(left to right) Li Zhenhua, Yang Fudong, Jiang Zhi
In order to report on yesterdays talk at the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, in 798, between the curator Li Zhenhua and the artists Yang Fudong and Jiang Zhi, I couldn’t do any better than use UCCA’s own mechanisms:
. . . the thing that, by means of the fable, is demonstrated as the exotic charm of another system of thought, is the limitation of our own, the stark impossibility of thinking that. (Foucault, 1989, p. xvi)
Now I’ve visited China, I’ve got a better impression of the way things are with art there.
I saw very few works by Chinese artists that particularly interested me. I saw a lot of interesting architecture, some good sculpture, some nice photography and media art, and a lot of poor paintings. However, many of the things I liked were usually not by Chinese artists.
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.