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Posts Tagged ‘gender art’

Sound art, trickery and time – interview Hong Kong new media artist Chilai Howard Cheng

Posted by artradar on November 12, 2009


HONG KONG ART

A portrait of the young artist Chilai Howard.

A portrait of the young artist Chilai Howard.

Chilai Howard Cheng, an ambitious young artist in his early twenties, draws attention to his video exhibition Stiffen Water at Para/Site Central, Hanart TZ Gallery in Hong Kong (5 Sep – 30 Oct). A fresh graduate of School of Creative Media and The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, also formerly educated in UK, Chilai is finding the limelight in international art shows – Barcelona, Seoul, Hamburg, and more – using innovative new media.

Just arriving from his part-time job in graphic design, Chilai loosens up in an interview with Art Radar. He talks about his deliberate manipulation of human perceptions with the sound of water dripping from five different sources, and more importantly, his mission to turn more people in Hong Kong from blind buyers into educated art admirers.

Q: Where were you born and educated and how did that influence your art?

I was born in HK. I went to high school in the UK and studied art there for 6 years. For university, I went to HKUST  (Hong Kong University of Science and Technology) – creative communications design, and later CityU School of Creative Media. A tutor named Adrian Cooper, whom I met in high school, was very encouraging and recommended some artists such as Alberto Giacometti, a painter and sculptor. This influenced me to start doing some paintings and installations in his style. It’s hard to do installations in Hong Kong though – you need storage and a big studio. Video is easier to manage, so I chose that to begin with.

Q: When did you know you were an artist?

I don’t think I’m an artist. To me, artists no longer exist. R Picasso, Dali were artists because they invented and revolutionized styles and trends. Nowadays, most videos are imitations of the early cinema. At the moment, I call myself an art worker, hopefully an artist after 30 years. I believe that true artists are inventors, such as  Jeffrey Shaw , a media artist as well as the Dean of Creative Media who shaped media art. 

Q: Where did you get your inspirations for Stiffen Water?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stiffen Water by Chilai Howard, video, 2009.

Stiffen Water by Chilai Howard, video, 2009.

 

It’s actually a continuous work of final year project. I calculated the water drops from the beginning to the end of the five-day exhibition. In video-making, we take a micro-narrative approach. Since I want the audience to take a closer look at the water they drink, I decided to play with audience’s conscious and unconscious minds. Even though the video appears to freeze at times,  there is actually still motion in it.  Playing with the same concept, I once made an 18-minute video with scenes from Hong Kong in the sixties, yet in the end the characters revealed that it was in fact the year 2007, so I tricked the audience into identifying the time frame as the sixties.

Q: Why “stiffen”? Not “stiff”?

DSC_0035

Part of the installation work by Chilai Howard

I don’t have an answer because neither do I care much about the title of an artwork, nor do I find it an indispensable element. As a matter of fact, I believe a title ruins all the hidden surprises. I prefer to have my audience guess the subject of my artwork in the way they perceive it. If I were to give my artwork a random title, I would be inviting criticism. It should be the audience, not me, who should name it.

Q: What difficulties lie in the manipulation of the kinetics and sound of water (and to make sure that effects are suitable for the image)?

I had to make sure that the sound and image are synchronized. Basically, I mixed five different sources of water – toilet, shower, pipe, pissing, and water dripping into a tank, with one bass sound. The frequency and the pitches of all five sources are very different, and I had to decide where to place the high-pitch sound.

Q: What aspects of life are you trying to question through Stiffen Water?

Instead of appreciating water, we take it for granted since it’s always been with us. I have a preference for natural elements, such as wood, leaf, plant, trees, for my installations. In the UK, I once shot a bunch of leaves for many days to observe the changes in motion and light. 

