French gallerist Almine Rech-Picasso opened her first space in Asia on Shanghai's historic Bund in July this year, bringing her eponymous gallery's total locations to five. The Shanghai gallery occupies roughly 4,000 square feet on the second floor of the three-storey Amber Building, a beautiful warehouse space, originally occupied by the Central...
There's an inside joke amongst the team of Ashkal Alwan, The Lebanese Association for Plastic Arts: that every time an edition of its biennial forum on cultural practices is planned, a national crisis happens. The eighth edition of Home Works was no different: it opened on 17 October amidst the most devastating wildfires that Lebanon had witnessed...
Hans Hartung and Art Informel at Mazzoleni London (1 October 2019-18 January 2020) presents key works by the French-German painter while highlighting his connection with artists active in Paris during the 50s and 60s. In this video, writer and historian Alan Montgomery discusses Hartung's practice and its legacy.Born in Leipzig in 1904, Hans...
Provocative and inventive, Lee Bul (이불) is one of the leading Korean artists of her generation. Though she has worked in performance, sculpture, painting, installation and video, she is most known for her monstrous sculptures, cyborgs and utopian landscapes. Born to dissident parents during the military dictatorship of Park Chung-Hee in South Korea, Lee emerged in the 1990s through works that channelled the emotional impact of political persecution and restrictive gender roles into visual form. Since then, the artist has investigated human desires for perfection and stability and the implications of technology in the contemporary world.
After completing her studies at Hongik University in 1987, Lee Bul embarked on her career as a performance artist on the streets of Korea and Japan. Donning soft wearable sculptures that were described as 'simultaneously alluring and grotesque' by Ikon Gallery, she addressed the themes of political instability and gender roles in a then—and still—very conservative and male-dominated Korean society. In Cravings (1989), Lee transformed herself into a monstrous creature, whose tentacles and externalised internal organs alluded to the anxieties of the artist and her fellow citizens living under conditions fraught with government censorship and civil unrest. The performance later developed into 'Monster' (1998–2011), a series where the wearable sculptures evolved into freestanding statues. Abortion, also performed in 1989, showed the artist hanging upside down from the ceiling and generated controversy for Lee Bul's bold critique of Korean traditions regarding women's bodies and sexuality. Around this time, Lee also participated in the founding of Museum, an underground collective of avant-garde artists, performers and musicians in Seoul whose members are still influential in Korea today.
Lee Bul's artwork from the 1990s explores the human body in its relation to beauty, life, death and technology. Majestic Splendor (1997)—an installation created for The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York—consisted of a decaying fish adorned with sequins, beads and flowers in a glass display case. Although the exhibition closed prematurely due to its smell, curator Harald Szeemann invited Lee to recreate it in the Lyon Biennale that same year. In a powerful visualisation of the metamorphosis from the beautiful to the sickening, Lee highlighted the inevitable cycle of life and death.
Lee Bul's iconic 'Cyborg' (1997–2011) series, on the other hand, examines the human desire for the perfect body. Cyborg Red and Cyborg Blue, both completed in 1997 as a pair, show silicon casts of female figures based on Greco-Roman statues with machine-like body parts. Because Lee's cyborgs often appear as females, they have been regarded as a critique of the social expectation for women to have idealised bodies. However, the artist has shown that her concerns extend to mankind at large in her karaoke installations, including Gravity Greater than Velocity (1999) and Live Forever (2002). Safely tucked in the empty karaoke capsules and pods, the human body is reduced to its sensory functions—technology may be alluring, but humankind has reason to be alarmed about its advancements.
In the new millennium, Lee shifted away from the body to human desires for utopia. 'Mon grand récit', an ongoing series since 2005, features futuristic ruins and landscapes comprised of small-scale railways, LED signs and architectural structures. Perched on skeletal frameworks, Lee's landscapes are a fragile mass that could collapse in a matter of seconds—as unrealised hopes often do in utopias. Lee has also begun to incorporate reflective materials in her architectural installations, most notably in After Bruno Taut (Devotion to Drift) (2013)—a floating palace of crystal beads, chains and mirrors. Inspired by the futuristic ideals and works of Bruno Taut, a 20th-century German architect and the creator of the Glass Pavilion, Lee uses reflectivity to allude to utopian ideals as well as a means to think about military Korea, now several decades in the past.
