Monday, October 30, 2006
Curvy and serene, Duolun Road exudes a memorable cuteness as it elusively hides in between large buildings and wide roads. Strategically placed at the center, surrounded by a public park, a stadium, a commercial area, and bustling city highways and railways, Duolun Road completes the urban design of this surrounding area with intricate contemporary perfection. Walking on Duolun Road, I return to a similar district I visited only a short while ago: Moganshan Road. Comparable to Moganshan road, Duolun Road also hides itself amongst the bustle of city life and urban architecture.
7 floors tall, Doland Museum of Modern Art stands huddled together with a combination of small buildings lined on both sides of the road. Like the central jewel embellished with smaller adornments, Doland MOMA attracts the attention of tourists and locals with its solitary beauty. In comparison, the single presence of Doland as a representative of contemporary aesthetics surrounded by city urban architecture and infrastructure on Duolun Road contrasts with the small gathering of art galleries in an abandoned industrial corner of Shanghai. While Doland emanates distinction and favor as a significant achievement of the Shanghai government to support and propel Chinese contemporary art to an international level, it segregates itself from other proponents of contemporary art in Shanghai. Unlike other museums in Shanghai that host exhibitions to encourage appreciation and interest in contemporary art, to develop strong relationships between the Chinese and foreign art communities, and to pave way for the aesthetic and intellectual creativity of future generations, Doland conveys an intense political agenda to accompany the encouragement of contemporary art. Although a political agenda does not prevent the growth of contemporary art, Doland does prevent itself from completely accepting, exchanging, and experiencing contemporary art, unlike the MOMA or MOCA.
Upon first glance, Doland MOMA looks like a rectangular brick standing tall among the jagged houses that surround it. From a distance, the Doland MOMA shines a smooth layer of gray with a small section at the top of the building made of bright red steel and transparent glass. As we close in, the structured and quadrangle pattern compose and construct the Doland. The entrance is designed with the combination of black and red and only the black and red letters spelling Doland Shanghai Museum of Modern Art and a red street light compliment the connecting red and black design of the entrance. Simplicity is beauty, and Doland MOMA accentuates this exquisite aesthetic simplicity with its architectural sincerity. I favor the design of Doland over such other museums such as the Shanghai MOMA, the MOCA, and Zendai. The MOMA and MOCA are buildings refurbished and converted into modern art museums from their original architectural designs and purposes and this wanes their aesthetic and cultural objective. And although arguably MOCA and Zendai, with their attractive glass structure, I believe that art is not transparent, and the buildings should not illustrate this. Contemporary art is simple yet complex, a fusion of experience and imagination. It tries to portray truth through beauty and beauty within truth. The glass design of MOCA and Zendai do not convey the sense of this complex simplicity as well as Doland. From the architectural design of Doland’s combination of gray, red, black, and glass, the conveyance of contemporary art is much stronger. Doland’s gray tiles represent the intricate and complex composition of the materials to create the artwork. As we have seen, many contemporary artworks have a finalized product that we perceive to be a simple and candid reflection of life and truth; the earnest colors composing Doland’s structure accentuate these characteristics of contemporary art in its architecture.
In terms of the exterior architectural design, the entrance made from a combination of red and black epitomizes a multitude of meaning. It is this complex simplicity that I felt most impressed with. At first glance, one will only see the contrast between red and black; nothing special. However, after contemplation and examination, the basic design of the entrance symbolizes the cultural reference to Chinese cosmological belief. The strong belief that everything in this world is made of yin and yang, of a balance and integration of light and darkness symbolizes the inclusive and integrative nature of contemporary art. Like yin and yang, modern art is a representation between the balances of existential aspects in and around humanity that search and define truth. Also through the illustration of a modern cosmological reference, the museum seeks to indicate the cultural aspect.
The spacious interior of the Doland MOMA has a construction area of 4800 square meters, of which 1500 square meters (the first 3 floors) are used for art exhibitions. The black ceiling and white walls also support the principle of yin and yang and the brown wooden floor solidifies our relationship with nature as a unified entity. Each floor has sufficient exhibition space for artworks small and large. The two video rooms provide the space necessary for motion picture art. Overall the interior design of Doland has put into consideration the flexibility, modernity, and creativity of contemporary art. The circular stairways that lead to the floor above inject the audience with a sense of blissful search for enlightenment. By climbing the circular stairway, one feels as if it is a trial in search for the experiences in life. Instead of progressing in a diagonally linear movement but circling directly upwards, one feels as if the pursuit of truth is an ordeal that requires patience and determination as there will be moments of redundancy challenging one’s faith and intellect.
