What A Form – A Reportage: Wu Shanzhuan & Inga Svala Thórsdóttir
Shenzhen OCT Contemporary Art Terminal (OCAT), Building F2, Enping Road, OCT, Nanshan District, Shenzhen
21 May – 21 July, 2013
How far do we pursue the artists’ conceptions in their work, following the lead they provide, making an assumption that the work wishes to communicate with its audience? If the work proves too difficult to relate to, or reticent in its engagement with the audience, where do we draw the line past which we are unwilling to go in our investigation of the work?
At OCAT in Shenzhen, Wu Shanzhuan and Inga Svala Thorsdottir present two rooms holding large-scale, but simple in form, installations. These are accompanied by a series of 9 drawings on A4 sheets of gridded paper showing the progressive development of the forms used in the installations. These works follow on from previous presentations of the artists’ personal theory of forms, in this case focusing on a composite form which they call “Little Fat Flesh,” which is a combination of multiple arcs of circles, forming a unique shape, somewhere between a circle and a square.
Quote out of Context: Solo Exhibition of Yang Fudong (curated by Gu Zheng)
OCT Suhe Creek Shanghai, 1016 Bei Suzhou Lu, near Wen’an Lu, Zhabei District, Shanghai
30 September, 2012 – 3 January, 2013
Yang Fudong’s solo show in Shanghai shifts the balance of his work away from the video installations onto his photographs, in the process proving the intimate connections but also the disparities between his moving and still images.
The collection of prints that form the bulk of this exhibition include still shots from Yang Fudong’s films as well as his stand-alone photographs from across his whole career. Yang’s photographic work has always been a counterpart to his films, in that it also concentrates on the cinematic image, presenting scenes with a certain level of stylisation removing the subjects from “nature” and into the staged shot.
Yang’s work has also often played with the boundaries between the still image and the moving scene, setting up juxtapositions between a film which looks like a set-piece—maintaining a stillness within the frame that the subjects sustain even in their movement (the Seven Intellectuals series of films being archetypal of this)—and the still image which appears to be drawn from a larger narrative, held in suspension but always appearing to refer to the event within a larger narrative. The meaningful arrangements and glances of the protagonists in the photographic works Don’t worry, it will be better… (2000) and Ms. Huang at M last night (2006) record the events in their lives without really settling on any particular meaning or interpretation, leaving the audience in a state of uncertainty regarding the actual events being presented and the storyline that the individual photographs in the series depict.
Little Movements – Self Practice in Contemporary Art, curated by Carol Yinghua Lu and Liu Ding, assistant curator Su Wei
OCT Contemporary Art Terminal (OCAT) of the He Xiangning Art Museum, Enping Road, Overseas Chinese Town, Nanshan District, Shenzhen, China.
10 September – 10 November, 2011
In my review last April of You Are Not a Gadget at Pékin Fine Arts, I talked about the curator Carol Yinghua Lu’s self-involvement in the curatorial process. This is a feature of her activities that keys into the ongoing question of the role of the curator in relation to the artwork, artist and institution. Her partner, artist Liu Ding, is known for his critical approach to practices of presentation and value formation through the production and exhibition of art. So it seems wholly appropriate for them to work together on the current show at Shenzhen’s OCAT, a show they have been researching over the past year with curator Su Wei, and which aims to present a broad vision of “Little Movements” that are perhaps difficult to quantify and possibly destined to marginalisation under the art system.