Thursday, March 26, 2009

b&w gallery photos

my visits to galleries in both beijing and shanghai have been filled with works both shitty and fantastic. some galleries, however, take the focus of the art to the viewer in a self-conscious manner. this is always the best kind of gallery- the one in which the viewer is actually a part of the art. this is best highlighted by installations, the epicenter of which is beijing where large warehouse-type galleries allow for maximum range in both space and possibility. 798 had several of these, which forced the viewer to reflect upon his interaction with the art, and how he played into the theme at hand. for instance, how the viewer reacts to a large warehouse filled with rusted tin or, conversely, the reaction of a viewer who is locked in a small dark room with spinning lights. regardless of the installation, the viewer is of utmost importance- without him, the art might as well not exist. the following photos were intentionally shot in black and white, so as to draw more attention to the subjects and action of the photo rather than the art. by desaturating the image, one's eye is drawn away from what would in reality be colorful, instead shifting focus to action within the frame. observe:

shanghai MOCA

a 798 gallery, beijing

thanks boyang for being my subject (he didn't know). in the first, the action of bo walking past the art poses the question- why has this viewer decided to skip the art in front of him, intended to entertain? the transient nature of the viewer adds to the art context, the faceless portraits of inmates. perhaps it's because these people are not worth remembering, or perhaps, it's that man's tendency to ignore aesthetics in city life lends to increasing facelessness in society.

the second shot in 798 has the viewer again ignoring the art, but in a stationary manner. for the passerby, the human has become itself an art piece- his three-dimensional physical presence in the gallery, juxtaposed against two dimensional art leaves us wondering- why has the viewer stopped here- why is he in the gallery at all? what purpose does it serve man in paying money to view art- art that can easily be brought up on google? what is the nature of man's interaction with inorganic aesthetics, and why does he create said art at all? why is one person's creation better than the others, to the point that he needs to view it in a gallery? these questions are interesting to think about, and are definitely part of the wonder of attending art galleries in person. isn't it crazy that people congregate and get drunk together at openings- to look at what amounts to glorified pieces of paper?? fascinating!

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