Yishu - Journal of Contemporary Chinese Art

Yishu Journal – the November/December 2013 Issue Now Available

Friday, November 1st, 2013

Editor’s Note

As time and events seem to accelerate, history becomes an ever more slippery concept. With mainland China’s transformation since the late 1970s, the previous era of the Cultural Revolution is receding from the consciousness of many Chinese citizens. The first three texts in this issue demonstrate the importance of remembering and of not letting the past, something that can serve as a lesson for the present, disappear. Ai Weiwei recounts his experiences as a child during the Cultural Revolution, his entry into making art, and his years as a young Chinese artist in New York. Photographers Shao Yinong and Muchen examine the shifting uses of traditional assembly halls from their original functions and their politicization during the Cultural Revolution to their current state of disrepair or repurposing. He Chongyue, also a photographer, determinedly explores the recent past by researching wall and stone tablet messaging as forms of political and cultural communication, the One-Child Policy, and the aging population in China and its diminished role within a modern Chinese society.

Yishu 59 also features texts on two women artists, Cai Jin, from Beijing, and Au Hoi Lam, from Hong Kong; we are given overviews of their respective work and how it has evolved over the years. These women demonstrate quite different sensibilities; Cai Jin is notable for her expressive use of paint, and Au Hoi Lam exhibits a contemplative restraint in her drawings, paintings, and sculptures.

Nikita Yingqian Cai and Carol Yinghua Lu continue their Curatorial Inquiries discussions with a fourteenth edition, exploring the idea of institutional critique as proposed by Andrea Fraser. They too look at the recent past, and how critics and curators remain stuck within accepted terminologies when analyzing artwork. In conclusion, we feature two reviews, one covering the 5th Auckland Triennial under the directorship of Hou Hanru, and one considering Xu Tan’s exhibition in Guangzhou that combined recent projects with some of his earlier work.

Keith Wallace

Image (top): He Chongyue, A Billion to One: Dictated Parenthood and the Feudal Mind No. 7, 2006, colour photograph, 152 x 190 cm. Courtesy of the artist.

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