In terms of architectural design, Doland proudly exhibits many merits that place it at the forefront of Shanghai modern art and culture. It is the fruit of the effort, experience, and desire of the Chinese people to modernize and integrate themselves into the modern art world and exchange culture and individuality with the rest of the world for mutual progression. The one aspect that could be improved upon is the interaction and interconnection between the interior of Doland and the exterior environment. Doland’s walls completely seal and separate the interior with the exterior world. If instead of using concrete material to create the walls the designers used glass that is transparent from the inside but not observable from the outside, it would give contemporary art and the museum a mystic aura and allure audience in. Once inside, the audience may see and interpret the paintings as well as witness the world outside, which would symbolize an interpretative fusion of modern art and life: an experience of truth.
Sunday, October 29, 2006
This exhibition is located at Bund 3, named ‘City in Progress / Live from Zhang Jiang’, a nonprofit Gallery. The size of the gallery is kind of small, embracing numerable art works; however, it is so decorated in details, even the identities on the wall or the simplified map painted on the floor from original map of Zhang Jiang. The not commodious room nevertheless conveys to people a sense of void, as if the feeling generated from the developing industrial area of Zhang Jiang according to the topic. From the topic and the atmosphere emanated from the artists, we can conclude this exhibition is at the root of analysis of the conformation of the high-tech industrial area of Zhang Jiang, as a epitome of the industry area of China, relying on many kinds of expression, like TV, projector, or live imitation, interactively and artistically depicts the contemporary and future direction of the industry area of China. It can be said that it is a successful attempt to organically combine the area construction with creative mode of contemporary art. Zhangjiang is a special representative industry area in
Thursday, October 26, 2006
Excessively restrained mountaineering fancier
Premiere of Lu Chunsheng’s film
Premiere: November 18th, 2006, Saturday (19:00-22:00)
Venue: Paradise Theatre, 308, AnFu Road, by Hua Shan Road
Please dial +8621 62775358 to book your seat.
Exhibition Dates: November 19th- 24th, 2006
Venue: Shanghai BizArt Art Center, Moganshan Rd 50, Building 7th, 4th Floor. 200060
The “company” circuilates with enormous difficulty. “He” is at the edge of bankruptcy
“mountaineering fancier” from three “companies” have been tracing A…..
A , who left the “company” already , is holding a pivotal “contract”about a big trade.
In order to obtain this “contract”, at “the last moment”, the tide could be transferred to some areas of the city which were surveyed time and again by the “mountaineering fancier””.
Thereupon the new “climate” formed ……
This “climate” would compel A to the highland ……
This unfinished “contract” which had the “power of prediction” would be taken to the mare liberum ultimately, and trade on a gambling ship……
Afterward, the “company” got rid of the heavy burden caused by debt crisis gradually.
Finally, the exploiting project about the future terrain started to came to action and became vast and mighty ……
As the story goes，A is the descendant of John Dee. ……
Sunday, October 22, 2006
Opening reception: October 27th, 2006, 19:00
Live Performance at the opening night starts at 20:00 featuring special guest Sky Water Town Cosplay
Dates: October 27th to November 25th
Venue: Shanghai Duolun MoMA 1st and 2nd floor
Presented by: Shanghai Duolun MoMA
With support from: General Consulate of Sweden, IASPIS, The Arts Grants Committee and Swedish Institute
By Will Bennett - Financial Times
Published: September 29 2006 16:37 | Last updated: September 29 2006 16:37
China may still pay lip service to communism but it is fast emerging as a capitalist superpower and its rapidly growing millionaire class, already numbering more than 300,000, is starting to flex its muscles in the international art market.
Auction houses and dealers are watching the progress of China's new rich as well as their counterparts in India, another booming Asian economy, with self-interested fascination.
India's new millionaires are sending prices for their country's contemporary art soaring but it is the mainland Chinese who represent the most glittering prize for the likes of Sotheby's, Christie's, Bonhams, all among the world's leading dealers in Asian art.
Most of China's 1.3bn people are poor by western standards but economic reforms have created a breed of wealthy entrepreneurs some of whom are keen to buy art, either as an investment or to display their recently acquired riches.
