Jul 2
Global Times | June 09, 2011 10:16
By Lin Kan Hsuang


Is something missing from your life – and do you know what it is? Nine artists unravel their understanding and interpretations of everyday 'absence' until July 3, at Alibi, a group exhibition at the Linda Gallery, 798 Art District in Beijing.

The Global Times spoke to curator Wang Yifei about how the artists interpreted the idea. First, she explained, absence can be viewed as a "general situation of apathy, loneliness and isolation." Alternatively, it might be about one's own absence from a preferable situation: an incessant yearning to escape a constant reality. Third, there's a doubt about our being, a "question mark over space and time."

By the entrance protrudes a branch on a spring. The artist, Yang Xinguang, was inspired by his experience climbing a mountain. To enter the gallery, visitors have to either push the branch away to clear a path or make a detour.

"The attitude of both accepting and escaping from the disturbance embodies our resistance against something that should have not shown up in our lives," Yang explained.

"Even if you've cleared the way and moved into the gallery, you may still be bothered by the branch bouncing back," Wang said, laughing. "Pretty annoying."


Inside, you'll find a wall stocked with hundreds of half-eggshells, inside each of which has been written dense and repetitive English vocabulary. Looking for Sense of Security is about artist Liu Ren's complicated feelings about the language as a required course in his past educational experience.

"I hoped to learn this international common language well, so as to be competitive enough, but I realized its importance too late. My alternative choice is to learn English by means of art," Liu said. "The English vocabulary represented within has been sublimated from being a mere communicative tool to a cultural feature."

Wang interpreted Looking for Sense of Security as being about an absence of both study and life. "The eggs originally bear life; now, a cultural media."

Another of Liu's works, Back to Ashes, an aluminum lunch box filled with eggshell debris, is more nihilistic.

"A living man can disappear in a blink, together with all his sentiments. Consequently, what he thinks important is no longer meaningful, just like the words in the shells. No matter how significant the messages were, time will at last dissolve all existing things," Liu explained.

Besides Liu's artworks, there are 10 oil paintings, five each by Sun Daliang and Shi Wenfei, Role, a video installation by Li Ming, Tian Yu's multi-material Shield Position and Li Wei's action-art video 22 min, 55 sec.

Wu Xiaojun's work, based on Saddam Hussein's last words.

Forget about art

In a separate space with a white neon-light fascia is the Forget Art Fair, a specifically showcased "mini-fair" at the center of the gallery.

"It is a mini-sized art fair with only one booth," Wang said. "Which tries to extend the conception and function of traditional art fairs in a limited area.

"Contemporary Chinese art strongly requires the platform of commercial galleries. Forget Art Fair not only represents this status quo but attempts to blur the boundaries between commercial intervention and experimental presentation," she continued.

Forget Art is a group comprising several dynamic young artists. Based in Beijing since 2009, it has successfully participated in two exhibitions.

"We are trying to develop work which is not easy to categorize. With a strategy of 'urban nomad tactics,' we are attempting to redefine spaces and locations," said founder Ma Yongfeng.

Seven artworks are showcased at Forget's Linda exhibition, including Alessandro Rolandi's One, Huang Jia's January 2011 and February 2011, Ma Yongfeng's Transparency is Wrong, Wu Xiaojun's Don't be Afraid and Yang Jian's Want to Leave, using materials from oil-on-canvas and stainless steel to 3D animation, neon lights, synthetic glass and LEDs.

"Wu Xiaojun is an important figure in the conceptual photography movement of the 1990s, when he fabricated fictional cartoon figures and scenarios," art critic Carol Yinghua Lu said.

Lu was one of five judges at the recent Golden Lion Prize in the 54th Venice Biennale, Italy, and the only Chinese curator of the 2012 Gwangju Biennale, South Korea.

Wu's Don't be Afraid features a heart-shaped object from which blood vessels made of thin red-neon lights extends, shaping the letters of Saddam Hussein's last three words before his execution in December 2006 – and the title of the work.

"Since 2000, Wu has shifted the focus of his practice toward making site-specific neon-light installations, often involving texts and words, to comment on political and social events," Lu noted.

"Based on his previous experience as a news editor, Wu is able to place an event that has taken place or is happening, in a logical perspective and a larger historical context.

"Even though what motivates his creativity is always a single specific aspect of an event, the process of thinking in between, which originates from a humanistic viewpoint and sensitivity, has enriched his artworks and made them thought-provoking."
Jun 23
from ArtSlant,Posted by ArtSlant Team on 29-05

forget art is a loose artist collective, based in Beijing, and initiated in 2009 by Chinese artist Ma Yongfeng. They focus on intervention-based work, often with a touch of the absurd, promoting small-scale, subtle disturbances in the fabric of society, which they describe as their "social micro-practice."