Lee Bul has regularly exhibited internationally at venues such as Art Sonje Center, Seoul (2012); Mori Art Museum, Tokyo (2012); Domus Artium 2002, Salamanca (2007); Museum of Contemporary Art Australia, Sydney (2004); the New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York (2002); and Musée d'Art Contemporain, Marseille (2002). Lee Bul's art is also part of many public collections. These include Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art, Seoul; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Mori Art Museum, Tokyo; National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne; National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa; and Yu-un, Obayashi Collection, Tokyo. She has had works included in the Biennale of Sydney (2016), Gwangju Biennale (2014), Taipei Biennial (2006–7) and Venice Biennale (1999). Today, the artist lives and works in Seoul, Korea.
Cui Jie (崔洁) draws from modernist art and 20th- and 21st-century architectural tropes to create layered paintings of utopian (or dystopian) urban scenes that allude to China's recent and rapid urbanisation.
Featuring futuristic structures that appear at once real and imagined, Cui's architectural paintings often reference the effects of rapid urbanisation on the landscape. Cui's works are characterised by their layering, collage-like fragmentation, and multiple distorted viewpoints that question the figure-ground relationship. She also draws from the architectural idiosyncrasies of the Bauhaus movement, as well as the aesthetics of 20th-century Chinese propaganda and Soviet art.
Cui's characteristic toying with perspective is particularly evident in the painting Corner Building (2017), in which various buildings and a figurative sculpture seem to float in the sky. Parts of the building and sky show through the otherwise-opaque sculpture, while architectural lines are visible in the clouds, confusing the distinction between foreground and background.
Cui's works often function as comparative studies of specific cities. In the painting Shanghai Bank Tower 2 (2017), a spiralling structure merges with what appears to be the titular building. The spiral structure is reminiscent of Vladimir Tatlin's Monument to the Third International (1920)—a key work of Russian Constructivism. Indeed, Cui's aesthetic is often reminiscent of Russian Constructivism—particularly in her emphasis on geometric forms, manmade structures and the aesthetics of industry.
Cui's works frequently reference Chinese propagandist themes of shared community and destiny. The painting Ground Invading Figure #35 (2015), for example, depicts a group of soldiers surrounding a wounded man. In its huddled composition and depiction of uniformed soldiers, the painting draws heavily from the nationalist and socialist realist styles common to the Mao era; yet Cui injects her own contemporary elements such as graphic lines and nonrealistic shapes. In the artwork, are multiple intersections between each solider, not unlike the cross-sections in Cui's architectural paintings. As the figures gather around the wounded man, the individual begins to blend into the collective and the canvas becomes fragmented.
Born in 1983 in Shanghai, Cui graduated from the Department of Oil Painting at China Academy of Art in Hangzhou in 2006 and is currently based in Beijing. Her work has been exhibited at various art institutions such as MoMA PS1, New York; Museum of Fine Arts, Saint Petersburg; Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing; and Iberia Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing, amongst others. Cui was part of the group exhibition The Enormous Space at OCAT Shenzhen in 2018. In the same year, she participated in An American City: Eleven Cultural Exercises, the inaugural edition of the FRONT International: Cleveland Triennial for Contemporary Art.
Angela Su is a multi-disciplinary artist based in Hong Kong. Su graduated from the University of Toronto with a biochemistry degree in 1990 and The Ontario College of Art and Design University with a degree in visual arts in 1994. She works in a wide range of media, creating ink drawings, human hair embroideries, performances, videos and animations. In Paracelsus' Garden, which comprises meticulous Victorian medical illustrations of the human body, insects and plants, she shows a fine blend of her biochemistry training and artisanal skill.
