[SZ]Multi-region exhibition explores globalization(Until Jun.30)
2013-June-4 Source: Szdaily web edition
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Venue: He Xiangning Art Museum, Overseas Chinese Town,

Nanshan District

Metro: Luobao Line, OCT Station, Exit C

A girl wears a toilet tissue roll installation by Taiwan's Labay Eyong.

"Sleepwalker," a bunk bed and tricycle installation by Hong Kong's Kacey Wong. Photos by courtesy of He Xiangning Art Museum

Photography "Outlook" by Taiwan's Chen Po-i.

A new exhibition at He Xiangning Art Museum is putting a new spin on the idea of contemporary art in the era of globalization.

"Crossroads — Another Dimension" is a collaboration among curators and artists from the mainland, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Macao.

The exhibition showcases 41 installations, videos, paintings, sculptures and photography works by 16 artists and is part of the Cross-Straits Four-Regions Artistic Exchange Project. The multi-region project was initiated by He Xiangning Art Museum in 2008, with exhibitions held in Shenzhen, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Macao. The project continued in 2010, 2011 and 2012.

This year, the exhibition aims to set up a mechanism of exchange between cultures, allowing artists to gain brand-new approaches to creativity by changing their living spaces.

"The similarities and differences among artists of the four regions lie in that they inherit and extend Chinese culture through their own ways. In recent years, artists have frequently traveled around the world. Their works, influenced by globalization, are strikingly different from those created in their mother cultures," said the project's chief curator, Feng Boyi, at the exhibition's opening Saturday in Shenzhen.

Feng believes that among the four regions, mainland artists' influence is the most striking, because of social changes on the mainland that are resulting from reform and opening up.

In Beijing artist Xu Bing's mixed media work "Book From the Ground: From Point to Point," he uses icons and symbols to write a book that can be read universally. He said he was inspired by the icons on a chewing gum pack in 2003 and then spent seven years researching icons and symbols used in chemistry, math, trademarks, physics and musical notes around the world.

"I didn't create any symbols. Every single 'character' in this book has its traceable origins," said Xu, vice president of Central Academy of Fine Arts. "The book is equal and fair to everyone with different cultural backgrounds. It is an observation on the evolution of languages."

Globalization brings in exotic cultures that influence locals, and conversely, expats are influenced by local cultures in which they live. Russian-born Macao artist Konstantin Bessmertny's painting "Casino Royale," from "Remake Series," is inspired by rampant pirated movies in Southeast Asia. With multiple layers of images, the painting mocks the poor quality of pirated DVDs, creating an absurd and ironic effect, reflecting not only legal problems, but cultural and social issues.

Educated in Russia, Bessmertny has been in Macao for 20 years. "Thanks to his intensive research in philosophy, literature, history and politics, his works have bizarre and humorous effects, like some Renaissance works," said Noah Ng, the exhibition's Macao curator and an exhibition project planner at the Macao Museum of Art.

Ng thinks works by Macao artists are heavily influenced by the convergence of cultures from the East and West. However, Ivy Lin, the exhibition's Hong Kong curator, believes Hong Kong artists focus more on local culture, even though it's long been an international city. She said that due to their Cantonese origin, Hong Kong artists try hard to maintain their mother culture and sometimes criticize globalization.

Kacey Wong's installation "Sleepwalker" depicts Wong wearing pajamas and lying on a metal bunk bed with a tricycle chassis. Wong is an interior design assistant professor at Hong Kong Polytechnic University.

In the "Sleepwalker" photo series, Wong rides the bed-tricycle on streets, in front of a residential building, inside an office building and even in a tomb. "Every piece of land is so expensive in Hong Kong, including tombs," Wong joked at Saturday's opening, where he wore his pajamas.

The work criticizes the exploitation of the working class brought by the global economy. He said the two-level bunk bed represents Hong Kong people's collective memory of the '60-'70s. The tricycle represents how everyone is busy working.

"Someone said there's no freedom in reality, and freedom could only be found in dreams," Wong said.

Artists' affection for the motherland and native cultures can also be felt in Taiwan artwork. In photographer Chen Bo-i's photo series "Outlook," he records a demolished village in Kaohsiung City in South Taiwan by looking out of a window. Labay Eyong, a Taiwan artist with origins in the indigenous Seediq tribe, uses toilet paper to make ethnic knitting dresses, questioning the connection between modern consumption and the human body.

After the exhibition closes at He Xiangning Art Museum on June 30, it will move to the Macao Museum of Art from July 17 to Aug. 18, then to Taiwan's Kaohsiung Museum of Fine Arts from Sept. 7 to Nov. 3 and, finally, to Hong Kong City Hall from Jan. 18 to Feb. 13, 2014.

Editor: Jecey
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