More Chilli … more saffron
With June dominated by the “European Biennale Circuit” and all focus on Venice and documenta, lets take a look at the Asian pavilions within this art bonanza, and a couple of suggested side-visits that are a must – like the Shanghai initiative “Migration Addicts” dotted around Venice and “Thermocline of Art, New Asian Waves” an exciting survey at ZKM | Museum of Contemporary Art, Karlsruhe Germany, and then of course lets not forget the Sharajah Biennale …
Welcome to The Asian Art Report. AAR is going bi-monthly as we continually try to improve the column. In future issues we will have more commentary from professionals within the region and more listings of residencies and opportunities … really just more chilli and spice!
By Gina Fairley
Gina Fairley is a freelance writer
working between Southeast Asia and.
THE ASIAN PICTURE: EXHIBITIONS & EXCHANGES
Photography shifting perceptions
Para/Site has two interesting photography exhibitions opening this month. “3/4 suggestions for a better living”, Hong Kong artist Lee Kit’s first solo exhibition, which combines his hand-printed fabric placed in everyday situations, such as curtains or a tablecloth, that are then photographed, playing up the banality of their performative role; and the launch of “1/xx Hong Kong flat” – a limited edition portfolio of 15 of Hong Kong’s prominent contemporary photographers, a project initiated to stimulate the acceptance for conceptual photography within a local collecting environment. Both exhibitions run 4 May through 10 June. For more www.para-site.org.hk (pictured left)
May – June is an insanely busy month at 798. There is the 4th Dashanzi International Art Festival with a succession of big names and hot shows. Song Dong will be at the Beijing Commune during May through 8 June, visit http://www.beijingcommune.com;
Sydney’s Laurens Tan has a fabulous solo exhibition at AnniArt, a kind of ‘occasional insiders’ view of China’s new world dynamism. Titled “The Depth of Ease”, Tan has fabricated 21st century version of the SanLunChe – China’s three-wheeled vehicle – melded with digital design that concocts a brave new fantasy-scape. Tan questions the mutability of China’s culture and customs in a typically multi-faceted exhibition – equally at home in design as art – and indeed a dialogue with design and technology that operates on another level as China embraces its new consumerism. Tan’s exhibition continues until 27 May.
And Red Gate Gallery have Australian’s Jayne Dyer and Tony Scott showing withDeng Yifu and Zheng Xuewu in “Translucent Text” until 20 May, which will then be followed with the fantastic images of Zhou Jun with the “Bird’s Nest Project”. Like Tan’s exhibition, these images redefine contemporary China with digital chic. Showing 19 May – 17 June at Red Gate’s Watchtower space. Visit http://www.redgategallery.com
Guan Wei’s Beijing Solo
Adopted Australian, Guan Wei, will also be heading to Beijing to show with Red Gate during June. Although a new group of paintings, they typically focus on the notion of myths associated with migration and voyaging that have become iconic of Guan Wei’s work. From 23 June – 22 July, Guan Wei will appear at The Bookworm in Sanlitun on June 19.
Closer is forced closed
Independent curator Nguyen Nhu Huy reminds us of the realities of Vietnam and its struggling independent art scene. His exhibition “Closer”, a body of conceptual photography by Himiko. Nguyen (Nguyen Kim Hoang), was closed by government officials on 22 April citing, “All the artworks of artist Nguyen Kim Hoang in this exhibition have violated the Vietnamese beautifully and kindly cultural tradition.” Not-showing at the Hi-mi-ko saloon, District 3, HCMC, Huy has picked up the debate on his blog (in English) on the contemporary art scene in HCMC – Blog:http://www.nhuhuy.com/htmls/weblogs_en.php?f=1&mon=4&ye=2007.
