Following the news on the new Shanghai skyscraper, Danwei has found a post here showing all the entries for the building. I like the squiggly one.
Xinhua has the scoop:
“China’s tallest building, to be built in Shanghai, will look like a coiled dragon, according to its designer.”
A dozen overseas and domestic firms offered designs for the building from April 2005 but Gensler’s “Dragon” finally defeated the “Bamboo Shoot” from Britain’s Foster & Partners.
Nope, its not April 1st. I thought shanghai was sinking and they weren’t going to do any more tall ones? Oh well, its a dragon, oy vey…
Once it is completed, the super high rise will have 118 stories and exceed Taiwan’s 501-meter Taipei 101 to become the country’s tallest building.
Whoop e doo. Erm, hold on a minute, is it just me or does it look nothing like a dragon? Someone should be told.
Who is this guy? Anyhow, they let him go.
Have been a bit slack posting Work In Progress (WIP) shots of late…so here is one, suitably blurry and everything, a part of the map series
Here’s a general overview of the Beijing art scene
Currents of change
China’s art community is in a constant state of flux, buoyed by an increasing talent pool of diverse artists, they are swept this way and that by various forces, such as the over heated market, investment, government, foreign intervention, political issues, the Olympics, critical and philosophical arguments, various local, regional and international art movements and trends, and the normal self introspection expected of artists.
All this activity means there is now no settled theme or framework within which to examine Chinese art. The artists, dealers, collectors, galleries, critics and museums are all aware of the situation, and are diversely and collectively struggling to make their mark on history while at the same time protecting and projecting their own unique take on the arts to the local and international art scenes.
At the forefront of this hotbed of artistic endeavor is Beijing, the city, which is expanding its boundaries to allow various art communities space to grow and expand. Here and there around the city are a constantly growing series of art villages, communes, vast studio complexes, art gallery districts as well as educational establishments and museums.
“If you think Beijing is the center of a country of 1.5 billion people, it is still not enough, if all the art teachers in China visited only once every five years, already this place would be too busy,” said Lorenz Heibling of Shangart, who has recently opened a new space in the city’s Caochangdi art village.
The recent scene has been exacerbated by the security build up for the Olympic games, with the city going down into lockdown. The government has said it will not authorize events with more than 40 people, a series of large scale events, such as the annual midi music festival, have been cancelled or postponed, and foreign artists who planned to show in Beijing during the games have been experiencing difficulties securing visas.
Beijing is a city of many undercurrents, with art being a mainstay of the city’s culture, and the city attracts creatives from around the country. It is home to tens of thousands of artists, hundreds of galleries, leading art schools and is the center of mainland China’s collection and auction industries.
The Panjiayuan antiques market is a good place to get a start to get an idea of the scale and monumental size of nick knackery to art that is available in Beijing. Endless stalls selling fake, replica Mao memorabilia, fake copies of revolutionary art, fake copies of contemporary artists, your correspondent, for research purposes, bought a hand painted fake Yue Minjun for $10. Yue’s work sells for millions of dollars at auction, yet copies are sold all over town. Decent replicas of cultural revolution woodcuts sell for about $1 each. Alongside this cornucopia of fakes and counterfeits sit some genuine items, usually tucked away in some old fellows shop on the second floor, around the back. But if you have no way to measure if something is fake, assume it is, and you won’t go far wrong. Some owners will let you photograph their real items for a small fee, to get it appraised, before purchase. The bar in the Beijing Grand Hyatt was introduced as ‘the best bar in Beijing because it is guaranteed they don’t sell fake alcohol,’ by one local bon vivant. Fakery is rampant, and visitors are advised to be cautious with all purchases.
The massed ranks of revolutionary memorabilia also raises a moral question for the causal tourist -purchasing a little red book, or lithograph of Jian Qing (Mao’s wife and one of the cultural revolutions gang of four) is akin to buying mein kampf and waffen ss posters in Europe. The sellers are usually nonchalant or oblivious to the context of what they are selling, on questioning them, they usually find it amusing or even hilarious, some of the phrases on the posters, like destroy the capitalist class, or attack foreign imperialists, or attack the traitor Liu Shaoqi, arouse titters from the vendors.
