The  Southeast Asian collector base is composed of a small group of prominent Indonesian Chinese businessmen collectors. Artists from Southeast Asia find themselves in a somewhat enclosed and isolated art scene and are rarely exhibited outside the region. We did not expect to see Southeast Asian artists achieving a high ranking for internet searches.

Yoshitaka Amano

Yoshitaka Amano

Notes

This list is not a reliable proxy for the most-searched artists on the internet overall. Here is why:

If we have not written a story on or tagged this artist, the search engines will not bring us traffic for this search term and it won’t appear on our traffic analysis stats page. As we have only been up for 18 months it is quite possible that we have not yet covered some higly-searched artists. And even if we have referenced an artist on our site and the artist is highly-searched, the searcher will not come to us unless we have a good page ranking for the story on the search engine.  For example if the story is, say, after page 4 of the search engine results, the searcher probably won’t find our story and will not appear in our stats. Despite these limitations the data is likely to be a reliable indicator for certain trends. Finally even if we have a story and the story is well-ranked, it may be that other stories on the same page are more alluring than ours and readers do not find their way to us.

More recent lists: June 2010

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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 »

Chinese art to move to conventional venue says Chairman Venice Biennale

Posted by artradar on July 9, 2009


CHINESE ART AT THE VENICE BIENNALE

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

Chinese exhibiting artists

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

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

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

He Sen, The World of Taiji

He Sen, The World of Taiji

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

He Sen The World of Taiji (detail)

He Sen The World of Taiji (detail)

Images of Chinese art at 53rd Venice Biennale

Review of the Chinese Pavilion

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

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

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

History of Chinese art at the Venice Biennale

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

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

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

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

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

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

And the future for Chinese art?

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

About the Venice Biennale

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

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

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

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

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Young Chinese Artists The Next Generation – book review

Posted by artradar on June 10, 2009


EMERGING ARTISTS CHINA BOOK REVIEW

A new book called Young Chinese Artists: The Next Generation was recently sent to us for review by the editors. We were a little concerned that this might be another ostensibly objective production, the real purpose of which is – yes, you guessed – the promotion of gallery artists.

Li Yu Liu Bo She follows you and sleeps in your bed naked? Who is this lady? 2006 C Print and Lightbox

Li Yu Liu Bo, She follows you and sleeps in your bed naked? Who is this lady?, 2006, C Print and Lightbox

We were, however, surprised and delighted to find that it is a book to roll around in, play with and draw inspiration from. At 300 pages long it provides an introduction to thirty artists (six of whom work as duos) born in mainland China between 1975 and 1981, roughly half a decade.

Buy here

Click to buy

This era and time frame – unusually short for a survey – are two of the factors which make this book particularly engaging.

The p0st-’70s era was selected because it marks the end of the Cultural Revolution and artists born in this period are witness to China’s continuing frenetic social and political development: a rich source for artistic inspiration and expression.

But, perhaps just as significantly for the success of the book, these artists, born no later than the seventies, have had enough time to build a body of work large enough for in-depth assessment. At the same time many are sufficiently unknown to allow us a tantalising sense of discovery.

The short time period of 1975-1981 astutely recognises the velocity of change in China in the last thirty years: a shorter time-frame allows for a more rigorous and meaningful analysis of the themes preoccupying artists which are teased out in a series of essays by experts and writers.

The team of twenty writers and editors include influential figures such as Huang Du who was curator for the Chinese Pavilion at the Venice Biennale in 2003 and Philip Tinari who curated the selection of Hong Kong artists at the big-name Louis Vuitton show in Hong Kong 2009.

Xu Zhen, Fitness, 2007

Xu Zhen, Fitness, 2007

Each artist is awarded one chapter which contains an interview, eight or so images, a listing of principal exhibitions and a one-page overview of the development of the artist’s work by one of the team of writers, usually written in a somewhat academic style. This is an extract from Philip Tinari’s essay ‘The Merry Prankster’ about Xu Zhen:

“Xu Zhen’s recent work has grown more light-hearted, if predicated on the notion of elaborate fictional scenarios. In one 2007 work Fitness he rigged exercise machines with remote control technology so that the viewer can get a virtual ‘workout’ by pressing buttons.”

