PRESS RELEASE - ACAF Sydney Art Terminal T1 Inaugural Exhibition Opens 22 February
Australia China Art Foundation (ACAF) and Bridging Hope Charity Foundation
In collaboration with OCT Contemporary Art Terminal Shanghai
Dates: 22 February – 16 May 2014
Opening Time: 14:00 - 19:00, Wednesday – Saturday (or by appointment)
PUBLIC PROGRAM: 11:00 – 12:30 Saturday 22 February 2014
‘WHAT HAPPENNED TODAY’: A 15 second film workshop for ages 14-18
OPENING RECEPTION: 15:00 – 18:00 Saturday 22 February 2014
Location: ACAF Sydney Art Terminal T1, 9 -11 Atchison St, St Leonards, Sydney, Australia
Organizer: Australia China Art Foundation (ACAF) and Bridging Hope Charity Foundation
Co - Organizer: OCT Contemporary Art Terminal Shanghai (OCAT)
Sponsor: Auswin TWT Development PTY LTD
Curator: Mariagrazia Costantino
The Australia China Art Foundation (ACAF), Bridging Hope Charity Foundation and OCT Contemporary Art Terminal Shanghai announce their first collaboration in Australia, to mark ACAF’s inaugural exhibition in new Sydney-based creative space ACAF Art Terminal T1, in St. Leonard’s, North Sydney. “Degeneration” first opened December 2013 in Shanghai, curated by OCAT Artistic Director Mariagrazia Costantino, and overseen by OCAT Executive Director, new media luminary Zhang Peili. The exhibition showcases a group of China’s leading young media artists, all born between 1980 and 1987. Working across film, sound, projection, digital collage, sculpture and photography, together they demonstrate a persistent questioning of the senses, how we experience and form knowledge in the era of the fast-everything and how, through history and memory, we shape our idea of the world.
"Degeneration" perhaps also reflects the contributing artists refusal to be part of a "generation" within the confines of the current Chinese art world but to see themselves as part of a wider commentary on the whole evolving critical assessment of the plight of humans on the planet.
These are truly stunning works by some of China's most famous young contemporary artists and cinematographers. An experience that will stay in the mind and change the way many think of the Chinese perspective. A delight for the senses but a jolt for the mind.
Participating artists include Chen Wei, Chen Zhou, Cheng Ran, Guan Xiao, Hu Yun, Li Ming, Li Ran, Lu Yang, Ma Qiusha, Ye Linghan. For many of these artists, it is their first time showing work in the southern hemisphere.
ACAF Art Terminal T1 will feature a unique series of public programs in conjunction with “Degeneration”, including a discussion and panel with visiting curator Mariagrazia Costantino, and a teen workshop focused on producing a 15 second video work with smart phones, in response to Li Ming’s piece Nothing Happened Today, in addition to a scheduled talk by Wang Jianwei, Beijing-based artist who has become the first artist commissioned for the Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Chinese Art Initiative at New York’s Guggenheim Museum. The commissioned work, which has the working title, “Wang Jianwei: The Texture of Reality,” will be exhibited in fall 2014.
The literal meaning of the word “degeneration” is “deviation from the genus.” It refers to a process that cannot be stopped, an altered status that makes it impossible to go back to the starting point. Not necessarily entirely negative, this is a condition contemporary societies, including the Chinese one, are now confronted with.
The artists participating in DEGENERATION are perhaps the first, within the system of contemporary Chinese art, to be part of a genuinely transcultural circuit of art production and exhibition. Fully aware of this, they are wise enough to know that it cannot represent the main feature of the undefined generation they belong to. Here lies an 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.”
Conveying a sense of disillusion, almost hopelessness, their works hint at and harshly criticize globalized capitalism, marked by the commodification of ideas and the progressive homogenization of tastes and needs.
Different languages such as video, photography, sculpture and painting are combined by these young artists with a wide filmic culture, music and pop imagery, to embody their reflections and convey their 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 entail 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.
--Mariagrazia Costantino, Curator
How easy would it be for you to think of something that happened today? What if you had to capture that thing in 15 seconds, for others to understand what it was? Li Ming’s work ‘Nothing Happened Today’ pokes fun at how we often call things boring, but also how we obsess over looking for ‘meaning’ through a series of videos that broadcast to anyone who will listen how ‘nothing happened’ in the course of a day. Of course, millions of things are happening all the time, at any given moment, especially in China where there is often talk about the speed of change and the number of people. Perhaps trying to pinpoint just one ‘happening’ and communicate it is overwhelming? In this workshop ‘What Happened Today’ for ages 14-18, we will look at Li Ming’s work and try to create the opposite. Using smart phones, you will be asked to create and edit a 15 second film focusing on just thing that happened that day. It’s harder than you might think.
These videos will be uploaded and displayed for public viewing, for the remainder of the exhibition.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Li Ming was born in Yuanjiang, Hunan, China in 1986, and graduated in 2008 from the New Media Department of the China Academy of Fine Arts. He is a founder and member of the Double Fly Art Center (2008), a member of COMPANY (2008). He has had solo shows in Shanghai and Beijing, and was part of the group shows 28 Chinese, Rubell Family Collection, Miami, USA, and ON | OFF, Ullens Center for Contemporary Art (UCCA), Beijing.
The absurd actions and tragicomic situations enacted and recorded by Li Ming derive from a challenge he poses to sense and interpretation. Li’s reaction to chaos and absence of rules around him is the establishment of his own personal rule.
He currently lives and works in Hangzhou, China.
