Wednesday, May 01, 2002
Chen KeZhan aka Henri Chen
Chen KeZhan who is known for his vigorous experiments with the medium of Chinese ink painting will introduce for the Venice Biennale a site-specific 12-metre painting that will stretch across the main hall of the exhibition, on a wall behind a series of arched columns. As the hall is a former chapel, the project is a challenging one. As a site-specific painting, the artist uses the architecture of the former chapel to create and highlight complex relationships between art, site and audience. The painting will be strategically positioned to take advantage of the spatial structure and the audience is coerced to study the painting from varying and extreme vantages. The work, from afar, may only be seen in parts, concealed partially by the columns, however upon closer inspection, the atmospheric and brooding painting presents itself as material phenomena that is dynamic and evolving, aided by the fluctuations and tonalities of colours and their densities. Together, the painting and the space it inhabits signal to its audience the problem of seeing. This seeing is affected by the lack of a whole, being able to see only parts at a time, whether from a distance or up close. Seeing becomes a meditative and speculative exercise, requiring multiple references to be made to the chapel and its architecture, the internal and external spaces of the exhibition site. The result is a series of readings that ventures into multiple trajectories, opening up a string of variables that allows for differentiated encounters and meanings.
Tuesday, April 30, 2002
Singapore seeking to be a global city of the arts.
re-edited excerpt from the Straits Times article
In visual arts, says Lindy Poh, art curator and legal partner at Balkenende Chew and Chia, industry practices are now influenced by international norms in areas like copyright laws, insurance, conservation, repair - and freightage. Globalisation has afforded chances for art to travel to a larger audience, with the Singapore Art Museum (SAM) taking Singaporean art to international biennales like Sao Paolo, Johannesburg and Venice.
'Most international art experts agree that the new international art is grounded on local expressions and traditions,' says Kwok Kian Chow, SAM's director. Mr Kwok warns that 'we may experience a period akin to the narrow channel of the hourglass: global exhibitions moving faster than research, field trips and publication; and artists may be creating work in this new 'international' language in an opportunistic way.' Prof Xu Jiang and Venka Purushothaman, senior lecturer, LASALLE-SIA College of the Arts, independently warn of a 'superficial internationalism' - artists deliberately creating works that are international in flavour but with no rooting in any tradition. Talking of globalisation as stylistic arbiter of performing arts, Hong Kong Arts Festival programme director Grace Lang, notes an increasing emphasis on the visual impact. Mr Purushothaman says the buzzword here isn't fusion but ' 'interculturalism' - the ability to access essential nuances from traditions and clash them like loud symbols in the name of globalisation.'