Saturday, October 04, 2008

The Chinese Art Awards Show

The Chinese Art Awards Show was established in 1995 to help make young or unknown artists be known in the international art scene. Each year, three artists are chosen as winners and their work is displayed in the Art Awards Show. This year the winners were Ai Weiwei, Liu Wei, and Tseng Yu-Chin and you can currently see their pieces at Bund 18 Lounge on the fourth floor. Even for those who do not follow contemporary Chinese art, Ai's name is familiar because he helped in the design for the National Stadium or the "Bird's Nest."
Once you enter Bund 18 you can either take the elevator up to the fourth floor or you can take the stairs. Should you take the elevator, you will notice that there are two mirrors facing each other, creating the illusion of an endless set of rooms. Should you take the stairs, you will see Ai Weiwei's piece "Very Yao." His piece is basically a giant tower-like structure made of bicycles, metal, and rubber. Once you reach the fourth floor, you take a right and arrive at the main exhibition floor. Before you enter the main room, there are two smaller rooms showing video clips by the Taiwanese artist Tseng Yu-Chin. In the first room is the video "Quietly. I Have Five Munites." I believe it is supposed to be "minutes" instead of "munites." The video shows two scenes, side by side, of the same thing. The clip on the left is a shot of a room with a table on the left, a large window in the back with the curtains parted, and a figure hiding behind the right curtain. On the right clip is a close-up of the figure's feet sticking out from beneath the curtain. The person slowly moves right then left. The next room shows Tseng's videos "I Hate Assumption Chaptel 1" as well as "I Hate Assumption Chaptel 2." I believe it is supposed to be "chapter" instead of "chaptel" and am unsure of which video is which. One clip is a shot of a group of school children sleeping in a school bus. Their heads are leaning back and most of them have their mouths hanging slightly open. The second clip is also about sleeping children but they are in different settings such as the classroom, the library, or the school playground. The clip first shows a faraway shot of the sleeping children then shows a second close-up shot of them. All the while these two clips are running, there is a melody playing in the background. The melody reminds me of the melodies those spinning toys that are hung above a baby's crib make. Without any sound, the videos were rather disturbing but with sound, they seemed like scenes from a nightmare. Once you make it into the main room, you will notice that it is bare except for a giant machine in the middle. This machine, with "Property of L.W." stamped on it, looks like a giant version of the security scanners used by airport security. I did not notice a plaque for this piece but by the stamps on it, I believe this was Liu Wei's piece. Other than these three works, there was nothing else to see.

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