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Contemporary art trends and news from Asia and beyond

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Posts Tagged ‘Design’

Ai Weiwei and Vito Acconci wrap up major collaboration at Hong Kong’s Para/Site art space

Posted by artradar on July 6, 2010


AI WEIWEI CHINESE ART HONG KONG ART SPACES ARTIST COLLABORATIONS

With a new project, Chinese art all-rounder Ai Weiwei, in cooperation with American artist Vito Acconci, has brought fresh dialogues between the East and West to Hong Kong, a monumental event in Ai Weiwei’s career and for the Hong Kong and the Asian art scenes.

installation view at para:site art space

A view of "Acconci Studio + Ai Weiwei: A Collaborative Project", an installation work recently shown at Para/Site art space in Hong Kong.

Acconci Studio + Ai Weiwei: A Collaborative Project“, held at Hong Kong’s Para/Site art space, has provided the opportunity for Ai Weiwei to meet and work for the first time with Vito Acconci, an American artist whom he admires.

Vito Acconci

Like Ai Weiwei, Acconci shifts between performance art and architecture, and has gained a global reputation for his bold art stunts.

In his 1971 performance entitled Seedbed, Acconci engaged his visitors in restrained sexual intimacy by masturbating continuously under a wooden platform in a gallery.

recent article published on Time Out Hong Kong describes the artist as someone who “works not as a singular artist but as an architect and ‘collaborator’ for Acconci Studios. The controversial questioning of his earlier career has been replaced with an intellegent whimsy in design. Structures roam, twist and fold within their sites. Each edifice constantly contemplating the function of space and the understanding of linear time and form.”

Ai Weiwei

Having been involved in design, architecture, curating, writing and publishing, Ai Weiwei is one of the most controversial contemporary artists of his generation. Asked to describe his art by the Financial Times, Ai Weiwei gave the following reply:

“That question makes me almost speechless, because I wonder how much do I know about it, even though it was me that did it? What part is conscious and is that consciousness important? And what part has come out only because of the public’s sentiment? And is that important?”

An article recently published in the Guardian noted that Ai Weiwei’s work “has become overtly political, blurring the boundary between art and activism”, referring to the artist’s Remembering installation. This artwork was comprised of 9,000 children’s backpacks, in reminiscence of the 2008 Sichuan earthquake casualties.

In recollection of Ai Weiwei’s past performances, an article published in the Financial Times discussed both Dropping a Han Dynasty Urn (1995), “a triptych of photographs in which he is seen casually dropping a 2,000-year-old vase to shatter on the ground”, and an exhibition of 46 avant-garde artists including himself called Fuck Off (2000), which was closed down by authorities. The artwork’s Chinese title was the milder Uncooperative Approach. Despite his strong defiance against the Beijing government, Ai Weiwei was the designer of the Bird’s Nest at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.

vito acconci and ai weiwei discussing their collaboration

Vito Acconci and Ai Weiwei in discussion regarding "Acconti Studio + Ai Weiwei: A Collaborative Project", an installation work recently shown at Para/Site art space in Hong Kong.

Acconci Studio + Ai Weiwei: A Collaborative Project

For “Acconci Studio + Ai Weiwei: A Collaborative Project”, Para/Site was transformed into a three-dimensional grid where Ai and Acconci developed their work “in constant mutation and accumulation during the two months that it [was] open to the public.” The end product was an unorthodox, multilayered installation with an accumulated collection of new works, models, drawings and various materials that were accumulated as a result of ongoing discussions between Ai Weiwei, Vito Acconci and their studios.

“The collaboration with Vito Acconci at Para/Site art space is an effort in figuring out ways to collaborate, ways [of] defining the actual process of working together. Through the development of a gallery project we are to think [of] the formation of a city.” Ai Weiwei (as quoted on the Para/Site website)

“I would never have imagined that today I could become active in art and have a chance to meet Vito…I was a young man just come from China. I was trying to be part of art history, but then it was impossible…Neither of us have any nostalgia towards the past, but we are both ready to think about today. That is our common ground.” Ai Weiwei (as quoted by the Financial Times)

The project is not just an interesting addition to Ai’s collection of stunning works. As Alvaro Rodriguez Fominaya, the Executive Director and Curator of Para/Site, told Art Radar Asia, it has also created a platform for dialogues about the arts in Hong Kong and, on a larger scale, throughout Asia.

