DICA: Donkey Institute of Contemporary Art review

DICA: Donkey Institute of Contemporary Art

DICA curated by Michael Yuen and Yam Lau. First outing, 4 August 2009 in a local market area away from the 798 Art District.

A review? How can you review art on a donkey? What is this venue which turns the gallery inside-out, taking the works on a tour of the local area, carried by an animal characterised in popular mythology as a strong but stubborn worker?

I want to see the donkey travelling, Michael described his trip from the stable to 798 as quite magical. The travelling suggests the possibility of getting lost, losing its audience even. Maybe it works better without its audience, who is its audience anyway? The art community who turned up are not really its audience, but they in themselves serve as a point of attraction, an exotic crowd. If the audience is the locals, why? Because the donkey is normal for that kind of area in Beijing, it has been chosen to blend in with the context, not to be about its strangeness as an attraction, but promoting some kind of normality. The donkey, and by extension the institute, displays “steadfast oblivion” – in some way divorced from any audience, it is a worker here, it comes to perform its task and leaves.

So here I am still obsessing about the donkey and not touching upon the videos being shown on its back, perhaps just proving my own position as part of the art world, and probably not the donkey’s audience after all.

In order to get some answers, I’m interviewing Michael this week, and will post extracts from that chat to this blog.

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DICA: Donkey Institute of Contemporary Art review by escdotdot is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International