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Posts Tagged ‘Serpentine Gallery’

Pakistani American artist Shahzia Sikander impresses judges of SCMP|ART FUTURES at ART HK 10

Posted by artradar on June 29, 2010


PAKISTANI AMERICAN ARTISTS ART PRIZES AND AWARDS ART HK 10

Pakistani American artist Shahzia Sikander, represented by London gallery Pilar Corrias, has been brought into spotlight on the stage of contemporary art after impressing the judges of SCMP|ART FUTURES at ART HK 10 and becoming the winner of the year.

Shahzia Sikander working on a mural in the USA.

Standing out among artists from sixteen galleries that have been set up for less than five years, Sikander won a cash prize and an opportunity to design the front cover of Post Magazine, published by the South China Morning Post (SCMP). According to SCMP, she has been praised by one of the judges, Serpentine Gallery co-director Hans Ulrich Obrist, for being a “very special artist” and a worthy winner.

Sikander’s I am also not my own enemy (2009) was exhibited at ART HK 10. It is a decorative work on paper made with gouache, hand painting, gold leaf and silkscreen pigment on paper.

Shahzia Sikander's 'I am also not my own enemy'.

Since graduating from the National College of Arts in Lahore for undergraduate study and the Rhode Island School of Design for master study, Shahzia Sikander has been “instrumental in [the] rediscovery, re-infusion, and re-contextualization of Indo-Persian miniature painting.” She has worked within a wide range of art genres including painting, drawing, animation, installation, video and film. She was named as an honorary artist by Pakistan’s Ministry of Culture and the Pakistan National Council of the Arts.

CBKM/KN

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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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Mixed reviews for Serpentine’s Indian Highway show in London – Evening Standard, Independent

Posted by artradar on December 18, 2008


N S Harsha Melting

N S Harsha Melting

 

INDIAN ART OVERVIEW SHOW

Indian Highway to 22 February 2009 Serpentine Gallery London

Indian Highway, a show of 25 contrasting artists from India, is billed by the Serpentine as a “snapshot of a vibrant generation of artists” and “a timely presentation of their pioneering work following the remarkable and rapid economic social and cultural developments in India in recent years”. 

The show which  incorporates architecture, art, literature and performance, will continually grow as it tours internationally to different institutions for the next four years. After London, it will be presented at Astrup Fearnley Museum, Oslo, from 4 April to 21 June 2009, where it will expand with the addition of new works as well as a section curated by Bose Krishnamachari.

M F Husain Naad Swaram Ganeshayem

M F Husain Naad Swaram Ganeshayem

The show features the following artists some of whom have already made an impact on the international art world:

Ayisha Abraham
Ravi Agarwal
Nikhil Chopra
Raqs Media Collective
Sheela Gowda
Sakshi Gupta
Shilpa Gupta
Subodh Gupta
N. S. Harsha
M. F. Husain
Jitish Kallat
Amar Kanwar
Bharti Kher
Bose Krishnamachari
Nalini Malani
Tejal Shah
Dayanita Singh
Kiran Subbaiah
Ashok Sukumaran & Shaina Anand

In an inevitable comparison with Saatchi’s show of Chinese art, Indian Highway comes out on top in the Evening Standard.

Everything that Saatchi gets wrong with his Chinese show the Serpentine gets right in its Indian one. While the Duke of York’s Baracks show is a chart of the cheesiest Chinese auction house hits, the Serpentine is a treasure trove of subtlety and surprise.

There are new history paintings from India’s 93-year-old Modernist master, a multi-screen documentary of cinematic quality about terrible violence against women, sculptures made from whistles and rotating microphones about sectarian division, and a wall drawing of super-sized technicolor bhindis.

Typical of the shrewd tack taken is the way the exhibition handles the two shooting stars of the Indian contemporary art boom, Jitish Kallat and Subodh Gupta. Kallat’s large portraits of impoverished Indians, painted in a colourful screen-printed style, with their turbans transformed into intricate urban scenes, have become must-haves for aspiring billionaire collectors. Nothing that predictable here, though. Instead we have a series of photographs of dilapidated urban India, often decorated with stencils of Hindu gods.

But Kallat’s photographs are lenticular – that kind of 3-D photo with a fuzzy surface which takes on depth and reveals hidden details as one stands at an angle to it – a kind of photography you will know from souvenir postcards of tourist attractions, cartoon characters and Princess Diana. Kallat’s process turns a photojournalistic essay into not only an alluringly colourful spectacle but also a conceptual work which plays on where tourists find beauty in India and ennobles a popular visual idiom.

ravi_agarwal___kite_102525a

Ravi Agarwal Kite

Subodh Gupta is India’s best-known contemporary artist, whose trademark works are made out of Indian cooking utensils. He won early fame with a set of shelves with neat piles of stainless steel pots and pans, organised according to minimalism’s simple geometries.

