It’s that time of year already…it’s art and design degree show time. This year, I am co-curating ‘NOW INK’, a group exhibition of international artists who examine the use of ink, ink painting and calligraphy in Chinese, Asian and transcultural contexts. It is part of the 2012 SH Contemporary Art Fair curated with independent curator Xiang Liping and Director and Founder of arthub, Davide Quadrio (Dado). We have meetings about once a week to discuss the project’s development and during these conversations, we decided it would be a good idea to get together for non-project reasons…so we decided to regularly organise art outings and excursions with friends and colleagues to see, chat, discuss (and procrastinate over) contemporary art exhibitions that are happening across the city. On this occasion, a couple of PhD Wednesdays ago, we all went to see students degree show from the College of New Media Art at Shanghai Institute of Art, Fudan University. Called ‘ART BYE BYE’, the exhibition was on display at the Park and Loft Space, 6000 Shenzhuan Lu, an hour or so out of Shanghai, near, of all places, the ‘Shanghai Happy Valley’ theme park. Could we not just go there instead? we all asked. Image what a day that would have been. The building itself was a strange cacophony of steel, metal and wood that I couldn’t quite make architectural sense of…visually confusing to the eyes and in a very strange location…somewhat derelict, which seemed a literal, real waste of physical space.
From the 77 student works on display, some of which were not working due to either technical difficulties or general curatorial laziness (not professional and harsh words were had with the students the next day), there were a handful of memorable works that are shown below with the students very interestingly worded statements. The first is ‘U R NOT ME’ (2012) by Orange…’This work is about life. In the dark of the exhibition hall randomly hanging around 15 fish tank. The water slowly down the bibcock cylinder drops into the placed on the ground in the vessels as a drip. As the water tank reduced gradually, goldfish deduced from easy to struggle to final death process. And the sound of the water also like the countdown life general, with less water and gradually loud, vigorous.’
The work below ‘The Breakfast’ (2012) by Bin Feng is a video installation of four videos, three on the wall and one on a table that describes three men who belong to the middle class in the third world having a breakfast.
Next is ‘Fantasy’ (2012) by Shu Hang Yu, an installation of old furniture, display old books and objects. ‘Everyone’s childhood is always full of imagination and happiness. But increase with age, so happy are gone by. The project through the way of image of think of the old furniture, toy car and other things use the products mirror imaging principle mix the imagination and the real object image to back the childhood looking for simple happy.’ A simple archival installation that places with interior architecture…
This artwork shown below, ‘Catch that voice’ (2012) by Yami, disappointingly did not work…and the concept seemed to present something quite interesting…such a shame! This, what he calls, electronic interaction class, looks at ‘Visual arts and auditory arts from birth to now, has been in constant interaction with each other learn from each other’s artistic conversion. In the visual arts the texture is very easy to understand because the texture is an inherent visual reflect. However, the feelings of the auditory art? This is the work of a tailor-made specifically for the hearing. I would like to make a sound to hear the substantive sense. Of sound for a human experience. To study the wonders of binaural effect. Sound generator places change people’s feelings change. The vision is a visible, tangible things. Auditory instead of visual can show the location of sound, texture and so on. As visual sensory changes, hearing on the change is clear can be refined. I will give the work a sense of the game, the use of sensors when people close to a pillar, the sound output from one end to the other end. Showing an effect the sound is to escape from your feelings. Around in life, there are too many noisy sounds around you so that you had to accept him. Works, it will make you go looking for it to take the initiative to accept the sound.’ I wish I knew what it sounded like…
‘How long will u go? How will u go?’ (2012) by Rita is a video installation. ‘Video shooting of different ages and gender of the characters legs to walk the course of. Young people from early twenties to the different personalities and characteristics of the Qilaobashi-year-old seniors to express through different shoes, pants and socks. A deeper level, the performance of people of different ages and mental state and behaviour characteristics. Life in order to you and me (her)! In order to experience the joys and sorrows, illness and death, in order to figure out what alive? In order to realise their own ideals, the pursuit of goals, desires and values.’
The final work I’ll mention is ‘If you follow me, I will sing a beautiful song for you’ by Yu Xiaolu…a sound and light piece, choreographed very beautifully…a certain attention to detail presented here. Captivating. I recorded a short film of it so you could see its power. ‘My idea is very simple, I want to create a space, include sound space and video space.’ Always nice to stumble across a graduating artist who shows real promise.
The installation with the old furniture made me think of a seriously good installation I saw this week – ‘Waste Not’ by Song Dong, on at the moment in London at The Barbican (http://www.barbican.org.uk/artgallery/event-detail.asp?ID=12878)
It’s an arrangement of over 10,000 household and personal things collected up over the years in the family home by Song Dong’s mother. On first impression it was almost overwhelming, but it holds you and you become very involved in the narrative of the family, their home, their country and culture and history – it’s incredibly good. After this spell of living in China, you’d love it – though I chatted to a curator whose background was Indian, who more than got it. In fact all the curators, who spend all day with it, were ridiculously enthusiastic about the work.
What did I just say there … curator? What do you call the staff who work all day in a gallery? What’s the technical term?