Guangdong Times Museum, Times Rose Garden, Huang Bian Bei Lu, Bai Yun Da Dao, 510440 Guangzhou
17 December, 2011 – 6 February, 2012
Doubt is a concept close to my heart (for all the right – and wrong reasons). It is a state of being separated from fixed ideas, moving into a region where certainties flicker out like an ageing fluorescent strip. I feel this movement into doubt is a primary activity of art: simulation, illusion, questioning, all the while leaving the audience open to new thoughts and ways of thinking. The artist does things and I ask: “Why are they doing this?” Doubt is a region of productivity, of investigation, of crossing boundaries in every category, the genesis of potentiality.
The title of Hou Hanru’s show “The Politics of Doubt” at Times Museum immediately suggested a presentation which might display a sense of instability through the works, but what I ended up seeing was a set of rather stable—albeit interesting—works of photography and video, under a fairly simplistic curatorial premise.
19 Solo Shows About Painting (Bi Jianye, Huang Liang, Jia Aili, Jin Shan, Liao Guohe, Li Qing, Liu Weijian, Lin Yen Wei, Ma Ke, Qin Qi, Qi Wenzhang, Sun Xun, Sun Wen, Song Yuanyuan, Wu Guangyu, Xiao Bo, Xiao Jiang, Xu Ruotao, Zhou Yilun)
Platform China, Caochangdi, Beijing, China
12 March – 31 May, 2011
Over the last few years Platform China has established a strong programme of shows, displaying refreshing latitude with respect to exhibition formats and presentation of artworks.
A couple of highlights for me included the extravagant group show “Jungle” from early last year. This expansive show continually refreshed itself over its two-month period, inviting the artists to adapt their installations and bringing in new artists. In what seems to have been a precursor to the current trend in Beijing of withdrawing the curator from the process of the show, “Jungle” eschewed such a figure or even an strong theme leaving the results in the hands of the artists (for better or worse).
At the end of 2010 “The Third Party” (which I reviewed on this site) represented the opposite stance in relation to curation, with Beatrice Leanza taking, if not centre stage as curator, then at least a dominant role, corralling the large collection of alternative practices.
And so we reach the current offering: “19 Solo Shows About Painting” has been produced by the Platform China Contemporary Art Institute as the first of what they propose will be an annual series of shows. Stepping back into curatorially-bereft territory, “19 Solo Shows…” mirrors the format of “Jungle,” with an extended collection of artists and a sprawling layout taking up a large part of both of Platform’s buildings. But this time the focus is squarely on painting and its presentation.