8th Shenzhen Sculpture Biennale
We have never participated
May 16–August 31, 2014
Opening: May 15, 5pm
OCT Contemporary Art Terminal (OCAT)
F2, Enping Road, Overseas Chinese Town
Nanshan District, Shenzhen
Hours: Tuesday–Sunday 10am–5:30pm
Curator: Marko Daniel
Associate curators: Lu Peiyi, Claire Shea, Wenny Teo
The works selected for the Biennale elicit subtle levels of involvement, whether by inviting action, reflection, critique or contemplation, based on the free judgment of the viewer. The selected artworks use references to everyday occurrences, to modest and neglected aspects of our lives, to seemingly ordinary spaces, structures or architectures as a way of giving aesthetic form to diverse social realities.
The artists and collectives participating in the Biennale and its public programme include Cao Fei, Chen Chieh-jen, Chen Shaoxiong, Chen Yufan & Chen Yujun, Cheng Ran, Geng Jianyi, Gran Fury, Huang Po-Chih, Takahiro Iwasaki, Jia Chun, Tellervo Kalleinen & Oliver Kochta-Kalleinen, Meiro Koizumi, Lai Chih-Sheng, Marc Lafia, Michael Lee, Li Jinghu, Li Ming, Ahmet Öğüt, L+ (Pak Sheung Chuen, Wo Man Yee, Lee Soen Long), Sheila Pepe, Adrian Piper, Polit Sheer Form Office, Tsong Pu, Younès Rahmoun, Manuel Saiz, Song Ta, Wu Mali, Xu Tan, Morgan Wong, Yao Jui-chung with LSD, Qiu Zhijie & Song Zhen with Diankou residents and Total Art Studio, Héctor Zamora and Zheng Bo.
Among the large number of newly produced works are:
In the video installation Realm of Reverberations, Chen Chieh-jen narrates four stories by women related to Losheng Sanatorium, the first leprosy hospital in Taiwan, established in 1927 under Japanese colonial rule, which was slated for destruction to make for an expansion of the Taipei Metro system.
Chen Yufan & Chen Yujun
The powerfully affective dimension of the two brothers’ engagement with memory is borne out by their new installation No. 388 Binwen Road, based on the personal ‘living rooms’ they have created for themselves inside their huge factory-like studio space: rooms that carve out a personal space within the work environment and embody the relationship between past and present, home, family and work.
On 22 September 2013, the artist Cheng Ran received an email from a woman called Adriana. Adriana is 23 years old, a Virgo, loves socializing, has a kitty named Boo, is newly single, and as luck would have it, soon moving to the artist’s city and eager to meet him. The artist has not only rescued Adriana from his trash folder but also transformed her email into a theatrical paean to the ludic possibilities of virtual love. In yet another improbable twist, the artist has cast the Hong Kong movie star Liu Jialing in the role of his virtual paramour, thus blurring the distinction between fiction and reality even further.
For the last two decades, clothes production in Taiwan has been moving abroad, and Shenzhen has long been a popular destination for the relocation of factories. In Production Line—Made in China Huang sets up a small-scale, temporary textile production line and re-inserts industrial production into an exhibition space that itself started out as a factory. The first phase of a multi-part project, it will subsequently travel to Taiwan for the Taipei Biennial.
For Interlayer Jia Chun uses architectural features to investigate spaces that serve as connections, such as windows and staircases. For this work, he deliberately extended the space of a window outwards from the wall in which it sits creating a double-bay window that creates an internal, isolated space, which gives the work its name, Interlayer, as a borderline of internal and external space. Jia Chun argues that the space is permeable but one that suspends time. ‘I attempt to create an imagination of time through creating the work, a time that is neither internal or external, a time that exclusively exist in the interlayer.’
Tellervo Kalleinen & Oliver Kochta-Kallleinen
The Complaints Choir is an ongoing open-source project initiated by the Helsinki-based artists Tellervo Kalleinen and Oliver Kochta-Kalleinen in 2005, in which people from all over the world are invited to channel the seemingly universal urge to complain into a more creative form of expression. Yet, despite the apparent standardisation of the methodology, no two choirs are ever the same, and each manifestation extends beyond a straightforward airing of grievances or a collective vocalisation of dissent. The Shenzhen Complaints Choir will be the first in China.
For Heaven’s Corners artist Pak Sheung Chuen is working with Wendy Wu and Lee Soen Long to invite Shenzhen householders who live on the top floor of buildings to set up an organization that explores the ‘Faith of Height.’ All people living on the highest floor, closest to the sky, are invited to join in Heaven’s Corners activities.
Working in the industrial area of Dongguan, Li Jinghu has purchased and collected used vessels, mainly stainless steel tableware, from the junk market near his studio. Filled with water, the containers in Sea Breeze are arranged in a field on the gallery floor as an evocation of the near yet absent sea that represents the migrant workers’ dreams of a better life as part of the economic boom concentrated along the coastal areas of South China.
The Research Station created by Sheila Pepe sits at the heart of the exhibition and houses a number of artist projects and research materials. Physically, as an artist’s installation, the structure is composed of netting, crocheted and knitted materials—all woven together into a networked structure providing a systematic, yet organic, connection amongst the elements of the station. The Research Station creates an area for the public to interact with each other and with the concepts of the project. In addition to giving access to research materials, the station will play host to a series of talks and events throughout the duration of the biennial.
“Like all works in the open-ended Everything series, the meaning of the text, Everything will be taken away depends on the context in which it appears.”
Everything will be taken away is translated into Chinese characters and rendered in oxidized steel at the entrance to the main exhibition hall highlighting the tension between their architectural form and their own gradual, entropic dissolution into unstructured matter. The piece is the 24th instance of a series of works begun in 2003 in which the artist provides different material, poetic and conceptual contexts for the same phrase.
The Ghorfa is a small room that was directly inspired by the artist’s room underneath the staircase in his family home in Tetouan, Morocco, where he kept his personal belongings and other items to make his work. The construction of Ghorfa #11 was inspired by source imagery of typical Shenzhen homes from the 1980s adapted to contemporary conditions by using a composite timber commonly used for local buildings. The structure sits on wooden stilts in reference to traditional fishing huts and can be entered through a door facing Mecca. Inside the space, the public are invited to reflect on the here and now.
Many cities in China currently accommodate large populations of migrants from other provinces. Their busy work lives often do not give them time to seek husbands or wives, and this situation has given birth to the cultural phenomenon of dating corners or marriage squares. Wu Mali’s New Butterfly Dream is a social sculpture that investigates this phenomenon, gathers dating information, opinions on marriage and family and presents the different lifestyles of people in Shenzhen.
Social Botany Farming is the latest phase of Xu Tan’s Social Botany project begun in 2012. This iteration is a development on previous research relating to the Pearl River Delta region. Xu Tan interviewed the inhabitants of rural areas and farming villages to investigate their relationship to urban cities. By interviewing the inhabitants and surveying the resulting objects, Xu Tan uncovers and exposes the multilayered relationships that govern our relationships between the natural and built environments in which we live.
Fascinated by the automated motorised barriers so commonly seen at the entrance to everything from schools to factories, Zamora has used six of them to create a carefully choreographed arrangement in which their slow movements create and remove seemingly random obstacles and pathways in the exhibition space. By blocking or opening passages, the barriers modulate different pathways through the exhibition space just as the slogans displayed on the their screens modulated Chinese society. These much reiterated slogans often remain invisible through familiarity in day-to-day life yet retain strong symbolic power, not least in the specific context of the city of Shenzhen, so closely associated with Deng Xiaoping’s economic policy of ‘Reform and Opening Up.’