Trotskyky Tree, watercolor on paper, ink and pencil 2019

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Wang Jianwei, Production, single channel, color, stereo sound, 60’, 1996

Production was the work of art Wang Jianwei presented on the 10th Documenta in Kassel. This work could be both considered as a documentary film and a video work. Wang filmed a few groups of people in the public spaces of Sichuan. In this 60-min clip without any traces of interviews, large sections its dialogues and monologues did not build up a central narrative, on the contrary, its discontinuous empty shots and its intentionally added artificial noise done in post-production engendered a kind of ambiguous and mixed – either politically or aesthetically – visual presence. Likewise, the title of the artwork equally embraces this bewildering character. “Production” is both a terminology rich in every day and local experiences, and a technical term with critical and theoretical implications. In all, this work is not only prescient for Wang Jianwei’s ongoing ambivalent attitude and approach thereafter, but also underscores the wavering conditions between “left and right” for contemporary Chinese art.

Li Ran, Mont Sainte-Victoire, Video, Color, Sound,Live performance & Video Installation, 34′36′′, 2012

Mont Sainte-Victoire is a mountain located in South France, which artist Paul Cezanne had a full view of from his studio.  During Cezanne’s lifetime, he had painted dozens of paintings depicting this mountain. Li Ran uses the mountain’s name as the exhibition title, trying to construct his own entry point into this modernist aesthetic, whilst re-viewing fragmented experiences that are grounded in our own history. Li Ran has compiled a four-part statement comprising of the themes: Reflection of Images and Scenes, Gaze, Competition and Encounter. During the exhibition opening, a live performance took place with the artist mimicking voice-over styles from 1970s-1980s’ Chinese dubbed movies. The performance is accompanied with a display of three automatically timed projectors exhibiting a continuous loop of more than 200 photographic slides. The images of these slides feature ‘image extracts’ culled from the artist’s own aesthetic experiences of modern historical images of the ‘west’ found in textbooks and art history.

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