Each of the texts in Yishu 74 has arisen in response to an exhibition, emphasizing the importance of exhibitions as platforms for thinking about questions that exist beyond the artwork itself. Together, these texts—which explore art history, geopolitical contexts, and curatorial intentions—serve to rupture established narratives of history and emblems of nationhood in order to impart a sense of complexity in our understanding of the world.
Xiang Liping writes about the work by Datong Dazhang presented at the Power Station of Art, Shanghai, which brought to attention an artist who was active in the 1980s and 90s but who was virtually overlooked after his death in 2000. Su Wei stresses the necessity to re-examine aspects of conceptual and performance art in the exhibition New Measurement and Qian Weikang, which presented work that was overshadowed during the 1990s by the strong reception of painting and sculpture. Carol Yinghua Lu writes about curating an exhibition of work by Leung Chi Wo. She points out the disjunctures and between Hong Kong artists and those in mainland China, and notes that Hong Kong artists have tended to receive less attention internationally. Stefanie Chou Wanjing interviews Uli Sigg about his process of collecting contemporary Chinese art, his donation to M+, Hong Kong, and the history that his collection represents, which is one that evolved from personal relationships with the artists and direct involvement with the art scene.
History and narrative play a significant role in Lisa Catt’s writing about the work of Chen Qiulin, an artist whose exhibition at 4A Centre in Sydney, Australia, is research-oriented and focuses on the history of Chinese migrants in that city. Narrative arises in another form in Stephanie Bailey’s discussion with Wu Tsang, an artist who recently created a video based on the sexual orientation of two women in mainland China at the turn of the twentieth century, but who supplants a documentary style that embraces ambiguity.
The final three texts discuss the reception of art from China, and other regions, outside of their domestic settings. Aileen Burns and Johan Lundh discuss how the 8th Asia Pacific Triennial, observing that over the years it has expanded its definition of what constitutes the idea of Asia Pacific, as well as its relationship to other biennials internationally. Brian Karl looks at how contemporary Chinese art is represented in the context of Istanbul and the corporate world, and Joni Low suggests how work from another country, in this instance the traditions and spirituality represented in contemporary Taiwanese art and exhibited in Vancouver, can inspire one to see one’s own place differently.
We at Yishu express our condolences for the passing away of Huang Zhuan on April 13, 2016. He was one of China’s most prominent art historians, critics, and curators. He contributed to Yishu and was recipient of the 2011 Yishu Award for Critical Writing on Contemporary Chinese Art.
Image (top): Chen Qiulin, Old Archway (detail), 2009, C print, 154 x 124 cm. Courtesy of the artist and A Thousand Plateaus Art Space, Chengdu.