Q: How does it differ from other video works of yours, such as Doors? Any particular favorite?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Doors by Chilai Howard, video, 2009

The Doors by Chilai Howard, video, 2009

 

While Stiffen Water is about the natural life, Doors focuses on a social issue. With a plethora of historical buildings under destruction, it’s important to know that ancient is not synonymous with obsolete. As I spent three days taking photos of the same image, I found the patterns of door’s opening and closing fascinating. China attempted to cut off everything from the UK when it took over Hong Kong, so I wanted to shed light on the significance of Star Ferry Pier to our country.

On the other hand, Body Gender is more of a balanced statement inspired by some of my female Hong Kong friends who believe that they’re not treated fairly in Hong Kong – although I think there is equal treatment for all.  By showing only body parts instead of its entirety,  I wished to create the illusion that “he” might be a “she”, or vice versa. 

Q: Next stop for the exhibition? How do reactions to Doors differ between Hong Kong, Barcelona, Seoul and Hamburg ?

The video will travel to Berlin and Taiwan. Right now Doors is in Hamburg. I wanted to go, but I stayed for this exhibition. I also carry a part-time graphic design job, but only for the money. The design industry is far too commercial and practical in Hong Kong, thus not conceptual enough as it is in UK. It’s hard unless you’re a famous designer. 

Q: Obstacles in your art career?

One advantage that Hong Kong has is its small size, which means a smaller art society than that in other countries. So it makes easier to expose your art in Hong Kong. The problem is that people here are not interested in art or art exhibitions. Instead of appreciating art and the history behind it, some buyers use it as pure decoration. Another obstacle is that it’s hard to expose Hong Kong art to the world. There are very few internationally renowned artists from Hong Kong compared with, say, Canada, so we don’t attract as many people to our overseas exhibitions. Due to political reasons, Chinese artists are not that exposed to the world either until recently the government relaxed its policies on art. The West loves traditional Chinese art and calligraphy, but some treat it as no more than decorations, too. 

Q: What key message do you want to convey through your art?

No fixed message, but I pay attention to political or social issues. For instance, the financial markets are Hong Kong’s main asset, but as companies begin to move their headquarters to Shanghai, what else will be left in Hong Kong then? We used to have factories, but they all moved to mainland. Even yuan is more valuable than Hong Kong dollars now. 

Q: Future endeavors?

I might go back to UK to study. But I will return to Hong Kong. This is my dream to expose Hong Kong art to the world. That’s why I’ve always wanted to be a teacher, to educate young kids. The art education here needs a lot of improvement. I have to be famous to acquire the credibility to convince people and change how they perceive art. 

Q: What are other graduates of your class doing? 

Not everyone wanted to be an artist. Some preferred to work nine-to-five shifts. Some became art administrators for organizing shows, while others entered the field of business, marketing, or advertising.  Everyone’s dream is different.

Q: Did you imagine yourself to be successful at a young age? Future exhibitions?

IMG_8900

Timeless by Chilai Howard Cheng, 2009.

I don’t consider myself successful, but I’m honored to be included in the exhibition. Success is when I can influence more people to appreciate art. That’s my dream. 

My new video Timeless will be exhibiting in October Contemporary. This time I will shoot a curtain to illustrate the patterns of light’s coming in and out, which reflects how time flies, and how both light and time are untouchable, abstract systems. In fact, I almost had the opportunity to exhibit my first installation there, but I missed the invitation email sent by Input Output. 

Q: You were accepted at Goldsmith College, University of London, Central St. Martins College of Art and Design. Why did you return to Hong Kong?

My art was rather renowned where I went to school in UK.  However, it’s common for westerners to like Chinese art because they find the integration of the west and east exotic. So I was dubious of my talent. I was confused about whether I were really good at art, or did they simply like my work due to the incorporation of oriental elements. To prove to myself that my artwork is worthy, I came back to Hong Kong and began everything from zero. I don’t regret the decision, especially now that I’ve started to hold exhibitions, an opportunity that would be hard to obtain in a much larger art society in UK.