As they work by and large outside of recognised gallery spaces, the creation and value of social space has become an important material for forget art. This keys into the long history of nomadism, with particular attention to the local experience in China and its mass population of migrant workers, as well as the international development of the itinerant white-collar worker. So in forget art’s “situations” ambivalence towards the fixed location comes through, feeding into their approach to production and presentation, and their feeling that sometimes it is necessary to "forget" in order to proceed. As Ma quips “That’s also why we don’t need any space – because we 'forget art,' why do we need any space to do this?!”

forget art made its first appearance at the Dragon Fountain Bathhouse in September of last year, with a group show inserting a collection of minimal works into a temporarily détourned bathhouse in Beijing’s Caochangdi Art Village.

The works appeared as small situations expanding on the idea of an artwork, but always with a standpoint somewhere between the object and the situation. The light touches of the pieces infused the rooms without overly asserting their presence or nature, with male and female areas open to all for a few hours only. At the time Ma explained to me that, “An ‘object’ is just this thing [indicating a cup], but if we draw a circle around it, it’s an expanded object, developed, and it becomes a situation. But we don’t want it to become bigger and bigger, we’re just in the middle, in-between.”


This sensibility has laid the groundwork for forget art’s Guerrilla Living Syndrome (created by Ma Yongfeng, Yang Xinguang and Wu Xiaojun) that began last month. Guerrilla Living Syndrome will be a series of projects continuing to attend to these subtle displacements of spatial and social constructions but applying to wider forms of subject matter. As the name suggests, all the sub-projects will build up to a renegotiation of our social relations based on lived space.

A starting point for this new project is the effect of the Hukou system on life in China. A Hukou is a residence permit, which gives you rights in the area it applies to. While not preventing you from moving around, as it did in the past, a Hukou makes things like healthcare more convenient in its area; treatment for serious health issues can only be received in your Hukou.

Although certainly not as draconian as it used to be, the Hukou system represents a strong tie to a “home” area. The psychological and practical issues of accommodation outside of your area become an issue, so the first Guerrilla Living Syndrome project, Youth Apartment Exchange Project (YAEP), picks up on the issues of nomadism seen in the previous projects while providing practical accommodation possibilities for the participants. As Ma says: “People move many times in their lives, and there are also a lot of temporary spaces in the city – Starbucks, hotels, restaurants. We want all spaces to become temporary.”

On a practical level YAEP takes the form of a social website that allows participants to find others who want to exchange residences, and then to share the experience and stories behind the exchange back on the site. The site is not just for apartment swapping though -- anything can be shared through this open barter system forget art have constructed.


One effect of this new system is to bring people together, promoting social interaction through exchange. Ma worries about the contemporary tendency of people to live their lives online, weakening real world social bonds. As Japan has its otaku, China has its zhainan (宅男) and shengnu (剩女), recognised as potential problems for the development of society. YAEP addresses this by providing an arena for real-world socialisation through the exchange format, in what Ma characterises as “from Facebook to face-to-face.”

When I put it to Ma that in practice exchanging apartments would perhaps not be easy for many people, he was pragmatic about the issues involved, and also pointed out the part traditional Confucian family values will play on participation. These emphasise your family as your top priority while those outside of it are seen as less important or trustworthy. This background will make exchange with strangers difficult for many people, so to begin with, the project will bring existing friends together to exchange with each other.


These social barriers are what this project seeks to address with its interventions, which forget art see as a route to adjusting society as a whole: "Chinese civil society is not like Western civil society. [Chinese society] can be very cold and selfish… We want to make our projects the starting point to let people accept their value as a citizen, to care about strangers, to care about society, about social responsibility. This is not an art project: it’s a social thing."


Reflecting the nomadic ways of life, YAEP represents alternative living practices, and although Ma recognises this is “a very utopian way of thinking about society in the future,” nevertheless he feels that taking a lesson from art practice can provide new possibilities in the wider field:

“In the art world we talk about alternative strategies, but we can expand this to everyday life. In the traditional Beijing hutongs we have shared toilets in every alley; it’s more sociable (but maybe less convenient). But modern life says that having a toilet in your house is the only acceptable value, but that way of thinking is very much like what Marcuse addresses in ‘One-Dimensional Man.’ We want this society to have many different values of living, not just one.”
Appropriately, this is a long-term project for forget art which they see lasting ten years (or more), and the results very much depend on circumstances; Ma is happy to leave that aspect of the project open: “China has a very sophisticated society, so the results of this are really unknown.”

