Just noticed this online Chinese art magazine, Artzine China. Its a bit cranky to navigate, but is bilingual. apparently coming out of shanghai,
Has six issues to date, nothing so far this year.
“There is no way to control time, it is like someone who has good relationships, but no way to express them,” said Qu Fengguo at the sidelines of his current show ‘Four Seasons.’
Qu is a graduate of Shanghai Theatre Schools art department, which was also home to several other well-known local artists, such as Xue Song and Pei Jing.
“It is very strange, the education system at the theatre school is more free, for a long time it was the best school to study western contemporary art, which was introduced very early, it was more free. Very different to the main art schools, and also easier to enter, no difficult tests, the environment there is more based on freedom, no-one bothers you,” Qu said. Qu still teaches life drawing at the school one day per week.
“Now the students numbers have more than doubled, the students are also different, they all want to study to learn a profession, in my time in the 1980s, we just wanted to do big things, we had grand plans.”
Qu’s current series of paintings all revolve around an expression of time, which he represents in coloured lines, painted repeatedly and blurred.
“In the 1980s, when we started, and in the 90s, when I started painting, we had exhibitions, but they were not so great, there was no market, not so many opportunities, not like now. In the 1980s we had this international feeling, discovering different art movements. As Chinese we liked the empathy of the 1980s German artists. I started on oil painting, and over time I felt a slow change, a personal examination of problems. Which problems? A lot of people deal with time, there is no way to control time, my painting then was a bit like Chinese calligraphy and shansui painting. Then I moved on to a more simple style, something people find easier to understand, like a line,” Qu said.
Indicating one of his large canvases Qu said: “Everyone can understand lines, they are very easy, very free, but need some control, and there are other issues, like a lines relationship to a line for instance. I began painting lines in 2002. A personal statement on time, a feeling of space. There are a lot of changes over time, every change, there is a feeling, an arrangement of time. Time passes, time’s relation is very important, sometimes I write the time I start and finish a work. It is quite complicated, I blur the lines to give a feeling of time passing.”
Critics have said Qu’s work is very ‘western,’ and is not rooted in Chinese culture, as most contemporary Chinese art is. “Yes, my current style is not like an Eastern person, but I don’t think this is very important. I have never even had a solo show abroad, so I don’t really mind this western tag,” Qu said.
“Art critics use an academic way to criticize, it is not really a method, a kind of personal complicated way of seeing. They do not necessarily understand the meaning (of art works)- they look at art from a different perspective. Critics are not necessarily important for artists, but are very important for audiences. Chinese modern art history is still very short when compared to the west, many artists want to quickly develop in this environment, I think the opposite. I must go through a long period of development. The market is very quick, so artists are moving quickly, China really only has ten years of a real art market, in ten years the price has gone up a lot. Some recent students works are very expensive, it is not so good for development of styles,” Qu said.
Qu’s current style is very simple. He is trying to detach himself from the process of making his work. “It is different to before, I use straws and paper, very simple tools. I use my hand a little to change the basic materials. It takes one month to six weeks to finish a work.
“It is easy to forget time passing, all the things that happen, friends, the audience, time itself, everyone..,” Qu said
Shanghai based artist Qu Fengguo currently has an exhibition on at
Yachao Gallery, 1 floor building 4, 50 Morganshan Road. He will have a retrospective show of his works from the 90s up to the present day at the to-be reopened Suhe Art Gallery, in the summer.
There is an excellent round up of the man eaten by shark, hits shark and escapes story here.
Other Shanghai Eye man and shark news here.
You can read an online PDF version of the Shanghai Youth edition or RARE here.
In other news AFP reports “ A Japanese toymaker, under pressure from video games and a falling birthrate, on Tuesday unveiled a hand-sized humanoid robot aimed at adults who played with toy soldiers as children.” The manufacturer is Tomy’s Japan JV. The firm’s site is here.
They do a lot of the capsule toys by the look of things. Some Japanese reports with pictures here and here and here.
And for those who are surprised by very little, here is a prototype Li Peng assault gun.
Via sfcc mailing list.
Jonathan Alan Napack, an expert in Asian contemporary art, died of pneumonia on Jan. 20 at the age of 39 at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Hong Kong.
Over the past decade, Mr. Napack worked as a writer and critic. He developed a specialty in the Asian art market, and became well acquainted with artists, gallery owners and collectors. After moving to Hong Kong from New York City in the mid-1990s, Mr. Napack parlayed a freelance journalism career into a position in 1999 as the first Asia adviser for the international show Art Basel.
Guided by a brilliant recall of facts, tireless appetite for travel and strong opinions, Mr. Napack resolved to discover artists — and understand their work. Employing a broad smile and thick skin, Mr. Napack gained unusually deep passage into art society from Japan and Korea to Vietnam and China.
“He knew everything because he invested the time and made it his life, and also because he had an incredible memory,” said Samuel Keller, director of Art Basel. “He was very undiplomatic in what he said, but knowing enough about manners to never cross the line, able to express a clear opinion without insulting,” Mr. Keller added.
For almost 15 years, Mr. Napack’s thoughtful writing appeared in the International Herald Tribune, South China Morning Post, Wall Street Journal, Art In America, ArtNews, Art & Antiques Magazine, Far Eastern Economic Review, New York Observer, New York, Discovery, GQ and Spy. Often, Mr. Napack’s reports were the first introduction English-speaking audiences had to up-and-coming Asian writers and painters, as well as the region’s unique cuisines and other social trends.
