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Posts Tagged ‘collector’

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

Posted by artradar on September 15, 2010


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.


Related Topics: Taiwanese artists, interviews, installation art

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Collector organises major exhibition of Indonesian art in Jakarta August 2008

Posted by artradar on August 8, 2008


Ketut Sudra gave a sigh of relief. After months of preparation, everything was finally ready for the big day.

“I had no idea organizing a painting exhibition was such a tiring, time-consuming process that involved so many details,” he said Wednesday.

Sudra had never organized a painting exhibition before. A native of Lodtunduh, Ubud, the 37-year-old is more familiar with the intricate process of shipping and exporting silver and gold jewelry to foreign countries.

His company is one of the island’s largest manufacturers of jewelry that caters exclusively for foreign markets.

Collection started 2005

Sudra’s introduction to the realm of fine arts took place three years ago when he started collecting paintings.

“The terrorist attacks in 2002 and 2005 didn’t affect my business because I didn’t sell my products on the domestic market,” he said.

Yet, Sudra witnessed firsthand how the attacks adversely affected the lives of so many artists, including painters, who reside on the island.

“That’s when I decided to start collecting paintings. I love paintings, that’s reason number one. Reason number two; by buying their paintings I could help the painters live through the difficult period following the attacks,” he said.

Three years and hundreds of millions of rupiah later, Sudra is now the proud collector of as many as 400 paintings. His collection represents the diversity of Balinese paintings’ styles, periods and artists.

Sharing the collection

After building such a fine and large collection of paintings, Sudra began thinking about how to share his collection with fellow art lovers in Indonesia.

“I also want to open new markets for the Balinese painters.”

An opportunity to do just so knocked on Sudra’s door a few months ago. The Sultan Hotel, a five-star establishment in Jakarta’s so-called “golden triangle” business district, would celebrate its second anniversary in August, and its management was keen on having an exhibition of Balinese paintings to mark the occasion.

One hundred works selected

In cooperation with the hotel and Heanly + Fairdy In House Fine Art Gallery, Sudra started preparing for the exhibition. He carefully selected 100 paintings from his private collection; the works of around 30 artists.

“The pieces were selected to reflect the rich landscape of Bali’s fine art realm,” Sudra said.

The selected works, he added, were a combination of traditional and contemporary works, realism and impressionism pieces; representing the established as well as the lesser-known artists.

Artists in show

For instance, one of the selected works is a painting titled Traditional Market by the maestro of Batuan-style paintings, I Wayan Bendi.

Born in Batuan village in 1950, I Wayan Bendi is known for his cunning ability to include elements of modern life — from battered tourist buses to tourists wielding cameras with long telephoto lenses — onto his canvases, which are often over-crowded with scenes of traditional Balinese daily life.

This ability has made his works a favorite subject for art critics and art collectors. To some extent, Bendi’s works could also be treated as a series of visual records on the actual trials and tribulations experienced by the island of Bali and its people.

Pieces by other popular and established painters featured in the exhibit include Dewa Nyoman Batuan, Dewa Putu Mokoh and I Nyoman Ridi.

Soeharko underrated

The exhibit will also present the works of lesser-known artists; one is Soeharko, who passed away in March.

Born in 1932 in Solo, Central Java, Soeharko was an officer at the Indonesian Army before finding his true calling as a painter. In 1962, he studied under Dullah, one of the most celebrated maestros of Indonesia’s fine arts world.

“Soeharko is arguably one of the most underrated painters in contemporary Indonesia,” Sudra said.

Soeharko’s object of esthetic, colorful flowers and his visual genres of realism and naturalism have distanced him from the current fine arts’ spotlight, which continues to shine on painters who use abstract or symbolic visual expressions.

“His works have enriched the private collections of many prominent figures, including former U.S. president Ronald Reagan.”

Sudra hoped the exhibition at the Sultan Hotel would give lesser-known artists the opportunity to be exposed to a wider audience and receive the attention they rightly deserved.

Theme ‘Global Warming’

The exhibition, which will run from Aug. 14 until Aug. 28, will feature “global warming” as its main theme.

“Global warming is undoubtedly one of the most important problems of the contemporary world. Global warming defies all of the world’s traditional boundaries, including geographical, racial, gender and religious boundaries. Global warming has bound the whole human race with a universal rope of fear and anxiety,” Sudra said.

Moreover, he pointed out, the magnitude of disasters that global warming could give birth to in the future would not only threaten the integrity of our natural ecosystem, but also the very fate of the human race itself.

“It means global warming has not only posed a grave danger to the artists’ primary sources of inspiration — the beauty of nature and the splendor of culture — but also to the lives of the artists themselves as members of the human race.”

Source: Jakarta Post

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