Edward Sanderson

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Place as Performance   Pick-button-f22fa879042524f5c7b8d2278b2983b8
Hu Xiangqian at Taikang Space December 17th, 2011 - February 17th, 2012
Posted 2/19/12
A projection on one side of the room shows the artist Hu Xiangqian, dressed smartly in white shirt and black trousers, stepping in front of a lone microphone on the raised metal walkway in front of the Guangzhou Times Museum. In the process, he inaugurates the opening of the Xiangqian Art Museum, which had previously “opened” as part of the Asia Triennial Manchester 2011 in the UK, and in its first outing, as part of Taikang Space’s excellent series of solo shows under the umbrella title of... [more]
Beyond Shopping Poetic   Pick-button-f22fa879042524f5c7b8d2278b2983b8
Hexie Baroque, WAZA, Zheng Yuhan, Jiang Zhi at Pin Gallery January 6th, 2012 - March 3rd, 2012
Posted 1/30/12
My disappointment with this show stems from the fact that it genuinely appears to be an interesting presentation, focusing on a well-selected group of mid-scale installations. The curator has avoided the temptation to simply place them together within the gallery space, instead creating appropriate, custom-built spaces that the works inhabit nicely. But it is unfortunate to have to say that falls down on a conceptual level in its lack of coherent critical engagement with the artists and works,... [more]
Lady Liberty and a Dragon   Pick-button-f22fa879042524f5c7b8d2278b2983b8
Wang Qingsong at Tang Contemporary Art Beijing December 17th, 2011 - February 25th, 2012
Posted 1/23/12
Photography seems to be the perfect medium for Wang Qingsong’s monumentally theatrical set pieces. In his overblown symbolic constructions and groups of people, the artist addresses issues of both a general and personal nature. In the gallery, these are presented as lush, large-format photographs allowing the artist’s attention to detail in the settings to be held static in front of our eyes for detailed attention. In the spaces of Tang Contemporary the artist is now presenting two set pieces... [more]
Black-out Viewing at Center   Pick-button-f22fa879042524f5c7b8d2278b2983b8
Hamra Abbas, Adel Abdessemed, Wong Hoy Cheong, Pak Sheung Chuen, Thierry Fontaine, Shaun Gladwell, Tsang Kin-Wah, Dinh Q. Lê, Wangechi Mutu, Dan Perjovschi, Shahzia Sikander, Dimitar Solakov, Nedko Solakov, Sun Xun, Du Zhenjun, Jiang Zhi at Times Museum December 30th, 2011 - February 6th, 2012
Posted 1/2/12
Doubt is a concept close to my heart (for all the right – and wrong reasons). It is a state of being separated from fixed ideas, moving into a region where certainties flicker out like an ageing fluorescent strip. I feel this movement into doubt is a primary activity of art: simulation, illusion, questioning, all the while leaving the audience open to new thoughts and ways of thinking. The artist does things and I ask: “Why are they doing this?” Doubt is a region of productivity, of... [more]
In Deep Water   Pick-button-f22fa879042524f5c7b8d2278b2983b8
Xu Qu at Hemuse Gallery December 10th, 2011 - February 10th, 2012
Posted 12/25/11
Entering the contested islands of the South China Sea, artist Xu Qu plays with the disjunction between the hopes and wishes that the territory embodies as well as the reality of the places and their constitutive activities. Looking back over some recent presentations helps to give some background. One of Xu Qu’s contributions to Beijing’s Taikang Space and their 51m2 series, was Upstream (2010–2011) a project tracing the Liangma River from where it passed the artist’s home in the East of... [more]
Out Is Etc.   Pick-button-f22fa879042524f5c7b8d2278b2983b8
Lei Benben at Boers-Li Gallery December 9th, 2011 - January 13th, 2012
Posted 12/18/11
While the basic theme of Lei Benben’s three works in Tilted Horizon at Boers-Li Gallery may be water, a perhaps more interesting and powerful linking element is their conceptual framework, which includes interactions with the spaces within and outside of the frame. These videos, in their various formats, deliberately reach beyond the frame, setting up a strong relation to the space. The familiar strips of beach and sea of Horizon (2011) are at an angle within the projection’s rectangle,... [more]