There is also a site up now showing the censored works http://anonymouse.org/cgi-bin/anon- www.cgi/http://www.talachu.org/talaGallery/gallerymain.php
Post Martial Law vs. Post ’89 – The Contemporary Art in Taiwan and China
On July 15, 1987 martial law ended in Taiwan triggering Taiwan’s explosion onto the avant-garde art scene with the lifting of political taboos and an opening up to new ideology and multiple points of view. On February 5, 1989, the historically significant China/Avant-Garde exhibition was held. On June 4 of the same year, the Tiananmen incident occurred in China. In the China of post 1989, art embodied a rebellious spirit especially in the new phenomena of anti-consumerism in the arts, with movements such as Political Pop, Cynical Realism, the latter Kitsch Art and with discourses on death and trauma. A comprehensive survey of both sides of the Strait – Taiwan and China – is explored in an exhibition at the National Taiwan Museum of Fine Art. This sounds like an extremely thorough and landmark exhibition work checking out – Showing until 17 June for more visit http://www.tmoa.gov.tw
Q & A – Filipino style
Not-surprisingly curated by Roberto Chabet, “Q & A” is a multi-dimensional collection of works by the young artists Al Cruz, from oils to digital media to installations, literally assembled in the proposition, “what parameters govern the visual arts?” In Q & A, Cruz blurs the boundaries between design, abstraction and sign systems. Take the oil painting “Waiting for the Show” – a recreation of the multicolored television test panel, a binary allusion to geometric abstraction and the semiotics of mass media. Showing at Mag:net Gallery ABS, Quezon City until 19 May, visit http://www.magnet.com.ph
Grand Pianos – Grand Project
Perth-based Alwin Reamillo returns to his hometown of Manila under an Asialink residency to present, “Mang Emo + Mag-himo Grand Piano Project”, a documentary shrine-like installation shown across two venues – the Cultural Centre of the Philippines and Galleria Duemila. Re-constructing an upright and parlour grand piano from found and recycled parts, Reamillo’s works with local piano makers in homage to his father Mang Emo, a piano-maker and co-founder of now defunct Javincello & Company, Filipino piano making Galleria Duemila will be transformed into a temporal piano assembly workshop in a performative action to revive this craft since lost. Mag-himo is a Waray word that means ‘to make, to create, to craft’. The Mang Emo + Mag himo Grand Piano Project will return to the Fremantle Arts Centre in December. For more visit www.galleriaduemila.com.
We all grew up learning ‘cursive’ script – that long flowing connection of lines that produces picture symbols – words. But the press release for this exhibition explains cursive is not an entirely Western style, “In China also when Emperor Qin Shi Huang ordered his Prime Minister Li Si to standardize the writing system in an effort to unify regional communication, a running script was developed. Called caoshu (grass writing or cursive hand), it is a rapid stroke thus it was used for making quick but rough copies and is sub-divided into two parts: zhangcao and jincao.” 11 artists have used the idea of ‘cursive text’ not as a literal reference but rather as an abstracted or inspiration expression through various media. Showing at Hong Kongs Artists Commune, Kowloon 5 – 29 May, visit http://www.artist-commune.com This exhibition is part of their International Art Exchange Program.
