» Archive for the 'Post 70s / 80s art' Category
Last sunday, Chart Contemporary invited Chen Ke to display “A Room of One’s Own,” a temporary installation that is the fourth in an on-going series of Open Houses, art interventions in some of Beijing’s unique spaces. Chen Ke’s room was a tiny closet of a room in a damp underground maze of dwellings near Lido Hotel. The space seemed perfect for Chen Ke, whose relentless and non-apologetic embrace of the dainty and quaint has come to personify the “cartoon” style of her age-group, but whose open embrace of feminism seems just as subverted as the room itself. Chen says that the idea was inspired by Virginia Woolf, but that the safe space atmosphere of cleanliness and respite was a reaction also to the city’s migrant population.The objects in the room were embroidered by “aunties,” who followed the artist’s instructions and sketches to the thread. (more…)
Li Ming “X X”
No. 319-1 East End Art (A), CaoChangDi Village, Chaoyang District｜朝阳区草场地村319号艺术东区内
November 14–December 27
Li Ming, XX, 2009, still from a color video, 5 minutes 17 seconds.
Eleven videos and sporadic accoutrements litter the floor of this exhibition by the emerging artist Li Ming. A television, cast in the bushes outside the gallery entrance, screens Back Garden, 2008, in which security guards, recurring characters in the artist’s vignettes, romp around the gardens of a residential compound in unintelligible acts of “play.”
The folly continues indoors, where the atmosphere turns to one of extreme irrationality and even perturbation. Li’s works fall into the category of absurd realism; he sets the parameters for the semi-orchestrated madness and compulsive behaviors in his videos, while the improvisation of his actors who interpret his instructions makes the works fascinating to watch. In the video XX, 2009, two men sit on a stone, writhing as they attempt to exchange shirts; the rule is that their skin must always make contact. More awkward body negotiations and Dionysian revelry follow in Afternoon Happiness, 2008, wherein a group of near-naked boys chase one another through a demolished building, smear one another with cream, and then try to lick it off.
The strongest works in the exhibition display Li’s understated production techniques, which do not undermine his ability to captivate viewers. Recurring characters, plants, and unorthodox, sexually charged human contact are just a few elements in his latent symbolic language. An exploration of the boundary between agony and ecstasy is among the most significant leitmotifs here.
Elsewhere, 2009, video_12′09”
The “Green” art fair recently ended in China’s World Trade Center. Young artists sent their works directly to the fair, applying through an online form, and buyers, gallerists came to root through the weeds, in hopes of finding young sprouts to cultivate. Each artist was only allowed to display one work, and there were some rather established artists present, such as Yang Fan, who sent a portion of the massive carpet she installed last spring, and even some artists under pseudonyms (one included in the photos below). In its first year, the fair’s website is as ‘green’ as the artists it promotes: only a portion of works are shown online, and the site often malfunctions. Despite that, some editor’s picks are below, click on image for detailed information.
Wang Yifan films Xie Molin from lee ambrozy on Vimeo.
Kàn Bù Wán
Wang Yifan solo exhibition
Curator: Lee Ambrozy
Opening: Aug 8, 2009, 4:00 pm
2009.8.8 – 2009.9.7 / Aug 8, 2009 – Sep 7, 2009
Star Gallery，D09, 798 Art Zone, No.2 Jiuxianqiao Road，Chaoyang District, Beijing
Tel: +86 10 5978 9224
Its that time of year again, when sweaty gallerists flock to art academy campuses, eager to snatch up the next big thing. Here’s a few choices from the exhibition of students from the sculpture department. Head of the department Sui Jianguo was in attendance, admiring the works while a swarm of his admirers hovered behind him. Sub-themes seemed to include creepy, horror film make-believe and the creative use of hair…
This igloo piece was hiding under a tree, it was made of spray foam used in construction, covered in a sheet, and holes were cut in the walls. It was made on location, and although it looked a little dubiously constructed, it was an anomaly as the only work deviating from figurative representations, shiny materials or nostalgic antiques and tropes. (more…)
Wang Guangle @ Beijing Commune
until May 14
According to tradition in his hometown, elderly people will paint their coffins with one layer each year. Wang Guangle has adopted this to the canvas, in remarkably more colorful layers than we might see on anything to be buried underground. As always, his work reveals time, patience, and the somewhat unexpected results of turning concept into canvas.
The artist himself is extremely popular among Chinese collectors and has a great reputation among artists, but many “outsider” viewers (Laowai) fail to see the appeal. Unfortunately, this show does not reflect what I consider some of Wang’s best works, those (I’m judging by what I saw on the gallery website) which are now represented by Beijing Commune.
His early works, realist canvases featuring afternoon light hitting the terrazzo floor, reveal ideas essential to the artist’s development; they were not on show at the opening. Later works where he grinds thick layers of dried paint into what looks like actual terrazzo on the canvas were neither on display, nor were photographs of his legendary performance in his Suojiacun studio (read more below). The terrazzo pattern and coffin paint series are his trademarks. A more detailed description is below, in a short artist introduction written for “Looking for Me” (2008)
Huang Liang until April 19 @ Platform China project space
“Look Deeper” until May 17 @ Platform China
In Platform China’s project space, Huang Liang small solo show offers a morbid encounter with illness. Misdiagnosed with cancer in his early adulthood, cool shades of clinical gray seem to still haunt his memory. Although Huang Liang’s tactile painting style of oil on canvas is nothing new, or unfamiliar from academic artists, Huang shows talent with paints.
