Organizer: Australia China Art Foundation
Co-Organizer: OCT Contemporary Art Terminal Shanghai
Supporting Partner: Beijing Bridging Charity Foundation
Key Sponsor: Auswin TWT Development Pty Ltd
Supporter: MCLEMOI GALLERY
Curated by: Mariagrazia Costantin
The word “degeneration” implies several meanings. The literal one is “deviation from the genus” and refers to a process that cannot be stopped, an altered status that makes it impossible to go back to the starting point, or even to an intermediary one. Not necessarily utterly bad, this is a condition contemporary societies are now confronted with. The other temporary meaning conferred on the word derives from its split into two separate parts – “de” and “generation”: the prefix “de” is used to indicate (de)privation of something, which in this case is the “generation” itself. As a process Degeneration embeds the symptom and the cure.
Although the works by Chen Zhou, Li Ming, Lu Yang and Ye Linghan materialize uncanny, slightly sinister atmospheres, "degeneration" is not only and not simply about “monsters.” It’s about pushing a language to the limit, exploring the possibility to re-enact reality according to one’s own personal criteria, by quoting or altering the content of well-know films and video works (Cheng Ran) – with an implicit critical re-evaluation of models – or constructing a sophisticated yet immediate photographic image which tells an un-known story (Chen Wei). It’s about the derangements of the senses, and how we experience and form knowledge in the era of the fast-everything (Guan Xiao); but also about how, throughout history and memories – those of our “fathers” – we shape our idea of the world (Li Ran and Hu Yun). Finally, it’s about how we let dreams get stained without giving them up, how we fight against the evil we perceive, and how we engage our minds and bodies in this struggle (Ma Qiusha).
One of the most remarkable aspects of this exhibition, which follows a plethora of shows addressing the generational issue, is that it is made of ten small “solos” encapsulated in it, aimed at forming a coherent path that may indicate their evolution and possible future directions of each of the ten participating artists.
Part of a genuinely transcultural circuit of art production and exhibition, they are fully aware that they represent an unprecedented case within the system of contemporary Chinese art, but are also wise enough to know that this cannot be regarded as the main feature of their undefined generation. Here lies another interesting contradiction: by denying their belonging to a generation, with its plans and requirements, they assess and reinforce their belonging to a wider system, which is not only transcultural, but also “transgenerational.”
Some have argued that these artists can be located into a “post-ideological” era, close to what Francis Fukuyama has called “The End of History.” However, their refusal to directly address politics does not mean that they are disengaged: on the contrary, the more they avoid any explicit reference to it, the strongest their awareness of it becomes. Conveying a sense of disillusion, almost hopelessness, their works also hint at and harshly criticize globalized capitalism, marked by the commodification of ideas and the progressive homologation of tastes and needs.
These young artists combine media languages - video and photography in particular – with a wide filmic culture, music, pop imagery, to embody their reflections and obsessions. We could even talk about dreams, if only this word weren’t terribly inflated. Yet dreams are not only about planning a future: they mean relying on the images our minds generate, giving them space and the possibility to become real and guide us through the darkness of these times, their aberrations, disillusions, and again, degenerations.
Beijing Bridging Hope Charity Foundation is a non government non profit organization established in April 2013, approved by Beijing Municipal Civil Affairs Bureau and with an initial fund of RMB 3 million.
The foundation was established by Beijing Austouch Investment Co., Ltd, a property investment, hotel and financial investment company.
Austouch has grown rapidly since its founding in 2009. The company is dedicated not only to shareholder returns but also to a high level of social responsibility. To increase the effectiveness of its social response it set up Beijing Bridging Hope Charity Foundation.
The charter of the foundation is to help the poor and disadvantaged. The scope of operation includes poverty alleviation, disaster relief, voluntary service and non-profit organizations support.
In the past three years the Beijing Bridging Hope Charity Foundation and its founder Austouch has donated money and supplies valued over RMB 4,840,000 to China Foundation for Poverty Alleviation, Youth League Committee of Lingtai County (Gansu Province),Xinjiang Woman and Children’s Development Foundation, China Charities Aid Foundation for Children, Central Kindergarten of Wendian Town (Yangxin County, Shandong Province),and many other organizations and individuals.
OCAT Shanghai is a multifunctional centre for exhibiting media project by promising Chinese and International artists. It was set up as the Shanghai branch of OCAT Shenzhen two years ago, in the Suzhou Creek area. With the opening of Yang Fudong’s solo exhibition "Quote Out of Context" last September, it officially started its autonomous activity as a space for display and research of Chinese and International Multi Media Art.
Within the next two years this space project is set to develop into one of the biggest and best equipped museums for contemporary art in Shanghai and Mainland China. The Executive Director at OCAT Shanghai is Zhang Peili, the “godfather of Chinese video art”.
Under the supervision of Zhang Peili and the direction of the Artistic Director and Curator Mariagrazia Costantino, it is also a platform for a dialogue and exchange of experiences and perspectives in video, photography and sound.
Here the relation between media is explored, as well as the manifold ways people interact and response to it. Inside the OCAT space, works are not only exhibited, but also conceived. OCAT thinks it is importance to assess all the aspects of social and urban environment which have a direct impact on peoples lives: one of these is certainly “media” and technology in all its forms; the other is architecture and the way good architecture can radically impact on people’s live.
OCT Contemporary Art Terminal Shenzhen is a division of the He Xiangning Art Museum. Established in 2005, OCAT is China’s only non-profit contemporary art organization afilliated a national art museum.
TWT is an international property development company with developments focused on developing quality living environments. Our vision is to provide prestige homes and boutique apartments within well located and highly sought after areas across Australia and Asia.
Our St Leonards project will consist of immaculately designed apartments, ideal for first homebuyers, families, empty-nesters and investors looking to start or grow their property portfolios.
Our developments provide a wide range of high quality and creative amenities such as creative workshops, art galleries, an outdoor cinema, leading edge workspaces, vibrant hospitality and abundant open grass spaces for the St Leonards community - a world class ‘modern village’.
We are also engaging with the local council’s arts and cultural programs to add to the cultural voice of North Sydney Council LGA and to contribute to the sustained growth and revitalisation of St Leonards.
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