I want to begin discussing aaajiao’s works with a piece which I believe encapsulates one of his major concerns – the transference of meaning – and from there move onto other pieces that provide methodological examples of this concern and which will provoke some consequences of that activity.
Last night saw the Donkey Institute of Contemporary Art (DICA) take to the streets of Beijing for its first outing this year.
Last year DICA was showing a selection of artists’ videos on the screens attached to the donkey, but this time around Michael Yuen and Yam Lau have created custom-built shelves for the cart which display a library of artists books.
After being moved on by the police from their original spot, DICA ended up on the corner of Fangyuan Xilu 芳园西路 and Jiangtai Lu 将台路 near the Lido Hotel, a busy intersection. There was a good turnout of locals on their way home from work and art-people, and many people took the time find out what was going on and thumb through the books:
As promised in my previous post about artist Zheng Yunhan, I have edited down the essay to a more manageable size. This version obviously is much more condensed and shifts the focus a bit. From the intro:
As an artist is it possible to hold your subjects apart from their ideology, to present their close-at-hand concerns, to present the people around you and their lives as they take place outside of larger systems? Chinese artist Zheng Yunhan works with subjects embedded in the cult of ideology, working to avoid being caught up by it in his presentations.
I am please to say I was able to complete my essay on the artist Zheng Yunhan, whom we represent, ending up with an extended piece which goes through each of his works, tries to put them into context and provide some sort of critical commentary on them. My piece was informed by the work I’ve done with Yunhan over the past few years and the conversations I’ve had with him over that time. I’m very sad that we were never able to put on a show of his work in our old space, but there will always be other opportunities, particularly for the most recent project To Walk.
The dilemma I have in launching this piece of writing into the public is that I am coming with an inherent bias towards Yunhan’s work – I am his dealer after all, so perhaps you need to take that into account when you read it. However, I believe this piece is not trying to boost his works without good cause, I really believe that if there wasn’t something interesting about Yunhan’s work, something with which I could grapple in words, to try to understand (and which I thought was worthwhile trying to understand), then I don’t think I would bother putting the effort into writing 5000 words about him. Of course, you could just say “well, it’s my job to promote my artists,” but I hope that my genuine interest and enthusiasm for his work (and, yes, the issues I have with it) come through in this piece.
Right now, the text is being hosted by Li Zhenhua’s research platform Laboratory Art Beijing and I’d like to thank them for supporting of my work in this way. I’m also in the process of editing the piece down into a more pithy 1,500 words which I’ll post to this blog in due course.