In May and June, Christie's ran up more than $154m at its Hong Kong sales, the highest for a series of auctions held in Asia.
A few weeks earlier, Sotheby's sales in the former British colony, now a semi-autonomous part of China, brought in $108.5m with record prices for paintings, textiles and jewellery.
In March, Sotheby's New York Asian sales totalled $51.6m with a 14th-century Yuan dynasty jar becoming, at $4.7m, the most expensive Chinese work of art ever sold by the auction house in the US.
The market for contemporary Chinese art has never been stronger with Christie's Hong Kong sale totalling a record $39.1m.
Bidding from mainland China has been credited with driving these remarkable prices but the reality, as with most things in this vast, complex nation, is more complicated. The market for Asian art and, in particular, for Chinese works has always been international and many of today's biggest buyers are American and European collectors and dealers.
At Christie's Hong Kong sales, the piece that attracted headlines worldwide was a 14th-century Ming porcelain vase that sold for a record $10.2m. The buyer was Steve Wynn, the American gambling magnate, more usually known as a buyer of impressionist and Old Master paintings, who donated it to a museum in the Chinese port of Macau, where he is due to open a casino.
The most expensive lot at London's Asian art sales in July was a Yuan dynasty jar bought for $3.9m by London-based Giuseppe Eskenazi, the world's most important dealer in Chinese art.
That price was a fraction of the $27.7m that Eskenazi had paid for an even rarer Yuan dynasty jar at Christie's in London a year previously, a purchase for a European collector rather than a millionaire in Shanghai or Beijing.
A syndicate from mainland China had bid up to $18m for the jar but the final four contenders, who pushed the price into the stratosphere, were from elsewhere.
"The mainland Chinese have not had such an impact at the very, very top end of the market," says Eskenazi. "They are buying in the upper part of the middle market but not at the top where you need a sophistication that people acquire when they have been buying for a long time."
Although Asian art buyers are often Chinese, they are not necessarily from the People's Republic. Many of the high rollers are from Singapore, Taiwan and Hong Kong, which now have more than 170,000 millionaires between them.
One of the big spenders in London's summer sales was veteran Hong Kong dealer and collector Robert Chang and, when he won a hotly contested battle for a vase at Bonhams, his chief rival was a Taiwanese dealer.
Hong Kong's importance is undoubtedly growing but New York and London remain the biggest centres for the market. Their strength will be evident at the ninth annual Asian Art in London exhibition. Auction houses, dealers and museums will combine to stage the event from November 2-10 to promote the British capital's important role in the sector.
One of the key, and as yet unanswered, questions is whether western auction houses will hold sales in mainland China. Since the communist authorities legalised the private art market in 1992, almost 2,000 local auctioneers have set up businesses boasting, in 2004, a combined turnover of more than $1bn. Works of art made up about a quarter of this total and it is clearly a market with huge potential.
The problem is that although the People's Republic theoretically opened its doors to foreign competition almost two years ago, in order to fulfil its obligations as a member of the World Trade Organisation, government regulations, in effect, exclude outsiders.
Christie's discovered this last year when it formed an alliance with the Beijing-auction house Forever and held a successful $12.1m sale of modern and contemporary Chinese paintings. Within weeks, Forever's auction licence was withdrawn because the law bans joint ventures to sell cultural items with foreign companies. Christie's is still waiting for its local partner to resolve the situation with the authorities.
For the moment Sotheby's and Christie's find it easier to sell in the less bureaucratic atmosphere of Hong Kong. But, in spite of such setbacks, there is no doubt that China's new millionaires will play an increasingly important role in the market for Asian art.
"They will get there in the end," says Eskenazi. "There is so much cash available."
Friday, October 20, 2006
Wang Guangyi (Sonia), Li Shan, Fang Lijun, Gu Dexin, Wang Jianwei, Gu Wenda, Geng Jianyi (Charlie), Zhang Xiaogang (Alex), Zhang Peili
Curator: Wang Lin
Exhibition Dates: Oct. 21st – Nov. 12th, 2006
Opening: Oct. 21st, 2006 (Sat.) 4 pm
Zhang Nian made his name through the piece “Hatching” in the “China Avant-garde Exhibition 1989”. After that his Egg Series and many other artworks expressed the expectations, inconsonance, conflicts, negation and re-valuation from an individual towards the social values.