‘What is curating? How do you define the role of curators, especially their working relationship with artists in creating and presenting contemporary art in Asia?’ These are the questions posed by Khairuddin Hori in an interesting project that usurps the role of the curator, placing them in the realm of performance … maybe it is a pun on our expectation for them to ‘to perform’. Including Thomas J Berghuis (PhD dissertation on Performance Art in China, University of Sydney), the young Malaysian curator Adeline Ooi, Malaysia’s renowned artist and curator Wong Hoy Cheong, Mikke Susanto from Indonesia and Thai curator Chumpon Apisuk, the project was performed / exhibited at The Substation Singapore through May and will be performed at ‘The Art Centre’, Chulalongkorn University, Thailand, on 28 June through 21 July. This project was organised by LASALLEs Institute of Contemporary Arts Singapore. http://www.lasallesia.edu.sg/news/read.php?id=167
Charlie Co in Beijing
Filipino artist Charlie Co has just completed a three-month residency with Osage gallery at their Beijing studio and, during May, will show the outcomes of this stay. Co is a prolific painter and this show is big. Typically, his images are a kind of personal diary taking on the role as ‘commentator’ of the global condition on the local. These new works have an exciting fresh energy for Co. Showing until 21 May visit http://www.osagegallery.com
Zhu Ming Solo Exhibition
“Zhu Ming is one the most important performance artists of the Chinese avant-garde. From his first appearance in the seminal group work by Beijing East Village artists, “To Add a Meter to an Anonymous Mountain,” Zhu Ming has created performance works that leave an indelible impression upon the viewer and have left a deep impression upon the landscape of Chinese contemporary art. During the first decade of his performances, his works were banned from public display in Mainland China because it was believed that Zhu Ming’s works were polluting to the general public. As a result, the majority of his performances from the Bubble and Luminescent Man series were performed abroad. The Bubble series, a performance series that was initiated in 1997 and makes use of specially designed plastic bubbles, discusses the transience of life and the endless cycle of life and death. These same themes were also an inherent aspect of Zhu Ming’s more recent works, Luminescent Man, in which the artist paints his body with toxic fluorescent powder and performs in a darkened room. The images from these performances alternately show the artist curled in foetal position, as a many-armed Bodhisattva and as a single head floating in a black abyss. Regardless of medium, Zhu Ming’s works often place enormous stress on the artist’s body and, through these external, physical struggles, the artist finds internal, spiritual peace in the process of performance.” (courtesy Asian Art Archive) Chinese Contemporary Factory (798 Beijing) is giving Zhu Ming his first solo exhibition since 1993 and will show photographs from the artist’s performances from 1993 – 2006. A catalogue of the artist’s work has been published for this exhibition. Showing until 30 June, for more visit http://www.chinesecontemporary.com
Malaysian installation and video artist Vincent Leong has just finished a residency with Singapore’s Sculpture Square and is celebrating with an exhibition/performance event, “Party Like You’re Back Home” targeted at Singapore’s huge ex-pat community. Leong is an interesting young artist who likes to push the parameters of representation and constructs – social, political and subliminal. This is the THIRD Tropical Paradise wallpaper project for Sculpture Square. Showing until 20 May, check out http://www.sculpturesq.com.sg
Wei-Ling Gallery has been carving a name for itself over the last couple of years, pushing the boundaries within the Malaysian contemporary art scene. They have recently double their exhibition space occupying an adjacent shop-house in the Indian district of Brickfields, now covering 5 floors of exhibition space. Their current show ‘Filtered’ typically explores local socio-political constructs. Placing the artist as a ‘filter’ or purveyors of ‘truth’, this exhibition attempts to cut through the veiled layers of rhetoric and media propaganda that shapes the cultural landscape in Malaysia. Including Anurendra Jegadeva, Hamir Soib, Ivan Lam, Ise, Ahmad Shukri Mohamed among others, for more visit www.weiling-gallery.com
Japanese read on Contemporary Indian Painting
India has gathered recent attention globally with its developments in the IT industry and, on the other hand, its bold rise of contemporary Indian art. These artists, who have used folk traditions handed down for centuries and applied them to contemporary visual languages, are able to speak about contemporary issues in both a local and international vernacular. The Fukuoka Asian Art Museum takes a look at this phenomenon with works from their collection by Manjit Bawa, Shail Choyal and Atul Dodiya. Showing until 26 June, visit http://faam.city.fukuoka.jp
Korean artists in transition
“Fast Break” brings together a full-scale exhibition of Korean artists in Beijing. Curated by Chankyong Park, its title is also a metaphor for Seoul’s momentum for change. Profiling 14 young artists who have lived through this period of high-speed growth and who have experienced the trauma of cold war, their works confront the topography and language of transition as Seoul is redefined as an expanding ‘place’ of freedom and one struggling under the complexities of shifting value systems. Showing at the PKM Gallery, Chaoyang Qu, Beijing until 30 June for more visit http://www.pkmgallery.com
Dadang at Jan Manton
Dadang Christanto’s name is synonymous with contemporary Indonesian art. Now based in Brisbane, this new body of work titled “Work of Body”, as the catalogue says ” it is neither landscape, nor a ground from which forms emerge, but a psychological field … It is Christanto’s way to make sense of the abstraction of horror … makes force visible through its effect on flesh.” These are extremely powerful and adept new works. Try to catch it if you are in Brisbane, showing until 26 May visit www.janmantonart.com
… speaking of Australian’s in Asia
Craig Walsh and Shaun Gladwell’s exhibition “Street Works – Inside Outside Yokohama” opens at Singapore’s Substation 30 May as part of the Singapore Arts Festival. It heads down the peninsula after a showing with Valentine Willie Fine Art (KL) during May, in conjunction with “MY.OZ” the Australian High Commission’s year-long cultural program to celebrate the 50th anniversary of relations between Australia and Malaysia. Typical of their work, “Street Works” explores the urban grunge culture of skateboarding, hip hop, graffiti to render barren pockets of urban landscapes into dramatic filmic sequences and video. Gladwell was introduced to VWFA through the Goethe institute artconnexions project in 2005, and is included in this year’s Venice Biennale. “Street Works” is supported by Asialink and was commissioned for the Yokohama 2005 International Triennale of Contemporary Art.
