ArtSlant: An Act of Critique

One Step Forward, Two Steps Back: Us and Institution, Us as Institution

Guangdong Times Museum, Times Rose Garden, Huang Bian Bei Lu, Bai Yun Da Dao, Guangzhou, China

29 July – 11 August, 2013

As the various flavours of institutional critique have now become “institutionalised” as part of the practice of contemporary artists, One Step Forward, Two Steps Back curated by Biljana Ciric at the Guangdong Times Museum in Guangzhou aims to reassess the origins, methodologies and effects of this practice.

It can be said that One Step Forward… builds on the work of the curatorial team within the Times Museum (and those of its invited curators) since its formal opening in 2009. They have approached their practice with a self-awareness that has consistently led to exhibitions, symposia, and publications that have productively investigated the ideas and roles of the institution as a structural body within the art system – in a way performing their own institutional critique through their daily work.

This exhibition deliberately moves the focus away from a canon of western artists associated with the development of institutional critique, onto artists and groups from other parts of the world who develop out of it and/or trace parallel trajectories to it.

Continue reading Nowhere to Land – Yin Xiuzhen at Pace Beijing

无处着陆:尹秀珍个展 Nowhere to Land – Yin Xiuzhen

2013.07.20–2013.09.28 佩斯北京| Pace Beijing

Pace Beijing, 798 Art District, Beijing

20 July – 28 September, 2013




— 文/ 李蔼德 (Edward Sanderson), 译/ 吴玉笛

The first works encountered upon entering Yin Xiuzhen’s current solo show at Pace Beijing are a series of paintings representing bursts of fireworks against a dark sky (Fireworks Series, 2012–2013). Each canvas is shaped as a geometric form, a hexagon, dodecahedron, etc. the deep edges of which are each coated in thick grey paint, building up in a ridge along the front surface of each piece.

It is perhaps significant that paintings serve as the introduction to this show, as Yin is better known for her installations incorporating elements made from stitched-together clothing. Turning the corner into a darkened room, a large structure shaped like a cut diamond sits on the floor (Black Hole 2010). The facets of the diamond are made from panels of black t-shirts, with the logos and symbols applied to the original items positioned centrally on each facet. These also have small gaps between them, through which light from an LED array inside the structure glows in ever-changing colours.

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TEXT: 30 years of Chinese Contemporary Art – Cang Xin

A brief introduction to artist Cang Xin’s performance series entitled Identity Exchange. The photographs from this series have been included in 30 years of Chinese Contemporary Art, a large group show which opened recently at Power Station of Art in Shanghai. This text is included in the catalogue for that show. The text has been excerpted from a much longer piece I wrote about Cang Xin for a book that will be published before the end of this year (hopefully).

“The body for Cang Xin seems to be merely an outer shell for an inner being. The body acts much like clothing, which represents a temporary fixing of certain aspects of an identity, but these cannot be seen as a permanent state for the being. Identity Exchange makes this clear, and also brings in a new feature of Cang’s work, the artist as providing a type of psychological or therapeutic service to the collaborator and society as a whole – something that reflects Cang’s growing interest in shamanism at the time of these pieces.

“Later on in his works, Cang Xin’s body takes on a more active role, but then it is not about working on the body (as his peers Zhang Huan and Ma Liuming might be said to do), but working with the body in relation to the viewer/audience.”

ArtSlant: Painting Lessons

Painting Lesson III: Elementary and Extreme Structure (curated by Bao Dong)

Gallery Yang, 798 Art District, Beijing, China

8 June – 7 July, 2013

Wang Yuyang

For the past two years Gallery Yang has hosted a series of exhibitions curated by Bao Dong, which he has titled Painting Lessons. In these Bao Dong has presented certain discrete aspects of the nature of current art production in China. In terms of format, the title places the emphasis on painting, but the results in the gallery spaces expand on this to include sculpture and installation.

The “lessons” that the curator proposes in this series aim to “go back to specific issues of painting,” divesting the artwork of its specific context as a way of understanding the piece. For Painting Lessons, Bao Dong suggests there has been an over-emphasised on context in contemporary art production, and (at least in these shows) he advocates a return to “various mediums and types” of artworks. In this way he claims: “we can more clearly understand the meaning and value of painting as it is.”

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