Perhaps the least successful sections are the promising-sounding artist interviews where responses turn out to be  perfunctory. “Do you believe in true love?” “Yes”. Perhaps the fault lies in the skills of the interviewers who use closed-ended questions without follow up. But then again the snappy style was ubiquitous across the responses and could in fact be a telling reflection of the essential culture of this generation of artists: a time-starved, light-chat-as-snack culture propagated by the internet social media.

What we liked most was the sense that the editors had tried to reflect the real art scene as they experience it on the ground, even though their take may be viewed as controversial.

“In the past several years outside of China a number of contemporary art exhibitions featuring young Chinese artists showcased artistic forms such as video, multimedia and installation which gave the impression that painting was passe… while we have observed that the employment of these ‘new media’ is widespread (quite a few artists work in more than one discipline), painting is very much a driving force in the contemporary art scene.”

Find below more facts about the how the artists have been selected and their names.

Further criteria used for selection:

  • representative of the generation – themes which reflect the mindset of the generation
  • origins in mainland China – born and raised there
  • the variety of media actually used by artists – while ” new media is widespread, painting is still a driving force in contemporary art scene”
  • local/international exposure
  • body of work showing discernable artistic development
  • independence of thought and
  • authenticity

No account was given of the market value of the works.

Artists are:

Birdhead, Cao Fei, Chen Ke, Chen Quilin, Chi Peng, Gong Jian, Han Yajuan, Li Hui, Li Jikai, Li Qing, Li Yu and Liu Bo, Liang Yue, Liu Ding, Liu Ren, Liu Weijian, Ma Yanhong, Qiu Xiaofei, Ta Men (THEY), Tang Maohong, Wang Guangle, Wei Jia, Wen Ling, Wu Junyong, Xu Zhen, Yang Yong, Zhang Ding, Zhou Jinhua.

To buy Young Chinese Artists: The Next Generation click here

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Which Chinese artists are among the big names at Louis Vuitton Passion show in Hong Kong? NY Times review

Posted by artradar on June 4, 2009


HONG KONG ART SHOW CHINESE ARTISTS

“Admirably …the conservative, government-run museum goes beyond its usual comfort zone” says The New York Times in its review of the Hong Kong Museum of Art’s latest show: ‘Louis Vuitton: A Passion for Creation’ which runs until 9 August 2009.

Hong Kong Museum of Art wrapped for Louis Vuitton Passion show

Hong Kong Museum of Art wrapped for Louis Vuitton Passion show

In a generally positive review, the few criticisms are not sharp:

To hard-core followers of contemporary art, the exhibition can seem like a “greatest hits” compilation. But it is a rare opportunity to see in Asia — outside of Japan — some of the biggest names in global culture today. And offerings like the huge triptypch “Class war, militant, gateway” by the British duo Gilbert and George and the “Xanadu” installation by Robert Boyd, with an Olivia Newton-John soundtrack, can be fun.

The big name artists include Jean-Michel Basquiat, Gilbert and George, Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster, Andreas Gursky, Pierre Huyghe, Jeff Koons, Bertrand Lavier, Christian Marclay and Richard Prince.

Also on show are Chinese artists: Paul Chan (a New Yorker) and two young new media artists Cao Fei and Yang Fudong. Though the latter two artists are making a name for themselves internationally — Melissa Chiu of the Asia Society identifies them as two of the most important emerging Chinese artists of the next generation — The New York Times review of their works was little more than a listing:

Ms. Pagé (the artistic director of the Louis Vuitton foundation) gives prominent spaces to three works by Chinese artists: “RMB City: A Second Life City Planning by China Tracy,” a 3-D animation by Cao Fei; “Seven Intellectuals in a Bamboo Forest,” an experimental black-and-white film by Yang Fudong; and the installation “no man is an island,” a contemplation of the Sept. 11 attacks by Paul Chan, a Hong Kong-born New Yorker.

Yang Fudong, Seven Intellectuals in a Bamboo Forest, DVD

Provoking more questions than answers, the piece was only a little more forthcoming about the lesser known but emerging Hong Kong artists (Nadim Abbas, Lee Kit, Leung Chi Wo, Pak Sheung Chuen, Tsang Kin Wah, Adrian Wong and Doris Wong) who were invited to participate in the show.