UCCA Blows Up   Pick-button-f22fa879042524f5c7b8d2278b2983b8
Zhan Wang at Ullens Center for Contemporary Art November 26th, 2011 - February 25th, 2012
Posted 12/11/11
In what might be read as a change in direction for Zhan Wang, the new large-scale installation at UCCA broadens his works’ outlook from the establishment of monuments to the creation of the universe as creative material. In the process, the artist addresses some big questions about our place in the universe, but ultimately manages to lose his sympathetic connection with the human body. His long-running Artificial Rock series of scholars’ rocks recreated in stainless steel now dot the world,... [more]
Nature Calls   Pick-button-f22fa879042524f5c7b8d2278b2983b8
Posted 12/4/11
Not Only A Taoist Troublemaker! was a short-lived exhibition occupying a leaf-strewn room in a small arts space attached to a bar. A bar with a vegetable market behind; sharing a building that housed a screw factory during the Cultural Revolution. A screw factory built inside a Taoist temple, replacing the site’s original Buddhist temple. This overlapping of every kind of ideology provided an ideal backdrop for the six artists’ work in this show curated by forget art. forget art is an... [more]
The many forms of site-specificity have a long history and can be the most complex of contexts for art. This idea of a productive connection with a setting, and by implication the users of that setting, is an attractive option for artists trying to boost their degree of “relevance.” However, the public realm outside of galleries is also the critical realm par excellence – works existing in it are forced into competition with all sorts of other, “natural” activities in the spaces, and away from... [more]
Blood Heat   Pick-button-f22fa879042524f5c7b8d2278b2983b8
Cheng Ran at Galerie Urs Meile Beijing November 5th, 2011 - February 12th, 2012
Posted 11/13/11
The press release for Hot Blood, Warm Blood, Cold Blood proposes that this new work is “not primarily a conceptual work.” This text goes on to lay the groundwork for this new three-channel installation – and as I see it, for Cheng Ran’s work as a whole: “The artist hopes to reduce the technical influence to a minimum level through the deliberate use of inappropriate editing to demonstrate the formality embraced in symbolism and imagery, thus representing an unknown image-space.” Although I... [more]
Seedy Showing   Pick-button-f22fa879042524f5c7b8d2278b2983b8
Xu Baozhong, Xu Bing, Zhou Danmei, Zhuang Hui& Dan’er, Xue Guangchen, Kong Guoqiao, Wang Haiyang, Yang HongWei, Kou Jianghui, Wu Jian’an, Huang Jingyuan, Yan Jun, Guo Leilei, Fang Lijun, Liu Liping, Jiang Miao, Chen Qi, Zhang Qikai, Chen Xiaowen, Shi Xinji, Huang Yang, Liu Ye, Wang Yiqiong, Yang Yumin at Today Art Museum (TAM) August 7th, 2011 - August 19th, 2011
Posted 11/6/11
The sound of cracking coming from people’s mouths and underfoot was perhaps the first indication that there was something different about this opening. Today Art Museum’s galleries were filled with the great and good of the Chinese art world for the opening of The Second Academic Exhibition of Chinese Contemporary Prints, subtitled: Print•Concept. But throughout, while chatting and viewing the artworks on the walls, many were distractedly clutching small handfuls of sunflower seeds, cracking... [more]
Dali's New Hues   Pick-button-f22fa879042524f5c7b8d2278b2983b8
Zhang Dali at Pékin Fine Arts (Beijing) October 22nd, 2011 - October 22nd, 2011
Posted 10/31/11
Blue is the dominant colour of Zhang Dali’s new series of photograms and cyanotypes, framing the shadowed forms cast upon them. These large-scale photographic impressions on cloth present figures, bicycles and pagodas, in negative; the surroundings are left in the rich cyan blue, verging on indigo. These “material objects” (as Zhang refers to them) leave their marks as absence and adjust our received impressions of them, reversing the shadow’s fleeting aspect to permanently fix and memorialize... [more]