The upcoming “Moving Memories” show is not only the exposition of his new pieces, but a memoir of his Zhang Nian’s art creation as well. This series employs both visual and documeted historical records from the Opium War to contemporary China. Especially since the establishment of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, China has been experiencing a seemingly 10-year circle of historical signifigances, which have constituted some unique dynamic/moving social structures and common values. As an artist Zhang Nian portrays China from modern to contemporary eras through photography, painting and videos. One of the most outstanding features of Zhang Nian’s works is his glamorous presentation by using radiant lighting strokes, which do not only serve personal aesthetic preferences, but are also commonly seen in the propaganda posters in communist China. These strokes are embodied with special energy, that have been influencing Chinese as well as the wider world. They are both personal experiences and collective memories.
713 Dong Daming Rd. 3F Shanghai, China 200080
Tel: +86 21 3501 3212 Fax: +86 21 3501 3340
Opening Hours: 11:00-19:00 Tues.-Sun. (no fee)
Thursday, October 19, 2006
JING ART GALLERY invites you to a China+Japan Dual Solo Exhibition
韩 冰 HAN Bing “日常圣像 Quotidian Iconic” (China)
折元 立身ORIMOTO Tatsumi “日常圣母 Quotidian Holy Mother”(Japan)
China and Japan. These two countries have both undergone experiences of accelerated economic development at different times, necessitating internationalization. If one suddenly stopped and looked around, however, they would discover that life had grown increasingly technologized, dehumanized and estranged from our basic natures.
In this world of extremely modernized, stylized cities—Han Bing, living in Beijing and Orimoto Tatsumi living in Kawasaki—have brought moments from their everyday lives to the world outside, asking viewers to ponder something unforgettable and ineffable. Their works manifest a kind of feeling that is engendered from within.
What people who are forcing these developments on the world need most is to slow down and take a long look at quotidian life going on around them. On the occasion of this exhibition, through the works of these two artists, I hope to offer an exploration of the everyday meditations of China and Japan, contrasting, at the same time, the varying attitudes used by these artists to create photography works that are both conceptual and yet intimately close to real life. (M K)
- Mari FURUKAWA (Wanli)
开幕酒会与行为表演：2006年10月21日下午 2 点-6点
Opening Party/Performance: 21 October,2006 14:00-18:00
Dates: 22 October, 2006 – 19 November, 2006
Place:JING ART GALLERY， 3758 QixinRd., Minhang District, Shanghai, China(Near Huqingping Rd.)
开放时间：10:00--18:00 星期一休息(Closed Mondays)
Tel: +86-(0)21-54850700 Fax: +86-(0)21-54856224
http://www.jingart55.com E-mail: email@example.com
Curator: Mari FURUKAWA(Wanli) 联合策划: 迈涯 (韩冰), 松永 康(折元 立身)
Curatorial Coordinators：Maya KOVSKAYA (HAN Bing), MATSUNAGA Ko (ORIMOTO Tatsumi) 策划助理：吴 予, 陈 洪伟
Curatorial Assistant: WU Yu，Victor CHEN
General Coordinator: Julie SHU
Sponsor： MAKII STAINLESS CO., LTD.
Supporter：CONSULATE-GENERAL OF JAPAN IN SHANGHAI
Saturday, October 28, 4pm
The Creative Forces
Behind Australian & Chinese Dance
A Talk with Graeme Murphy, David McAllister and Jin Xing
RMB 50, includes a drink
Graeme Murphy, legendary choreographer and
Artistic Director of the Sydney Dance Company,
David McAllister, the Australian Ballet’s Artistic Director, and
groundbreaking Chinese choreographer Jin Xing
join forces for an insightful discussion on dance,
its evolution and its future.
About “Fringe Shanghai”
“Fringe Shanghai” is a vibrant annual arts event celebrating and supporting the innovative and visionary works of up-and-coming artists. This year's event marks the first such Fringe experience for Shanghai, opening a window to the premiere of international avant-garde arts. More than just a range of performances, “Fringe Shanghai” helps to lay the foundation for the development of a vibrant arts scene which will grow hand-in-hand with Shanghai's bustling economic environment. With more than 20 international and local groups offering close to 100 performances, “Fringe Shanghai 2006” is set to bring cutting-edge arts to life in Shanghai.