“This project reflects the complex production system that surrounds the creation of new works of art/projects in the 21st century. Dialogue is an important element of this project, which is as much about exchange of ideas as it is about production. Until now most exhibitions in this part of Asia focused on exhibiting a relevant Western artist or showcasing a leading artist from Asia. But the dialogue between what is happening in different parts of the world is lacking. This conversation is conducive to new ideas and it opens new paths of research. Then, there is also the challenge to put together practitioners from different generations, that also operate within different studio cultures. It proves Hong Kong can be a platform for leading international projects, and positions this city as a destination for art lovers, and not just a stopover. It is also a picture of what Hong Kong could be in the international scene if we had some rigorous planning and more opportunities to engage with current discourses around the world. This project is about taking curatorial risks, to start a journey without knowing the final destination.”

According to the art space’s website, Para/Site was chosen as the base for the project because of its autonomy from large organisations, enabling it to accommodate the innovativeness of the project.

CBKM/KN

Related topics: Ai Weiwei, collaborative art, venues – Hong Kong, Chinese artists

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Louis Vuitton, A Passion For Creation review – the fine art of branding in Hong Kong

Posted by artradar on July 28, 2009


LOUIS VUITTON EXHIBITION REVIEW HONG KONG

The historical roots and modern artistic expression of a luxury brand are revealed at  ‘Louis Vuitton: A Passion For Creation,’ presented as a 3-part series by the Hong Kong Museum of Art.  In the first installment of the exhibition, the story of the brand’s evolution is told through the display of original products and artworks from the 19th and 20th centuries and the new millennium. The show begins quietly, showcasing old original Louis Vuitton pieces that champion form and function. However, soon aspirations are revealed to challenge the limits of brand identity and demonstrate the ever-evolving nature of this luxury name.

'Louis Vuitton: A Passion For Creation' Exhibition Entry, Hong Kong Museum of Art

'Louis Vuitton: A Passion For Creation' Exhibition Entry, Hong Kong Museum of Art

The brand is shown from its humble beginning, when the spirit of travel inspired the original concept for Louis Vuitton. However, a new identity emerges under the art direction of Marc Jacobs, who was appointed in 1997.

The show demonstrates LV’s progression with pieces that reflect modern international urban culture by Takashi Murakami of Tokyo, and Stephen Sprouse, who emerged from the arts scene in New York.  The chosen works on display suggest that Louis Vuitton has grown from its origins as the image of Western sophistication into a reflection of international artistic attitudes, sometimes fantastic or defiant, but always luxurious.

'Panda' by Takashi Murakami, 2003. Fiberglass.

'Panda' by Takashi Murakami, 2003. Fiberglass.

Of particular significance is Murakami’s Panda, made in 2003. The massive multicolored, cartoon-like fiberglass panda appears to be rising out of a classically inspired Louis Vuitton trunk, suggesting the surreal new direction he envisions for the brand. Indeed, Murakami’s vision for the modern Louis Vuitton is a frivolous world, a brightly-colored childish fantasy. In contrast, Marc Jacob’s Spring 2008 interpretation for the brand challenges boundaries with a provocative ‘naughty nurse’ theme, and Stephen Sprouse’s Spring 2001 graffiti-inspired pieces challenge the established high-end identity with defacement.

Louis Vuitton Spring 2008, by Marc Jacobs

Louis Vuitton Spring 2008, by Marc Jacobs

Although this show may first appear to be another form of marketing, it does a fair job of demonstrating the art of creating a powerful brand and the evolution of its identity. It would be over-reaching to say the Louis Vuitton products themselves are presented as special works of art. Instead, the real magic that Louis Vuitton shows is the ability to build off an original concept while not changing its foundation, and continually applying a fresh mystique every few seasons by modeling products after fine art by edgy, of-the-moment artists.  Louis Vuitton is artfully alive and growing, but its roots are still intact.

It is still unknown who exactly came up with the concept for the show. Although the show would have more legitimacy if it was the brainchild of Mr. Tang Hoi-Chui, Chief Curator of the Hong Kong Museum of Art, and his associates at the Hong Kong Leisure and Cultural Services Department, it is unlikely they alone conceived the premise for an exhibition on Louis Vuitton . Who approached whom for this collaboration is unclear, and Art Radar will be investigating the source of the show. In the meantime, however, expect to see commercialism and art continue to merge in the Asian art scene, which like Louis Vuitton, is also alive and growing into something different.

Showing at the Hong Kong Museum of Art, May 22-Aug 9, 2009.  $30 HK admission

Contributed by Erin Wooters

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