Nevertheless numerous artists you will see in Beijing paint similar stuff to try and create a market amongst foreigners. Yet other artists try to subvert and ridicule this trend, or try to make real commentary on the historical precedents of this work, such as Wang Guanyi. How can you tell the difference? Again, as a non expert, better to take a photo and ask someone who knows what it means and put the work in context. The buyers in the Chinese market have, on meeting this trend, have usually just wet their big toe in the heady world of Chinese art.
Beijing is a city consumed with the idea that everyone else is everyone elses ‘gemer’ or ‘mate.’ This pervades all levels of society, and the level of matiness, and complex interrelating concentric relations between mates needs to be navigated.
“As a woman, I am able to stay out of this mate system, so when I curate shows, I can mix them up, this is how it has been for many years. There are not enough women in this art scene,” said Victoria Lu, former director of Shanghai and Taiwan MOCA.
Different factions of mates struggle against each other, but the groups are quite fluid, and everyone knows everyone else. But as with all complex social friends networks, there is no helmsman, no leader, so it is difficult to ascertain which direction or movement an artist belongs to or adheres to. This back ground needs to be established before purchase or real discussion of a work begins.
This is Beijing, different for instance to Shanghai, which works more on a secretive triad based model, with colonialist undertones, in the view of many in Beijing.
So for those who wish to survive these complex surroundings it is imperative to go with the flow and not try to buff against the current, to sway like bamboo with the wind. Individuality is a growing trend and challenge being taken up by many of the younger artists, which means their work often meets resistance and is difficult to place within the established status quo. Those of the 70s and 80s generations already see themselves as the products of a golden age, and their younger brothers and sisters are spoilt, unchallenged. ‘But our hope lies with them,’ as Guan Yi, China’s top collector told the art newspaper. This phrase, first popularized by Chairman Mao, at the beginning of the cultural revolution, shows how China’s youth are the target of the attentions of every generation of leaders. To influence and lead the youth is the imperative of every leader, and they are a difficult and tenacious bunch, with the current generation being the most complex and contradictory to date, with their high fashion tastes, nationalism, internet connections and exposure to foreign travel and education. As yet, the Chinese art world has yet to see the latest generation explain themselves. So be on the look out for video art, plastic sculptures and other diverse means of expression in some of the smaller galleries and spaces representing this young avant guarde. A good sampler would be stroll down some of the old lanes which are an international mixture of bars restaurants shops and mini galleries mostly run by business minded youths.
The current bastion of old and modern schools is 798, a huge gallery district and now an official designated tourist site. This official stamp has taken some of the edginess off, as building codes are being implemented, and ramshackle streets and alleys are being cleaned up and gentrified. But as prices move up the artists move out, meaning several other rival districts have arisen, such as The East Village and Art Brewery Center.
Beijing locks down for the Olympics
On first impressions preparations for the Beijing Games appear authorities are expecting a serious zombie outbreak rather than a global festival of sport.
Large 3 meter high fencing and concrete barriers surround key points resembling the Bagdhad green zone, while hotels are installing high security screen doors, with armed police dotted on most street corners to prevent ‘photo taking.’
“Its normal Olympic policy, to install these types of fencing, but it seems they are doing it a bit early,” one engineer commented.
“Beijing maybe before wanted to put on a wonderful games, a dream Olympics, but now, after what has happened, they have given up that idea and want to just have a safe Olympics,” one restaurant owner said, having just been told he needs to close for 3 months.
Even more serious for the foreign visitor is the very ambiguous situation on visas. An avalanche of complaints from China’s expat community, with residents of years standing finding it hard to secure visas, is mirrored by complaints by visitors trying to get visas from Chinese embassies worldwide. Twelve hour queues are being reported, even for those whose visa application has been approved. One senior source said that journalist visas for arts and culture journalists will not be issued. “Only sports journalists will now be allowed,” the source said.