Moganshan Lu (Road in English) is situated next to Suzhou Creek in north-central PuXi, Shanghai. A collection of art galleries featuring contemporary painters, Moganshan Road calls to mind a unique artistic vibe, something akin to Chelsea in New York. Of course, one is unable to not feel that it remains a bit peculiar, an artistic enclave among a sea of skyscrapers that tower in the distance. Of course, one has to come to expect these odd juxtapositions in Shanghai, and in terms of art, the galleries of Moganshan Road do not disappoint.
MSG Art, a gallery operating out of Los Angeles, has recently opened its doors at 87 Moganshan Road, featuring the works of Chi Peng, He Jie, and Zhong Shan. Perhaps the most exciting feature about the gallery is its hopes to open a cultural exchange among its artists, allowing for American and international artists to spend a month on site at the gallery exchanging ideas with local Chinese artists. http://www.msgart.com/
Another important gallery is that of BizArt, which is located on the fourth floor of 50 Moganshan Road, Building No. 7. Opening in 1998, BizArt is one of the only truly non-profit galleries in Shanghai. As China does not currently have a system in place for non-profit galleries, BizArt has to engage in a rather complicated system to move money around. The director is committed, however, to ensuring that BizArt remain untainted from cashing in on artists, or being supported by large real estate developers, as is Zendai. Although recently having run into some problems (which remain sensitive), the gallery continues to forge ahead with new artist exhibitions. The current exhibition, running from October 13th until October 20th, is ElectriCITY, featuring the work of Shi Qing. For more information, visit http://www.bizart.com/.
Yet another important gallery is that of Eastlink, located at 50 Moganshan Road, Building No. 6, fifth floor. Having opened in 1999, the gallery boasts 900 square meters of space, and is currently exhibiting “Extension Turn 2”, with works by a collection of international contemporary artists. One of the most striking currently on display is that of Johannes Speder, entitled “Mountain”. This work lies near the entrance to Eastlink, and occupies most of the front of the gallery. This captivating work lies across from another piece by He Yunchang entitled, “Beyond Mountains and the Sky”, a series of photographs detailing the artists attempt to use his own strength to push against the strength of an explosion. Eastlink is also featuring articles by seventeen different scientists in its catalogue, along with the twenty-seven participating artists. Eastlink also sells various antiques and past artwork in side rooms, to raise capital for its artistic endeavors. http://www.eastlinkgallery.cn/
Finally, one should not finish their visit to Moganshan without stopping at ShanghART, located on 50 Moganshan Road, Buildings 16 & 18. Currently, the works of Zeng Fanzhi were on display, displaying his completely unique approach to art, with various works on display. The new exhibit, by Pu Jie, has been set to open on October 18th, and runs until October 31st. One can find more at http://www.shanghart.com/.Although some might feel that Moganshan has a feel of a slightly contrived space, especially in high-rise Shanghai, there is no disputing that the galleries there have no qualms about taking risks and pushing boundaries in China. A visit to Moganshan will not disappoint, and with around 100 galleries that are constantly changing exhibits, the scene here is never static. Moganshan sets the pace for the rest of the Shanghai art scene, and for those who want to see things before the move to the Shanghai MoCA or Zendai, Moganshan is the place to be.
Wednesday, October 18, 2006
The so called SoHo of Shanghai, 50 Moganshan Road art district is the center of contemporary art in Shanghai. Tucked away off the banks of Suzhou Creek, M50 has attracted over 100 artists in residence to set up shop in this art commune. Once home to factories and industrial workshops, these galleries have transformed the space into a trendy art zone home to some of Shanghai’s hottest contemporary artists.
Situated next to a typical Chinese apartment building, complete with food vendors and drying laundry outside of every window, 50 Moganshan seems to be an unlikely spot to showcase some of the most famous artists in China. M50 is actually owned by a state-operated textile group called Shangtex. Shangtex has high aspirations for the space, and hopes to further develop the area into an art zone. Zhou Bin of Shangtex explains that, “We don't see ourselves merely as the landlord of M50, we want to shape its future,” (http://www.chinaartnetworks.com/feature/wen21.shtml). One problem remains that as the popularity of M50 raises, so does the rent. New artists moving into the zone are charged high rent rates, which can cause hardship because many up and coming artists don’t sell pieces immediately.