Hong Kong artists were recently showcased for the first time at the Sotheby’s Spring Auction in Hong Kong and Pak Sheung Chuen will be participating in the 53rd Venice Biennale. With growing interest in Hong Kong artists, we wondered what The New York Times had to say about them.

Commissioned works by seven Hong Kong artists are featured in an upstairs gallery. The toys of Naddim Abbas, word-based projection by Tsang Kin-wah and the squawking, duck-themed installation by Adrian Wong, stand out.

Not enough to sate us. Over to you…

How do you think their works stand up against the big international name artists? Which artists do you think stand out? If you are able to see the show why not leave a comment below.

More reviews: Redbox Review   – as always a meaty read over at Red Box

Images: Arrested Motion  – not titled but plenty of them

Profiles of Hong Kong artists – Time Out in Hong Kong has published interesting chatty profiles of each of the Hong Kong artists in the show

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Is there a new way to sell art? Vitamin Creative Space China experiments – New York Times

Posted by artradar on May 4, 2009


ART GALLERY SHOP CHINA

A report from the New York Times reviews an interesting new approach to selling art designed and initiated by the renowned alternative art centre Vitamin Creative Space of Guangzhou. This new step which builds on the trend towards the democratisation of art is especially welcome in and suited to these recessionary times.

For those whose predilection for experimental Chinese art has always exceeded the depths of their pocketbooks, there’s the Shop, which opened last November in the Jianwai SOHO office and retail complex in Beijing.

Not quite a store, not quite a gallery, not quite a think tank — yet somehow all of the above — the concept-heavy outlet is a project of Vitamin Creative Space, an alternative-art center founded in Guangzhou in 2002.

Occupying a basement-level storefront and outfitted with blocky, tiled benches evoking a giant Tetris game, it was conceived as a “situation for understanding the relationship between art practice and daily practice,” said Hu Fang, who co-founded Vitamin with Zhang Wei, a fellow critic-curator.

What that means to the casual collector is a rotating selection of objects tied to Vitamin’s programs. So if you missed the curator Hans Ulrich Obrist’s New Year’s Eve “interview marathon” with the likes of the architect Ma Yansong and the artist Cao Fei, you could still buy the Zaha Hadid-esque fish tank that Mr. Ma brought for the event (25,000 yuan, about $3,570 at 7 yuan to the dollar) and shovels and signed helmets (1,500 yuan and 300 yuan), above, from the “ground-breaking” of Ms. Cao’s virtual RMB City project on www.secondlife.com.

The Shop, B1-1503, Building 15, Jianwai SOHO, 39 East Third Ring Road, Chaoyang District; (86-10) 5900-4374; www.vitamincreativespace.com.

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Who are the emerging Generation Y artists from Asia? The New Museum selects

Posted by artradar on March 30, 2009


EMERGING ARTISTS ASIA

Trend: Generational grouping of art

The New Museum in New York chooses 8 artists from Asia and a total of 50 globally, to describe the next generation of emerging artists (born after 1976) as part of its new signature triennial exhibition “the Generational” which runs til 14 June 2009.

Tala Madani Spraying Stripes

Tala Madani Spraying Stripes

About the exhibition

For “Younger Than Jesus,” the first edition of “The Generational,” fifty artists from twenty-five countries will be presented.

Known to demographers and marketers as the Millennials, Generation Y, iGeneration, and Generation Me, this age group has yet to be described in any way beyond their habits of consumption. “Younger Than Jesus” will begin to examine the visual culture this generation has created to date.

First major international museum exhibition for 80s artists

Consistent with the New Museum’s thirty-year mission to present new art and new ideas, “The Generational: Younger Than Jesus” will be the first major international museum exhibition devoted exclusively to the generation born around 1980, tapping into the different perspectives prescribing the future of global culture.

Elad Lassry untitled film

Elad Lassry untitled film

Huge demographic

In the United States, this demographic group is the largest generation to emerge since the Baby Boomers, while in India half the population is less than twenty-five years old; the sheer size of this generation ensures its worldwide influence.

By bringing together a wide variety of artists and contextualizing their different approaches, “Younger Than Jesus” will capture the signals of an imminent change, identify stylistic trends that are emerging among a diverse group of creators, and provide the general public with a first in-depth look at how the next generation conceives of our world.

