» Archive for 13 October 2008


1 October 2008

chen chun 

Chen Chun
《鸟之死》The Bird’s Death
动画 Animation
7 ′ 30 ″ 2008
Ten students from the New Media Art Department of the China Art Academy (Zhejiang) display their work in 798’s T-Space. These students were vying for the “Pierre Huber Creation Prize”scholarship, a prize furthering creativity in the fine arts that was established last year in 2007. The winner, Li Ming, took the prize with a video of a crude backhoe combing a young woman’s tangled hair. She sits in the rubble of a destroyed home.

The show is an interesting focus on some of China’s young talent, and it is nice to see perspectives from outside of Beijing. Still, I was surprised to see how many of these works were extensions of common tropes in Chinese art: photo series (featuring migrant laborers, people in their underwear) and the “24 video documenting absolute nothing while I sit in my dirty room for days at a time”. I have seen several variations on this theme on display in Beijing over the last 6 months alone.

I was particularly moved by Li Fuchun’s (a runner up) helium balloons lifting a board on which was scattered the creamated remains of a human. That work touched a nerve and tapped into a sense of the ethereal, almost reaching a state of expression that can’t quite be put into words, something that I consider a higher form of contemporary art.  Unfortunately, it was stuck in a corner of the stairway by the time I encountered it. Wang Liang sat at his loom weaving a black and white pattern out of a random generated code of 1 and 0’s, which I also enjoyed, but the process and result seemed too similar to Lu Qing’s long hand-painted silk for me to feel comfortable.

Even though the majority of the works had a witty sense of academia hovering about them, all were wonderfully executed. Their installation also put many local galleries to shame. T Space has done a great job at working for furthering the definition of art. This student exhibition was also a great step for what is trying to be a “non-profit” space in Beijing. Congrats to to Mr. Huber, who has solidified his name as legend in Chinese contemporary arts. The next best thing to opening an enormous space named after you, is to commemorate yourself with a prize.

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