Excerpt from Far East Broadway (detail)
Pigment ink print
100 x 70 cm
Courtesy the artist
This exhibition assembles works by artists, Chinese and international, that speak to the state of the world this year. At a moment when the daily exigencies of sectarian radicalism, latent disease, heightened inequality, financial instability, and political reform overlay longer trajectories of technological acceleration, economic transition, geopolitical rebalance, and environmental degradation, artists offer compelling interpretations of our larger surroundings. Some of the works presented here engage with specific histories and local conditions, while others reflect more immanent states of thinking and being, also known as ideology. Its title referring to the forecast of global news and business trends published at the beginning of each year by The Economist, this exhibition might be seen as an anthology of possible responses to the question, what might it mean to be alive in the world today?
Curated by Philip Tinari with Felicia Chen, “The World in 2015” includes works by Jonathas de Andrade, Neil Beloufa, Chen Shaoxiong, Cui Jie, Aslan Gaisumov, GCC, Hu Xiangqian, Koo Jeong A, Liu Ye, Noah Sheldon, and Zhang Xiao.
About the Artists
Jonathas de Andrade
Jonathas de Andrade is a Brazilian artist based in the city of Recife who works with photography, video, and installation to explore ideas of love and the effects of urbanization, often through anthropological studies and proposed fictions. In O Levante, Andrade shoots a film in order to stage a horse-drawn cart race in the city center, making temporarily visible the farm animals now banned from urban space as well as the people whose livelihood still depends on them. This exuberant moment reveals class divisions that pervade a rapidly urbanizing Brazilian society; only by dealing with the race as if it were a scene from a movie is the artist able to obtain the official authorization necessary to stage this piece of fiction. In so doing, de Andrade allows the drivers to temporarily reclaim public space, disrupting the urban setting with the presence of their memory.
The video O Levante was commissioned by Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary.
Jonathas de Andrade’s (b. 1982, Maceió) major solo exhibitions include “Museu do Homem do Nordeste” (Museu de Arte do Rio, 2013); “Cartazespara o homem do nordeste” (Kunsthalle Lissabon, Lisbon, 2013); “Ressaca Tropical” (Galeria Vermelho, São Paulo, 2010); “Programa de Exposições” (Centro Cultural São Paulo, 2010); “Ressaca Tropical” (Instituto Cultural Banco Real, Recife, 2009); and “Amor e Felicidade no Casamento” (Instituto Cultural Itaú, São Paulo, 2008). He participated in the Dakar Biennial (Senegal, 2014); Lyon Biennial (2013); New Museum Triennial “The Ungovernables” (New York, 2012); Istanbul Biennial (2011); São Paulo Biennial (2010); and Mercosul Biennial (Porto Alegre, 2009). De Andrade's work was included in “Under the Same Sun: Art from Latin America Today” at the Guggenheim Museum, New York in 2014. De Andrade is also the recipient of the Future Generation Art Prize (Special Prize), Prêmio Marcantônio Vilaça, and is a finalist for the Prêmio PIPA.
Neïl Beloufa is a French-Algerian artist who employs a wide array of media, often projecting videos and images onto sculptural constructions. For this exhibition, the artist presents the work World Domination, a video depicting about a fictional meeting of global leaders and experts to address and attempt to find solutions to the economic, social, political, and environmental problems facing the world today. As the dialogue jumps from one generic standpoint to another, the meeting gradually devolves into a directionless and abstract argument, until finally the futility of this delegation is revealed and conversation devolves into war. Being a part of a famously marginalized demographic with a particular colonial history, Beloufa reveals his position as a passive onlooker to these issues and suggests that we too are useless in the face of high-level global machinations.
Neïl Beloufa (b. 1985, Paris) studied at the National School of Fine Arts and the National Higher School of Decorative Arts. His major solo exhibitions include “Counting on People” (Institute of Contemporary Arts, London, 2014); “Production Value” (Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, 2013); “Les Inoubliables Prises d’Autonomie” (Palais de Tokyo, Paris, 2012); and “Kempinski” (New Museum, New York, 2011). Beloufa also participated in the Taipei Biennale “The Great Acceleration” (2014), Shanghai Biennale “Social Factory” (2014), Lyon Biennial (2013), Venice Biennale (2013), and Frieze New York (2012). Beloufa has received the Meurice Prize for Contemporary Art (2013) and Audi Talent Award (2011). He was shortlisted for the Future Generation Art Prize (2014).