The Magic of Art and Science   Pick-button-f22fa879042524f5c7b8d2278b2983b8
Qiu Anxiong, Wu Ding, Liao Fei, Wang Guangle, Zheng Huan, Ji Kun, Ling, Orange, Xu Sheng, Lore Vanelsande, Jin Wang, Li Wen, Chen Xi, Fang Xian, WU YI, He Yida, Liu Yiqing, Ni Youyu at Space Station September 3rd, 2011 - October 3rd, 2011
Posted 10/16/11
A continuing concern amongst artists and art professionals in China is the nature and role of the museum in the art ecosystem. Certainly I have concerns myself – the museum has become something of a catch-all term to cover a disparate set of spaces and activities that sometimes have little to do with a traditional understanding of the term. In my experience, the term “museum” can be a bit of a misleading one. While this is a known failing with the art-institutional landscape in China which... [more]
Stories Sans Smoke   Pick-button-f22fa879042524f5c7b8d2278b2983b8
Chen Xinpeng at C5 Art September 10th, 2011 - October 9th, 2011
Posted 10/9/11
Artist Chen Xinpeng describes his work as the creation of “small innovations.” The works in Chen’s solo show at C5 Gallery include his early photo and video works through to his latest experiments with blow up structures and game play, giving some clues as to what these innovations might be. But all the while the show displays the artist’s self-deprecating humour and his reticence towards overstating the meaning and significance of these “innovations.” Chen’s presence is a strong feature of... [more]
A Not so Small Excercise   Pick-button-f22fa879042524f5c7b8d2278b2983b8
at He Xiangning Art Museum September 10th, 2011 - November 10th, 2011
Posted 10/2/11
In my review last April of at Pékin Fine Arts, I talked about the curator Carol Yinghua Lu’s self-involvement in the curatorial process. This is a feature of her activities that keys into the ongoing question of the role of the curator in relation to the artwork, artist and institution. Her partner, artist Liu Ding, is known for his critical approach to practices of presentation and value formation through the production and exhibition of art. So it seems wholly appropriate for them to work... [more]
Museum for the Times   Pick-button-f22fa879042524f5c7b8d2278b2983b8
Museum of American Art in Berlin, ChART Contemporary, Liu Ding, Homeshop, Wu Jie, Wilfredo Prieto, Museum of Unknown, Hu Xiangqian, Zhang Xiangxi at Times Museum September 1st, 2011 - October 30th, 2011
Posted 9/25/11
The premise put forward by curator Nikita Cai for A Museum That is Not favours a broad engagement with the idea of the museum, the related social and material effects of such an institution, as well as the point at which it becomes other than a museum (or—to view it from the other direction—the point at which the other becomes a museum). What we are presented with is a show that, while somewhat disparate, includes tangential approaches that refresh the overall theme while avoiding proscription... [more]
Fantastic Five   Pick-button-f22fa879042524f5c7b8d2278b2983b8
Yan Xing, Li Gang, HU QINGYAN, Cheng Ran, Christian Schoeler at Galerie Urs Meile Beijing September 4th, 2011 - October 23rd, 2011
Posted 9/25/11
Presenting five solo shows at once in their Beijing spaces seems an odd approach by Galerie Urs Meile. They state that it provides a way to present a selection of new works by some of their less established artists, and I expect it avoids the difficulty of finding an overarching theme for a group show. But in this case it seems each artist gets short shrift, without the opportunity to present a sufficient body of work to allow for more than a very basic understanding of their practice.... [more]
Dialogue with History   Pick-button-f22fa879042524f5c7b8d2278b2983b8
at National Art Museum of China August 20th, 2011 - September 16th, 2011
Posted 9/15/11
