In my review of Carol Yinghua Lu’s You Are Not A Gadget (at Pékin Fine Arts), I focused on the connection between that show to her work in general, and mentioned Yu Bogong’s At this Present Moment running concurrently at White Space Gallery, which she also curated and which I’ll focus on here. The spare surroundings of the gallery’s double-height space provides an appropriately ascetic setting for Yu Bogong’s collection of contraptions, arrangements, tools and drawings.
You Are Not a Gadget: Chen Shaoxiong, Huang Ran, Jin Shan, Leng Wen, Lu Zhengyuan, Yan Xing, Zhuang Hui & Dan’er. Curated by Carol Yinghua Lu
Pékin Fine Arts, Caochangdi, Beijing, China
15 January – 18 April, 2011
Curated group shows reveal the hand of the curator in a public display of their thinking and working process: in some cases they may take a back seat; in others be extremely visible. Curator Carol Yinghua Lu has consistently investigated the latter approach, and the group show You Are Not a Gadget curated by her at Pékin Fine Arts, serves as a point at which to analyse the results.
Just throwing out a couple more quotes taken from “The Love of Art” by Pierre Bourdieu and Alain Darbell,* first published in France in 1969. This book is essentially a report and analysis of a series of public surveys conducted at museums around Europe with the aim of understanding the audience for those institutions and addressing the perceived need to expand their reach amongst the population. The book is arguing against an assumption of innate or “natural” cultural sensitivity which can somehow be “activated,” pointing to the role of the social environment in which we grow up and length of our education in the formation of cultural receptivity which needs an equivalent input later on in life if the individual is to be acculturated (as it were). Needless to say, “class” gets heavily implicated in the receptivity (or not) of cultural material.
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.”