11 November will see the tenth year of the Contemporary Istanbul Art Fair (CI) the international exhibition that serves art lovers and collectors in Turkey and the Middle East while also drawing visitors from Europe and Asia.
ACAF has been invited to participate in CI and has taken the opportunity to promote the work of Chinese and Australian artists as well as international artists who have worked with us in our Arts Can Do project. Standing as it does at the crossroads of Europe and Asia, Istanbul and CI offer new and exciting prospects for artists to tap into collectors across many countries and cultures usually quite difficult to access.
When Yashian Schauble founded ACAF the remit was to foster Chinese and Australian artists, building bridges for them between art, their countries and other countries around the world. This year Contemporary Istanbul offers the perfect opportunity to extend artistic linkages to a dynamic part of the art world that has seen little of contemporary Chinese or Australian art. ACAF is focusing on Chinese artists for this exciting opportunity at CI 2015, bringing a diverse and sometimes challenging group of art work and experiences to Istanbul. In future years we will extend this to Australian artists and will also bring artists from Turkey and the Middle East to China and Australia.
We see artists, no matter what genre in which they work, as ambassadors for the intellectual and artistic life of their countries. Generating an appreciation of each others world view is particularly important in developing understanding and respect between peoples. Art allows us to look deeply into aspects the society which helped form and create it. Hopefully it allows for building both understanding and respect. It is for this reason that ACAF is at CI and so very much appreciates the opportunity it presents our artists. We know that the artists will take away much insight and inspiration and that, for visitors, their endeavours will create both curiosity and understanding.
We are participating at a number of location at the fair.
At the prestigious Merkur Gallery we are presenting Midnight Laughter, curated by Aimee Lin. This challenging exhibition features works by Hu Weiyi, Li Qing, Ling Jian, Shao Yinong and Muchen, Miao Xiaochun and Zheng Jiang. This selection of some of the finest contemporary artists working China today runs to a theme of light and shadows, night and day to evoke modern ways of seeing the world.
At Plug In, the New Media section of CI features Miao Xiaochun’s epic RESTART which is sure to generate significant interest and give many visitors a surprising insight into just how creatively and astonishingly advanced video and animation is being integrated into contemporary art in China. RESTART is a three-dimensional animation set to the score of Beethoven's "Missa Solemnis", a visual symphony in which the characters travel through time and space referencing the canon of art history. RESTART begins with Pieter Bruegel's "The Triumph of Death" and teems with figures and swarms conveying death as individual skeletons, groups of skeletons, or entire hordes being delivered from life unto death.
On the ACAF stand at the fair we present Parade, introducing new works from exciting contemporary Chinese, Australian artists, and others who have worked in our projects including Charlie Stein, Double Fly Art Centre, Feng Yan, Leela Schauble, Ling Jian, Miao Xiaochun, Movana Chen, Renato Grome, Shao Yinong and Muchen, Song Ling and Zheng Jiang. Parade is literally a parade, a parade of works in many media. It is a wondrous parade of painting, sculpture, video, photography and textile art that will astonish many and certainly challenge preconceived ideas of what is Chinese Art.
Movana Chen, for example, is an amazing conceptual artist who since 2004 has been creating "magazine clothes" knitted from shredded magazines in locations around the world, often with the help of gallery visitors and the public, from bathers on beaches in Australia to galleries in New York. Twenty four of these clothes were used to create one large piece "Dreconstructing" which is physically the largest work on display. The knitting and reconstructing questions the original language of the magazines, subverting their message within an alternative means of ‘reading’ print media.
Between these set points are works of sculpture, painting, photography and textile art that question and explore the human condition in ways that reflect the new and exiting cultural shifts developing in China and around the world.
The very diversity of the work displayed exemplifies the aim of ACAF to bring people to a better appreciation of our essential humanity by appreciating each other's unique view and interpretation of life. It also presents collectors with a unique opportunity to star or expand their collection of contemporary Chinese Art.
Participation at CI helps full-fill another of ACAF’s aims, that of directly assisting artists careers while broadening awareness of Chinese contemporary art in the world at large.
Many people in the Middle East have a idea fixed in their mind that Chinese art is only the traditional ink wash paintings of mountains, bamboo forests and tigers or traditionally decorated ceramics.
Indeed, one of the artists we will be exhibiting, Charlie Stein, has taken that very idea and created traditionally shaped blue "Ming Vases" however instead of the tradition painting of the vase she has created landscapes of life modern China.
Charlie is currently working with us in China in our Arts Can Do project for disadvantaged children. She has introduced them to decorating their own blue Ming vases showing their own lives.