Curated by Su Wei. Participating artists: Chen Shaoxiong, Chen Zhou, Li Qi, Li Ran, Liu Ding, Ma Liuming, Xing Danwen, Zhu Ming. At Star Gallery, Beijing
April 13 – May 16, 2013
In this inaugural exhibition for Star Gallery’s new Beijing space, curator Su Wei addresses certain perceived limitations in the discourse surrounding Chinese performance art. Drawing on the work of eight artists, the presentation avoids “formulated mechanisms,” Su writes, to specifically address works “irreducible to any classification within the historical process of aesthetics.” Su proposes that this can partly be accomplished by more fully addressing the original contexts of the performances: “It is impossible to [remove] the work of the artist from its site.”
Wang Yuyang’s set of disparate sculptural constructions that make up “Liner,” at Tang Contemporary, betray their design by computer in their fantastically ornate, mathematical shapes, spurs and swoops of material. They seem to express an aesthetic typically seen in the virtual shapes produced by CAD software. In the gallery they become slightly unreal or impractical forms: large cubes of marble are juxtaposed with jointed lengths of the same material, inserted with lengths of gleaming aluminium sheets; jagged wooden elements iterate and displace, their interlockings and overlappings forming a complex circular construction on the wall; a saddle-like construction is made up of multiple curved layers of hundreds of different materials proceeding in waves around the shape. A series of paintings accompany these sculptures, which seem to have been formulated by the same process, but when reduced to the flat surface of the canvas these works lose the “presence” in space that the sculptures effectively express.
Over the past few weeks I’ve begun a series of interviews for the “Uncut Talks” sound magazine, a project initiated by the artist Ma Yongfeng of forget art. At this point I thought I would pull together the first three interviews which (coincidentally) have all been with Chinese sound artists and musicians. Future interviews will venture into other creative fields. Ma Yongfeng and the Italian curator and artist Alessandro Rolandi have also added their own interviews to the Uncut Talks site, so please take a moment and check them out, I think there is something for everyone there!
Yan Jun talks about his “Living Room Tour”:
Sheng Jie (gogo) talks about her audio-visual practice:
VAVABOND (Wei Wei) and Li Jianhong talk about improvisation:
Interviewer: Edward Sanderson Interviewee: Liang Yuanwei
At first glance, “Pomegranate,” Liang Yuanwei’s solo show which opened recently at Beijing Commune, appears to be a rather radical departure from this artist’s previous solo show in the same space in 2010 (“Golden Notes”). “Golden Notes” amassed a group of paintings of a similar format – canvases with floral patterns picked out from an overall gradation of coloured paint. “Pomegranate,” however, seems to present a rather more experimental proposition, and rationalisation of Liang’s practice. In this new show she seems to be dealing directly with the mutable nature of colour: as it is affected by the nature of materials over time, the nature of individual perception, and the nature of mechanical (or otherwise) reproduction. However, both shows, “Pomegranate” and “Golden Notes,” have strong parallels, and can be seen to represent different aspects of a consistent line of research into the appearance and effect of colour, as it exists in painting and in the world.
Edward Sanderson (ES): Taking the show “Pomegranate” as a whole, am I right in thinking that you are trying to investigate the vagaries of the reception of colour, and specifically the reception of painted artworks understood as collections of colours?
Liang Yuanwei (LYW): I actually treat the exhibition “Pomegranate” as one singular work of art, and, yes, I consider these factors through it.
The works in this show have come about through a steady process of placement and refinement by He Yida. The final installations project a feeling of extreme intention in the experience of their arrangements.
The process of the work moves from the selection of material, their arrangements in relation to each other, and their positioning with respect to the spaces. Overall there is an emphasis on the works’ relationship with the floor (rather than a hanging relationship with the wall or ceiling), as they spread out along that plane, or rise up from it. The effect is of a sense of flatness in the planes and tenuousness in the upright structures. The elements of the structures are ready-made for other purposes, variously adjusted with painted additions. Each material adjusts the effect of the other materials they are placed in a relationship with: the hardness of the metal bar stands in contrast to the softness of the elastic strip that is wrapped around it; this wrapping conceals and reveals various parts, playing the materials off each other, changing the perception of the materials and their arrangements as they are viewed from different angles.
ZiZhiQu (Autonomous Regions) (curated by Hou Hanru)
Guangdong Times Museum, Guangzhou
19 January – 17 March, 2013
As one of the more visible providers of a critique of the centre/periphery model of cultural development in the early 2000’s, a new exhibition by curator Hou Hanru is highly anticipated. ZiZhiQu: Autonomous Regions at the Times Museum in Guangzhou can perhaps be seen to develop this model as it applies to the cultural self-formation of individuals and groups, placing that development in contrast to a globalised institutionalisation of culture. Autonomy, then, moves across all scales in its realisation. ZiZhiQu presents expressions of autonomy at the level of the personal via the body, as well as the extension of personal autonomy into ideology and geography. In the process this show covers imaginary and real sites of the development and expression of this individual and communal state of being. This show’s tread is necessarily light, as the subject of autonomy quickly enters fraught territory in relation to specific realisations of the autonomous body in society, or its geographical presence.
These new works by Zhan Wang continue his explorations of the nature of the universe and the forms that make up our understanding of it. Long March’s galleries have been divided into two areas, which might be characterized as a light space and a dark space. The light space presents floor- and wall-mounted panels of smashed rocks painstakingly recreated in the artist’s signature stainless steel, along with a centerpiece block of resin holding the ghosted shape of another rock suspended within it. On the ceiling, a spotlight punches through a small opening so that, on the other (dark) side, a cone of light crosses the room, catching motes of dust in its beam. Aside from this penetration, the dark space simply presents two small video monitors, stacked on top of each other behind a column. One shows a rock suspended in deep blue ocean waters, and the other the documentation of how this first video was produced (by attaching a camera rig to the rock and dropping both into the sea).