Apr 17


Exhibition Explores New Video and Photography from China

The Institute of Visual Arts (Inova) at the UWM Peck School of the Arts opens its third exhibition of the spring cycle, RUINS, on Friday, March 10, 2006 from 6:00-9:00 pm in Gallery One, 3253 North Downer Avenue. Guest curator Zhang Zhaohui begins a gallery talk at 6:30 pm. The opening is sponsored by the Organization of Chinese Americans-Wisconsin. Mr. Zhang and artists Ma Yongfeng and Liu Jin will be in residence at the Peck School of the Arts from March 6 through March 12. The show remains open through May 14. Gallery hours are noon-5:00 pm, Wednesday-Sunday. (Please see attached Fact Sheet for details and information on other exhibitions in the Peck School of the Arts this spring.)

RUINS, an exhibition of new video and photography from China curated by Zhang Zhaohui, directly addresses the tension between a rapidly developing and urbanizing society and its traditional history and culture. This exhibition brings together the work of fourteen artists from Mainland China and Macau: Chen Qingqing, Chen Qiulin, the Gao Brothers, Huang Yan, Li Luming, Li Wei, Liu Jin, Liu Wei, Ma Yongfeng, Ng Fong Chao, Sheng Qi, Xing Danwen, Zhang Dali, and Zhang Wei. Created with readily accessible new media, their photographic and video works document and comment upon bewildering changes, each telling a truth about contemporary China.

After nearly three decades of development, the Chinese contemporary art scene has reached a new stage. Recent Chinese art is winning international recognition and the number of gifted, self-assured and globally conscious emerging artists has grown to a steady stream. These younger artists have grown up in the midst of remarkable social transitions and a remaking of the urban environment; they are also making work in a country that is, because of its rapid and extensive economic development, at the center of the global gaze. China's attitude towards its past?historical, spiritual, and material?is also under construction, and the tension between past and present suffuses the work of the artists whose work is included in Ruins.

Many works in the exhibition reflect the artists' deep concern with the uncertainty of a fast-changing society, their anxiety about deteriorating environmental conditions, their implicit criticism of the corrupt political system, and their aspirations for a freer and brighter world. Their work mirrors a world defined by physical, cultural and spiritual destruction; in it we see not only demolished buildings but the ruins of traditional culture, patriotism, and revolutionary ideals. Like many of China's younger artists, the artists in this exhibition are picking through the debris of their country's recent and distant past and considering the possibility of building a new cultural identity on these ruins.
Apr 17

It's always a mystery to me how that we never had shows like this in HK, and people abroad sees more new Chinese artists than we do. However I do want to say that PS1 (public school one not play station one) might be the coolest comtemporary art museum ever, just because every Sunday afternoon they have a "Club" starting in the afternoon until evening. You pay 5 bucks, and then there is live bands, DJs, beer and you can walk around the converted school looking in all the different classrooms at contemporary art. Unlike in the biggest museums where they have "Friday Night Jazz," this museum has "Sunday Afternoon club day." It was surely one of those extra memorable places I have ever been, filled with hip-hop boys, manhattenites, families just out for the day, drag queens, tourists, artists, wanna bes, williamburg's hipsters and just a nice creative cross section of people one might find in New York.

Next to the place is an art space, a pretty run down ex factory building that there are studios, public access TV rooms and general chaos. Then if you climb up to the top floorr, you will find a view of Manhatten and a whole few thousand feet area covered from floor to walls, of graffitti art. Which is the spot that in swap of learning the basic "Six step" of breakdancing, I taught a bunch of guys from Queens to do the "Six steps of Ballet." Awesome....

Apr 17

The Thirteen: Chinese Video Now


Time: February 26, 2006 through April 24, 2006

P.S.1 Opening Day Celebration: February 26, 2006 from noon to 6

Place: P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, Museum of Modern Art Affiliate, NY

Artists: 8gg , Cui Xiuwen, Cao Fei , Dong Wensheng,
Hu Jie Ming, Huang Xiaopeng, Li Songhua ,
Liang Yue , Lu Chunsheng, Ma Yongfeng ,
Meng Jin, Xu Tan , Xu Zhen

Curators: David Thorp, SUN Ning (Platform China)
Apr 17

The talented and enterprising Sun Ning (AKA Natalie Sun) is at it again. Her recently opened art center, Platform China Contemporary Art Institute, together with David Thorpe, has just put together a line-up of some of China's most interesting video artists, including: 8gg, Cui Xiuwen, Dong Wensheng, Cao Fei, Hu Jieming, Huang Xuaopeng, Li Songhua, Liang Yu, Lu Chunsheng, Ma Yongfeng, Meng Jin, Xu Tan and Xu Zhen for a show at the PS1 in New York. What is most exciting is that the exhibit represents another step in the direction of weaning the West of its fetish with exoticized political symbols, showing that the creative and thematic diversity of new media Chinese contemporary art goes far beyond simply replicating the same "big head" oil paintings ad nauseum. Highlights include Cui Xiuwen's visually subtle and conceptually disturbing "Toot;" Cao Fei's "Cosplayers," which explores the escapist fantasy world of China's urban youth; and Ma Yongfeng's hypnotic and controversial "The Swirl," which meditates on the modern sense of helplessness in the face of senseless abuse, and the futility of resistance, using a fifteen minute shot of six goldfish (Chinese symbols of prosperity) trapped in the whirlpool of an upright washing machine as it mechanically goes through its various cycles, oblivious to the suffering of the fish.

PS1, New York
February 26 - April 24 2006

(c) 2006 Maya Kovskaya. All Rights Reserved.

Apr 17

Upon my arrival at the INOVA Gallery I was intrigued by strange noises coming from one of the nearby gallery rooms. In the room there was a video entitled, “Beijing Zoological Garden” by Ma Yongfeng. The video was shot with a circular frame as though the viewer is looking through a telescope or perhaps a pupil.

The film begins with images of humans’ reflections as they walked by exhibits in the zoo. The audio throughout the film is composed of eerie noises like a heavily distorted voice which creates an unsettling feeling. However, at some points in the film the sounds are very calm. The action is arranged in slow motion and seemed to capture the animals’ everyday behaviors in the zoo.
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