Self, Form and Art -A Preface of “□” Exhibition

Kim Jihee
Increasing Demand
2016
Mixed media
22x29x0.8cm
Courtesy of artist and A+ Contemporary
Miao Ying, LAN Love Poem—Holding A Kitchen Knife Cut Internet Cable, A Road with Lightning Spark.gif , 2014, GIF animation 5000 x 2812 pixels. Courtesy of artist and A+ Contemporary
Cai Zebin
An Ideal of the Lower Class
2016
Acrylic on canvas
100x120cm
ourtesy of artist and A+ Contemporary
He Xun
The Burnt Right Angle and the Not-enlarged Right Angle(Draft)
2015
Acrylic, paper and magnifier
31.6×22.6x8cm
Courtesy of artist and A+ Contemporary
鄧國騫Tang Kwokhin
謊園Lying in Gardens
2016
綜合媒材Mixed media
Dimensions variable
(圖片由藝術家與亞洲當代藝術空間提供Courtesy of artist and A+ Contemporary)
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An artist’s response to their living environment has always been a primary focus of mine.

TEXT: Yuyun Chiang
IMAGES: Courtesy of the Artists and Asia Art Center

Kim Jihee Increasing Demand 2016 Mixed media 22x29x0.8cm Courtesy of artist and A+ Contemporary
Kim Jihee
Increasing Demand
2016
Mixed media
22x29x0.8cm
Courtesy of artist and A+ Contemporary

While recently observing the works of Taiwanese contemporary artists born in the 80s, what stands distinct is an evident decline in the development of creative forms. I refer here to the the tendency that the inspirations of most artists’ creative consciousness and the trail linking to their cultural characteristics all fall into the restraint of existing creative forms, exhibiting an over reliance on technique and materials. Artistic creation should not be constrained within an ill-fitted definition of form, for instance: art is equivalent to sculpture, painting, image, installation or the use of readymade. The contemporary art that young artists are facing should be a continuous form of the present, and the task at hand should be the state of creative forms once they become boundless, which is the discourse following “aesthetics” and “form”.

As the history of art unfolds, it appears that amongst the most efficient methods to intervene, some artists propose innovative materials and expressive forms, while some consider fresh queries about art, drawing from new disposition and subjects, or confronting an ongoing issue within society or culture. A clue of time is constructed simultaneously as each art period bears palpable space-time distinction, as well as questions regarding art and artistic practices established within this time. As the next generation emerges, its predecessor is bound to return to the stream that is art history. 1960 – The Origin of Taiwan’s Modern Art, Asia Art Center’s previous group exhibition, examines old masters of art; the then 20, 30 year-olds, who were entwined in passion of art and debates, were the ones who shaped the golden age of modern art in Taiwan. Yet, how does one uncover such rebellious spirt in young Taiwanese artists of today?苗穎Miao Ying_局域網情詩—手拿菜刀砍網線,一路火花帶閃電.gif LAN Love Poem—Holding A Kitchen Knife Cut Internet Cable, A Road with Lightning Spark.gif_ 2014_ GIF動畫GIF animation_ 5000 x 2812 pixels_1

苗穎Miao Ying_局域網情詩—手拿菜刀砍網線,一路火花帶閃電.gif LAN Love Poem—Holding A Kitchen Knife Cut Internet Cable, A Road with Lightning Spark.gif_ 2014_ GIF動畫GIF animation_ 5000 x 2812 pixels_2
Miao Ying, LAN Love Poem—Holding A Kitchen Knife Cut Internet Cable, A Road with Lightning Spark.gif , 2014, GIF animation 5000 x 2812 pixels. Courtesy of artist and A+ Contemporary

 

As of now, there are art competitions in Taiwan aimed at discovering “up-and-rising artist of the year” with experimental drive and potential as well as exhibitions that call to artists of the new generation; within them, there appear a phenomenon of an overflowing emphasis on “self” found within participants’ both approach and subject matter. The value of contemporary art lies in the fact that it serves as a reflection and lesson of reality. Indeed, the validation of self is important, but the surfeit of self-discovery and autobiographical nature mirrors the underlying concern that is the weakening of cultural consciousness. While excessively seeking a sense of comfort, the result is the conspicuous fatigue seen in their work. Have the young artists surrendered their position within reality? Are they without questions to be answered, or have they lost the purpose to intervene? What is the exact situation that has crumbled the critical thinking innate within artistic practice of these young Taiwanese artists, weakened into such vicious cycle? May it be the fixated and secluded attitude of the greater environment, or the failure of those professionals of the field who proclaim expert judging ability? The argument, as it currently stands, is alarming. As we look at artists in Asia of the same time period – China, Hong Kong, Korea are all situated within a society that continuously creates problems and contradictions, yet these artists recognise the previously stated approaches to intervene, as they envision and dredge up cultural phenomena of the present time. It is apparent in the depth of the artists’ works and thought process, and this depth further accelerates the speed in which the artists reinvent themselves, cementing innovative approaches to create art as well as the tenacity of the tie with one’s own culture.

Cai Zebin An Ideal of the Lower Class 2016 Acrylic on canvas 100x120cm ourtesy of artist and A+ Contemporary
Cai Zebin
An Ideal of the Lower Class
2016
Acrylic on canvas
100x120cm
ourtesy of artist and A+ Contemporary

The symbol “□” proposed in the exhibition could be comparable term in relation to “form”. Nonetheless, “□” does not suggest a return to the formalist discourse, but rather a contemplation of how young artists should confront extant artistic expressions with the visual’s direct display (form) remaining the indelible presence in art, in order to create a “contemporaneity” of their own.