It’s not often I get excited about the significance of an exhibition, and while is not perfect, I believe it is an important show in the issues it brings into play and in the constructive fashion with which it deals with them. This survey show celebrates the fifteenth anniversary of the art collection of Taikang Life, one of China’s top insurance firms, founded by Chen Dongsheng (previously founder of China Guardian Auctions). Chen has put together a rather remarkable collection of artworks,... [more]
Lions and Tigers and Mirrors Oh My!   Pick-button-f22fa879042524f5c7b8d2278b2983b8
Wang Wei at Boers-Li Gallery August 11th, 2011 - September 11th, 2011
Posted 8/29/11
For what is obviously such a large and weighty intervention, the mirrored surfaces of Wang Wei’s Propaganda Pavilion create an almost insubstantial structure as it cuts diagonally across Boers-Li’s upstairs gallery, disrupting the visitors’ procession and views through the spaces. The Pavilion is a reconstruction of a common form of display structure, with suggestions of Socialist architecture in its original forms.  In this case, the artist has taken an example from Beijing Zoo.  As presented... [more]
Sehgal's Antics come to China   Pick-button-f22fa879042524f5c7b8d2278b2983b8
Tino Sehgal at Minsheng Art Museum July 16th, 2011 - August 14th, 2011
Posted 8/21/11
In amongst the videos and installations by Zhang Peili at the Minsheng Art Museum (which I reviewed here last week), I also had a surprise encounter with the work of Tino Sehgal, whose works of performed discussions as institutional critique added an unusual perspective to the display of new-media work. Under the collective title “Taking the Stage Over,” curator Biljana Ciric has organised a year-long series of events for Shanghai. From July to September she has arranged for Sehgal... [more]
(Possibly) China's First Video Art   Pick-button-f22fa879042524f5c7b8d2278b2983b8
Zhang Peili at Minsheng Art Museum July 16th, 2011 - August 14th, 2011
Posted 8/14/11
A short excursion to Shanghai from my usual territory of Beijing allowed for a quick visit to the Minsheng Art Museum, while dodging the storms presaging the arrival of typhoon Muifa.  The Minsheng is a non-profit institution occupying a large warehouse-type set of spaces at the back of an off-street cultural area. It was established in 2008 by the China Minsheng Banking Corporation, and is currently hosting a large retrospective of the work of veteran new-media artist, Zhang Peili. What this... [more]
Two Artists and a Mentor   Pick-button-f22fa879042524f5c7b8d2278b2983b8
Ma Qiusha, Wang Shang at Ullens Center for Contemporary Art July 16th, 2011 - August 8th, 2011
Posted 8/8/11
It  feels like curation has become somewhat undisciplined. “Good” curation, in my experience, is distinguished by a thoughtful and productive presentation and response to the works selected. I realise this plays down the more academic aspects related to working with collections in, say, a museum context. But in the environment in China where there is little institutional support for serious curation (at least of contemporary art), you take what you can get. However, that rather negative... [more]
Narrative Naysaying   Pick-button-f22fa879042524f5c7b8d2278b2983b8
Lei Benben, Shen Yi Elsie at Siemens Home Appliance Art Space July 23rd, 2011 - August 7th, 2011
Posted 8/1/11
In 2010, on a side street behind the main drag of 798, the German appliance company Siemens opened a small art space as part of their mission to “finance young artists’ projects and provide community service around China.” As part of this worthy cause, this month the gallery is hosting Overstep, a show of two young Chinese artists, Shen Yi Elsie and Lei Benben, curated by Pi Li (Director of Boers-Li Gallery). Over the past few years both Shen Yi Elsie and Lei Benben have moved from... [more]
Muddled Illuminations   Pick-button-f22fa879042524f5c7b8d2278b2983b8
He An at Arrow Factory July 3rd, 2011 - August 20th, 2011
Posted 7/18/11
He An’s new installation at the store-front space Arrow Factory is the first in a series of shows in Beijing for the Chinese artist; Tang Contemporary and Magician Space are also hosting shows opening this week in the 798 Art District. The installation at Arrow Factory continues the artist’s concern with lighting systems and features a working streetlight poking through the glass of the gallery’s frontage.  Below the light a small switch invites you to turn the light on and off.  Behind the... [more]
