A draft introduction for next week’s review on ArtSlant, but which I cut in the end.
The final form of an exhibition can be seen as a window into the processes at work in its creation. Some of these aspects become visible once a show is open to scrutiny, some remain obscure, but this crystallisation of processes through exhibition is instructive as a trace of the forces at play. In an institution such as the National Art Museum of China, perhaps because of its role as representative of national culture, these forces become far broader across sections of society outside of the artworld, and thus more significant.
Following up on the previous post, I think I should justify in some way my comments about the work I saw while in Beijing. By “justify” I mean present some kind of record and evidence for my reactions. To recap, some of the architecture, photography and sculpture appealed to me, but by and large much of this was by foreign practitioners.
I realise that I’ve been very bad and haven’t written about my fiancée and what she’s been up to recently.
Shi left for China on the 2 May to join the curator Li Zhenhua as his assistant. She’d first worked with him a few years ago on ‘Out The Window-Space of Distraction‘ show he curated in Japan. Shi’s ability to speak Chinese, Japanese and English was obviously a great help to her in this. She’s now in Beijing helping with a new show he’s developing.
From what I’ve heard the show is going to be huge. It’s split across three sites in the city (maybe more) and features a large number of contemporary artists and musicians from Japan. As soon as Shi arrived in Beijing she was whisked off to begin work and she’s not really stopped since, bless her.
But her work on this show is only one side of Shi’s activities in China – she’s also developing her own professional practice. The first fruits of this is an article she’s been asked to write for an American journal. I’ve had a look at her draughts for the piece and it’s looking good. It’s in the peer review process at the moment, so fingers crossed it’ll go through without too many problems.
All in all, I’m really proud of my baby. She’s doing really well, managing the workload and creating new opportunities for herself at the same time.
And I’m also really happy because I’m going out to China on Tuesday to see her for the first time since she left. I’ll be there for three weeks during which time I’ll do some sightseeing and take a look at the art scene over there. I’ll try and post while I’m in Beijing, but I’ll only have access to Shi’s laptop and she’ll be needing it to work on and that takes priority, so my time may be limited. In any case, when I return to London at the end of June I’ll be able to upload the photos I take and do some reporting at my leisure.