However, ShanghArt, one of M50’s most established galleries has had no such hardship in finding buyers for its famous and often pricey art work. Famous in the Shanghai art scene, I was less impressed with the space than I would have expected. The main gallery was almost completely unrenovated and totally cluttered with a mishmash of different works. There didn’t seem to be a flow of any sort, and appeared to be more of a cluttered garage then an actual gallery. For me, the lack of organization and distaste for the space, took away from the pleasure of viewing the artwork itself. However, despite my aversion for the main area, I was very impressed with the viewing room for the individual artist showcase. The lightening was appropriate, and the room had a clean, professional feel, which I think is very important in displaying this kind of art. Not only does it add to the credibility of the gallery, but also to that of the artist.
Another notable gallery we visited was EastLink. The Eastlink gallery is hidden on the 5th floor of a factory building, behind the loud creaky doors of an archaic Chinese elevator. Eastlink was spacious, with wooden floors and several side rooms, and is supposedly one of the most sought after gallery space in the area. The director there was kind enough to give us a tour, and gave us some great insight into the individual pieces. We had an interesting discussion about the performance art piece by He Yunchang called Dialogue with Water (1999), where the artists suspends himself over a river, and uses a knife to “cut” the river, and thus inflict a wound through the “heart” of China. Even though I am usually skeptical about the true value of this type of performance art, it was interesting to hear more detail about the intentions of the artist and the statement he intended to make.
M50 is a great place to visit and explore the galleries and boutiques. The New York Times travel section recently featured M50 as one of the best places to visit in Shanghai. Click on the following link to check it out: New York Times Travel.
China Power Station: Part I is a unique opportunity to visit the iconic Battersea Power Station before it is redeveloped. It will also be the first chance to see the work of an extraordinary and vibrant new generation of Chinese artists and architects installed at this remarkable site.
Battersea Power Station echoes post-industrial art venues in China and the works on show have been chosen to activate the enormous scale of its spaces. The exhibition will be filled with sound and moving images, arguably the most prolific and strongest type of work being created in China today. There are three floors to visit
and the art will engage with each of these distinct areas. The unmissable and outstanding view from the third floor will offer a rare perspective of London. Two celebrated Chinese architects will define the space, demonstrating the potential of the building.
This is the Serpentine Gallery’s first large scale, off-site exhibition project. It will embrace and celebrate the power of the building as well as the buoyant developments in Chinese contemporary culture.
2/F, Bldg No.4, 50 Moganshan Road,
Shanghai, People's Republic Of China
Oct 22, 2006 To Nov 22, 2006
Detail: Art Scene Warehouse's big space is bringing together the works of 16 of China's best photography artists. Some of the photographers, who come from throughout China, are among China's most famous and internationally exhibited, while others are young, emerging photography artists. The show is being co-curated by Gu Zheng, one of China's most respected photography curators. Gu curated the Guangzhou Photography Triennial in 2005, one of China's most important photography shows, as well as an exhibition that toured 4 USA museums in 2005 and 2006.
Tuesday, October 17, 2006
FOREPLAY--Yang Zhenzhong Solo-Exhibition
Nov. 5th 2006– Nov.29th 2006
Opening Reception: Nov. 4th, 5.00-7.00 pm
ShanghART Gallery & H-Space is proud to present a solo-exhibition with
works by Yang Zhenzhong (b. 1968).
Using innovative techniques Yang Zhenzhong expands the credo that
‘underneath each picture there is always another picture’ into
‘underneath each picture there is always a specific medium’. The
exhibition FOREPLAY focuses on these mediating devices that constitute
the imagery of Yang Zhenzhongs exceptional work, whether it is video,
photography or installation art.
Yang Zhenzhong involves his audience in explorations intended to
generate visual effects and stimulate feelings and thoughts to bring
about unforeseen experiences and multiple points of view. FOREPLAY
provides an ample chance to view a practice that resists any specific
style, medium or material.
The desire to challenge normative notions and fixed formats of social
behavior informs the practices of Yang Zhenzhong’s work. He is
pre-occupied with a tendency to invert the order of things and often
touches upon taboos such as death and out-dated social norms.