Starting from the minimal roots of the Dragon Fountain Bathhouse project, Guerrilla Living Syndrome shows that the approach of forget art will always be subtle but with grand aspirations: “We want to make a very small change – to find that critical point, where we can try and get some more interesting things to appear.”

-- Edward Sanderson

(*Images: Kevin Cyr, Camper Bike, 2008.  Han Wuzhou, Sofa Cart, 2011. Courtesy of the artists and forget art.)
Jun 23

来自:ARTFORUM  http://artforum.com.cn/diary/3645


与往日没有特别不同,只是今天Gmail彻底打不开、马路上警车特别多,不过策展人王一妃表示展览标题不在场“只是一种巧合,并没有预先的设计;不在场其实源于我个人的一种状态,在人群之中总有一种不在其中的感觉。”对于一个85后年轻策展人的第一个展览,今天的开幕人气很旺,碰到了很多年轻艺术家和画廊同行,朱朱、Josef Ng、张一舟、王贝莉等多位中青年策展人也都来到“不在场”。


一进画廊门口先被一根底部安有弹簧的树枝横向挡住, 看着现场观众如何“穿过” 杨心广的作品《有弹簧的树枝》而进去展厅,你可以看到面对无法选择的情况时,人们如何表现。有的人把它压下去,导致树枝反弹回来会打到后面的人;有的钻过去,有的把它抬起来再轻轻放下,而大部分人是绕过树枝进入展厅。在中国,我们太熟悉这种“怕惹麻烦,绕路而行”的感觉。杨心广站在树枝附近,顶着两个小尖犄角像个“小恶魔”看着大家,这是他和艺术家杨健为今天展览特意剃的发型,我问他为什么,杨心广说“你看我这样有点奇怪是吧?对了!我就是想让来的人看着不顺眼、不舒服”,这个直接、干预性很强的作品给人留下印象很深。


进到展厅首先看到的是位于中间的一个“大白盒子”,这是“Forget Art Fair”的摊位,项目策划人马永峰热情给大家介绍:“这是一个迷你“巴塞尔”艺术博览会,这次空降到商业画廊的空间里,是脱离商业艺博会的一种尝试”。 当被问道:“那你这次选择在一个商业画廊里做这个作品到底能体现出与商业艺术博览会的什么不同呢”,他回答:“如果艺术家不和画廊合作,还可以和Forget Art Fair合作”。这次带来的5件作品都是看上去“不好卖的”,除了一幅油画,其它都是装置和录像作品(李山《One》,马永峰《透明是错误的》,吴小军《不要害怕》,杨健《想要离开》)。 马永峰还说“Forget Art Fair刚开始会和画廊合作,之后也计划在美术馆、非营利空间等不同场所展出,希望能探索出一种新的展出、销售模式”,马永峰在现场也充当起“销售总监”,给每位来宾介绍作品,如果再放一个桌子、加一个销售小姐,感觉上会更像艺博会现场;他打趣的说“我今天绝食一天,用饥饿证明我存在着”。林大画廊老板Linda女士听完马永峰的介绍后笑着说“真是为国争光啊!”。







— 文/ 窦子

Jun 23
by Edward Sanderson
from ArtSlant http://www.artslant.com/cn/articles/show/23823


Group Exhibition
Linda Gallery Beijing
No.2 Jiu XianQiao Road, 798 Art District,
ChaoYang District, 100015 Beijing, China
2011 June 04 – 2011 July 03

“Alibi,” the title in English of this group show at Linda Gallery in Beijing’s 798 Art District, seems so much more evocative than the Chinese title (不在场), which the essay by curator Wang Yifei translates as “Being Absent.” Although the adherence to the title seems a little weak at times, this show presents artists working with an absence of some sort. That being a very broad subject, the results take many forms and directions and overall the show brings together an interesting selection of works with some standout pieces.

Unsurprisingly, given where we are, the curator’s text does not delve too far into any of the contemporary social realities of “being absent,” describing it in general terms as “like a conspiracy, an escape or a way of self-liberation.” To me this places the focus more on an individual’s agency in the matter and less on absence as a result of outside circumstances. The text also proposes that: “In the contemporary art field nowadays, many artists have established their independent and mature styles of expression without any limit to the subject material.” This statement seems somewhat disingenuous. The show opened on a particularly significant day, a fact that some of the exhibiting artists were obviously well aware of, but would have been unwise to attempt to deal with directly. But there is little point dwelling on such matters, as they simply reflect the facts of working in this environment, to which I recognise I am equally beholden as I can only obliquely refer to their meaning.

