ArtSlant: Be Floored

A Wall on the Wall, A Floor on the Floor: Wang Wei solo show

Magician Space, 798 Art District

13 September – 31 October, 2012

The two pieces by artist Wang Wei currently on show at Magician Space address two aspects of constructed space—the wall and the floor—in one succinct installation. As the title makes clear, the pieces are literally a wall and a floor, but their structure, placement, and relationship to each other, and their existence within the gallery space, mark them out as out of place. This gives a suggestion, backed up by the text for the exhibition, that these pieces are from other places, reproduced here by the artist and working to create a representational power through the elements that they are made up of.

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ArtSlant: The Magic of Art and Science

Pattern—Vortex—Encounter: Museum of the Unknown (Chen Xi, Fang Xian, He Yida, Ji Kun, Jin Wang, Liao Fei, Liu Yiqing, Orange (Liu Yang), Li Wen, Ling (Meng Ling), Lore Vanelsande, Ni Youyu, Qiu Anxiong, Wu Ding, Wang Guangle, Wu Yi, Xu Sheng, Zheng Huan)

Space Station, 4 Jiuxianqiao Rd, 798 Art Zone, Chaoyang District, 100015 Beijing

3 September – 3 October, 2011

A continuing concern amongst artists and art professionals in China is the nature and role of the museum in the art ecosystem. Certainly I have concerns myself – the museum has become something of a catch-all term to cover a disparate set of spaces and activities that sometimes have little to do with a traditional understanding of the term. In my experience, the term “museum” can be a bit of a misleading.

While this is a known failing with the art-institutional landscape in China which deserves deeper attention than I can give in this review, artists, curators and institutions nevertheless are addressing the issue. In recent months, I have visited (and reviewed in some cases) shows that reflect features of museum practice in part to critique it and its development, grappling with the ways in which museums and other art institutions are put into practice. These have included Little Movements (at OCAT, Shenzhen) and The Museum That is Not (at Times Museum, Guangzhou).

Nikita Cai, curator of the latter, included the group Museum of the Unknown, their rambling presentation just one of a series of shows currently on display or planned by this group of artists. Vortex (at Central Academy of Fine Arts Museum as part of CAFAM Biennial: Super-Organism), Encounter (at Times Museum) and Pattern (at Space Station), are proposed to be followed by future shows entitled Disappear, Symmetry and Psychoanalysis of Geography. This set of six shows purport to present a broad-ranging engagement between art and scientific thinking. The group suggest they create investigatory installations into the museum and gallery spaces they occupy, leading to new approaches to practices contained and engendered therein. In reality I feel way they pose their questions leads to some problematic areas of knowledge production.

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ArtSlant: Lions and Tigers and Mirrors Oh My!

Propaganda Pavilion – Wang Wei solo show

Boers-Li Gallery, 1-706 Hou Jie, 798 Art District, No.2 Yuan, Jiuxianqiao Lu, Beijing 100015, China

11 August – 11 September, 2011

For what is obviously such a large and weighty intervention, the mirrored surfaces of Wang Wei’s Propaganda Pavilion create an almost insubstantial structure as it cuts diagonally across Boers-Li’s upstairs gallery, disrupting the visitors’ procession and views through the spaces. The Pavilion is a reconstruction of a common form of display structure, with suggestions of Socialist architecture in its original forms. In this case the artist has taken an example from Beijing Zoo, where it holds information panels and imagery related to the animals around it. As presented by the artist however, completely cocooned in mirrored glass, it facets and disrupts, diaphanous in its physicality and difficult to pin down.

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ArtSlant: Data as Art

Zhan Rui – The Stock Exchange, Weather and Sex

Boers-Li Gallery, 1-706 Hou Jie, 798 Art District, Jiuxianqiao Lu, 100015 Beijing, China

19 May – 19 June, 2011

A few weeks ago I reviewed Breaking Away, Boers-Li Gallery’s abstraction group show here on ArtSlant. I then travelled a few blocks West within 798 Art District to Space Station to cover XYZ, the solo show by one the participants, Xie Molin. And this time I’m returning to Boers-Li, where another participant, Zhan Rui, has his own solo show in their smaller galleries upstairs. Suffice to say, in Beijing at least, abstraction appears to be popular right now.

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ArtSlant: Train of Disruption

XYZ: Xie Molin Solo Exhibition

Space Station, 4 Jiuxianqiao Rd, 798 Art District, Chaoyang District, 100015 Beijing

23 April – 20 June, 2011

A few weeks ago on this site I reviewed Breaking Away, the abstraction group show at Boers-Li Gallery, and got a bit carried away addressing some of the institutional structures in place. This show, and some other shows that are forthcoming, also seemed to hint at a resurgence of abstraction in Beijing this year. My over enthusiasm for the critique meant that I only superficially addressed the artists in the show. One of the artists that I omitted to mention was Xie Molin, whose works in the Boers-Li show had kicked off some thoughts about abstraction itself. Luckily I’ve had a chance to re-acquaint myself with his luscious machine-made paintings in his concurrent solo show at Space Station.

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