CPU:798 website migrated to wordpress

I’ve just converted the website that I wrote for my gallery to run on the wordpress blogging (and CMS) system, and it was so easy I almost can’t believe it.

Of course I was assisted by a number of others that made the whole process more or less seamless. I feel the need to thank the following for their help:-

I am so happy I use wordpress.

Shu Yong at Highlight Gallery

Shu Yong at Highlight Gallery

Shu Yong at Highlight Gallery

Highlight Gallery have just opened a group show called Body Media, and although I’ve not been in to see the show yet, it’s been difficult to miss the piece that they’ve placed outside the gallery.

Highlight Gallery is right by one of the entrances to the 798 Art District in Beijing, so placing this particular sculpture outside the gallery, beside the main road was always going to be somewhat problematic (is it obvious what they are? Clue: there’s a tiny woman flying behind them and to which they are connected). And this is the result.

Gallery pics

Dust is Dust installation

Dust is Dust installation (2008) by Wang Yuyang

I just posted some pictures of the gallery to flickr. Unfortunately, it’s a very small space and the installation uses reduced lighting, and these two factors show up the shortcomings of my camera, but the pictures give a flavour of what we have here.

I was thinking about the show the other day, and why I like it so much. I usually profess to prefer more socially committed work, or work which has some sort interaction for the viewer or direct effect, and this would appear not to have such if you looked at it superficially. However, through talking to the artist (via interpreter, obviously) and thinking about his work’s methods, I’ve come to appreciate the meaning and significance of these works more and more, and how these actually have as much effect in their way as the kind of work I usually go for.

The pursuit of truth is a very strong and emotive subject, and one which is probably common to all of us in some shape or form. Closely allied with truth would be understanding, one step towards truth. The means we take in the pursuit of truth and understanding vary massively – this show and some of the artist’s other pieces investigate the place science and technology take in the formation of ‘truths’ through the facilitation of understanding. Their relationship is scrutinised by the artist and in the pieces is opened up to analysis in itself by the viewer, potentially clarifying the constructions in play.

A corollary of this activity would be that the artist’s very actions are just adding a further layer of complexity to the process. Analysis could go on forever, but at some point we stop, take stock and report on what it is that we have found. Written into that report is the awareness that this is very much a provisional state. This is an artificial, man-made point and one which is as much a construction as any in the subject matter.

Artificial Moon (2007)

Artificial Moon (2007) by Wang Yuyang

One week old

So it’s been a whole week since we opened the gallery, so it’s perhaps time for a bit of a status report?

I think it’s fair to say it’s all going well. There have been a few minor hiccups which are to be expected when you’ve just opened a space, things which become apparent that weren’t obvious until you get into a ‘production-environment’ and actually open to the public.

For instance, it took a lot of phone calls to CNC to get the internet working (not their fault, I should add, and their English-speaking support was very good), there’s still a strange smell coming from the loo area (must get a fan installed), and perhaps painting the floor white was a bad idea as it’s impossible to keep clean. All ‘live-and-learn’ type stuff.

I still have to work out how to encourage more people to come through the door. I think there’s a basic problem that many are still unaware we are here, and this will be remedied over time, but many who get to the door seem scared to open it. There’s an ‘Open’ notice up on the glass door, but I have the feeling that psychologically that puts people off as it looks like a barrier.

Most visitors are non-English speakers. I think that there is about a 80/20 split of Chinese/foreigners. Of the English-speakers I’ve talked to all seem to like the show, most expressing the opinion that it’s an effective use of the space, with powerful results.

I myself actually feel privileged to be able to present this work and also to be around it everyday – corny I know, but it’s good to have a great ‘product’ to show people, something you can talk about with passion.

And finally, one thing I’m very disappointed about is that Guy and Myriam Ullens (of UCCA fame) have not visited – I went to their place (and met them, although I was with a group from my wife’s work, so I was just a hanger-on on that occasion), it’s only fair they should return the favour!