“He was always a good listener – and a good talker,” said Chinese writer Mian Mian. “I knew him for 11 years but for the first three I didn’t understand anything he said, really. But he was so interesting, very curious with a sweet heart,” she added.
In an article nearly seven years ago, Mr. Napack told readers of ArtNews about a 24-year-old he called “the senior artist of China’s youngest city.” Today, the photographs by Yang Yong that Mr. Napack termed “gutsy” are among the most sought after pieces any Chinese artist has produced.
Later, Mr. Napack wrote “Beijing is on the move” in a June 2004 story for “Art In America.” The report correctly foreshadowed how — and why — the art world’s attention was beginning to shift toward China, and Mr. Napack identified some of the must-watch artists. Mr. Napack was active elsewhere in Asia too. He met Vietnamese artists in 2005 eager to “Break free from their ‘Velvet Prison’” in a story published in the IHT.
Sometimes known by a Chinese name, “Jiang Luo San” or “parachute,” Mr. Napack modeled himself into one of the art industry’s best-known pan-Asian experts. In 2004, he co-authored “Art In America: Focus China.” In recent years, Mr. Napack’s writing was translated into Asian languages. In his Art Basel position, Mr. Napack had been turning his attention to India’s budding art market. For Art Basel’s first event in China, in September 2006, he organized a well-attended, and well-received, “conversation” at Beijing’s National Museum hosted by its director Dr. Fan Di’an.
Mr. Napack, who was single, was born on Feb. 13, 1967 and grew up in New York. He earned a degree from Boston College in 1989.
Mr. Napack is survived by his parents Carol and Howard Phillips of Sarasota, Florida and East Hampton, New York. A younger brother, Alexander, 34, lives in Los Angeles. His father Alvin Napack passed away in 1978.
Arrangements are being made for memorial services in Hong Kong, at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club, and Beijing, tentatively planned for early February.
This sign appears outside Zapatas, a Mexican style bar in Shanghai. It is ‘infamous’ for its ladies night.
The US has put Japanese war crimes online, giving researchers much greater access.Not sure how beneficial this move will be for Sino-Japanese relations. A lot of the records deal with allied POWs.
In other news, Shanghai police are cracking down on drunk drivers, and here are some great photos of the Shanghai rush hour. And for those of you hoping to join in the Shanghai housing boom here is a dedicated search engine aggregator for finding that ideal home! Also, via ESWN, China Media Project looks at the new SARFT announcement on TV shows, which on the surface just seemed odd.
Google News is down suddenly. You get a tantalising glimpse for around two seconds. Top stories are all about the Chinese ’sat killer.’
Recently a new Internet witch hunt has been underway, to rid the Forbidden City in Beijing of its Starbucks. Not that the Shanghai Eye particularly cares for Starbucks. But in an interesting twist the China Daily, the government’s English language mouthpiece writes
Starbucks should be verboten in Forbidden City, say netizens.
And ‘Starbucks makes joke out of forbidden city.’
What is interesting is the use of the word ‘verboten.’ It also appears on the front page of the newspaper. So essentially the paper is saying that ‘Chinese Netizens’ are actually ‘Chinese nazis’? Why use the German word ‘verboten?’ German words such as ‘verboten,’ or ‘achtung,’ ‘raus,’ ’schnell,’ ‘Englander schweinhund’ and such are only used in the English language to refer to some sort of WW2 action by the nazis, usually in old comic books. These are probably the only German words familiar to most English speaking males who haven’t learnt German. Refer to the earlier Shanghai Eye piece here.
We can only assume that this is a bit of sub editor tomfoolery, sneaked in on a whim, and somehow passed the eagle eyed gaze of whoever is chief copy editor at the ever glowing China Daily. “Starbucks should be forbidden in Forbidden city, say Netnazis” was probably the other option.
In other news China Daily has a photo of some Beijing girls doing a belly dance.
And in more other news, they have an interesting piece on the new capital gains tax on land bought for real-estate development.
In the online version, it says:
“The value-added tax on land was written into a national regulation in 1993, but was not widely collected due to a subsequent recession in the real estate sector. The tax was resumed for the first time in Shenzhen at the end of last year. At present, some regions in China are collecting the tax at a rate of one to two percent on sales of newly developed houses, while other areas have yet to start collection.”
Whereas in today’s print edition it says a capital gains tax will be introduced of 30-60%. “The tax was first introduced in 1993 and has never been collected.” No explanation about recession, or what have you, or the remarkable jump in the amount charged.
So the logic is the government sells land to real estate developers for a lot of money. The developers sit on the land for as long as it takes for them to see a huge healthy profit developing, being capitalist roaders. So the government says they are driving prices up by sitting on the land. So they now have to pay, by February 1, up to 60% capital gains tax on the land- which we can assume will lead them to develop the land quick. But they are not likely to sell any property developed on this land at a loss- the up to 60% fee will obviously be passed on to consumers, thus inflating prices. Hmm. And to cap it all who decides on the value of the land? The government of course, they have a special department. I blame foreigners personally. Some ‘experts’ told Shanghai Eye it wasn’t a capital gains tax anyway, it is a value added tax, so now I really am confused.