In the words of the title track of the just released album “Coming to Beijing” by Beijing band Brain Failure “The roads lead somewhere new, but it is still slow, Yeah! The place is the same but the bars are all closed.”
Shows of Note:
If time is short, try to visit the following venues:
UCCA Ullens Center will host a retrospective show of the collection of these Belgian billionaires
Red Gate Gallery, based in an old watch tower, focused on more established mature artists
Gallery Continua- one of Beijing’s leading contemporary sites
Long March - the base of a revolutionary movement to bring art to the masses
Arario Gallery- Korean financed site of avant guarde
Shanghart Beijing - home of China’s top selling artists such as Zeng Fanzhi
Boers Li - well managed and curated site of leading new media and cutting edge artists, as well as some more traditional contemporary artists
Art Now - home of punk rockers and many of Beijing’s new and established artists
Some Chinese and other artists have opened a “Part concept store, part Chinese-style tourist ‘museum’, part forum for consumer reflection.”
There are two websites, one in English and one in Chinese and English.
Cao Fei, Liu Ding, Pierre Huyghe & Philippe Parreno, Xu Bing, Yoko Ono, Seven Samurai, David Blandy, SOI Project, Michael Lin, Surasi Kusolwong, Maverick Press, Support Structure, Unmask Group, Gunilla Klingberg, Janek Simon and Plan 9.
Exhibition design in collaboration with Miessen & Ploughfields Architects
Far West is a unique shopping experience that transforms Arnolfini from an arts venue into a ‘concept store’, thematizing the consumer and cultural relationships produced by the shifting of the economic centre of the world towards the East. The store includes an ambitious programme of participation projects, off-site presentations, discussion forums, live art and film.
Part concept store, part Chinese-style tourist ‘museum’, part forum for consumer reflection, Far West provides customers with the experience of interacting with, producing and then purchasing, a selection of specially branded and exclusive products designed by artists. These items are made available within a theatrical setting designed in collaboration with Miessen & Ploughfields Architects, Michael Lin and Gunilla Klingberg.
The exclusive range of items on offer create real possibilities for art to play a fulfilling role within the customer’s individual lifestyle. Products include SOI Project’s Fruits project, inviting customers to create paper fruit by hand, in exchange for the real thing. Surasi Kusolwong offers a wide range of useful cheap plastic items as part of his One Pound Market, while the Unmask Group have designed a special toy prototype – a humanoid doll – which can be altered to customers preferred form. Yoko Ono helps customer’s to recycle broken ceramics to create new artefacts, and so contribute to ‘mending peace for the world’.
Liu Ding has created a limited number of unfinished landscape paintings for people to acquire and finish at home as a special extension of his renowned Products project. Seven Samurai offer a whole range of items created through their artist-led collaboration with rural communities in Japan, China and the UK. There is an interactive video jukebox of works by David Blandy, as well as a specially commissioned manga-style comic, while Support Structure provide the perfect CD soundtrack for the museum and gallery experience.
Artists are at the heart of the Far West ethos, the logo is even designed by the artist Xu Bing. Pierre Huyghe and Philippe Parreno’s neon icon of AnnLee, the manga character, will give an understanding of the true potential of collaboration and cultural exchange. In the second floor project space, resident artist Janek Simon will present a recent work especially for the launch of Far West.
In a parallel presentation, a virtual metropolis, RMB City, has been constructed by Cao Fei within the online world of Second Life, made up of buildings from the ‘new China’, where a Far West franchise
Off-site, a Far West Metro store will open at The Mall Bristol, in the Broadmead shopping centre, incorporating paper Joss items, imported by Maverick Press.
Far West is the first in the Concept Store series of projects at Arnolfini, exploring the realms of marketing, design and experience economy.
