This field recording captures the sound of the fireworks that accompany Spring Festival here in China. The recording was taken one morning as I walked out of the front door of my mother-in-law’s apartment block in the city of Chifeng in Inner Mongolia, a fairly typical third-tier city in China. The recording was used as the introduction to an edition of framework radio, hence the voice over.
Zhan Rui – The Stock Exchange, Weather and Sex
Boers-Li Gallery, 1-706 Hou Jie, 798 Art District, Jiuxianqiao Lu, 100015 Beijing, China
19 May – 19 June, 2011
A few weeks ago I reviewed Breaking Away, Boers-Li Gallery’s abstraction group show here on ArtSlant. I then travelled a few blocks West within 798 Art District to Space Station to cover XYZ, the solo show by one the participants, Xie Molin. And this time I’m returning to Boers-Li, where another participant, Zhan Rui, has his own solo show in their smaller galleries upstairs. Suffice to say, in Beijing at least, abstraction appears to be popular right now.
XYZ: Xie Molin Solo Exhibition
Space Station, 4 Jiuxianqiao Rd, 798 Art District, Chaoyang District, 100015 Beijing
23 April – 20 June, 2011
A few weeks ago on this site I reviewed Breaking Away, the abstraction group show at Boers-Li Gallery, and got a bit carried away addressing some of the institutional structures in place. This show, and some other shows that are forthcoming, also seemed to hint at a resurgence of abstraction in Beijing this year. My over enthusiasm for the critique meant that I only superficially addressed the artists in the show. One of the artists that I omitted to mention was Xie Molin, whose works in the Boers-Li show had kicked off some thoughts about abstraction itself. Luckily I’ve had a chance to re-acquaint myself with his luscious machine-made paintings in his concurrent solo show at Space Station.
Guerrilla Living Syndrome: A Social Micro-Practice of Alternative Living
forget art, Beijing, China
16 May, 2011 – 16 May, 2012
forget art is a loose artist collective, based in Beijing, and initiated in 2009 by Chinese artist Ma Yongfeng. They focus on intervention-based work, often with a touch of the absurd, promoting small-scale, subtle disturbances in the fabric of society, which they describe as their “social micro-practice.”
As they work by and large outside of recognised gallery spaces, the creation and value of social space has become an important material for forget art. This keys into the long history of nomadism, with particular attention to the local experience in China and its mass population of migrant workers, as well as the international development of the itinerant white-collar worker. So in forget art’s “situations” ambivalence towards the fixed location comes through, feeding into their approach to production and presentation, and their feeling that sometimes it is necessary to “forget” in order to proceed. As Ma quips “That’s also why we don’t need any space – because we “forget art,” why do we need any space to do this?!”
A piece I wrote for Art World Magazine has appeared in their March edition, dwelling on my experiences as a foreigner in the Chinese art world. The English version of this piece is also appearing over at Tuanjie Space, an online community which aims to “develop critical discourse and practices with artists, curators and writers.”
Over at the HomeShop blog, I’ve been invited to write about the subject of gentrification. The first part of three has just been published, and there I’m thinking about the nature of gentrification and its causes and effects on local communities. I’m focusing on two examples: HomeShop’s own situation, and my home town of New Malden (in the South-West of London) which has seen the development of Europe’s largest South Korean community.
UPDATE: All three part have now been published on the HomeShop blog:
- Gentrification Disco, vol. 1.1: New Malden
- Gentrification Disco, vol. 1.2: Beijing
- Gentrification Disco, vol. 1.3: Everyday Life
Special thanks to Michael Eddy for the invitation to take part in the discussion!