Tony Twigg and painter Brad Munro (above) will have a two-man show with TAKSU Singapore until 12 May before the exhibition travels to their Kuala Lumpur gallery opening 26 May. The exhibition was presented under the umbrella of an Austrade program ‘Art & About’ that basically does little more than add its name … Both Munro and Twigg have produced a fabulous new body of work, Twigg moving into circular forms – take a look at www.taksu.com And in Malaysia last month, Malcolm Utley previewed a new body of sculptures made during a prolonged stay in KL, at Seksan’s ‘Lucky Garden’ in Bangsar during April. These works will be shown in Canberra in July – They are a fabulous edgy spin on the modern tubular form – take a look art http://www.malcolmutley.com
Titarubi talks sugar
In “Tales without Narration”, Yogyakarta artist Titarubi refuses to use the metaphor of “victim”. She expresses the deep desire of “the oppressed” to rise and stand. She is known for her installations that explore Indonesian societal complexities through the sugar industry owned by the Dutch. This exhibition continues her probing of political colonization and economic imbalance. At Cemeti Art House, Yogyakarta until 3 June visit www.cemetiarthouse.com
News from Long March
“Is NONO a double refusal and rejection, or is it the rejection of refusal? Perhaps the phrase accurately presents the current contradiction in contemporary art, where minor issues are over done, and major issues over looked. The exhibition, curatorless and themeless, is nonetheless linked with each artist’s personal perspective and their attitude towards the contemporary.” – now that’s a new spin for Long March. There seems to be a current trend questioning the curator’s role in Asia. 11 Artists, including the two leading forces in Shanghai, Xu Zhen and Yang Zhenzhong, two Guangdong artists Chu Yun and Jiang Zhi, and the mainstays of Beijing art, Liu Wei, Shi Qing, Colin Chinnery, Wang Wei, Zhu Yu, and He An, and finally female artist Kan Xuan are showing newly commissioned work for this exhibition. Showing until 17 June visit www.longmarchspace.com
Green Papaya Art Projects in Manila is an institution for its dynamic program and harnessing emerging energy. It current exhibitions is no exception, a kind of salon hang of the ‘hot young things’ – its title says it all “The night market: 40º celsius!” It is followed by Gaston Damag opening 10 July 2007. Visit www.greenpapaya.org or jump on their mailing list. Their program for the second half of the year is really exciting – including Paul Pfeiffer, Louie Cordero and Mariano Ching among others.