WM/KCE

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Posted in Asian, Chilai Howard Cheng, Chinese, Doors, Gallery shows, Hong Kong, Hong Kong Artists, Installation, Interviews, Light, New Media, Photography, Political, Slow/fast art, Social, Sound, Sound art, Time, Video | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Lisa Reihana’s electronic Maori art at Anna Landa new media biennial 2009 Australia – video

Posted by artradar on July 9, 2009


NEW ZEALAND DIGITAL ART AUSTRALIA

Combining ancestral culture and slow art with new media

Mâori artist Lisa Reihana (born New Zealand 1964, lives  Auckland) has produced an intriguing and inspiring body of work collectively called Digital marae (2001,2008) which is now on show in Sydney at the Art Gallery of New South Wales as part of the new media biennial, the Anna Landa award.

Reihana by her own admission likes to work slowly so she is giving herself until 2020 to complete this piece which will comprise life size prints of female, male and transgender figures/deities who will be exhibited  between panels of digitally-manipulated patterns taken from 70s textiles and recombined to form Maori patterns.

She believes that there is “far too much stuff” in the world and that each work that she makes must have a strong reason for being.

As well as a fascination with gender, Reihana’s works reference the inclusiveness of the Maori culture in which there is space for everyone.

The marae is an ancestral home for Mâori people, a meeting space and a site for exchange. Her life-size digital prints depict friends and family dressed as male deities (atua) that appear in Mâori creation stories. This Digital marae is a double of the original meeting house, but it is also a transformation.

Lisa Reihana

See the works being hung and listen to Reihana explain how Maori idiom acts as inspiration for her contemporary new media artworks: the surfboard under the feet of Maui, the stream of city lights in the background of Urban warrior, the astronomical imagery in Ranginui and the 19th-century suit in the cross-gendered Dandy.

Video Anna Landa award 2009 Lisa Reihana

See also the excellent 10 minute video made in 2007 for the Elizabeth A. Sackler foundation for Feminist Art in which Reihanna talks about the Mahuika, the fire goddess and other works.

victor_resized

About the Anna Landa Award

Art Gallery of New South Wales, The Domain, Sydney, Australia – 7 May – 19 July 2009

The Art Gallery of New South Wales is currently exhibiting Double Take, the third Anne Landa Award, which was the first biennial exhibition in Australia for moving image and new media work, with an acquisitive award of $25 000. The award was established in honour of Anne Landa, a Trustee of the Art Gallery of NSW who died in 2002.

The artists in this year’s exhibition consider what it means to transform the self into another persona – as a doppelgänger, a karaoke performer, an avatar, a robot or a fantasy alter-ego.

  • TV Moore, Gabriella Mangano and Silvana Mangano create private performances on video
  • Lisa Reihana’s digital photographs present friends and family posing as ancestral Mâori spirit figures
  • Mari Velonaki creates robotic avatars
  • Cao Fei and Phil Collins bring together loose collectives of people around a desire to adopt imaginary identities

These performances are not the pure fantasies of popular digital culture, where it is so easy to masquerade as another persona. These artists are more circumspect. Real time lurks within. This is the ‘double’ – because while the performances have a presence in our everyday world, they also take an imaginary guise. They shuttle between two worlds: reality and fantasy.

The exhibition includes video, interactive robotics and digital photography.

Watch curator Victoria Lynn talk on video about Double Take

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Posted in Electronic art, Emerging artists, Museum shows, New Media, New Zealander, Photography, Slow art, Video | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Kuwaiti print maker Thuraya Al-Baqsami on identity, Kuwait art scene, writing – ART Interview

Posted by artradar on November 28, 2008


Thuraya Al-Baqsami

Thuraya Al-Baqsami

 

KUWAITI ARTIST INTERVIEW

This is an abridged version of ART Interview’s talk with Kuwaiti print maker Thurayama Al-Baqsami who is considered one of Kuwait’s most outspoken female artists. For over three and a half decades, Thuraya Al-Baqsami has remained steadfast in her commitment to use the arts as a vehicle for intellectual transformation and social change.