Chu Yun Love - a project created for Siemens

Chu Yun Love - a project created for Siemens

Artists from Asia

China: Chu Yun, Cao Fei, Liu Chang

India: Shilpa Gupta

Israel: Elad Lassry

Iran: Tala Madani

Kazakhstan: Alexander Ugay

Turkey: Ahmet Ogut

Publications

For those who can’t make it to the show at the Bowery, the New Museum’s publications are the next best thing.

Buy Younger Than Jesus Directory

Buy Younger Than Jesus Directory

Biographical information and images from the over 500 artists who were submitted for consideration for the exhibition by the global network of informants will be included in the publication Younger Than Jesus: The Artist Directory, co-published by the New Museum and Phaidon. The publication will serve as an informal census of the artists from this generation, and will expand the exhibition by adding an additional platform.

ytjthereader

The exhibition catalogue, co-published by the New Museum and Steidl, will include reproductions of the work of the fifty artists chosen for the exhibition, as well as original essays by the exhibition curators and an anthology of articles by a diverse group of writers including philosophers, sociologists, journalists, activists, and marketing and technology experts. It is intended to compose a complex picture of the art and preoccupations that animate the work of this emerging generation.

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Posted in Chinese, Emerging artists, Generation art, Indian, Iranian, Israeli, Kazakhstani, Museum shows, Overviews, Surveys, Turkish | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

What are latest trends in Chinese art, who are the top two emerging artists? Melissa Chiu video

Posted by artradar on February 1, 2009


CHINESE ART TRENDS

Australian curator and writer Melissa Chiu of the Asia Society New York discusses the newest trends from China in a video called Inside The Contemporary Art Scene.

She identifies several emerging changes:

  • young Chinese women are emerging as a force for the first time
  • new technology is being adopted and young artists are excelling at video and other new media
  • China’s experience as a world centre of manufacturing has influenced the scale and construction of art from China and beyond its borders, particularly evident in the activities is Zhang Huan
  • influence of artists in their fifties driven abroad by the Cultural Revolution and now returning to work in China
  • two emerging artists are singled out : Cao Fei for her work on Second Life and Yang Fudong for his videos

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hhsCDqGb_LE

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Posted in Cao Fei, Chinese, Emerging artists, Fantasy art, Feminist art, Interviews, New Media, Overviews, Social, Surveys, Urban, Utopian art, Video, Zhang Huan | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

New roles for art collectors, organisations created by Cao Fei on Second Life – Uli Sigg is RMB City governor

Posted by artradar on January 30, 2009


Cao Fei RMB City A second life city planning 2007

Cao Fei RMB City A second life city planning 2007

 

INTERVIEW CHINESE ARTIST CAO FEI

Editor of Asia Art Archive’s Diaaalogue, Sue Acret spoke to Chinese artist Cao Fei about her Second Life project RMB City which was officially launched in January 2009. In this project which uses as a medium the online virtual world called Second Life, Cao Fei develops new roles for collectors and art institutions which blur the lines between digital and real.

Susan Acret: Please tell us about your avatar China Tracy and the RMB City work and how the online world of Second Life became a platform for these works.

RMB City – a city utopia with Chinese aesthetics

Cao Fei: During the creation of i.Mirror and the China Tracy Pavilion (A machinima-documentary about China Tracy’s first explorations of Second Life, and the large-scale installation where it premiered at the 2007 Venice Biennale), I started to think about creating a place that belonged to China Tracy within Second Life… her own ‘city utopia’. China Tracy felt that since most cities within Second Life were Western in style, she wanted to represent some of her concepts about Chinese urban development in a space that incorporated Chinese aesthetics and identity, albeit in a surreal hybrid style.

Blurred boundaries between real and virtual for modern generations
S.A: You’ve said that your generation, brought up in a digital world, ‘will always compare virtual and real’ and that sometimes the boundaries between the two can be blurred. Your art reflects this movement between these two spheres. What opportunities do virtual worlds offer artists that are not available in the ‘real’ world?