Participating artists of the exhibition include Chinese artists Cai Zebin, He Xun, Ju Ting, Song Jianshu, Miao Ying, and Tang Kwokhin, Kong Chunhei from Hong Kong, Kim Jihee of Korea and Peng Yihsuan from Taiwan. When faced with painting as a medium, Cai Zebin, He Xun, Ju Ting, Kong Chunhei have each cultivated a malleability of image sequence, and confront forthright the core issue of art all along: “what elements still lie within contemporary art that construct the issue of painting?” He Xun’s subject for picture narratives is rooted within his poems and writing; through various rearrangements of words and images, a stage is composed full of absurdity and antagonistic quality. The artist’s own sentiments intertwined with a collective anxiety as a society are themes that appear alternately in his work. Cai Zebin’s artistic practice is a series of internal logic exercises that exceeds the importance of what the surface suggests. His deliberate attempt at maintaining a distance from the real world can also be seen in the way he titles his works; his work and its title often do not possess a clear symbol, implication or metaphorical content, but rather it is within his humorous and playful attitude where his unique perspective is formed. Ju Ting applies the unique quality of acrylic paint through piling and layering along with carving techniques found in woodblock printing; the color layers that unveil themselves after each carving bears similarity to chromatic prints. Her work cleverly examines the relationship between the two and three dimensional, releasing the confined form of printmaking, preserving, at the same time, the artist’s process of labor. Kong Chunhei works upon the basic form of readymade, altering it to become an object that is no longer functional, then permeating it with ink and physical repetition to create a work of painting.

He Xun The Burnt Right Angle and the Not-enlarged Right Angle(Draft) 2015 Acrylic, paper and magnifier 31.6x22.6x8cm Courtesy of artist and A+ Contemporary
He Xun
The Burnt Right Angle and the Not-enlarged Right Angle(Draft)
2015
Acrylic, paper and magnifier
31.6×22.6x8cm
Courtesy of artist and A+ Contemporary

Kim Jihee yearns for a new interpretation within the variability of image and fluidity of painting. She regards donated books as a remnant of culture; she reconstructs and edits texts in the books with her own images to give birth a new cultural fragment. Miao Ying considers herself an artist living in a two-dimensional world. Retaining the authenticity of materials in her work, she compiles internet slangs, the censorship of the great firewall of China and trending images and topics into her two-dimensional collages, so tangibly real in spite of its virtual nature. Peng Yihsuan replaces expressive writing with markings. “Whiteboard Marking” series utilizes common everyday object, eliminating the physical existence of painting; its impermanence also initiates a shift in his creative thinking. As an indigenous to Hong Kong, Tang Kwokhin uses the life experiences of his family members as a model to interpret the cultural phenomena of dynamic Hong Kong using a microcosmic shift. Song Jianshu’s sculpture is a merging of plane and space as well as an exploration into the “standardization” of aesthetics. Song employs personal aesthetics founded upon misalignment and deviation, experiencing sculpture as an object as one’s vision and body process the steps towards standardization.

鄧國騫Tang Kwokhin 謊園Lying in Gardens 2016 綜合媒材Mixed media Dimensions variable (圖片由藝術家與亞洲當代藝術空間提供Courtesy of artist and A+ Contemporary)
鄧國騫Tang Kwokhin
謊園Lying in Gardens
2016
綜合媒材Mixed media
Dimensions variable
(圖片由藝術家與亞洲當代藝術空間提供Courtesy of artist and A+ Contemporary)

The emphasis of this exhibition remains within the fact that imagination is critical to propel the creation of art, and one’s living environment is an excellent means for sourcing; as for how to appropriate them, it will be pivotal in the careers of professional artists. A new stream of art demands to be experimented on, to be created. To drift aimlessly will never arise artists with the drive to fulfill their true potential, as rebellious spirits are imperative in art. The exhibiting young artists expertly utilize their own creative approaches and repeatedly question the world they are situated within. This serves not only the purpose to stimulate oneself, but also a liberation from the knowledge structure of materials, object-hood, and one’s cultural analysis. Their artistic practice could be a caution as well as an inkling – most Taiwanese young artists born after the 80s are still too tactile, insensitive, is it because they have been “segregated” or simply “disintegrated”?

 

Exhibition Title: □
Exhibition Director: Chiang Yuyun
Exhibiting Artists: Cai Zebin、He Xun、Ju Ting、Kim Jihee、Kong Chunhei、Miao Ying、 Peng Yihsuan、Song Jianshu、Tang Kwokhin (Listed in the order of family name)
Organiser: A+ Contemporary
Duration: Jul. 23-Aug. 28, 2016
Venue: Asia Art Center (Taipei I+II)

 


Yuyun Chiang graduated from the Taiwan University of Arts, and went on to receive an MA from Goldsmiths, University of London. Currently lives and works in Taipei and Shanghai. Yuyun Chiang is exhibition director at A+ Contemporary, Shanghai. Recent exhibitions curated by Yuyun Chiang include: “← → A+ Contemporary Opening Exhibition” (Shanghai, 2015), “He Xun -Rural Rhapsody” (Shanghai, 2016), ” Peng Yihsuan-Impermanent Marks” (Shanghai, 2016), ” Chen Xi -∞” (Shanghai, 2016), “□” (Taipei, 2016).” Articles has been published in “The Art Newspaper”, “CANS Contemporary Art News.”

 
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