3/6: The Mirror Stage by Simon Fujiwara (2012 Shenzhen Sculpture Biennale)

To celebrate the opening of the 2012 Shenzhen Sculpture Biennale, which opened last Saturday, all this week I’ll be posting texts that I wrote for the catalogue of said exhibition. This is the third of the six pieces I wrote, this time about Simon Fujiwara’s religious experience in front of a work of art and the work’s life within the world.

“The Mirror Stage”

Performance, 2012

What does our experience of art tell us about ourselves? We might experience the meaning and value of art through our understanding of the work of the ‘genius artist,’ or in a superlative experience that overwhelms us, an ecstatic appreciation, a moment of bliss. These understandings are essentially subjective but have become part of the mythology of Art’s work in the world, to make up in some way for its lack of practical use perhaps. As such the validity and value of these understandings cannot be taken at face value.

“Epiphany” is the word used to describe artist Simon Fujiwara’s experience in the mid-‘90s, standing in front of a large colour-field painting by artist Patrick Heron, then on display at the Tate St Ives (an outpost of the Tate Gallery in Britain). Although this event is apparently what set Fujiwara on the road to becoming an artist, we are also led to believe that, rather than a particularly spiritual epiphany, this case of revelation was a sexual one – Fujiwara’s realisation of his own homosexuality.

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2/6: Un Tour d’Horizon by Kelly Schacht (2012 Shenzhen Sculpture Biennale)

To celebrate the opening of the 2012 Shenzhen Sculpture Biennale, which opened last Saturday, all this week I’ll be posting texts that I wrote for the catalogue of said exhibition. In this, the second of six pieces, I look at a piece whose extent may not be immediately apparent in the gallery.

“Un Tour d’Horizon”

Installation and Performance, 2011

“Un Tour d’Horizon” – a French idiom having the meaning of a quick reflection upon the various perspectives of a topic. This is the exclamation made by a viewer upon experiencing this installation/performance work by Belgian artist Kelly Schacht.1 And, to that end, this work literally provides itself with a number of viewers of the ‘installation,’ thereby creating its own demonstration of a number of ‘perspectives.’ However, distinct from ourselves as an independent ‘audience’ per se, these viewers are part and parcel of the piece having been engaged by the artist to remain looking at the ‘installation.’ The ‘installation’ (in this case) being a layered set of minimal white sheets attached to the wall in front of the viewers.

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Yishu Journal: Little Movements: Self-practice in Contemporary Art and A Museum That is Not

Little Movements: Self Practice in Contemporary Art
OCT Contemporary Art Terminal (OCAT), Shenzhen

September 10–November 10, 2011

A Museum That Is Not
Guangdong Times Museum, Guangzhou

September 11–October 30, 2011

Liu Ding and Carol Yinghua Lu on the cover of Yishu Journal No.49

“Edward Sanderson explores the increasingly blurred boundaries among curatorial practice, artistic practice, and institutions through the examples of two innovative exhibitions—Little Movements: Self-practice in Contemporary Art and A Museum That Is Not.”

Giorgio Agamben addresses the concept of movement as “that which if it is, is as if it wasn’t, it lacks itself; and if it isn’t, is as if it was, it exceeds itself.” This ambivalence between lack and plenitude marks the movement as “unfinished, unaccomplished,” suggesting that it occupies a point between the pre-political and the political, and a point without movement in an active sense, and, therefore, without a future or past of failure or resolution. This balancing point, by necessity, also makes “movement” hard to locate or define; hence its sense of being ripe for questioning when applied to the world.

Since 2010, Carol Yinghua Lu, Liu Ding and Su Wei—self-described as “a three-person curatorial team include[ing] an artist, a curator and a critic”—have been developing together what they call the Little Movements project. The recent presentation of this project at OCT Contemporary Art Terminal (OCAT) in Shenzhen, titled Little Movements: Self-practice in Contemporary Art, has provided an opportunity to see the current state of this project in the form of an exhibition.

By a happy quirk of fate, at the same time as this show, Liu Ding was fulfilling his role as an artist by presenting work in the group show A Museum That Is Not, curated by Nikita Yingqian Cai, at the Times Museum in nearby Guangzhou. A Museum That Is Not investigated the parameters of the museum as an institutional experience, with a particular focus on the host museum’s own position with the community around it, and conveniently showcased Liu Ding’s creative approaches to what can be seen as parallel concerns to the content and methods of Little Movements: Self-practice in Contemporary Art.

[To read the full article, please pick up a copy of the Journal or visit the Yishu website]

ArtSlant: A Not so Small Excercise

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.

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