Archives for category: installation

'Waste Not' Song Dong
toothpaste
In 2009 at MoMA, the Chinese artist Song Dong exhibited a collection of objects: furniture, books, kitchen utensils, shopping bags, clothes, plastic bottles, shoes, empty toothpaste tubes; in fact, everything that had accumulated in his mother’s house in Beijing over a period of nearly 60 years.

His mother, Zhao Xiangyuan, lived in a tiny house with her husband and two children. She came from a wealthy family that lost everything when one of its members was imprisoned as an anti-Communist spy, and lived through the poverty of the 60s and the Cultural Revolution. She was obsessively frugal and refused to throw anything away, or move out and part with her possessions, until Song Dong proposed an art project to meaningfully recycle and preserve them. Read the rest of this entry »

Standouts from a short visit to Melbourne Now at NGV St Kilda Road:

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Agatha Gothe-Snape’s video screens installation Powerpoints (above). This work looks very much like advertising with ‘slogans’ and snippets of text that cycle continuously. I liked it a lot.

Daniel Crooks’ video work An embroidery of voids 2013, was also a favourite. Spliced footage of Melbourne laneways and back alleys takes you on an imaginary tour. It is mesmerising. There’s a sense of menace that seems to be building up to a violent conclusion due to the atmospheric soundtrack, but nothing happens.

Anastasia Klose’s Popup Shop, where she is selling Tshirts and other merchandise. Playing with the idea of the artist as a product and ‘selling out’, Klose is a charming salesperson for her ‘souvenirs’.

The volume of work means this is a show to return to several times. The show runs until 23 March 2014.

 

Watching the documentary Never Sorry about Ai Weiwei recently inspired me to write about this brave and provocative artist.

Ai Weiwei is Chinese, born in Beijing in 1957. He is an artist, designer, architect, political activist, sculptor, curator, publisher and blogger, described as a ‘cultural compass for an entire generation of Beijing artists’.

Ai Weiwei’s father was Chinese poet Ai Qing, who was denounced during the Cultural Revolution and in 1958 sent to a labour camp in Xinjiang with his wife and son. Ai Weiwei was one year old at the time and the family lived in Shihezi for 16 years and in 1975 returned to Beijing.

Weiwei studied at the Beijing Film Academy in the late 1970s, and from 1981 to 1993 he lived in the US, mostly in New York, making conceptual art and using readymade objects in the tradition of Marcel Duchamp and Joseph Beuys.

In 1993 he returned to China when his father became ill, and asked him to come home to China.

In December 2008, he supported an investigation, started by another Chinese artist, into student casualties in the 2008 Sichuan earthquake. Because only schools were destroyed by the quake, questions were raised about the safety and construction of the buildings. A list of 5,385 children killed in the earthquake was compiled by April 2009, and Weiwei published the collected names, as well as articles documenting the investigation, on his blog, which was shut down by Chinese authorities in May 2009. The blog became a memorial for the dead, with the names of the victims scrolling in long lists, and later their names spoken in Chinese as a voiceover.

Weiwei also made a moving installation using children’s backpacks, shown at Haus der Kunst in Munich in 2009. Coloured backpacks spelled out in Chinese a quote from one of the bereaved mothers about her daughter killed in the earthquake: ‘She lived happily in this world for seven years’.

Remembering, Ai Weiwei, installation, 2009

The Chinese authorities were unhappy about this public exposure of the deaths of thousands of children, whose identity was supposed to be a secret.

Ai Weiwei was beaten by the police in August 2009 for testifying for Tan Zuoren, a fellow investigator of the shoddy construction and student casualties in the earthquake. Subsequently he suffered headaches and had difficulty concentrating on his work. In September 2009, he was diagnosed to be suffering internal bleeding and had to have emergency brain surgery. The cerebral hemorrhage is believed to be caused by the beating.

In April 2011, Weiwei was secretly detained by the police for 81 days at the Beijing Capital International Airport while on his way to board a flight to Hong Kong. He was released on bail on fabricated tax charges. Although the bail was lifted after a year, the authorities have not returned his passport and he remains prohibited from travelling outside China.

I admire and applaud his bravery in witnessing and exposing these events in his blog and art, and calling the Chinese regime to account.

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Murals, ‘street’ art, paintings… love your work, Maya. Especially the painting series here.
Maya Hayuk Installation 2012

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Korean installation artist Choi Jeong Hwa is awesome!

“I work with things we use every day, and I try and turn them into art” he says. “Plastic doesn’t decompose. Even when it’s old, it looks like new, and it’s recyclable. That’s why I call plastic my ‘master'”.

Kieran Stewart was our Context and Culture lecturer at VU and his enthusiasm for art is infectious.

He’s also a visual artist who works across the mediums of video, image making and sculptural installation. Kieran explores concepts of labour, systems of commercial promotion and gross capital production.

Kieran makes inflatable sculptures and his Occupy Nothing is a wall that deflates when someone approaches. The work re-inflates when is stops sensing movement. Kieran’s work often has a playful and unusual quality that I like.

Powered up and broken was a modified ATM placed in a gallery that printed the title and description of work on a receipt when you attempted to withdraw cash. This is one of Kieran’s favourite works and I love the craziness of it. More about Kieran here.

It’s really sad to say goodbye to my studio at VU. We repainted our spaces and hung our work for assessment last week… and moved out. It’s been an amazing year and I’d like to thank my friends, fellow students and teachers for inspiration, advice and fun.

The VU studios are a hive of activity, with all of us trying to get our work finished, our studio spaces painted, and our work hung and installed by next Wednesday… eek.

Meanwhile, here’s a glimpse of my new collage/installation work…

I’m a big fan of Rebecca Baumann’s work. Last year I loved her Automated Colour Field at ACCA, an installation of 100 flip clocks with pages of coloured paper. This was a beautiful contemplative artwork, constantly changing as the coloured pages randomly flipped over. In November last year I saw her golden curtain of tinsel, Untitled Cascade, animated by a small domestic fan, at West Space. It reminded me of a theatrical curtain or a backdrop from a cheesy TV game show. She’s also created a confetti machine and used exploding balloons filled with confetti and coloured smoke bombs in her installations. Her work is really fun and beautiful and she’s interested in the relationship between colour and emotion.

More of Rebecca’s work here.

karenstarot

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One Drawing Daily

I've been drawing and painting and learning (almost) every day since the 9th September 2014

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anastasia klose

contemporary artist in Sydney/Melbourne AUSTRALIA

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Scott's Blog

Senator Scott Ludlam's blog