James Cohan Gallery Shanghai is pleased to present its summer group exhibition The Tree, opening on June 26th and continuing through August 30th, 2009. This exhibition brings together over 30 international artists who explore the subject of trees in various aspects. The exhibition is also inspired by the city of Shanghai with its many tree-lined streets and lanes and its wonderful history with the Plane tree first planted by the British and French in the 1840s. These trees are one of the outstanding features of this remarkable city and are symbolic of Shanghai's colonial and post-colonial history. They provide shade and shadow, a dramatic and ever-lasting sense of seasonal change amidst a city in constant flux.
The Tree offers both whimsical as well as poetic perspectives by such artists as Francesco Clemente, whose extraordinary watercolor depicts human forms as boughs and branches within a tree that could, at any moment, become a cloud. Or in the work by Philip Taaffe, from his Composite Nature series, where the underlying patterns and structures of the natural world have been central to his work during the past decade. More atmospheric views are found in April Gornik's charcoal drawing, a darkened meadow of trees, and in the paintings by Yuko Murata and Joan Nelson, whose works take us on a journey to serene and melancholic forests.
Also on view are photographs by the renowned Californian photographer Bill Owens known for his classic and uncanny images of American suburban life, as seen in his 1971 photograph titled, "My dad thinks it's a good idea to take all the leaves off the tree and rake up the yard. I think he's crazy." While in Myoung Ho Lee's portraits of single trees—accurate and mysteriously staged—examine the character and individual identity of the tree itself.
The very structure of a tree is the focus for many artists: Ward Shelly's Media Role Models, a tree-shaped timeline, charts historical figures and events influenced by the media. Roxy Paine's ink drawing illustrates a proposal for a monumental stainless steel tree as a two-dimensional billboard for signage or advertisement. Shi Jinsong's Short Pine Tree reconstructs an enlarged, idealized and hybrid bonsai with various types of bleached tree roots, trunk and branches. In Yan Lei's painting, which was once exhibited at Documenta XII, the artist documents his intervention project executed in Shenzhen in 2003, where the artist arranged for a plot of tree-lined land to be removed from the hands of speculation and real estate investment for a two-year period.
The Tree exhibition also includes works by Jessica Backhaus, Manfredi Beninati, Chen Jie, Lorenzo de Los Angeles, Carroll Dunham, David Dupuis, André Ethier, Alicia Framis, Lynn Geesaman, April Gornik, Guo Hongwei, Trenton Doyle Hancock, Yun-Fei Ji, Amy Kao, Yayoi Kusama, Michael Lin, Frank Majore, Keith Mayerson, Shi Jing, Robin O'Neil, Hiraki Sawa, Mark Steinmetz, Sun Xun, Alison Elizabeth Taylor, Yuken Teruya.
Three newly commissioned works for this exhibition are also featured: Beijing-based artists Sun Xun and Guo Hongwei, and a new work by Michael Lin. Sun Xun's installation On Darwinism combines drawings, paper cut-outs and shadow theater. Guo Hongwei's hand-drawn illustrated book is made to resemble a special issue of the international contemporary art journal Parkett that features historical works related to or inspired by trees for over the past fifty years. Michael Lin's new installation Money Tree-Evergreen evokes a scene once common to the daily hustle and bustle of Shanghai, where street peddlers used to ride Chinese manufactured bicycles selling paper pinwheels.
上海James Cohan画廊将于2009年6月26日至8月30日展出《树》。本次群展聚集了30多名国际艺术家，他们的创作从多个层面探索了有关"树"的概念。另一 方面，该展览缘起也得自上海这座城市里草木葱茏的街道、绿地，以及19世纪40年代引入上海的梧桐树。树是上海别致的风景，也是有关"后殖民"的一个符 号。树木成荫，随季节变换，就如同这座变化中的城市。
《树》展现了包括Francesco Clemente在内的一批艺术家作品里恣肆、诗意的一面。Francesco的纸本水彩描绘了如有人形、又时如云彩的树冠、枝杈。而Philip Taaffe的作品出自其《复合自然》系列；其中潜在的自然界的图式和结构是其数十年创作的核心。April Gornik纸本碳条作品里阴沉的丛林则着力于气氛渲染，Yuko Murata和Joan Nelson的画作又将观者带入一个宁静、忧伤的树林。
加州著名摄影家Bill Owens亦有作品参加展览。Owens的照片以其对美国城市郊区生活经典、怪诞的刻画得名，正如其1971年的作品《弄下满树叶子在院子耙在一堆，我爸爸觉得这是个好主意。我觉得他疯了。》所述。而Myoung Ho Lee精准神秘的摆拍作品，如为树木画像，考察了树木的个体特征与身份。
展览中，树形结构也成了艺术家关注的焦点：Ward Shelly的《媒体楷模》，系一个树形时间轴，标注了媒体影响下的历史人物与事件。Roxy Paine的纸本绘画勾勒出了他宏伟的、犹如二维广告牌的不锈钢树形装置的蓝图。史金淞的《半截松》用各类漂白的树枝树干重构了一件巨型、理想化的"盆栽"。颜磊的绘画曾在第12届卡塞尔文献展上展出。该作品以油画的形式记录了他于2003年在深圳的项目，当时艺术家圈下了一块绿地，将之从未来两年的地产投资形势中隔离开来。
《树》展还将包括草间弥生、Jessica Backhaus、Manfredi Beninati、陈杰、Lorenzo de Los Angeles、Carroll Dunham、David Dupuis、André Ethier、Lynn Geesaman、郭鸿蔚、April Gornik、Trenton Doyle Hancock、季云飞、Amy Kao、林明弘、Frank Majore、Keith Mayerson、Robin O'Neil、Hiraki Sawa、史晶、Mark Steinmetz、孙逊、Alison Elizabeth Taylor、Yuken Teruya等艺术家的作品。