His approach is metaphorical rather than narrative: His videos often
start from witty ideas, employing pictorial repetition and rhythmic
coordination of sound, language and image. Yang Zhenzhong became famous
in 2000 with his half-hour video “(I Know) I Will Die” that features
short sequences in which a series of people speak the phrase "I will
die" to the camera. It is a disconcerting, soberly presented film that
confronts the viewer with existential questions. Yang Zhenzhong
recognizes that individual participation is the starting point for the
transformation of perception. Another landmark video includes “Let’s
Puff” which premiered at the fourth Shanghai Biennale (2002) and the
50th Venice Biennale (2003). The video starts from the interplay of two
images: a young woman puffing and exhaling in a busy street. Every time
the woman breathes, the image of the street moves away from the viewer.
The rhythm of the traffic and the angle of perception are altered with
the rhythm of the woman’s breath. Consequently, the image is not fixed,
but remains in a state of change. Yang Zhenzhong’s playful videos are
more than visual reflections; they are intelligent comments on the
design of contemporary society
With a sincere attitude, but in a playful manner, the artist explores
the contemporary preoccupation with questions of identity and
perception, and the ability of images to turn apathy into anticipation,
and ordinariness into desirability. He uses part fiction and part
reality that tangles both the euphoric enthusiasm and deep anxiety of
day-to-day experience. His work has lately been described as “an
extraordinary distillation of an artistic practice that couldn’t be
more preoccupied with the nature of what is real”.
Born in Xiaoshan in 1968, Yang Zhenzhong now lives and works in
Shanghai. He graduated from the oil painting department of the
ChinaFineArtsAcademy in Hangzhou in 1993 and began working with video
and photography in 1995. Yang Zhenzhong’s work has showed at major
international exhibitions, biennales and triennials. Recent exhibitions
include China Contemporary – Art, Architecture and Visual Culture,
Museum Boiman van Beuningen, Rotterdam, The Netherlands (2006), Yang
Zhenzhong Solo-Exhibition, IKON Gallery, Birmingham, UK (2006), and
China Power Station – Part I, Battersea Power Station – The Serpentine
Gallery, London, UK (2006).
When I think of Shanghai, I think of colossal buildings that pierce into the sky as if Man desires to connect the sky and the earth once again. I think of waves of bustling people, trailing bicycles, rampaging cars, and fuming buses all clashing in the same environment to orchestrate a symphony of chaos. I think of immeasurable gaps between the wealthy and the impoverished. I did not think of art. When I see China, each time I only see the structural change of the city or the change and division in the living standard of the people. I never see art. However, this experience to M50 changed my impression of Shanghai. Hidden in the cusp of Moganshan Road, old factories that seem to have lost the care and favor of the city, old and broken, stand adjacent to traditional 2-floor Chinese buildings made from rotting wood and fragile brick. Decay and abandonment are all that reminds a passing pedestrian of this elusively small district.
However, the peculiar gathering of fashionable youths and foreigners to this seemingly desolate district arouses suspicion and interest, and the open coffe shop also seems misplaced. Stepping out of the cumbersome old warehouse lifts, the world opened up by the rusty old elevator door presents us with an entirely different atmosphere. Aesthetic works created by Chinese or foreign artists alike adorn the walls, branch across the floor, or cluster in rooms and corners of the warehouse. As a visitor I didn’t know if I felt more surprised by the hidden secrets of the warehouses or by each individual art piece present in the warehouses. To find contemporary art pieces that reflect emotional and intellectual struggle, understanding, and portrayal hidden in this quiet neighborhood is nothing short of finding lost treasure.
Of the artworks that we witnessed, none astonished me more than the works produced by Zeng Fanzhi. With strong brushstrokes and dark colors, Zeng Fanzhi collides colors and canvas. Each stroke he slashes onto the canvas tears another wound of ghastly beauty that pulls the audience into the aesthetic turmoil. Beyond the individual chaos of every stroke, a ghoulish image emerges from the dark colors and rugged outlines.