A former member of both the Guangdong-based Big Tail Elephant Group and trans-Asian collaboration Xijing Men, Chen Shaoxiong—originally trained in woodblock printing—began experimenting with ink painting in 2005, culminating in this series of works based on documentary photographs of protests from around the world. Here, Chen presents Ink Media, a succession of ink paintings that reveals the formal similarities of demonstrations regardless of context and agenda. Mobs of citizens carrying posters and shouting slogans are painstakingly rendered in ink and then arranged in flashes as a video projected on a sheet of cardboard. His method questions the immediacy and prominence once permitted these graphically stirring images, as current events, filtered through mediated imagery, turn into history and memory.
Chen Shaoxiong (b. 1962, Guangdong) graduated from the Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts in 1984 and is currently based in Beijing and Guangzhou. His recent solo exhibitions include “Air - Dry History” (Pekin Fine Arts, Hong Kong, 2013); “Prepared: Strategies for Activists” (Spencer Museum of Art, Lawrence, 2012); and “Seeing is Believing” (Boers-Li Gallery, Beijing, 2009); among others. He participated in “ROUNDTABLE” at the Gwangju Biennale (2012) and the Shenzhen Sculpture Biennale “Accidental Message—Art is Not a System Not a World” (2012).
For Cui Jie, the urban environments of Beijing, Shanghai, and Hangzhou have altered in such a way over the past thirty years as to dissolve the very boundaries between architecture and sculpture. In this selection of works, she studies the spatial relationships between public sculpture, urban architecture, and the spaces created between them. She states, “I often walk past different plazas and squares, at the center of which is usually a sculptural piece. When I approach it really closely, the sculpture appears superimposed onto the buildings that are in the distance. At that point, the surface of the former merges with the surface of the latter under the effect of light, and the architecture becomes part of the sculpture.” An additional grouping of works on paper explore her interest in the Japanese Metabolism architectural movement of the 1960s and 70s, and how it may have influenced Chinese architecture of the early Reform Era.
Cui Jie (b. 1983, Shanghai) graduated from the Oil Painting Department of the China Academy of Art. Today she lives and works in Shanghai. Select group exhibitions include “My Generation: Young Chinese Artists” (Leo Xu Projects, Shanghai, 2014); “Green Box-Remapping: The Space of Media Reality” (Tianhong Mei Heyuan Arts Center, Hangzhou, 2013); “The First ‘CAFAM Future’ Exhibition – Sub-Phenomena Report on the State of Young Chinese Art” (Beijing, 2012); and “Cui Jie, Li Shurui, Zhang Jungang & Li Jie” (Leo Xu Projects, Shanghai, 2011).
Aslan Gaisumov is a Chechen artist living and working in Grozny and Moscow. Here he presents the video Prospekt Pobedy as a portrait of Grozny, a city known best for bloody struggle that was recently rebuilt to make itself current with the rest of the world and to attract tourism and investment. The video is a succession of panoramic city views with newly constructed high-rises and grandiose concert halls, mosques, and museums, intermingled with governmental regalia. The featured music is the original score of the 1978 documentary USSR Cities. Grozny, suggesting the project’s possible ambition to rival Soviet films and their skillful editorial work of turning imagery into propaganda. However, beneath the masqueraded prosperity, like the reverse side of a ceremonial portrait, gleams a different image—Grozny’s half-destroyed Cultural Center, where the video is being shown. This contrast in the register of perception is a litmus test of the official image of Grozny. It makes one think of the past war and the price paid for the demonstrative well-being. Just like the city itself, Gaisumov’s project is an intersection of the present and the past, proving once again that history is always written in the present.
Aslan Gaisumov (b. 1991, Grozny) graduated from the Institute of Contemporary Art in Moscow and currently lives and works in Grozny and Moscow. His recent solo exhibitions include “Aslan Gaisumov” (Gallery Zink, Berlin, 2014) and “Untitled (war)” (Winzavod Center of Contemporary Art, Space for Young Art “Start,” Moscow, 2011). His work has been shown at the Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art (2013), Festival Today’s Art in the Hague (2013), and in a parallel program of Manifesta 10 (2014). He is also the winner of the Special Prize at the Future Generation Art Prize (2014), the French Institute Kuryokhin Award (2014), the main prize of the 3rd Moscow International Biennale of Young Art (2012), and a nominee for the Kandinsky Award (2012).
Consisting of a “delegation” of eight artists, GCC makes reference to the English abbreviation of the Gulf Cooperation Council and makes use of ministerial language and celebratory rituals associated with the Gulf (and neoliberal technocracy everywhere) to create videos, photographs, sculptures, and installations. Excavating the material and visual culture of the Gulf, the collective has developed a practice that uses the framework of collaboration and outsourced production to echo political models and practices in the region and beyond. For this exhibition, GCC presents the video piece Co-Op, an introduction to their faux organization with a string of stock imagery and lofty buzzwords in generic global English, pronouncing a mission statement completely void of content. The piece looks at the ways that even governments need to brand themselves, satirizing the contrived theatrics of political self-promotion.
