Yishu - Journal of Contemporary Chinese Art

Yishu Journal’s 10th Anniversary Year – the March/April 2012 Issue Now Available

Friday, March 2nd, 2012

Editor’s Note:

The first three texts in Yishu 49 feature two artists, Lin Tianmiao and Ai Weiwei, who maintain extensive art careers in China and internationally. Both of them grew up during the Cultural Revolution and then spent time in New York City during the 1980s and early 1990s; thus their work has evolved from both regional and cosmopolitan perspectives. Each has produced a distinctive body of work that arises out of single-minded practices that elude easy categorization, and that follow no prevailing trend. Lin Tianmaio and her new work is subject of an interview with Peggy Wang and an essay by Patricia Karetzy, while Danielle Shang examines how he provokes questions about authenticity with the materials he employs in his art.

Edward Sanderson explores the increasingly blurred boundaries among curatorial practice, artistic practice, and institutions through the examples of two innovative exhibitions—Little Movements: Self-practice in Contemporary Art and A Museum That Is Not. Zhou Yan directly speaks to the institutions of art and criticism through a discussion comparing the idea of institutions in China with those in the US and how they fundamentally differ. The issue of blurred boundaries, especially with respect to curators and critics, is echoed in his text but in a way that takes them to task. Sophia Kidd also alludes to this matter in her review of the 2011 Chengdu Biennale in which she critiques its curatorial premise and the commercial and political agendas that seem to reside within this particular event.

The final two texts, reviews by Stephanie Bailey of the exhibition Structure and Absence and by Mandy Ginson of Lee Kit’s installation Henry (Have You Ever Been So Low?), exemplify very different kinds of exhibitions. The pairing of scholars’ rocks and contemporary art in Structure and Absence is not about one influencing the other—the subject of several recent exhibitions—but is more about how the meeting of these two unlikely aesthetics might redefine our understanding of them. Lee Kit’s exhibition, on the other hand, moves into an aesthetic of the psyche in which the objects and paintings in the installation create a narrative between us and the objects that populate our lives.

Keith Wallace

image (top): Lin Tianmiao, The same (The grey sameness) (detail), 2011, grey cashmere, linen cloth, silk thread, synthetic skeletons, copper, aluminum, electric wires, furfural, 161 x 478 x 45 cm. Courtesy of the artist.

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