Yishu - Journal of Contemporary Chinese Art

Yishu Journal – the January/February 2011 Issue Now Available

Thursday, December 23rd, 2010

Editor’s Note:

Since its inception in 2002, Yishu has been consistent in its coverage of biennials and triennials in Asia and elsewhere. Issue 42 opens with reviews of the Taipei Biennial by Pauline J. Yao and the Shanghai Biennale by Xhingyu Chen. Both 2010 editions of these exhibitions embarked on new directions, with varying degrees of success, proposing ways to challenge the traditional biennial format with their emphasis on artistic process over the final product.

Within this context, contemporary Chinese art eludes definition as a singular entity, and while Hong Kong and mainland China are now theoretically the same nation, they don’t share the same history, and Robin Peckham explores some of the complexities that exist between the two with respect to studio practices, scale, and space. On a related note within the particular circumstances of Hong Kong, Stephanie Bailey interviews two collectives representative of a younger generation who cross the disciplines of visual art, street art, graphic design, and fashion as a way of negotiating a fast-paced, highly regulated, and expensive city. Paul Gladston, who recently spent several years teaching in China, examines the crisis in critical thought as it pertains to mainland China and suggests some of the reasons its advancement has been stymied.

In contrast, Yishu 42 also offers interviews with representatives of two important resource centres. Alice Schmatzberger speaks with RongRong about Three Shadows Photography Art Centre in Beijing, and Chunyee Li interviews Phoebe Wong and Anthony Yung Tsz Kin about Asia Art Archive’s research into art in mainland China between 1980 and 1990. Both of these organizations are conscientiously collecting documentation on the history of contemporary art in China and, significantly, making it accessible to the public in their own creative ways.

We close Yishu 42 with two reviews of exhibitions that take different approaches to referencing the presence of nature. The “harmony” of the tens of thousands of porcelain sunflower seeds that populate Ai Weiwei’s major installation at Tate Modern is put into perspective with his other projects by Voon Pow Bartlett, and Jonathan Goodman examines the vulnerable relationship between nature and culture in the recent work of Cui Fei.

Keith Wallace

photo (top): Superflex, FREE BEER Factory, installation view at TFAM, 2010, mixed media installation with platform, tables, brewing kits, bottles. Photo: Pauline J. Yao. Courtesy of the artists and Taipei Fine Arts Museum.

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