At the Serpentine, however, there is not a trace of his kitchenware. Instead, he presents an evocative installation based on the interior of an Indian county court. There are worn wooden tables, half-broken chairs, ageing electronic typewriters and bundles of creased files. I had become rather disillusioned by all the repetitive pots-and-pans pieces I’d seen by Gupta over the past few years, and I loathe the terrible spin-off photorealist paintings of the same kitchenware which have been on show in every auction preview. The new work shows what resources this artist can tap as long as he doesn’t pander to the tastes of his dimwitted market of millionaire collectors.

Alongside these shooting stars, there is also India’s most famour post-war artist MF Husain, born in 1915. He is represented here in depth by a large number of canvases including several which have been exhibited – in another imaginative act of curating – on the outside of the building.

Husain is a sure-footed master of colour and texture and his compositions are boldly drawn – a mass of charging horses, elephants, mountain ranges and dynamic figures. He has only just begun to receive the recognition he deserves, but a demanding viewer may feel his old-fashioned mythological modernism owes too much to Chagall and Kandinsky for comfort.

The show makes plain some of the shortcomings of younger contemporary artists in fast-developing economies that will have flashed through the mind of anyone familiar with contemporary Chinese art. There is a sense of these artists having quickly learned to speak the foreign language of conceptual art-ese. They get the basic grammar – take a material of symbolic significance in your home country and make a big sculpture of something else with it

Overall, the work is of sufficient interest to push these criticisms to the back of the mind. The Indians don’t make the worst mistakes of their Chinese counterparts – there is no subcontinental equivalent of Wang Guanyi’s gimmicky Maoist propaganda posters peppered with Coca-Cola logos, or Zhang Xaiogang’s cutesy soft-focus paintings of bug-eyed Cultural Revolution families. The Indian artists engage with the politics of the present, not nostalgia. The work has an impressive discipline and severity, from which flashes of fairytales suddenly burst forth.

Evening Standard review

While the Evening Standard gives legendary MF Husain and the show overall a wavering thumbs up,  the Independent has nothing much good to say starting with the show’s guiding theme. “There must be some agenda, some network of contacts, guiding the selection. A more knowing person than me could tell you what. ” And the presence of ‘Picasso of India’ s MF Husain’s work confuses matters further:

The difficulty with Husain’s art is a matter of reputation. Why should he be rated as an even remotely interesting or important artist? His crudely cartoony pictures seem to belong, not at this gallery, but across the park, on the railings of Bayswater Road. Yet in an Indian context he has been a major figure. And so a baffling cultural gap opens up, about which the show leaves us none the wiser.

There’s no such gap with the work of the younger artists. On the contrary: it looks exactly like the kind of thing you’d find at the Serpentine. Its content is often Indian, but its forms are the established idioms of international contemporary art. You’ll find all the familiar fixtures: the room-filling installation, the multi-screen video projection, the enormous colour photograph, the found-object assemblage.

If you have any doubts about the embrace of artistic globalisation, Indian Highway will settle them. You could give the show a brisk walk-through, and almost not notice where things came from.

Where Indian culture is referenced, the Independent finds the motifs and usage too obvious.

Bharti Kher makes everything – or covers everything – in bindis (adhesive forehead dot decorations). Bose Krishnamachari makes much use of tiffins (the much-used metal cylindrical lunch box). Slightly obvious ideas, true, the sort of idea you can imagine an Indian artist having rather easily – and it turns out they’re used in rather an obvious way, too.

Subodh Gupta

Subodh Gupta

I found myself feeling that too often. The work is plausible enough, but nothing special. Shilpa Gupta’s In Our Times puts two old-fashioned microphones see-sawing on a stand, broadcasting the Independence speeches of Nehru (India) and Jinnah (Pakistan), delivered by a woman’s voice. Well, if I was pretending to be an Indian artist, that’s the kind of thing I’d do!

Or there’s Subodh Gupta, who’s been dubbed – well, it had to happen – “the Damien Hirst of India”, but here he appears more in the character of “the Mike Nelson of India”, with a room filled with a run-down and packed-up office. But then, same problem again: compared with Nelson’s dense and atmospheric environments, this is a very thin and under-imagined space.

I thought Nalini Malani had something, painting flights of female figures on clear acrylic panes, where swirling smears of pigment get transformed into snaking bodies. And Kiran Subbaiah’s brief video, Flight Rehearsals, about an introverted young man climbing the walls of his bedroom, was tight and funny. And Amar Kanwar’s The Lightning Testimonies used that unpromising form – the eight-screen all-around projection – and nearly made it work. But there’s nothing to bring you running.

An India-focused show looks like a good idea. But if it turns out to be a dud, then it’s a very bad idea. Anything disparaging you say about it is likely to become a disparaging generalisation about India itself. And if none of the art seems much good, you’re tempted to think that there’s a general cultural problem. The artists may seem fluent in contemporary art, but this language is clearly a Western invention. They have adopted it in an efficient but derivative way, as a badge of contemporaneity. They lack the confidence to take it over and reshape it.

Maybe. But an alternative explanation is available. It is simply that the artists in this show are stymied by the almost universal problem of not being very good artists. It can happen to artists anywhere. And then the question is, why the Serpentine didn’t find better ones?