More than café painting…
“Tibet Contemporary” is the first show of Tibetan contemporary art in China and is presented by the Beijing powerhouse, 798 / Red Gate Gallery. Little is known of a this scene outside Lhasa. US curator/academic Leigh Miller and Australian painter Tony Scott attempt to expose this vibrant scene, cutting across mediums to shift perceptions beyond the ‘tourist buddha’. Showing 26 May – 17 June, visit www.redgategallery.com
ASIAN ARTISTS ABROAD
Thermocline of Art. New Asian Waves
The exhibition presents the first comprehensive view of contemporary Asian art with more than 100 artists from twenty Asian countries — from Japan to Korea to China, from Southeast Asia to central Asia. The term “thermocline” refers to an oceanic phenomenon where a maelstrom that has remained invisible, caused by a dramatic change water temperature, suddenly shoots out over the surface. Curator Wonil Rhee (art director of the Seoul Media City and the Shanghai Biennale) uses this term as a metaphor for the conflict potential of globalization in Asia. The exhibition is not limited to internationally recognized artists, but presents mainly emerging artists who still live in their countries of origin. Showing at ZKM | Museum of Contemporary Art, Karlsruhe Germany 14 June through 21 October this exhibition potentially will cause waves.
Migration Addicts – a Venice Biennale satellite event
Migration Addicts began as a project two years ago in Shanghai, investigating how migration re-determines our sense of identity, gender and our spiritual needs. With the fast expansion of urban spaces, tension between Western and Chinese traditional values and lifestyles, as well as the late arriving of capitalism and the persisting communism, have not hindered the Chinese impulse towards assimilating the “international standards”, while fostering its own economic development. The structure of the exhibition is based on a series of interventions that will take place throughout the public space in Venice during the Biennale. The exhibition investigates the questions of temporal and spatial strategies that deal with these issues. On political and aesthetic levels, these projects interact with people outside artistic circles, expanding the idea of art and its experience in the public sphere. Venice is currently undergoing profound changes with respect to the urban landscape, its future and people moving out of the city. The artists participating in “Migration Addicts” providing a direct relationship bridging their own experience with the public space where the exhibitions is hosted. For more information http://www.ddmwarehouse.org Showing 6 – 15 June 2007.
Pacific Rim perspective on nature
“New Nature” at New Plymouth’s Govett Brewster Gallery looks at the endlessly mutating shifts between the natural world and its varied cultural readings through a disparate array of media from photography, projection, painting, meteorology and digital media. Featuring the work of 12 artists from the Pacific Rim, including Cicada, Fiona Hall, I-lann Yee, I-TASC, Yeondoo Jung, Takashi Kuribayashi, Rosemary Laing, Lin Tianmiao, Jon McCormack, Joe Sheehan, Tang Maohong and Michael Zavros – these artists will explore conceptual constructions of nature and the transgressions, or ‘slippages’ nature adopts in continuing evolution and flux, responding to human habitation and various aberrations. Showing 26 May through 2 September, visit www.govettbrewster.com
Chinese Legacy in London
Bond Street Gallery, Rossi & Rossi is hot on the Chinese wave that has taken over the UK. Their current exhibition “Legacy” looks at a selection of conceptual photography from China by six established and emergent artists, who work across a range of media, including performance art, sculpture, video and installation. As their press states, “This exhibition reflects two significant developments in contemporary work: the appropriation of classical Chinese culture into a highly contemporary idiom through the use of diverse materials; and the spectacular presentation of the artist’s body within photography as a powerful by-product of performance art … In Bai Yilou’s work “Calligraphy flies”, flies’ legs have been exquisitely arranged as calligraphic signs to form an apparently classical composition, a comment on culture’s relationship with mortality… The exhibition includes two well-known examples Sheng Qi’s stark and nostalgic Hand series shows the artist’s hand with one severed finger, a tiny passport photo in the palm, against a pure red background. This series has produced an iconic image of the psyche of modern China.” This exhibition has an impressive line up of artists and coincides with Tate Liverpool’s “The Real Thing”, a large-scale exhibition of new work by Chinese contemporary artists (30 March to 10 June 2007) Showing until 25 May, for more on Rossi & Rossi’s show http://www.rossirossi.com
