Yishu - Journal of Contemporary Chinese Art

Yishu Journal – the November/December 2010 Issue Now Available

Tuesday, November 2nd, 2010

Editor’s Note:

Yishu 41 begins with essays by the two recipients of the Inaugural Yishu Award for Critical Writing on Contemporary Chinese Art, Maya Kóvskaya and Sheng Wei. Kóvskaya’s text focuses on the work of Han Bing, from Beijing, and Tejal Shah, from Mumbai, and proposes that an expanded notion of the erotic can productively challenge “normative” social and political order and embrace what it means to be truly human. Sheng Wei examines what he sees as critical writing’s ever-increasing loss of voice, a condition which he believes began in the 1980s, and argues for responsibility to history and scholarship rather than to a desire for power in the determination of history.

In discussing two artists from China and India, Kóvskaya’s text anticipates issues posed by other texts and by Expo 2010 in Shanghai, namely, international exchange and China’s cultural and political positioning with respect to other parts of the world. Xhingyu Chen reviews a selection of exhibitions coinciding with Expo 2010, an event intended to showcase China to the world. Defne Ayas and Charles Esche deliberate on some of the challenges of making exchange projects meaningful, in this case focusing on China and the Netherlands in the exhibition Double Infinity. Affiliated with the Double Infinity project is a panel discussion with Hyunjin Kim, Georg Schöllhammer, and Defne Ayas, exploring historical precedents in our understanding of China relative to parallel conditions in Korea, the former Soviet Union, and Turkey. In the past, such discussions have primarily concentrated on China’s associations with the West, but those discussions are now shifting to other parts of the world, including its bordering neighbours.

Continuing with our coverage of Shanghai, Mathieu Borysevicz interviews Cai Guo-Qiang, who curated the exhibition Peasant Da Vincis. Here, a celebration of DIY inventiveness is also a statement about the lack of value placed on the role of peasants and their contribution to Chinese society. Marie Leduc’s interview with Gao Shiming tracks his decade-long curatorial trajectory, leading up to his conceptual approach for the 8th Shanghai Biennale as its Executive Curator.

To conclude, we have three reviews: James Donald examines the curatorial premise of the 17th Sydney Biennale, Stephanie Bailey makes an astute comparison between exhibitions of Yang Fudong and Kostis Velonis in Athens, and Jonathan Goodman explores an important survey of photographs by Mo Yi in Beijing.

Keith Wallace

photo (top): siren eun young jung, The Unexpected Response, 2009, single-channel video, 4 mins., 35 secs. Courtesy of the artist.

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