A message from our Chairman
Sat 26 Jul 11.30am - 4.00pm
In the spirit of transparency, you are invited to attend the board meeting for the Far West trading company. Items on the agenda will include an assessment of the launch of the flagship Concept Store at Arnolfini and future development of a network of franchise stores, reports on the current conditions of labour and production, and commentary on international patterns of development in culture and commerce. Speakers include Brian Holmes, Gao Shiming, and Shumon Basar.
Far West is curated by Nav Haq, Exhibitions Curator, and Tom Trevor, Director of Arnolfini. Far West is funded by Arts Council England - Grants for The Arts, China Now and The British Council - Connections Through Culture. Presented in partnership with A Foundation, Liverpool, and Turner
Arnolfini is open Tues - Sun, 10am-6pm. Admission free.
A series of articles will appear in this month’s Art Newspaper that I wrote on my last trip, here are some of the mock ups, will post texts up at a later date.
“If You’re Happy, Clap Your Hands”
-Japanese Group Show of 80’s Generation Artists-
秋山幸 Miyuki Akiyama, 渡边理 Osamu Watanabe, 德比 david
长泽郁美 Ikumi Nagasawa, 安田悠 Yu Yasuda, 龍門藍 Ai Ryumon
Organized/主办: Andrew James Art
Curator/策士人: 鸟本健太 Kenta Torimoto
Venue/地址: Andrew James Art （安杰当代艺术画廊）
39 North Maoming Road, Shanghai, China 200041
“If You’re Happy, Clap Your Hands”
-Japanese Group Show of 80’s Generation Artists-
Artists born in 80’s are called the “Jelly Generation” in China by material wealth and their mentality. What about Japan’s “Jelly generation”? Japan had experienced rapid economic growth and suffered a burst of the economic bubble a little bit earlier than China. The “Jelly Generaion” of Japan are very much affected by the changes.
This is a group exhibition of Japanese artists from the 80’s generation, who are getting a lot of attention both in Japan and abroad lately. They express their creativity in a fantastic, ironic and sweet way.
It is not easy to find “happiness” by money or material nowadays. However, their artworks allow us to realise that happiness is always around you.
If you are happy, clap your hands. Why don’t we clap our hands together?
开幕酒会/Opening Reception: 2008/6/28 18:00-21:00
展览日期/Duration: 2008/6/28 - 7/27
开放时间/Hours: 周二-周日 / Tue-Sun, 11:00-19:00
地址/Venue: Andrew James Art （安杰当代艺术画廊）
39 North Maoming Road, Shanghai, China 200041
The Telegraph is running a series of ‘letters from China,’ including profiles of various personalities in the new China. In this piece an artist who sculpts brothel orgies is profiled.
An older Reuters peice on the ‘bubble.’
“When Chinese artist Yue Minjun sold his painting “Gweong Gweong,” inspired by the bloody Tiananmen Square crackdown in 1989, he received $5,000.
That was in 1994. Fourteen years later, the painting of toothy men dropping like missiles from war planes over Tiananmen, fetched $6.9 million at an auction last month.”
Missed this one, another Pearl Lam profile.
Here’s a piece from the New Republic called Mao Crazy. We have entered a time space warp continuum a its dated July 9. Truly Mao Crazy. A good article, despite the title, and carries on here somehow. Truly the new republic has one of the weirdest websites.