The Alchemist: Qin Feng Solo
New York’s Ethan Cohen Fine Arts presents Qin Feng during May, his third solo with the gallery. Appropriately titled ‘The Alchemist’, Qin Feng turns his practiced ink works into a new expression in oil – pushing a personal experimentation in expression. His brushstrokes carry a familiar energy of his inks, yet he plays with brilliant colour – hot pinks and acid yellows. Living in Berlin since 1996, this experience has helped him find this new ‘hybrid’ expression. Showing until 26 May visit http://www.ecfa.com
Chinese Video Now
Chinese Video Now offers an exhilarating snapshot of a new generation of young artists working in China. Digital video technology lies at the heart of this extensive creative scene, whose ascent into the global arena reflects a wider Western upsurge of interest in all things China. The work of thirteen artists will feature across the gallery in a network of projections and monitor screens. The majority of artists in Chinese Video Now live and work in major urban centres like Beijing, Guangzhou and Shanghai, experiencing first-hand the growing consumer culture and rapid urban development of contemporary China. Though most of these artists have presented their work internationally, many of them have not exhibited in the UK. Opening in May and showing until 16 June at the John Hansard Gallery, Southampton. Curated by David Thorp and Ning Sun, for more visit Website: http://www.hansardgallery.org.uk
Elastic Taboos: Within the Korean World of Contemporary Art
Korea entered the post-modern era without phasing through the modern period. Elastic Taboos assembles a broad spectrum of works across generations, playing on opposites and conflicts, such as Lee Kang-so floor painting done by a live rooster juxtaposed to the rotating sculpture by the young artist Lee Seulgi titled “Dokebi” – balls hung by strings that hit the sculpture like a Buddhist monk working his Mok’ Tak (wooden gong) – contrasting a traditional Zen Buddhist affinity for abstraction and minimalism with the chaos of kitsch. Just as the gameboy soundtrack composed by Bubblyfish (aka Kim Haeyoung) provides a pleasant background for several monochrome works by Park Seo-bo, a new backdrop to the historical dimensions of Korean modernity. This exhibition promises to shift the way we read contemporary experiences, blurring yesterday’s taboos with an exciting contemporary hybridity.At Kunsthalle wien (Vienna) until 10 June visit http://www.kunsthallewien.at
RESIDENCIES: NEWS & GRABS
KdMoFa International Artist-in-Resident (Taiwan)
Deadline: 31 May 2007
Kuandu Museum of Fine Arts is keen to provide a residency for a foreign and local artist. The plan is to enhance the cultural exchanges and interactions between artists. Apart from the studio, a ‘heartwarming lounge’ – as their press release describes – is available to the artists, where they can enjoy the homelike environment. Application forms can be downloaded from the “About Project” section of the Kuandu Museum of Fine Arts website. International Artist-in-Resident deadline is the 31 May 2007. The result will be announced on the website by June 15th. For more information Email: email@example.com
Symposia and Residency in Romania – Call for Applicants
Deadline: 1 Jun 2007
The award-winning, non-profit international arts organization DFEWA e.V. (Dorethea Fleiss & East West Artists, artists association Stuttgart) announces a sponsored residency at the 9th Annual Dorothea Fleiss East West Artists Symposia and Residency from 25 August – 3 September 2007 in Carei, Romania. This 10 day international artist residency is open to artists in all disciplines and includes modest housing, workspace, meals, minimum materials and a $500 stipend to be used towards the artists’ airfare. The residency will culminate in an exhibition at the Municipal Museum of Carei. There are no residency fees, although the artist is requested – but not required – to donate one work produced during the residency to the Municipal Museum of Carei. For more visit http://www.dfewa.eu
2008 Artspace Residency Program
Deadline: 31 May 2007
Artspace Visual Arts Centre, is calling for applications for the Gunnery Studios for 2008. Available for period of one, three and six months, applicants may be based in Australia or overseas. Take a look at their website for details for further information and application forms – http://www.artspace.org.au Note a studio rental fee applies. Applications close 31 May 2007.