Formed in March 2013, GCC have exhibited both in the Gulf and internationally. Select solo exhibitions include “Achievements in Retrospective” (MoMA PS1, New York, 2014); “A Space for National Achievement” (Sultan Gallery, Kuwait, 2013); “Ceremonial Achievements” (Kraupa Tuskany-Zeidler, Berlin, 2013); and “Achievements in Swiss Summit” (Project Native Informant, London, 2013). Group exhibitions include “Speculations on Anonymous Material” (Fridericianum, Kassel, 2014); “Art Post-Internet” (Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing, 2014); “Delusions of Grandeur” (New Museum, New York, 2013); among others. GCC delegates are Nanu Al-Hamad (b. 1987, Kuwait City); Khalid Al Gharaballi (b. 1981, Kuwait City); Abdullah Al-Mutairi (b. 1990, Kuwait City); Fatima Al Qadiri (b. 1981, Dakar); Monira Al Qadiri (b. 1983, Dakar); Aziz Al Qatami (b. 1979, Kuwait City); Barrak Alzaid (b. 1985, Kuwait City); and Amal Khalaf (b. 1982, Singapore).
Hu Xiangqian (b. 1983) is Guangdong-born an artist based in Beijing who works primarily in performance. His sensitivity allows him to “act” in a direct and almost childlike manner while skillfully expressing his observations on society and his environment with a certain sharpness and clarity. In his performance, documented in the video Speech at the Edge of the World, he returns to his old middle school in Leizhou as an esteemed alumnus to give a rousing speech to the student body, in which he uses a trite rhetoric of self-help and mimics the gestures and body language of famous public speakers. Juxtaposing evangelical fervor of motivational seminars with the boredom of the students, the performance itself, and the context in which it takes place, toes the line between irony and sincerity.
Hu Xiangqian (b. 1983, Guangdong) graduated from the Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts in 2007. Today he lives and works in Beijing. Select group exhibitions include the Gwangju Biennale “Burning Down the House” (2014); “The Inivisible Hand: Curating as Gesture – 2nd CAFAM Biennale” (CAFA Art Museum, Beijing, 2014); “Hugo Boss Asia Art” (Rockbund Art Museum, Shanghai, 2013); and “ON | OFF: China’s Young Artists in Concept and Practice” (Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing, 2013).
Koo Jeong A
Koo Jeong A (b. 1967) is a South Korean artist whose body of work consists of marvelous yet deliberate arrangements and images, reflecting on a range of topics from Taoist philosophy to human cognition. Here Koo presents five works from the series “Invisible Hands,” deriving from economist Adam Smith’s metaphor of an invisible hand as the natural regulatory force that underpins liberal markets—the idea that each individual acts in their own personal interest, but the overall market self-regulates. The gestures of the characters in the drawings reflect the hand motions made by brokers who work in the stock exchange. The characters’ names are taken from the trading names of small companies.
Koo Jeong A (b. 1967, Seoul) studied at École des Beaux-Arts in Paris, France, and currently lives and works everywhere. Select solo exhibitions include “Oussser” (Fondazione La Raia, Novi Ligure, 2014); “Shining Living” (Yvon Lambert on Paper, Paris, 2014); “Koo Jeong A: 16:07” (Kunsthalle Düsseldorf, 2012); “Navigation without numbers” (Pilar Corrias, London, 2012); “E opened his eyes. He is now walking” (CCA Kitakyushu Project Gallery, 2011); and “Koo Jeong A: Constellation Congress” (the Hispanic Society, New York; Dia: Beacon; and the Dan Flavin Art Institute, Bridgehampton, 2010). She has been the recipient of the Hermès Foundation Missulsang (2005), finalist for the Guggenheim’s Hugo Boss Art Prize (2002), and the winner of the Villa Medicis Award (2000).
Known for his colorful paintings of Miffy the Rabbit and Mondrian, Liu Ye has in recent years found himself increasingly drawn to old master works and painting in its purest form. This exhibition begins, from one end, with three of his book paintings, an exercise in how to depict a single object—one in darkness, one in the light, and one closed—with the same richness of color and charming simplicity of his older works. The pages are empty, and it is unclear whether they are erased or left unfilled. This same sense of ambiguity underlies many of Liu’s previous paintings.