Virtue in De-Virtualizing   Pick-button-f22fa879042524f5c7b8d2278b2983b8
Joseph DeLappe at Where Where Art Space July 9th, 2011 - July 29th, 2011
Posted 7/18/11
Combat is a staple ingredient for all types of gaming and the urge to realism in virtual recreations of real-life battlefields has become an extensive sub-genre of the online gaming experience. These virtual fields of glory play on exercises of strategy and coordination to the extent that they are equally useful as training and recruitment tools for the military, teaching skills and attitudes that have real-world implications and applications. Over the last month, American artist Joseph... [more]
Not Quite a Roast   Pick-button-f22fa879042524f5c7b8d2278b2983b8
Maria Castro, Catherine Shakespeare Lane,Neil Webb,Experimenter En Couleur, Leslie Deere, Felicity Ford, Sheng Jie, Yan Jun, Christian Krupa, Alex McLean, Ruan Qianjun at Platform China May 1st, 2011 - May 1st, 2011
Posted 7/4/11
The title “Half Rabbit” here refers to the fact that we are now half way through the Year of the Rabbit, in the Chinese calendar. The animal years represented in the Chinese zodiac run in twelve-year sequences, so for anyone born in a “Rabbit” year, the current annual cycle is a particularly auspicious time. Following the custom of reading one’s prospects based when you are born, the theme for “Half Rabbit” attempted to address issues of identity and fortune. This was planned to be the return... [more]
The Journey West Travel Office, 43 Zhonglouwan Hutong, Beijing, China 19 June, 2011 Last weekend in the hutongs around the historic Drum and Bell Tower area in Beijing, Alessandro Rolandi from Italy and Megumi Shimizu from Japan staged the performance "Something on the Way."  This was included as part of Stephanie Rothenberg and Dan S. Wang’s "Journey West Travel Office" (a “performative installation that casts a critical eye on global tourism”). "Something on the Way" drew upon a mixture of... [more]
Noise and Context   Pick-button-f22fa879042524f5c7b8d2278b2983b8
Posted 6/20/11
Like any art form, creative activity that involves sound has a relationship with the world as a production and with an audience as reception. Both relationships have different expectations and requirements for whatever might be termed “success.” The often ephemeral form of sound-work dictates that it must assert itself in a stronger way to ensure its reception as in some way distinct from the “distractions” it works within. The concert hall, for instance, not only provides a hermetic,... [more]
What's Left Out   Pick-button-f22fa879042524f5c7b8d2278b2983b8
Forget Art, Sun Daliang, Li Ming, Liu Ren, Shi Wenfei, Yang Xingguang, Tian Yu, Li Wei 黎薇 at Linda Gallery Beijing June 4th, 2011 - July 3rd, 2011
Posted 6/13/11
“Alibi,” the title in English of this group show at Linda Gallery in Beijing’s 798 Art District, seems so much more evocative than the Chinese title (不在场), which the essay by curator Wang Yifei translates as “Being Absent.” Although the adherence to the title seems a little weak at times, this show presents artists working with an absence of some sort. That being a very broad subject, the results take many forms and directions and overall the show brings together an interesting selection of... [more]
Train of Disruption   Pick-button-f22fa879042524f5c7b8d2278b2983b8
Xie Molin at Space Station April 23rd, 2011 - June 20th, 2011
Posted 5/30/11
In my recent review of Breaking Away, I got a bit carried away addressing some of the institutional structures in place. This show, and some other shows that are forthcoming, also seemed to hint at a resurgence of abstraction in Beijing this year. My over-enthusiasm for the critique meant that I only superficially addressed the artists in the show. One of the artists that I omitted to mention was Xie Molin, whose works in the Boers-Li show had kicked off some thoughts about abstraction itself.... [more]