Call for Papers: The Body in Chinese Art
Just a reminder the call for papers is still open for Vital 07, a two-day conference on 15-16th November in Liverpool (UK) exploring how Chinese artists have used the body, historically and as a site for contemporary practice and expression in Live Art. For more visit www.vitalfestival.org or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Come on down …
The Australian High Commission in Kuala Lumpur has recently announced the recipient of the 2007 Visual Arts Residency at Sydney’s Gunnery Studios – installation artist Sharon Chin. Chin’s work has been creating waves in the KL art scene over the last couple of years. The 3-month residency starting 1 October this year, will be a great catalyst for new work by this exciting young artist. And Rimbun Dahan, just outside Kuala Lumpur, is about to go into application process for 2008 residencies – be sure to take a look at their website www.rimbundahan.org This is a sensational residency program that offers an Australian artist a twelve-month funded residency.
Malayasian Long March?
Fathullah Luqman will travel to 25 destinations across Malaysia over a seven month period from 1 April through January 2008, presenting his project NYALA. He will engage with the public and artists along the journey inviting participation in ‘Nyala’, documenting the process through a blog http://nyalaarttravel.blogspot.com/ In January the NYALA project will be exhibited at the Pelita Hati gallery in Kuala Lumpur.
New Blooms of the Divine: Solo Exhibition by Hua Chien-chiang
Taiwan glue color painting is about 70-80 years old in history, and mostly featured elegant and plain looks, but Hua Chien-chiang brings a whole new life into it by adding post-modern sarcasm to traditional Chinese paintings to create a kind of divine scene with splendid changing fiction and reality between comics and landscape paintings. The 2002 “High Celestial of the Exhibition” series started his journey of finding the ideal land. He projected his self-image upon his work. Such concept was continued through the two series of “Land of the Divine” and the “New Blossoms of the Divine” later, in which Hua Chien-chiang even added more characters and social issues of various kinds to contemplate the consumption of humanity by civilization, trying to emphasize the vanity and lonely souls of modern people. This exhibition is a three-period survey of this artist’s work. At the Taipei Fine Arts Museum 5 May through 1 July, visit http://www.tfam.gov.tw
BAROMETER: BIENNALES, FAIRS & AWARDS
Burning checkbooks …
The Asian auctions were greatly anticipated this year – were we going to see more saffron and less chilli as the Indian contemporary art market continued to raise interest at auction houses? The first sale off the rank was Sotheby’s two-part Contemporary Art Asia on 21 March which produced 20 records for individual artists and a respectable turnover of $US25.3 million with the outstanding hammer price of $US1.85 million for Zhang Xiaogang’s “Bloodlines: Three Comrades” (1994). It was Christies and Sotheby’s sale of ‘Modern and Contemporary Indian Art’ – also held 21-22 March – with sales totalling $8.6 million and $14.4 million respectively. Some of the highlights were Ravinder Reddy “Lakshmi Devi” 2003 48-inch resin head which went for $312,000, well over its high estimate, and Tyeb Mehta’s painting untitled 1987 from his “Falling Figures”, series which reached $1,160,000 under the hammer; a sensational response for a relatively new auction market. Two weeks later in Hong Kong, Sotheby’s achieved $27.4 million for their contemporary Chinese art sale, indicating the strength of its regional market.
The double wammie
If you are not off to Europe on the Biennale circuit, why not head to New Zealand during May and catch the tail end of the 3rd Auckland Triennial and The Auckland Art Fair. In its third year, the fair will be presented in a new venue at Viaduct Harbour, and is attempting to heighten its profile on the International Art Fair circuit to sit alongside Melbourne, Basel, Miami and London. Vernissage will be on Thursday 17th May and public viewing from 18 – 20 May. Or do all three – Auckland, Art Taipei (25-29 May) with a focus this year on contemporary and electronic arts www.art-taipei.com and then ArtBasel to coincide with the opening of Robert Storr’s Venice Biennale and the long awaited documenta12 in June.