The picture of a female walking beside branching bushes and stretching grass forms from the depths and solidify into finality. Unlike other pictures that combine and contrast human and surrounding, the colors in this work create a hopeless darkness. Instead of a natural background of transcendence, in Zeng’s art piece, only abysmal darkness extends to the edges of the canvas. If the canvas does not trap the darkness, it would possibly shroud the audience with treacherous dismay. The grassy brush intensifies the despair of the piece and specifically of the female. Complimenting the darkness beyond, the bushes present only an agonizing sense of decay. As if each grass has a soul, they scream and rip at the canvas in desperation. Seemingly trying to escape inevitable suffering, Zeng masterfully slices the darkness with lone strokes of putrefied grass. As if trepidation caused by darkness is not enough to satisfy his apocalyptic presentation, the grass accentuates and extends this horrific sensation. The illustration of the lone female contrasts immensely with the rest of the picture. Dressed in a silky white dress with youthful pink flesh, the female is the only focus in the artwork that pacifies the tension of the environment. However, as the female is the only subject in the entire painting, her calm is only complimented by her solitude. Hiding her face from the audience, Zeng conveys to us the suffering and gloom that this female has endured and the faith and optimism that she represents by the lightening darkness left in her wake and the rigid darkness ahead.
Tragedy is beauty. Without knowing pain, suffering, sorrow, or grief, it would be hard to understand the struggles of others. Perhaps Zeng is trying to show the destructive history of China on the land and the people, to foretell of their persevering spirit. Or perhaps he wishes to exceed national and cultural borders and resonate his personal experience among humanity. Only Zeng Fanzhi himself knows. As a witness of his aesthetic despondency, I may only yearn for happiness and grip faith tightly.
Monday, October 16, 2006
Zeng Fanzhi Solo-Exhibition
ShanghART Gallery & H-Space is proud to present a solo-exhibition with new works by Zeng Fanzhi (b. 1964).
Zeng Fanzhi delivers an art that feels new, not in its premises, but in its intense, yet refined vitality, and constant renewal. His new paintings are at the same time expressively figurative and abstract, held in cool shades of dark colors, and they represent both a tension of human solitude and exceptional beauty. Zeng Fanzhi is continuously engaged in exploring adequate and innovative ways in expressing his visual representations.
His latest paintings signify a shift in his focus from a formal concern with the representation of existential trauma, to an interest in how we imagine ourselves interacting with nature. Within these large-scale images there is a notion of fragility and vulnerability; like an attempt to create a terrain of uncertainty that inhabits both characters and landscape depicted.
The grand scale of the paintings lends them a certain suggestive and sublime appearance, and when viewed, the paintings constantly seem to evolve and create new particular impressions. The grand scale images stand both as reflections of a social reality that are made up of multiple signifying systems, of which the landscape is one.
Zeng Fanzhi’s paintings appear simultaneously chaotic as well as controlled, intentional as well as unintentional, and his distinctive strokes signify the importance to process. Forcible intertwined curved lines may rest on a beautifully and calm background, and abstract and figurative elements appear side by side. The images therefore often carry references not to one but to many different realities. It is an energetic and reflective gesture that just serves to underscore Zeng Fanzhi’s status as one of China’s most innovative and skillful painters who’s acclaimed recognition and impact on the international art scene is rapidly expanding.
Zeng Fanzhi was born in 1964 in Wuhan where he also studied oil painting at the Art Academy. Today he lives and works in Beijing. Exhibitions include Contemporary China, PKM Gallery, Seoul, Korea (2006), Scapes 1989-2004, He Xiangning Art Museum, Shenzhen, China (2004), I/We – The Painting of Zeng Fanzhi, Shanghai Art Museum, Shanghai, China (2003), Left Hand, Right Hand, 798 Art Space, Beijing, China (2003), and The first Triennial of Chinese Arts, Guangzhou Art Museum, Guangzhou, China (2002).
Saturday, October 14, 2006
Nobody seems to know the place, even the cab driver. It's like a secret place in the city and this appeals to me very much. When we arrived at Moganshan Lu, this mysterious place begin to unveil itself: empty street, graffiti,wasted warehouse. But instead of being inanimate, it gives forth the smell of art. As we got closer, many art studioes and galleries appears.
I like the name of "Bizart" very much. Davide gave us a very insightful lecture and explained the complication and something we don't know about art, like the forces of the government they have to face when organizing an exhibition. The following work is "a world can't be without electricity".
East Link is a spacious place, and there are three rooms inside. They are pictures of experimental art of modern life, works reflected the Cultural Revolution, and a collection of wood furniture antiques respectively.
I think the Shanghart Gallery can be a representive of this art district. It is a typical warehouse with high ceilings, shabby walls. There are also many documentations of artists.
high ceilling, interesting floor:
Three pieces of work:
very interesting works
M50, a secret place, produces a large quatity of art works. There are no noises, but quiet and full of art spirit. I enjoy the visits as well as the lectures very much.