“To anybody familiar with developments in art in the past quarter-century, the new Chinese stuff has a deja-vu-all-over-again quality. Zhan Wang makes scholar’s rocks out of stainless steel, in much the way that Jeff Koons and Sherrie Levine recast objects in unexpected materials. The impact of Anselm Kiefer can be felt on many of these artists, not only on the deep perspectives in a painting by Zhang Xiaotao and on Zhang Huan’s collages with carved and photographed elements, but also on the heterogeneity of a career like Cai’s, which moved from performance art to painting. Zhang Dali’s Chinese Offspring, life-size cast figures hanging from a ceiling, suggest Bruce Nauman’s cast animals. Yu Hong’s simpering painterly figuration relates to Elizabeth Peyton. There are shades of Marlene Dumas’s nightmarish ambiguities in Yang Shaobin’s work. Zhang Huan’s black-and-white renderings of photographs (although done in ash, a medium he regards as quintessentially Chinese) are retreads of Gerhard Richter’s black-and-white photo-realist compositions. And Shi Xinning is the Mark Tansey of Chinese art, doing renderings of historic moments in the lives of the Queen Mother or FDR, only with Mao popping up in a starring role. The multimedia, jack-of-all-trades look of the big shows we have seen in New York, whether by Cai or Zhang Huan, is indebted to a funhouse exhibition style that has been embraced by Matthew Barney and Paul McCarthy and other Americans.”
The New Statesman also delves deep into Chinese art with a look at Xiamen Dada. Another good article hampered by a god awful title of the “hidden Dragon.” The list of titles done to death on Chinese subjects, dragons, Maos and others, please exit stage left.
“Xiamen Dada was characterised, as Huang explains, by an obsession with destruction. “I felt that so many things in China at that time needed to be scrapped. If we couldn’t destroy, we would never be able to reconstruct.” Huang and his followers burned their works and put on extraordinary shows where all the planned exhibits were junked at the last moment and replaced with heaps of rubbish. They staged spontaneous, improvised performances, acts of self-expression which occasionally ended with the artists being hauled off to the local police station by bemused officials. Predictably, the Communists viewed them with intense suspicion. It wasn’t so much that they were harassed, says Huang, as that they were denied the opportunity to show their work. Like many of his contemporaries, he left China permanently following the Tiananmen Square massacre in 1989. Many of those who stayed behind, he notes wryly, “have given up art and become businessmen”.”
Here’s a piece on that Paris show.
Erm, here is a piece entitled Hello China.
“For five days in summer 2006, Mark Bessire immersed himself in the studio zone of Shanghai.
His mission: To see as much contemporary Chinese art as possible.
The result of his efforts is on display at the Bates College Museum of Art. The new exhibition examines the changing Chinese nation, mostly through photography, and how its artists are responding to economic reform, the acquisition of wealth and rapid industrialization.”
And last but not least “giant tongue speaks of Chinese struggle.”
Yes, that is a better title as no mention of Pandas and what not. Still, seems a bit odd? Anyhow, top marks to SMH this round up.
“UTSIDE a warehouse in Mascot is an 11½ metre steel tongue. It protrudes towards the sky from the mouth of a grinning bronze face on wheels. From the tongue, like a drop of saliva, hang three connected figures - two people and a pig.
The sculpture, Valiant Struggle, by the Chinese artist Chen Wenling, is destined for a refurbished knitting factory in Chippendale, soon to become the White Rabbit Gallery.”
Frieze Film 2008: Road Movie
Frieze Film 2008 announces Road Movie, an experiment in film making, authorship and dispersal made in response to the way in which digital platforms such as YouTube have made film a medium freely available to all.
Road Movie will be a film made by artists and filmmakers in response to an open invitation issued by Frieze Film. Road Movie will be produced and distributed on the Frieze Film 2008 group on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/group/friezefilm2008 , and on the Frieze Film website http://www.frieze.com/film . The final result will be a film made in an entirely new way: the first multi-authored fractal film assembled from the sum of its submitted parts.
Inspired by Cormac McCarthy’s 2006 novel ‘The Road’, Frieze Film will not have a conventional narrative: in addition to submitting original material visitors to YouTube will be able to download and refashion existent clips, spurring a chain-reaction of multiple narratives and occurrences: Road Movie will be wholly individual and collective.
Frieze Film will be shown in Channel 4’s admired ‘3 Minute Wonder’ slot during the week of Frieze Art Fair from Monday 13 October to Thursday 16 October at 7.55pm.
For further information visit http://www.frieze.com/film
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