Stretching across the entrance to the gallery, a long tree branch attached to the wall by a spring forces visitors to divert around or push it aside to make their entry. This piece by Yang Xinguang abstracts an experience of hiking through woods, pushing aside branches to make your way, suggesting for the curator the activity of escape from one place to another. As simple as it is, the piece has a strong effect in its evocation of the thoughtless gesture of moving through an environment far from the controlled environment of the gallery space.

Wrapping around the main wall in front of this, Liu Ren’s Searching for a sense of security is a series of thin shelves carrying around 4,000 empty eggshells, inside each of which is handwritten vocabulary from the artist’s attempts to learn English. This mass of shells arranged in their rows are overwhelming in serial nature, their combined fragility, and the sheer amount of potential learning held on their inside surface. The shells hold their information so tentatively in the emptied casings that there is always the possibility of breakage and the loss of meaning.

Perhaps the most literal demonstration of “Being Absent” is Li Wei’s painted outlines of bodies on the floor – as if evidence of some mass killing. Painted in mustard-coloured oil paint just prior to the opening, these took several hours to dry, with the outlines becoming increasingly vague and disturbed by the steps of the visitors. Li commented that this process reflected the fact that there are certain events for which the evidence may disappear, but the memory will not.

In amongst all this an additional structure has been built, mimicking the booths that appear in art fairs around the world. This serves as the setting for Ma Yongfeng’s forget art fair that takes place within the gallery for the duration of the show. Ma is known for his critical and irreverent approach to art institutions and in this case he has followed the conventions of the international art fair circuit and created his own distinct sales space, acting as a show within “Alibi.” His curated show within a curated show perhaps marks the presence in their absence of curators themselves, hovering over their shows while attempting not to overshadow them (a delicate balancing act which only the best pull off).

Works inside Ma’s “fair” include the minimal white canvases of Huang Jia, who adds ridges of stitching to their featureless painted surfaces; Alessandro Rolandi’s unassuming bamboo cane made from polished stainless steel leans up against the corner of the space; and a nice work by Yang Jian of an old armchair supporting a semi-circular section of LED signage. This sign displays a continuous moving text announcing: “… Huang Lei, male, wants to leave – Chen Xiaoxia, female, wants to leave…” etc. For me this piece presented the most appropriate, sensitive and poetic response to the theme of the show. This scrolling sign arches above the absent human form in the armchair, announcing the rather sad and impotent longings of many people to simply – leave.

(All images courtesy of Linda Gallery and the arist.)
May 23
On the Curatorship

作者: Boris Groys















但就连图示性和叙事性也已成功地进入了艺术殿堂,可是这并不意味着艺术无神论自动取得了胜利。即便艺术家失去了信仰,他“点石成金”的魔力并未随之消失,就好比天主教牧师失去信仰并不会使他所主持的宗教仪式失效。与此同时,装置本身被赋予了艺术的地位:装置已成为一种众人接受的艺术形式,而且在当代艺术中扮演着日趋重要的角色。所以,单个图像和物品丢掉的独立地位被整个装置给全盘赚了回来。1973年,马塞尔•布达埃尔(Marcel Broodthaers)在杜塞尔多夫美术馆展出他的《现代美术馆,鹰之部》时,在装置里每个物品旁边都加上了“这不是一件艺术品”的标签。但整个装置却合情合理地作为艺术品成立。


2003年,第五十届威尼斯双年展上由Molly Nesbit, Hans- Ulrich Obrist和Rirkrit Tiravanija共同策划的“乌托邦站”便是很好一例。围绕这个项目的批评和公共讨论主要强调了乌托邦这一概念是否仍然具有相关性;策展人提出的乌托邦理想是否真应被认为如此等问题。但对我来说,一个带有明显偶像破坏倾向的策展项目能够进入历史最悠久的国际艺术大展这一事实似乎比上述考量更加重要。说它带有偶像破坏倾向是因为展览把艺术品当成图示和文献来用,用以寻找一个社会乌托邦,而没有强调作品的独立价值。这种方式与俄国经典前卫艺术激进的偶像破坏做法一致,后者也把艺术视为文献,记录了对“新人”和“新生活”的寻找过程。但最重要的一点还在于,“乌托邦站”是一个策展项目,而非艺术项目。这就意味着我们无法向其分配艺术价值,因而也不能借此使其偶像破坏姿态失效。但我们仍然可以认为,该项目是对乌托邦概念的妄用,因为展览把乌托邦的概念审美化,并将其置于一种精英主义的艺术语境内。同样,我们也可以说该项目是对艺术的妄用:艺术变成了策展人乌托邦理想的图解工具。因此,在上述两种情况下,观众都必须面对某种歪曲——无论是艺术造成的妄用,还是对艺术的妄用。但此处,妄用不过是偶像破坏的另一种说法。



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