Attracted by biotechnology and the idea of the 'post-human', Su started combining the imagery of bodies and machinery. These hybrids have come to be what she is best known for. In 2011 Su exhibited these works in her solo show, BwO, at Grotto Fine Art. The title of the show referred to a 'Body without Organs', an idea introduced by Gilles Deleuze to describe a virtual body without stable structures. The works show drawings of torture machines, human flesh and organs, executed in monochromatic black ink and pastel on drafting film, resembling illustrations in an ancient anatomy book. Similar motifs also appeared in IN BERTY WE TRUST! (2013)—an exhibition at Gallery EXIT that consisted of a science fiction novel, a set of ink illustrations and an animation of a machine/body hybrid.
Su further explores body and machine in terms of considering the interaction between body and mind. In the exhibition The Afterlife of Rosy Leavers (2017) Su showcased a series of her research-based works on mental illness and social control. One of the works, A Reminder to Myself (2017), showed a set of eight poster banners combining borrowed texts, found images and slogans from the German militant activist Socialists' Patients Collective, whose call is to 'turn illness into a weapon'. The research-based work tells of the struggles and resistance of different individuals against the established system. Interweaving concepts such as hallucination, doppelgängers, virtual reality and artificial intelligence, the exhibition demonstrated the artist's self-reflective journey to dissect her own state of mind and investigate the limit of mind-body duality.
Su also explores art and ideas through her performance work. In the video One Woman Apartment (2008), Su tells of her experience and thoughts on a project in which she attempted to work for a day as a sex worker in Shum Shui Po—a district in Hong Kong known for its thriving sex industry. Another powerful performance-based video work, The Hartford Girl and Other Stories (2012), shows the process of creating a complex, inkless tattoo composed of 39 lines of prayer on Su's body, exploring her inclination to tolerate pain and torture. In both of these works Su considers her dual states of being when under physical endangerment or distress.
Su's work has been exhibited in the 17th Biennale of Sydney (2010), CAFA Art Museum in Beijing, National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Seoul, the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna, Whitechapel Gallery and Saatchi Gallery in London. Her works are held in the collection of M+ in Hong Kong and CAFA Art Museum in Beijing.
Para Site is Hong Kong's leading contemporary art centre and one of the oldest and most active independent art institutions in Asia. It produces exhibitions, publications, discursive, and educational projects aimed at forging a critical understanding of local and international phenomena in art and society.
Founded in early 1996 as an artist run space, Para Site was Hong Kong's first exhibition-making institution of contemporary art and a crucial self-organised structure within the city’s civil society, during the uncertain period preceding its handover to Mainland China. Throughout the years, Para Site has grown into a contemporary art centre, engaged in a wide array of activities and collaborations with other art institutions, museums, and academic structures in Hong Kong and the international landscape. In early 2015, Para Site moved to greatly increased premises, in North Point/Quarry Bay. Throughout its history, Para Site's activities have included a range of different formats, among which P/S magazine (1997-2006), a bilingual publication, which was Hong Kong's first visual arts magazine and a central platform for the development of art writing and of a discursive scene in the city and the Curatorial Training Programme (2007-2010). Since 2012, Para Site has been running an International Art Residency Programme and has been organizing an annual international conference. This is accompanied, starting from 2015, by a new educational format aimed at training young curators and other art professionals. Para Site's activities are made possible by the generous support of its patrons, and grants from foundations and the Government of the HKSAR.
Retrospective 1965–2017, Beatriz González's exhibition at KW Institute for Contemporary Art in Berlin (13 October 2018–6 January 2019), presents a selection of 120 works that bear witness to Colombia's political and social upheavals of the last 50 years. Throughout, the link between González's practice and the sociopolitical context it references...