Mariagrazia Costantino is a sinologist, an art and film critic, and a freelance curator. She holds a BA in Chinese Studies (University of Rome La Sapienza), an MA degree in Media and Film (SOAS, University of London) and a Ph.D. in Film Studies (Roma Tre University). Her Ph.D. dissertation, which she completed during a programme as a visiting scholar at SOAS, concerns the ideological representation of urban spaces in film from East Asia.
From 2000 to 2006 she has researched Chinese multimedia art and film in Hangzhou and Beijing and studied Mandarin at the Peking University. She co-authored the book Arte Contemporanea Cinese (Electa, 2006), and is a main contributor for World Film Locations: Beijing (Intellect Books, 2012) and the upcoming World Film Locations: Shanghai. She is currently artistic director at OCAT, OCT Contemporary Art Terminal Shanghai.
She is currently artistic director at OCAT, OCT Contemporary Art Terminal Shanghai.
OCT Contemporary Art Terminal (OCAT) is a division of the He Xiangning Art Museum, located in Shenzhen, and also has spaces in Shanghai and Xi’an. Officially established on January 28, 2005, OCAT is China’s only nonprofit contemporary art organization connected to a national art museum.
While OCAT is named after the Overseas Chinese Town in which it is located, its core mission is to integrate resources from around the world for contemporary Chinese art, and to promote exchanges and interactions between China and the world in this respect. It is dedicated to producing projects and events pivoting on visual art, but also includes live arts, music performances, films, videos, and multimedia presentations. Furthermore, in line with its mission to support and develop the leading edge of contemporary art practice among China’s most outstanding and promising artists, OCAT serves as a dynamic platform upon which resources and artists from across the world are brought together, and exchanges between China and the world at all levels are enabled.
TWT is an international property development company with developments focused on developing quality living environments. The TWT St Leonard's project will consist of immaculately designed apartments, 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 Leonard's community - a world class ‘modern village’. TWT supports and sponsors arts program between Australia and China and also engages 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.
Australia China Art Foundation, ACAF, having led a small project space in Melbourne, and with its residency studios and education projects in Shanghai and Beijing and future residency programs in New Zealand, Germany and Nanjing, is pleased to now host a space in Sydney, ACAF Art Terminal T1. The collaboration with Bridging Hope Charity Foundation and TWT will provide a valuable resource to the immediate St. Leonards community, engaging schools and the public in exhibitions through reading materials, public programs for schools, youth and adults, and access free of charge. In addition to exhibitions presenting leading young and established Chinese artists, the space will also operate as an artist-managed site, supporting the professional development of local artists and providing a residency space featuring studio shows, open workshops and mini one-day festivals each season.
Beijing Bridging Hope Charity Foundation is a non profit organization established in April 2013 by Beijing Austouch Investment Co., Ltd, a property investment, hotel and financial investment company, part of TWT Group. The company is dedicated not only to shareholders' returns but also to a high level of social responsibilityies. To increase the effectiveness of its social response Tina Tian the director of the group set up Beijing Bridging Love Charity Foundation. The charter of the foundation is to help the poor and disadvantaged.
The Australia China Art Foundation (ACAF) was established to promote cross-cultural understanding, generate a vital network of creative exchange and build a reciprocal awareness of cultures and values between Australia and China. We undertake art exchange projects and also bring artists from all over the world to realise our programs in China. Our work is primarily education-focused – it is about demonstrating the value of art within communities, and to new audiences.
ACAF has launched a pioneering art education program in China, called ARTS CAN DO. It brings Australian artists on fellowships to work with the children of migrant workers in isolated villages and in the cities. Disadvantaged children are taught and encouraged to reach their full potential by developing life skills and confidence through the making of art. Arts Can Do has established centres in Xucun and Shanghai. A new centre will open in Beijing this year. Arts Can Do gives life changing experiences to children who do not have access to the normal education system. Arts Can Do Program is proudly supported by the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Australian Embassy Beijing.
To assist Australian fellow artists ACAF provides studio and residence spaces in Shanghai and Beijing with support and introductions to the art world in those cities and more widely in China. ACAF has a small, multi-cultural team of dedicated professionals who work from our bases in Melbourne, Sydney, Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong. ACAF was founded in Melbourne by Yashian Schauble, a Shanghai born, Melbourne educated Australian-Chinese business woman who divides her time between China and Australia.
ACAF was founded in 2012 and is an Australian registered not-for-profit organization.
The new Arts Can Do centre in Shanghai celebrated this month with a Family Day for children and their parents. Arts Can Do provides creative art classes for children at both campus of the Jiu Qian School, a charitable school for children of migrant workers .
The Australian Consul-General in Shanghai, Ms Alice Cawte, welcomed the parents to the centre, a project of the Australia China Arts Foundation. Ms Cawte showed great interest in the work of the children and the sculptural work they had created under the guidance of resident Australian artist and sculptor Sophie Neate.
Sophie has been working at the centre for the past month month as part of her ACAF artist residence program and has involved the children in a range of creative projects from photography to sculpture. Two of the group works, highly expressive sculptures reflecting the children's own life experiences, were donated to the school while the young artists were visibly proud to be able able to take one of their own creations home with them.
Classes at the centre will continue over the February winter holiday with a holiday program inspired by Shanghai artist Wang Xieda kindly volunteering teaching and expertise, assisted by ACAF teaching assistant Sue. In March our regular classes led by Australian and Chinese artists will be resume.
Australian artists open to the challenge of working in the Arts Can Do program are invited to apply for the ACAF Artist Residence Program. The program involves artists in volunteering to works with our staff in creative teaching programs for one month at Arts Can Do centres in Xucun, Shanghai and Beijing followed by one or two months residence in ACAF studio spaces in Beijing or Shanghai. All in China expenses and accommodation provided.
Contact Sophia McKinnon at email@example.com for full details.
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