Liu Ye (b. 1964, Beijing) graduated from the Central Academy of Fine Arts in 1989 and currently lives and works in Beijing. Select solo exhibitions include “Bamboo Broadway” (Sperone Westwater, New York, 2012); “Leave Me in the Dark” (Sperone Westwater, New York, 2009); “Liu Ye, Infatuation” (Johnen+Schoettle, Cologne, 2007); and “Liu Ye” (Museum of Fine Arts Bern, 2007). Select group exhibitions include “LATITUDE/ATTITUDE 20th Anniversary Exhibition” (Schoeni Art Gallery, Hong Kong, 2012); “Future Pass” (Palazzo Mangilli—Valmanara and Abbazia di San Gregorio, Venice, 2011); and “The Official Opening of Minsheng Art Museum—Thirty Years of Chinese Contemporary Art” (Minsheng Art Museum, Shanghai, 2010).
Artist and photographer Noah Sheldon captures moments intimate and eccentric, minimal and ephemeral, building narratives from the minutiae of daily existence. This series focuses on the unique subjectivities of Chinese city dwellers and the landscapes they inhabit. Never scathing or sarcastic, Sheldon offers viewers a glimpse into the private lives of the labor force contributing the most to the material abundance of modern life. Previously a fixture of the emerging art scene in New York, Sheldon has been a resident of Shanghai for several years, during which time he has used the Tumblr Far East Broadway to collect and exhibit images he has made for personal purposes alongside others that come from journalistic and commercial assignments. His conflation of these artificial categories of image-making, as well as his aesthetic and compositional clarity, make for a vibrant portrait of a social transformation in constant progress.
Noah Sheldon (b. 1975, Fort Wayne) received his MFA from Columbia University. Today he lives and works in Shanghai. Select solo exhibitions include “Miami, Miami” (Bas Fisher Invitation, Miami, 2010); “Noah Sheldon” (Cherry and Martin, Los Angeles, 2010); “Portrait Studio” (Yautepac Gallery, Mexico City, 2009); “Pink and Tan” (D’Amelio Terras, New York, 2007); and “Almost Vegetarian” (Southfirst, Brooklyn, 2005). Select group exhibitions include “Big Pictures” (Cincinnati Art Museum, Cininnati, 2015); “The Noble Savage and the Little Tramp” (Mount Tremper Arts, Mount Tremper, 2009); and “Bellows and Whispers: The Large and Small Effects of Structure, Its Presence and Absence” (Martin and Cherry, Los Angeles, 2009).
A former photographer for the Chongqing Morning Post, Zhang Xiao has attended innumerable press conferences, each one more or less a rehearsal of the curious PR tactics ubiquitous throughout China. Envelope summarizes this period in Zhang Xiao’s life with images captured from different press events printed onto envelopes once containing his “road fee.” An impressive collection of tokens from the artist’s experience as a photojournalist, Envelope reveals the particular aesthetics of such press events and documents the progression of Chinese consumer trends, from simple demands to increasingly high-end products.
Zhang Xiao (b. 1981, Shandong) graduated from the Department of Architecture and Design of Yantai University in 2015. Today he lives and works in Chengdu. Select solo exhibitions include “Shanxi” (Pekin Fine Arts, Beijing, 2013); “They” (Blindspot Gallery, Hong Kong, 2013); “Coastline” (2902 Gallery, Singapore, 2012); and “Zhang Xiao” (Maison de la Photographie, Lille, 2011). Select group exhibitions include “Rising Dragon” (Krannert Art Museum, Champaign, 2012); “China Scape: Contemporary Chinese Photography” (SOAS, London, 2012); and “Faces of Life” (CAFA Art Museum, Beijing, 2012). Zhang has also participated in the Beijing Photo Biennial (CAFA Art Museum, 2013); FotoArtFestival International Photography Festival (Bielsko, 2013); and Singapore International Photography Festival (2012); among other festivals.
Courtesy the artist
Oil on canvas
150 x 110 cm
Courtesy the artist
Courtesy Kraupa-Tuskany Zeidler, Berlin
Courtesy Galeria Vermelho, São Paulo
Courtesy Pékin Fine Arts
Courtesy the artist
Courtesy Pinchuk Art Centre and Gallery Zink, Berlin
Acrylic on canvas
30 x 40 cm
Courtesy the artist
C-print on envelope
22.5 x 32.5 cm (x240)
Courtesy Pékin Fine Arts
Pigment ink print
100 x 70 cm
Courtesy the artist
Watercolor on paper
8431 x 59.4 cm
Courtesy Pilar Corrias Gallery