Since its foundation in 2001 by Park Kyung-mee, the former commissioner of the Korean pavilion at the 49th Venice Biennale, PKM Gallery has established itself as one of the leading contemporary art galleries in the world, representing prominent Korean and international artists through its creative programs in the context of global contemporary art.
PKM Gallery began with a renovated three-story residential building, providing 3,500 square feet of exhibition space in Hwa-dong, Central Seoul. The gallery successfully grew in stature with its various exhibition programs while actively promoting Korean emerging artists on the international stage. In the spring of 2008, PKM Trinity Gallery, located in Cheongdam-dong, opened as the second venue of PKM Gallery which had its focus on representing world-renowned artists in its impeccable exhibition space measuring more than 6,000 square feet. The gallery contributed greatly to making Cheongdam-dong as a cultural hub of Seoul, not a mere fashion and upscale commerce area but also a new destination for art lovers. In the spring of 2015, PKM Gallery will relocate to Samcheong-dong in the heart of the capital with its renaissance as the hub of art and culture. Its spectacular architecture of 6,200 square feet will become the landmark of this ancient quarter of the city where tradition and cutting-edge innovation coexist.
As one of the leading galleries in the global art world, PKM Gallery is committed to promoting contemporary art in the international artistic context and to providing sophisticated aesthetic experience to a wide audience worldwide.
Baik Art’s programming is held both locally and abroad with spaces based in Los Angeles and Seoul. With an aim to provide visually integrated exhibitions, Baik Art displays an internationally-based roster of artists with works that focus on cultural hybridity.
Additionally, Baik Art has established a nomadic residency program that nurtures the sharing of ideas and visual language within a globally proliferated ecosystem. This program has seen its many iterations traverse the globe with hosts participating in cities such as Seoul, Jogja, Mexico City, and Los Angeles.
Baik Art LA is located at the intersection of Venice and S. La Cienega Blvd., the heart of the art community in Los Angeles.
Baik Art SEOUL is located at 42 Palpan-gil, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea.
STPI is an internationally renowned space in Singapore for conceptual developments in contemporary art practice in print and paper. STPI's Creative Workshop offers a dynamic residency programme for leading artists from around the world to experiment and push the boundaries of artistic creation with alternative methods and materials. Together with STPI Gallery, its critically acclaimed programme and exceptional workshop expertise, make STPI one of the best international destinations for contemporary arts in Asia.
Tang Contemporary Art was established in 1997 in Bangkok, later establishing galleries in Beijing and most recently Hong Kong. Tang Contemporary Art is fully committed to producing critical projects and exhibitions to promote Contemporary Chinese art regionally and worldwide and encourage a dynamic exchange between Chinese artists and those abroad.
Acting as one of the most progressive and critically driven exhibition spaces in China, the gallery strives to initiate dialogue between artists, curators, collectors and institutions working both locally and internationally. A roster of groundbreaking exhibitions has earned Tang Contemporary Art internationally renowned recognition, establishing its status as a pioneer of the contemporary art scene in Asia.
Founded in 2004, Beijing Commune is now located in 798 Art Factory, Beijing. Its initial programs were mainly group shows exploring various currents in contemporary art while now it primarily focuses on solo shows to carry on the in-depth research. Beginning with a core list of established artists, the gallery has maintained an unparalleled awareness of developments in the community, and has responded by infusing young artists and new topics of discussion into the program. It fosters a space where the most influential figures in the Chinese art scene including Zhang Xiaogang, Song Dong, Yin Xiuzhen, Hong Hao, Xiao Yu, Liu Jianhua, Hai Bo and Wang Luyan have launched their watershed solo exhibitions in their careers, while simultaneously serving as the incubator for emerging artists including Fan Shuru, Hu Xiaoyuan, Liang Shuo, Liang Yuanwei, Ma Qiusha, Shang Yixin, Song Ta, Wang Guangle, Xie Molin, Zhao Yao and Zhou Yilun, who are here free to create the new vision of Chinese contemporary art. In 2018, Beijing Commune held Richard Deacon’s first solo exhibition in China.
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