Small, unframed and unmounted canvases of hospital scenes are arranged across the wall like snapshots, juxtaposed with enormous canvases depicting X-rays.
until April 6 @ Star Gallery
In a drastic departure from her works on canvas, Yang Fan has produced a carpet of colorful poof-balls that she culled from the storerooms of clothing and toy factories in her native Guangdong. Yang Fan is formerly known for her series of paintings of young women in fashion plate style, the series, ever popular with Asian collectors, did not resonate with Western audiences.
When she began working on the project last year, she mentioned that the idea came to her while visiting clothing factories in China’s south. In what might have evolved from more “crafty” origins, this work culminates in her scouring of southern factories for unwanted bits and bobs, a new representation of the stories behind the cast-offs, and timely with the massive layoffs in the south.
An essay accompanying the catalogue is presented below. I translated it, but also enjoyed it for some valuable insights on her early works.
“Fucking Beautiful #3″, Liang Shuo’s recent work displayed at the Arario Gallery’s “The Game Is Not Over - Young Chinese Artist Group Exhibition” (游戏没有结束) was a beautiful elegy on all things kitsch and native to China. Its Chinese name, “臭美” translates roughly to something like “self-admiration”, “indulging in vanity”–– the work is a culmination of the artist’s exploration into the world surrounding him, and perhaps a more objective interpretation of “aesthetics” than what we usually see.
Last year, graduates from CAFA’s sculpture department held a rogue exhibition (titled “掉队”) in the art studios by Crab Island (蟹岛). Among the works there, Liang Shuo’s “Shopping at the Temple Fair” (描绘购物) left me giddy, it has proven to be a work in which he honed this vocabulary of bright, flashy and gaudy that appears in “Fucking Beautiful #3″.
Although then still a work in process, “Temple Fair” was clearly a work with roots in rural and folk traditions, as well as an almost encyclopedic examination of the uniqueness of the “made FOR China” market–not only were these objects inexpensive, they were reflective of the dreams, preferences and practicalities of living in rural places. Like the “migrant labor” figurative sculptures that he became well known for from 2000-2004, “Temple Fair” also reflected a consciousness or state of living unique to China. (more…)
Beijing art hipsters oddly deny a fascination with the “post-wave” punk band New Pants, its something like New Yorkers who won’t own up to “Gossip Girl” addictions.
Despite the fact that the band’s front men, Peng Lei, is an artist with some repute (and proprietor of a vintage toy boutique), his much more successful band receives nary a mention in Beijing’s art world. This fan was literally sneered at in 798’s “sugar jar records” when she asked if their album was available––instead I purchased a recording that was nowhere near as brilliant as “Dragon Tiger Panacea”, but still labeled itself as ‘punk new wave’. Is the “fine art” myth surrounding 798 purposefully trying to distance itself from the commercial success of Peng Lei and New Pants?
Their new video, 《野人也有爱》 [savages can love too] is a nod to Beijing’s heavy metal heritage. The video is an homage to classic metal bands of the 1990s like Tang Dynasty (or Dou Wei’s Hei Bao), and a jibe at the “primitive” nature of the grubby, long-haired metal hippies that still thrash in the Beijing night.
If you know the references, or have ever experienced an authentic Beijing metal session, you can appreciate the fine art direction: awesome nappy hair (and fine handling of it), cut off jeans, motorcycles and on-site locations featuring the National Art Gallery, Forbidden City and a sweet pile of rubble.
Its clear that Peng Lei’s’ “artistic direction” helped the band take off, and even though there are a few lapses into videos with a mass-market appeal, the lo-fi, self-depreciating absurdity of “savages can love too” convinced me that there were some more good things to come.
In the video below, see a great use of montage in 《爱带我回家》[love take me home], some unforgettable dancing moves by keyboardist Pang Kuan, unresolved Village People references and a superb “circle of slapping”.
2008.08.30-2008.10.12中国文化浸染于含蓄微妙的暗示中，有时候这种暗示过于微妙，以至于很容易就被忽略。“微妙”展中，策展人凯伦·史密斯 (Karen Smith)精心选择了九位中国艺术家的作品－－他们来自不同的年代，采用的是不同的媒介，思考过程各具不同的创意性——由此展现了历史性的精致提炼。
— 文/ Lee Ambrozy, 译/ 王丹华
Some of us look forever, others never seek––perhaps they’re already found “ME.” New September 2008 publication
These artists included are among the most outstanding of their generation, they represent Mainland China’s up-and-coming talent in the visual arts. Although often called the “Post 70s” generation, the artists here are mostly born after 1975. The book is a compliment to the exhibition of the same name, curated by Fang Fang (art director of Star Gallery and 2006 exhibition “Naughty Kids”), but is meant to stand on its own, and become a resource tool for those interested in this younger generation of artists, a browsing book.
If you’re like everyone else I know, you’re thinking: What does the name mean?
After spending a summer on this book, researching these artists, writing texts, translating and pondering the very same question I can only say: It means what ever you want it to. Whatever looking for you might entail. May you find it within!
Artists: Ouyang Chun / Li Jikai / Wei Jia / Qin Qi / Huang Yuxing / Xiong Yu / Wen Ling / Wang Guangle / Liu Ding / Li Hui / Qiu Jiongjiong / Song Kun / Wang Yaqiang / Liang Yuanwei / Cao Fei / Wang Yifan / Li Chaoxiong / Chen Ke / Xu Maomao / Jia Aili / Gao Yu / Li Qing / Qiu Xin / Wen Chuan / Yan Cong / Ha Migua / Chen Fei / Jin Nv / unmask
Book design: Liu Zhizhi MEWE
Authors: Lee Ambrozy / Jing Xiaomeng / Gong Jian / Huang Shan / Helen Li / Pauline J Yao / Chang Chang