Brief bio

Thuraya Al-Baqsami was born 1951 in Kuwait City. She received her academic training in Cairo, Egypt at the “College of Fine Arts” during 1972 and 1973 before moving on in 1981 to earn her Masters Degree in book illustration and design from the “Art College of Surikov” in Moscow, Russia.Thuraya Al-Baqsami received the Golden Palm Leaf award from the GCC in 1989 and in 1992. Her work on the book on the International Declaration of Human Rights, Liberte 98, was praised by United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan. In 1987 and in 1992 she received the first prize award from the Kuwait National Museum.

Collectors of Thuraya Al-Baqsami

Her work can be found in public and private collections throughout Asia, the Middle East and the United States as well as in Europe. Some of the museums that have collected Al-Baqsami’s work include; the Kuwait National Museum, the Bahrain National Museum, Modern Art Museum in Escobia-Macedonia, Contemporary Islamic Art Museum in Amman-Jordan, The British Museum – London, Bayan Palace-Amiri Diwan in Kuwait and the Central University of Nationalities in Beijing, China.

Interview abridged

Art Interview: Is there an art-scene in Kuwait?

Thuraya Al-Baqsami: We have an art association, of which I have been a member since 1968. There is also the National Council of Arts. It is part of the Department of Culture that belongs to the Ministry of Information. We have quite a few artists but they tend to be female rather than male. We have painters and sculptors but I think I am the only print maker. We also have video artists and computer artists now. I think the level of art in Kuwait is okay for such a young country. But since we don’t have art colleges it is developing more slowly than in Europe or America.

Art Interview: Are there modern art museums in Kuwait?

Thuraya Al-Baqsami: Yes, yes, we have a museum of Kuwaiti art. You could call it modern because it’s only 30 or 40 years old.

Art Interview: Have you always done the type of art that you are doing now?

Thuraya Al-Baqsami: No, I’ve changed. I try to discover myself through my art. I started making experimental art. I built upon this step by step. I like to change every 2-3 years, not dramatically, but step by step. When I work with a media or a subject and I feel that I can’t take it further then I move on. Sometimes to loosen up I’ll work abstractly but I like people and I want to see them in my work. So much of my work centers on portrait and figurative art.

Art Interview: How has your writing affected your art?

Thuraya Al-Baqsami: I have six published novels, two books for children, a book of art criticism, a book of poetry, a book about my experiences in the war in Lebanon and another one with funny, satirical articles. Writing is part of my personality. It takes up much of my time. But people know me more as an artist than as a writer. Writing is a big challenge for me and I feel it will continue to be a wonderful part of my future. I am trying very hard to establish myself as a good writer. Writing is very important for me because I have things inside of me that I cannot put into paintings. Painting is different than writing. Writing means paper, information, and feeling to me. It means good language; you can do it in a corner, on the bus or sitting in the park. Painting, on the other hand, means technique and composition to me. Sometimes I mix the two together. If I have an image in my head I’ll often I write about it and sometimes I’ll do a painting based on my writing.

Thuraya Al-Baqsami

Thuraya Al-Baqsami

Art Interview: Would you consider them as illustration?

Thuraya Al-Baqsami: Yes, they are illustrations of what I feel. Sometimes I feel that what I write down would be too difficult to tell in a painting. I live in peace with these two forms of expression: writing and painting.

Art Interview: Do you write in Arabic?

Thuraya Al-Baqsami: Yes, I write in Arabic, in my own language. It is a difficult language and at the same time it is very, very rich. It is a wonderful language to write in.

Art Interview: Do you illustrate your poetry?

Thuraya Al-Baqsami: Yes. I illustrated my poetry, my short stories and the children’s stories that I wrote. My poetry is about love and women and human relations in Arabic society, which are very complicated themes.

