Where Where Art Space, No. 319-1, East End Art Zone A, Caochangdi Village, Chaoyang District, Beijing
16 June – 15 July, 2012
In the exhibition text for Unclaimed Objects, artist Yang Jian recounts the story of a parasitic fungus which lives in the stomach of a cow, and spreads by passing out of the cow via it’s dung which in turn infects ants in the vicinity. The fungus then implants an urge in the ants to present themselves to be eaten by the next cow, thus passing into the new cow’s system. This life-cycle is presented very specifically as a “story” by the artist and—while there are reports of such occurrences—this aspect of fiction versus truth forms a background to his collected objects and narratives in currently on display at Where Where Art Space.
Tracing the Milky Way: Chen Zhen, Huang Yong Ping, Shen Yuan, Wang Du, Yan Pei-Ming, Yang Jiechang
Tang Contemporary, Gate No.2, 798 Art District, Jiuxianqiao Road, Chaoyang District, Beijing, China
26 March – 14 May, 2011
It may seem contrary, but I can’t ignore how new or renovated art spaces affect the way works are shown and received, as well as how they represent a gallery’s plans and priorities. Any conclusions drawn remain highly speculative, but in the physical remains left behind by the development process, the choices made and priorities focused upon as manifest in the physical spaces, we can perhaps gain some insight into the nature of a gallery.
Thai gallery Tang Contemporary originally opened their Beijing space in 2006 and have occupied their site with a series of large-scale installations and commissions. One in particular which stands out for me was Sun Yuan and Peng Yu’s Freedom in 2009, which seemed to push the space to an extreme, saturating the structure in gallons of water from its serpentine fire-hose. Although not necessarily a consequence of this piece, at the end of 2010 Tang made the traumatic leap of gutting the space and starting again from scratch.
Constructing Form: Ma Qiusha, Tang Hui, Li Yousong
Beijing Commune, 798 Art District, 4 Jiuxianqiao Road, Chaoyang District, Beijing, China
27 February – 20 March, 2011
[It may appear that I have something of an unhealthy obsession with Leng Lin (Director of Pace Beijing and Founder of Beijing Commune) and his activities, having now written two pieces about shows in which he has directly or indirectly been involved. Maybe this means he is doing something right, to have attracted my attention so often. That said, the reason those particular shows have attracted my attention has been for negative reasons, due to a lack I’ve seen in the quality of the work or the quality of the presentation. So, although I’m reviewing a show at Beijing Commune this week, for once I will concentrate on the artists’ own work.]
Constructing Form is a small group show presenting three Chinese artists—Tang Hui, Li Yousong and Ma Qiusha—including drawings, paintings and collages produced over the last two years. The artists all deal with a human relationship to architecture, but between the three of them, show two distinct approaches to this subject matter.
19 Solo Shows About Painting (Bi Jianye, Huang Liang, Jia Aili, Jin Shan, Liao Guohe, Li Qing, Liu Weijian, Lin Yen Wei, Ma Ke, Qin Qi, Qi Wenzhang, Sun Xun, Sun Wen, Song Yuanyuan, Wu Guangyu, Xiao Bo, Xiao Jiang, Xu Ruotao, Zhou Yilun)
Platform China, Caochangdi, Beijing, China
12 March – 31 May, 2011
Over the last few years Platform China has established a strong programme of shows, displaying refreshing latitude with respect to exhibition formats and presentation of artworks.
A couple of highlights for me included the extravagant group show “Jungle” from early last year. This expansive show continually refreshed itself over its two-month period, inviting the artists to adapt their installations and bringing in new artists. In what seems to have been a precursor to the current trend in Beijing of withdrawing the curator from the process of the show, “Jungle” eschewed such a figure or even an strong theme leaving the results in the hands of the artists (for better or worse).
At the end of 2010 “The Third Party” (which I reviewed on this site) represented the opposite stance in relation to curation, with Beatrice Leanza taking, if not centre stage as curator, then at least a dominant role, corralling the large collection of alternative practices.
And so we reach the current offering: “19 Solo Shows About Painting” has been produced by the Platform China Contemporary Art Institute as the first of what they propose will be an annual series of shows. Stepping back into curatorially-bereft territory, “19 Solo Shows…” mirrors the format of “Jungle,” with an extended collection of artists and a sprawling layout taking up a large part of both of Platform’s buildings. But this time the focus is squarely on painting and its presentation.