June is exhaustive for biennale activity, and although not falling within the ‘Asian map’ reported in this column, there are some interesting versions on the ‘international model’ that also occur during the May – June period. its 8th edition is the Sharjah Biennale in the United Arab Emirates, which continues through to 4 June. Curated by Jack Persekian and under Direction of Hoor Al-Qasimi (26 year old daughter of the Ruler of Sharaja) its theme “Still Life: Art, Ecology and the Politics of Change” picking up on the current environmental concerns we face globally. Thai artist/curator Rirkrit Tiravanija boldly confronted Arab oil with solar-powered LED road text signs stating “less oil more courage”. Simryn Gill is in the exhibition, and with her inclusion also in documenta12, is carving quiet a profile this month. Take a look at http://universes-in-universe.de/english.htm for a phototour or visit http://www.sharjahbiennial.org
Another version is the 9th International Cuenca Biennial (Ecuador), established in 1987 as the first International Painting Biennial. Focusing solely on participation from the Americas, it has expanded today to include installations, photography and video. Showing until 8 June for more www.bienaldecuenca.org or how about the Prague Biennale, in its 3rd year, it opens on 24 May with the title “Global and Outsiders: Connecting Cultures in Central Europe”, aiming to explore and pinpoint the most significant aspects of Central European art. It is an area we hear little of in Australia and this is a most thorough dialogue worth a look – showing 16 September for more http://www.praguebiennale.org And finally, Asian artist Will KWAN has surprisingly been included in the Biennale de Montreal 2007 – a survey exhibition of contemporary Canadian art. 10 May through 8 July visit http://www.ciac.ca/en/biennale.html/
If you are heading to Venice and Germany – be sure to allow some extra time to visit Sculpture Projects Muenster 07. Presenting the work of 35 artists, understandably Eurocentric in participation, this project uses public sites across the city of Muenster and the Landes Museum. Showing 17 June through 30 September For more http://www.skulptur-projekte.de
And for a quick summery of pavilion representation for Asian nations at the 52nd Venice Biennale – Japan has Masao Okabe with an exhibition titled “Is There a Future for Our Past? The Dark Face of the Light”; China with four artists Shen Yuan, Yin Xiuzhen, Kan Xuan, Cao Fei in a group installation curated by Hou Hanru and titled “Everyday Miracles”; Korea will present Hyungkoo Lee; Lindy Poh has curated a group show for the Singapore Pavilion including Vincent Leow, Jason Lim, Zulkifle Mahmod, Da Wu Tang; and Thailand will present ” Globalization… Please Slow Down” curated by Apisak Sonjod – a two man show by Amrit Chusuwan and Nipan Oranniwesna. India, Indonesia and Vietnam still to announce their participation. For more visit http://www.labiennale.org
NEWS: MUSEUMS & MOVEMENT
Cyber 2007: Cross-Straits Conference on Media Technologies
The National Taiwan University of Arts, Graduate School of Applied Media Arts, will host the conference “Cyber007: Cross-Straits Conference on Theories and Applications of Media / Technology / Aesthetics” 8-9 June 2007. With the help of online newspaper, MOD (multimedia on demand) and blogs, the right to speak is transferred from the media typhoons to individuals, and the development of technology also blurs definitions of aesthetics. The conference will examine these ideas by looking at the traditions of media and its aesthetics theories while predicting future trends and new perspectives. Cyber2007 also calls for new media works/video art presented with the conference. For more visit website: http://blog.yam.com/cyber2007
Caring for Philippine collections
18 – 21 May the University of the Philippine’s Jorge B. Vargas Museum & Filipiniana Research Center, in partnership with the Casa Asia (Madrid), will be holding a 4-day seminar-workshop on museum conservation. Titled “Caring for Philippine Collections” it will tackle professional standards in exhibition management and design, registration, collections conservation, museum lighting and museum education programs, and will be run by internationally-trained professionals. Vargas has been positioning itself over the last few years as a regional research-base for conservation in tropical climates in partnership with Monash University. This partnership with Casa Asia continues that desire to introduce international standards in developing nations and is very exciting.
Job Vacancy at the Hong Kong Institute of Contemporary Culture – Project Manager / Coordinator
Deadline: 31 May 2007
The Hong Kong Institute of Contemporary Culture (HKICC) is a non-profit, non-governmental community-initiated organization founded in Hong Kong for promoting cultural development from local, regional to international level. They are looking for a full-time Project Manager / Coordinator. The applicant must have fluent Chinese and English.
For more http://www.hk-icc.o