Art Interview: Is it possible to buy these books? Have they been translated into English?

Thuraya Al-Baqsami: Yes. Yes. Arabic literature is very difficult to get in North America but Europeans can get some of my books translated into English over http://www.amazon.co.uk

Art Interview: Do you think that your choice to be an artist was a difficult choice or did it feel very easy and natural?

Thuraya Al-Baqsami: Becoming an artist was very natural for me. Since I was a child I knew that I wanted to be an artist. This has made life easier. One of my daughters is also like this. Since she was a kid she also wanted to be an artist. These people don’t suffer the same as some people do because they know from the beginning on what they want to be. Some people even finish university and get a job and still they don’t know what they want to be. This was my decision from the beginning: I want to be an artist.

Art Interview: What about your identity in Kuwait? Is it typical that Arabic women artists have the opportunity to exhibit internationally as frequently as you do?

Thuraya Al-Baqsami: No.

Art Interview: It is unique then?

Thuraya Al-Baqsami: Yes, I’m unique.

Art Interview: What is it that drives you to do this? It’s a lot of work.

Thuraya Al-Baqsami: Yes, it is a lot of work but as I told you my husband plans my schedule for me since he is my manager and I usually agree with time frames.

Art Interview: Is the relationship between you and your husband atypical for the Arab world?

Thuraya Al-Baqsami: For an Arab man my husband is very unique. Usually Arabian men are very selfish and they don’t like having their wives in the spotlight. My husband is one of the rare men who shows his strength by allowing freedoms that others would not. For example, many people have the wrong idea and they ask him how he could let his wife stay alone in another country. But he trusts me and he trusts that I am doing something good for my future.

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Posted in Feminist art, Human Body, Identity art, Illustration, Interviews, Kuwaiti, Middle Eastern, Museum collectors, Profiles | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Iranian art market booms for younger artists – Artprice

Posted by artradar on September 7, 2008


Farhad Moshiri Eshgh

Farhad Moshiri Eshgh

 

 

IRANIAN ART MARKET

“The vitality of the Middle-Eastern market is giving a number of young Iranian artists a healthy price index on the secondary art market” says Artprice’s online magazine Art Market Insight.

In October 2007, at only his second auction appearance, Christie’s Dubai generated a bid of $50,000 for a painting by Afshin PIRHASHEMI (born 1974) entitled Those Four Days.  Just a month earlier in Paris, Artcurial sold his painting Memory for 6,000 euros and by  April 2008 his triptych ‘Lonely’ created in 2005 commanded an astounding price of $110,000 at Christie’s in Dubai.

The work of two young Iranian women are beginning to command attention: Shirin ALIABADI and Shadi GHADIRIAN (born in 1973 and 1974 respectively) create works inspired by the challenges facing women. Shadi Ghadirian’s photos show veiled women with contemporary objects and her most famous piece, Stereo, sold for £9,000 (over $18,000) in 2007 at Sotheby’s in London.

Stimulated by developments in the art market infrastucture including the introduction of art fair, Art Dubai in 2007 and the appearance of auction houses (Christies 2006, Bonhams 2008), contemporary artists from Tunisia, Egypt, Morocco, Lebanon and Iran have seen increasing attention and price inflation.

Iranian Contemporary Art - Rose Issa - buy

'Iranian Contemporary Art' by Rose Issa - click to buy book

Shirin Neshat

and Farhad Moshiri are two artists who are now well known on the international art scene. Farhad Moshiri became the highest selling Iranian artist when his 2 metre high bronze work ‘The Wall (Oh Persepolis)’ fetched no less than $2.5 million at Christies Dubai in April 2008 trouncing its estimate of $400,000-600,000. Farhah Moshiri is best known for his jewel art pieces in which he covers objects or makes images with fine layers of gold or Swarowski crystals.

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