Independent

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Artist to watch Cao Fei

Posted by artradar on September 16, 2008


ARTIST TO WATCH

As we scan the news every day, some new artists and new trends emerge out of the cloud of informaton bigger bolder and brighter than the rest. This is the first in an occasional series in which we beam in and take an in depth look at one artist or art trend.

CAO FEI

Cao Fei  is a female artist who was born in 1978 in Guangzhou China and is now based in Beijing.

What people are saying

Red Mansion Foundation, London: “Cao Fei is no doubt one of the most remarkable and powerful artists of this generation.”

Serpentine Gallery London: “Cao Fei is one of the pre-eminent Chinese artists of her generation”

About the art

Photographs, videos and installations.

Influences include superheros, avatars, electronic entertainment, pop music, TV drama, computer games and new subcultures such as Japanese Manga, American Rap, and Hong Kong films.

Why her work is interesting

Cao Fei fearlessly experiments with new media, in particular virtual media such as Second Life. She is fascinated by the contrast between urban reality and fantasy-perfect etopia and how it is possible to move between the two at the flick of a switch. Her art presents the issues and zeitgeist of her generation.

I am interested in “the premise that people can choose characters that are very different from their real selves. They can use their character to create a “second life,” to change their friends, family, and lifestyle — like switching a TV channel “says Cao Fei in an interview with Artkrush.

“I started to confuse my two lives, and so I compared them. The younger generation, like 15-18 year olds, I don’t think they ask as many of these questions; that kind of lifestyle is their real life — they belong to a technological world — but for my generation, we will always compare virtual and real”

Her work

 

Cosplayers: King Kong at home

 

She first attracted international attention in 2004 with COSplayers, a video and photo series about Guangzhou teens dressing up as Japanese manga characters.

At the 52nd Venice Biennale 2007, she premiered China Tracy Pavilion, a project exploring the virtual worlds of Second Life that merged role-playing, ethnographic documentary, and animation.

After discovering Second Life, Fei embarked on a six-month journey through the wonders of the digital realm, as China Tracy, and many came across her through a YouTube stream in which she introduced herself in machinima footage with Chinese subtitles.

According to Fei, all sorts of typical activities occurred during that period: ‘Fly, chat, build, teleport, buy, sex, add friends, snapshot…’

 

I.Mirror Documentary Video 2007

 

These experiences were documented and generated the three-part, thirty-minute epic, ‘i.Mirror’ that Fei exhibited at Venice’s Arsenale back garden as well as on YouTube.

A recent project RMB City, an online art community in the virtual world of Second Life is on show at the Serpentine Gallery and on-line.

Institutions and collectors are invited to buy buildings in RMB City and programme events and activities in them. The project is an experiment exploring the creative relationship between real and virtual space.

Career highlights

Cao Fei has exhibited around the world in premier institutions such as Ullens Center for Contemporary Art Beijing, Mori Museum Tokyo, San Francisco Art Instute, Serpentine Gallery and Red Mansion Foundation.

She has been shown at the Venice Biennale, Istanbul Biennial, Taipei Biennial, Biennale of Sydney and her work has been included in important survey exhibitions such as “Between Past and Future – New Photography andVideo from China” Asia Society New York.

Collectors of her work include Guy Ullens, Carnegie Museum of Art, The Israel Museum, Uli Sigg, Guan Yi amongst others.The famous Chinese collector Guan Yi names Cao Fei along with a handful of other artists as an important artist of her generation.

 

Cao Fei Siemens project

Cao Fei Siemens project

 

In the Siemens sponsored art project “What are you doing here?”, the artist Cao Fei worked with employees from subsidiary OSRAM China Lighting to turn their individual ideas, hopes and expectations into art.

Auction history

As at September 1 2008, Cao Fei is still much under-appreciated at auction. She has only had 3 photographs at auction, one at China Guardian May 2007 which sold for US$21,890 including premium (over double the estimate) and two at Sotheby’s New York 2007 which were bought in.

Where to buy

Dealers:

See (in new window)

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Posted in Acquisitions, Cao Fei, Cartoon, Chinese, Collectors, Manga, Market watch, New Media, Photography, Video, Virtual | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Cao Fei explores new medium of virtual art at Serpentine, London July 2008 – June 2009

Posted by artradar on July 10, 2008


Source: Serpentine Gallery

VIRTUAL ART SHOW BY CHINESE ARTIST IN LONDON Opens 26 July 2008 for one year.

Beijing-based artist Cao Fei is creating RMB City, an online art community in the virtual world of Second Life.

Institutions and collectors are invited to buy buildings in RMB City and programme events and activities in them. The project is an experiment exploring the creative relationship between real and virtual space, and is a reflection of China’s urban and cultural explosion.

The Serpentine Gallery commissioned Cao Fei to develop this project, and it will be presented via the Serpentine website and in the Gallery’s lobby for one year. Cao Fei’s work was included in the Serpentine’s 2006 exhibition, China Power Station: Part I, held at Battersea Power Station.

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