C.F: Second Life is a world where the conventional free-market economy still applies. Although we call it a virtual world, its economic structure and the virtual currency is tied with the ‘real’ economy. From a visual perspective, Second Life appears to be hyper-real and excessively imagined. Combined with its uncertain identity, it can be mysterious and enigmatic to people. On arriving in this virtual world, China Tracy was attracted by the hyper-real prison, but also felt an unavoidable sense of oppression.

Cao Fei i Mirror 28 min machinima

Cao Fei, i Mirror Second Life Machinima, 28 minutes

Although the boundary between virtual and real is becoming more and more blurred, the way the virtual world contradicts and coincides with reality offers something ambiguous and complex. This, to a certain extent, enhances our lives as a whole, providing a reference for the exploration of individuality and the nature of life.

Another reason that the virtual world appeals to me is that it transcends obstacles in reality, despite being hyper-real. It offers a virtual platform for human beings to experiment with a possible utopia, such as building an individualistic heaven, drafting laws and systems, generating new discussions and thoughts, etc.

 
S.A: How many collaborators have you worked with for your RMB City project? How do you find your collaborations with these ‘real’ people?

C.F: Collaborators involved in RMB City include collectors, galleries, scholars, researchers, artists, schools, various exhibition projects, commissioned projects, biennials and triennials, etc.

New roles for art collectors organisations, Uli Sigg is RMB City governor

1. Collectors
We invite collectors to actively participate in the actual development of the city. For example, we invited Mr Uli Sigg to be the first governor of the city (for 3 months), in order for him to oversee and propose a blueprint for the utopia of RMB City in terms of its systems, construction and direction.

2. Public organizations
We are now working closely with Serpentine Gallery. They are one of the real information centres for RMB City. Also, UCCA which will collect RMB City, will have a virtual art gallery and other independent projects. Some art organizations are willing to rent spaces to be involved in this project and also develop their own projects.

3. Exhibition/ Project
I have realized personal projects for biennials and triennials via RMB City, for example, for the 2008 Yokohama Triennial and New Orleans Biennial, as well as on some consigned projects, such as H Box’s video project. I would like to some overseas artist residency programs to take place the RMB City’s platform.

4. Other
We invite different parties (not just limited to the art field) in the real world to participate in the virtual world. We also invite Second Life avatars who are interested in our project.

Therefore, RMB City insists on ‘the cooperation of virtual and real’: collaborators should come from both worlds. Through this process, we hope to improve conventions and develop a new path.

Cao Fei Cosplayers, video 2004

Cao Fei Cosplayers, video 2004

S.A: Your use of internet platforms such as You Tube and Second Life is a democratic, open way of creating work, insofar as it is available freely to large numbers of people all over the world. Do you often get feedback from ‘non-art’ audiences on the internet?

C.F: Yes. I have received emails and messages to China Tracy in Second life, and comments on my YouTube videos, and friend-offers via My Space and Facebook.

I quite like these different forms of feedback from different channels, and meeting different people in different worlds.

S.A: Born in the late 1970s and brought up in the ’80s, can terminologies such as Generation X (the consumerist generation) or Generation Y (the Net-generation or Generation Why) describe who you are? From COSplayers to the RMB City project, are your art projects the result of generational influence or your personality?

C.F: Since 1978, China has undergone an inevitable reorganization. Before we were ready to respond, we were already receiving all kinds of influences from a new time. Everyone is the product of a generation; ‘I’ am an individual as well as a transcendental object. Perhaps a young person who attempts to influence the world or China Tracy who surfs around the virtual world, are indeed coming from the same route. And as for me, I remain extremely close to yet with an appropriate distance from any of these worlds. This gives me a macro view of the ‘world’. And then I decide how I should deal with it and derive my system to process all the complex messages of life. In Chinese terms, it involves entering (reality) and renouncing (the virtual) the world simultaneously. This journey is to experience both worlds while constituting the two.

This interview is edited. For the full version of this fascinating interview and more images go to Asia Art Archive.

Related categories: Chinese artists, virtual art, reports from China, video art, emerging artistsnew media, Uli Sigg, art collectors

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Posted in Anime, Cao Fei, Cartoon, China, Chinese, Collaborative, Collectors, Electronic art, Emerging artists, Fantasy art, Identity art, Individual, Interviews, New Media, Participatory, Social, Trends, Uli Sigg, Urban, Utopian art, Video, Virtual | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »