"Despite the excellent eyesight of Lou Li and the supreme craftmanship of Gong Shu ban, one cannot draw a circle and a square without a compass and a ruler." This is the opening line of a Chinese Classics Mencius: Li Lou Part /_ In this classic text, compass and ruler together represent a systemic structure that guides the modus operandi and informs one's way of being-in-the-world. It is here where our journey through Wang Chuan's explorations is set in motion.
The title of Wang Chuan's solo exhibition at Pingshan Art Museum, Shenzhen is Circumference (square and circle), signifying rules and statutes. The exhibition is put together with two intentions. One is to reflect the core components of fang (square) and yuan (circle) in Wang Chuan's works. The other is to outline the essence of his creation, and that is the state of in-betweenness. This exhibition is, therefore, a tribute to the contributions made and accomplishment achieved by Wang Chuan, as one of the pioneering Chinese contemporary artists.
As one of the artists featured in the Shenzhen Contemporary Artists Series, Shen Shaomin seems to have different trajectory. Before growing his fame in the post-2000 Asia-Pacific contemporary art world, his unique journey started to unfold back in the 1950s when he was born in a northeast province of China, an area known for heavy industry. Then he moved to Beijing in the late 1980s, and migrated to Australia in the early 1990s, where he stayed for around 10 years before coming back to Beijing after 2000. With his representative works such as "Bone Series" and "Kowtow Pump" created in Daqing, Heilongjiang Province, Shen has participated in multiple highly-recognized biennial exhibitions, thus gaining the reputation as the vanguard artist of "largescale installation" and "new material" in China. In 2015, he went to Guangzhou and then settled in Shenzhen 3 years ago, where he established the Joint Laboratory of Science and Art with the Shenzhen Institute of Artificial Intelligence and Robotics for Society.
The exhibition took the theme from "Science and Civilization in China", a popular book initiated and edited by Joseph Needham in the 1980s and it took him several decades to finish it. The "science mania" ignited by this masterpiece allowed Westerners to peek into the relationship between science and civilization in ancient China, evidently testifying science as a co-creation of different civilizations. The broad enthusiasm behind humanism, the passion for scientific research, together with the philosophical inspiration, artistic enlightenment, and poetic lifestyle back then are woven into the ideals for the current generation.
For three years, thanks to the support from the CPC District Committee and the People’s Government of Pingshan District, under the guidance of the Publicity Department of the CPC District Committee and the Culture, Radio, Television, Tourism and Sports Bureau of Pingshan District, Pingshan Art Museum, a contemporary art institution based in Shenzhen while embracing art in South China and beyond, aims to build a public-oriented cultural “infrastructure” and further develop into a “cultural highland in East Shenzhen” featuring diversity.
Against the complicated times inundated with both the old and new, as well as the symbiosis of multiple cultures, it’s imperative for us to honestly review all art researches and exhibition experiences on a regular basis, thus navigating our professional vision as an “independent knowledge producer” and honoring our commitment to “promote regional art development”.
Affect is not only a necessary impetus in an artist's practice but also an emphatic channel to connect with the viewers. Zhou Li’s recent works distill the feelings and emotions precipitated from individual perceptions into the broader social and historical processes and translating what she’s drawn from the fast-changing events of the present into tangible and resounding forms through her artistic expressions.
This solo project, "Tracing Peach Blossom Spring" at the Pingshan Art Museum, adopts Tao Yuanming's The Peach Blossom Spring from the Eastern Jin Dynasty as a fulcrum to "trace" emotional experiences in the course of history with a "visionary" concept. "Tracing," in the exhibition title, a verb used in its active tense, differentiates Zhou Li's artworks from representations of Tao Yuanming's narrative. Meanwhile, the term alludes to how reality and the ideal realm connect through the footsteps of the Wuling fisherman despite the story's inconsequential outcome. The artist uses this "untraceable" outcome as an analogy for the unique and non-replicable nature of our emotional journey, which resonates with the notion of “traces of emotions," often emphasized in her works.
The sum of all recognizable human behaviors, materials and non-materials might be the concept mentioned by Daniel in his narrative of materialization. It is not restricted to the conversion of thinking and concept by material but about accumulation which is both unstable and uncertain. He intentionally separates this form of art from sculptures, paintings or installations. Rather than defining his creations and works within Dadaism, conceptual art, art of intertextuality or relational aesthetics, he thinks more about constantly-changing forms in integrated temporal clues and issues in super-fast society, as well as potential consequences of openness.
Powder created in 1994 implies characteristics of relational aesthetics. Performing elements are involved such as exhibits (cocaine) confiscated by the police station and policemen on duty; patterns in powder, primitive impulses and protection with bullet-proof glass; real scene and secondary media coverage. His habits are similar to streaming media today as their focuses and works are constantly adapting and transforming themselves. With spectators and researchers feeling perplexed like engulfed by heavy fog, it is hard to have a focus when carriers of the work keep changing themselves.
As the ninth and also the last project of Nine-Tiered Pagoda, “Forum & Review” brings the conclusion and retrospection for the whole exhibition over the past year.
The exhibition is divided into three parts. Starting from works designed by six artists, namely Cai Lei, Liu Gangshun, Nabuqi, Sui Jianguo, Yang Bodu, Zhang Xiaogang, Part One, with architect Liu Xiaodu creating the space, and graphic designer Huang Yang in charge of posters and other visual designs, echoes the subtitle of the exhibition, “Spatial and Visual Magic”, via different media and discourse systems.
Part Two is the recall of the whole exhibition with all nine “tiers” being presented simultaneously. The nine sets of extraordinary works with nine kinds of “space” and “design” constitute, and are also converged into, a real “Nine-Tiered Pagoda”. Our sincere appreciation goes to all participating artists for their endeavor in the first 8 solo exhibitions. They are: Artist Jiang Jie, Peng Wei, Yin Xiuzhen, Xie Nanxing, Liu Wei, Chen Wenji, Ding Yi, Liang Quan, Tan Ping, Li Binyuan, Mao Yan, Han Dong, Li Qing, PSFO (Hong Hao, Xiao Yu, Song Dong, Liu Jianhua, Leng Lin); Architect Xu Tiantian, He Jianxiang, Ma Yansong, Chang Yongho, Wu Linshou, Wang Hui, Li Han, Wang Zigeng; Graphic designer Xiao Mage, Ma Shirui, Guang Yu, Han Jiaying, Jumping He, Zhu Sha, Mei Shuzhi, Liu Zhizhi.
As the seventh project of “Nine-Tiered Pagoda”, “Mask and Shadow” resembles a transparent castle, or a ghosting phantom of the opera, attracting us to pick up the key of creation and interpretation to solve the puzzle between vision and meaning, form and content, representation and essence in art, architecture, and design. The exhibition is based on a series of portraits drawn by Xie Nanxing, with the architect He Jianxiang creating the space and the graphic designer Ma Shirui in charge of posters and other visual systems.
As the eighth project of “Nine-Tiered Pagoda”, “Scenes” is the first exhibition designed all by females to explore the individual consciousness and identity difference in art, architecture, and design, with “perception” serving as the primary tool to understand the world. The exhibition is based on the works of three artists, namely Jiang Jie, Peng Wei and Yin Xiuzhen, with the architect Xu Tiantian creating the space and graphic designer Xiao Mage in charge of posters and other visual systems.
As the sixth project of “Nine-Tiered Pagoda”, “Forma Fantasia” is like a rhapsody, a laboratory of forms that inspires imagination, or a stage play that breeds infinite power. The exhibition is based on the geometric installations created by the artist Liu Wei, with the architect Ma Yansong designing the space, and the graphic designer Guang Yu in charge of posters and other visual designs.
As the backbone of the new generation of cultural representatives, the works of Liu Wei, Ma Yansong, and Guang Yu are rooted in an important stage of China’s development and has been deeply affected by unique changes and vicissitudes of the Chinese society in the new century, that is, the rapid changes of the urban and cultural landscape. In this period, the form in ancient modernism no longer exists as a form. Instead, it has become a medium of rapid change and future imagination. “Fantasia” calls people to follow the guidance of “form”, to pursue the infinite association and “wholism”. The “wholism” here may be the law of motion of everything, while the “light and shadow” may represent the origin of time or its change. The “rising line” will herald the ambition of soaring, while the “circle” is the starting point and the next loop.
As the fifth project of “Nine-Tiered Pagoda”, “Similar Results, Different Approaches” is the first group exhibition unveiling a discussion on abstract art creation methods, with the focus on elementary and core issues in art, architecture, and design: the constant change of dots, lines and planes in the work. The exhibition is based on the works of the artists Chen Wenji, Ding Yi, Tan Ping, and Liang Quan, with the architect Chang Yungho designing the space, and graphic designer Han Jiaying in charge of posters and other visual designs.
“Similar Results” refers to the common use of dots, lines, and planes as elements of creation to finally present a similar form of picture; while “Different Approaches” refers the completely different working method, conceptual intention, production mechanism, as well as the artistic language employed by the four artists.
“Perspectival Playground” is different from traditional solo exhibitions of architects as it does not display models, drawings and renderings as usual. Instead, it presents another clue offered by Architect Yung Ho Chang. Through the space design and installations, the playground of “perspective” and “seeing” is thereby established.
As the most important architect in China, Yung Ho Chang has not only designed many eye-catching architectural works, but also participated in a large number of art exhibitions and theoretical studies with a complex system of his own, covering from the changes in Asian urbanization to the experimentation of exhibition construction. The driving force for the development of this system lies in the architect's broad vision and diversified exploration. He constantly returns to the starting point of architecture, reflecting on and reconstructing all basic elements, thus opening up the possibility to re-understand architecture.
The five installations in the exhibition of “Looking for” are presenting a brief history of perspective. The work begins with the experiment regarding linear perspective carried out in the 14th century by Italian Architect Filippo Brunelleschi who pioneered the era of constructing spaces with scientific methods. It is the beginning of the entire exhibition and also a metaphor for Yung Ho Chang’s working routines. Here, he has paved a way for us to look for “perspective”.
Shenzhen Contemporary Artists Series No.1Xue Feng: Far Far
Some views have been coming to Xue Feng’s mind all the time, such as a flat boat sailing through the West Lake, the infinite distance looking from the open doors. The flat boat or the open doors may exist in reality or they may tell many bygone memories. However, they cannot be equated with that in Xue Feng’s mind. Knowing that the views as he envisioned are always untouchable, he transcribed the views in the far and deep distances on a flat picture. What he has been depicting is the distance instead of the views.
By means of painting, Xue Feng measures the distance between himself and the images in his mind. The process of painting can be as long as it takes to “adjust the focus”. Since he strives to inch towards images in his mind, his paintings are always subject to intertwined and fuzzy changes. With images in the painting degrading to a few colors, a few brushstrokes and several layers, Xue Feng draws the distance in line with the varying density and intensity. Sometimes, even the “mental images” will deviate from the “real images”, only showcasing the abstract depths. The brushstrokes are condensed into a glued shelter, rendering a deep and remote distance. As a result, he will not illustrate what is in the distance or what is in his mind.
Nine-Tiered Pagoda: Spatial and Visual Magic, as a cross-disciplinary event, represents an unprecedented direction and form of exhibition in China. Nine (groups of) artists will provide their works as the basis material for the exhibition. Besides, nine architects and nine designers will also join to form nine temporary teams, hence the cooperation among artists, architects and designers. There is no ‘priority’ or ‘center’ in the exhibition, only division of labor and collaboration, presenting nine individual exhibitions of a brand-new type.
As the core determinant for the exhibition, space and design are also a kind of re-creation of the exhibition and the work; They determine the content and way the audience see the exhibition, as well as the sequence and pace. Space and design, no longer in the service of the exhibition, provide an independent and autonomous experience for the audience, granting the exhibition a myriad of variables and possibilities.
In 2019, the Pingshan Art Museum presented the annual exhibition Synchronicity, from the curator’s beautiful vision of spending time together in harmony to the New Year, the current situation unexpectedly gives rise to another meaning of “synchronicity” - “spending difficult times together”. The epidemic has changed a lot and the future trajectory remains unclear. What should we and our museums do in the midst of this? Art may seem feeble at the moment, but its true power lies in the process of recording, experiencing and reflecting on things that give us a wake-up call, thus giving us hope for the future.
Toward the end of first half of the year at the Pingshan Art Museum, we present the exhibition Muse, Yu Gong and Compasses, curated by Lu Mingjun. Narrated with historical memory, the exhibition contrasts with today’s globalization and modernity, and surprisingly, alongside their tremendous power of retraction. The curator, Lu Mingjun, invites ten artists/groups to participate in a journey of historical site investigation and contemporary myths writing. Thirty-two works of painting, video and installation will be on view until August 30, 2020.
Photo Courtesy of artists and Pingshan Art Museum, Edouard Malingue Gallery, Lisson Gallery, Madein Gallery, Pilar Corrias Gallery, ShangART Gallery, Vangard Gallery, Vitamin Creative Space
“No one would have imagined that the Pingshan Art Museum would mark the first anniversary of its new establishment on this bleak March day. It’s a moment to remember. Each person, each institution, is trying to adjust itself toward the summer of unknown and hope. We stand at this waypoint, looking back, looking forward. We record, contemplate, imagine and celebrate with art. Life goes on, art accompanies, and we appreciate the attention and help of friends in the past year. Together, we look forward to the year ahead, when Pingshan Art Museum will continue to present many more excitements and splendor.”
LIU Xiaodu, Director, Pingshan Art Museum
Coined synchronicity by the Swiss psychologist Carl Gustav Jung (1875-1961), contemplations on meaningful coincidences and timelessness are reflected upon at Synchronicity, the first contemporary art exhibition of Pingshan Art Museum (PAM). The structure of the exhibition echoes the title presented in a parallel relationship. Curator LI Zhenhua described the exhibition as “seven personal stories in flashback”, which connects the creative logic of the seven artists in their own language, geography and intellectual experience of time. In the late 1980s, for example, Roman Signer was introduced to the art academies in China via publications and videos, and was widely studied.
For two weeks, nearly 15 groups of artists/groups are stationed in Pingshan to create live artworks, inviting the public to interact with the arts. The theme, “Chirp - Art Camping” for exchanges and communication, is inspired by the lifestyle of young people in the south, such as camping, music and film festivals in a warm climate.
“Unknown City: Installation and Imagery on Chinese Contemporary Architecture” is the first exhibition at Pingshan Art Museum (PAM), joined by numerous practitioners related to the field of architecture in China’s 40 years of rapid urbanization. During the time, the architects designed the city themselves, but were also “bewildered” by the city, as the urban space became ever uncertain and complex. This paradoxical cycle of material creation and cultural disintegration undoubtedly has deep philosophical connotations. Whether in urban culture or the study of architecture, in contemporary art or philosophy, the “unknown city” is a proposition worthy of in-depth study.
Four Seasons Salon, an academic salon initiated and hosted by the Pingsan Art Museum and co-curated by Da Bian Lu, an art media platform, is a recurring event throughout four seasons.