Organized by Claire Shiying Li
Organized by Claire Shiying Li
Amy Lien & Enzo Camacho (in collaboration with Marc Asekhame)
Chris Zhongtian Yuan
Spring Time, Palm Trees
Organized by Claire Shiying Li
Artists: Vikram Divecha, Hao Liang, Amy Lien & Enzo Camacho (in collaboration with Marc Asekhame), Aki Sasamoto, Sung Tieu, Chris Zhongtian Yuan
Palm Trees can be seen in gated communities worldwide, where developers conveniently transplant the symbol of peace and wealth from resorts to suburbs as if the signified lifestyle can also be stamped anywhere. To see palm trees in a cold spring time raises suspicions about the legitimacy of time and space, leaving one wondering if the palm trees can survive a different weather while their cultural associations sustain as usual.
In a ghostly atmosphere, Spring Time, Palm Trees brings together works by six artists/duo, challenging the linear timeline and eliciting personal narratives under the new tempo-spatial construction. Within the fictional timeframe of photography and moving images, the parochial cultural bias based on linear timeline is challenged and inventive experience of life and art history forms along new circulations and reincarnations. Emancipated from memories and knowledges, one might need to reorient feelings of intimacy and fear in the open field of realist portraits and aesthetic sensory, reaching multiculturalism and critical historicism.
In a way, video editors are traversing between at least two timelines. One is the cinematic timeline, which lays down scenarios in sequences, leading the viewer to be immersed in emotions and subconsciousness until reaching a hypnotic state. The other is the conceptual timeline, which marks the ideological benchmark, especially with projective visions. Just like different futures Marx and Fukuyama pointed us towards, Dong Qichang and Kandinsky anointed discrepant significations between geometry and the shape of space and time. In Hao Liang’s The Tale of Cloud, the composition of ink tradition and narrative of ghost stories are weaved together into the rubric of scroll painting. The abundance of smokes hazing around mountain rocks leaves the viewer confused with the real and unreal, the spiritual and the corporeal, the rational and fantastical. The painter’s multi-perspective observation of nature and society swiftly changes in heterogeneous styles, blurring boundaries of seemingly distant discourses. In the co-existing painting histories, the ancient time continuously and insidiously extends under the surface of contemporary times.
Delicate Cycle is a movie documentation of Aki Sasamoto’s Sculpture Center performance. Sometimes conversational, yet at times didactic, her speech recalls those childhood memories that she doesn’t know where to place - she was bullied, and a bully herself. As annotated in the washing machine label, one needs delicate cycles to forget the guilt and traumatic experiences, like removing stains. To remember the memories is also to be liberated from the emotional baggage. Meanwhile, whether from a bird’s lofty perspective or a dung beetle’s earnest efforts, the fear of being out of control sometime still carries itself into everyday life.
Around the beginning of quarantine, Chris Zhongtian Yuan started editing a video work titled Wuhan Punk, which retells an obscure music history and a young man who disappeared from his memory. A mythified industrial city around that time was outlined in the video with mixes of animation from Unreal Engine (a rendering software commonly used in CGI games) and drone footage, overlaid with storytelling of flooding and punk bands; Wuhan punk is told as an adolescent experience combined with British working class culture and emerging urban margins lifestyle. The parallel between industrial cityscape and sonic landscape constitutes a memory palace for the misty working class culture.
The virus put a pause on the gears of capitalism, as well as the timetable for labor. The anxiety from working was thus relayed. This brief moment of relief is reminiscent of Claude Monet’s successful attempt to delay a train to Rouen for half an hour, since the light would be better then to create his plain air paintings, a legend according to his friend Pierre-Auguste Renoir. The railway system that permanently fractured our relation to natural light then gave its way to the light on the painting. Vikram Divecha’s project is to request SNCF (French National Railway Corporation) for a five minute delay to wait for the late passengers at the exact train station on Monet’s Train to Rouen. The artist relates the painting to his experience growing up in Mumbai, “It echoed the chaos and anxiety of growing up in Mumbai, where the pressure to scramble every morning sets the disposition for the day, if not a lifetime.” Five minutes count as an artistic gesture towards the disconnection with standardization of time and labor anxiety, at the same time a futile resistance to a longstanding capitalist value of “Time is money.”
The re-enactment of the past is never a sole homage, but oftentimes a sustained skepticism. In her previous practices, Sung Tieu recorded her brain activities under the exposure to the noise of “Havana Syndrome” and exhibited the medical scanning of the brain. Overlaying the sound recording that allegedly caused “Havana Syndrome” onto the codified hidden message from the artist, Sung Tieu examines the nocuous potentials in sound with the work Sound TV. The visual footage is taken from Me Kong Delta where the US troops used to broadcast manipulated narrations based on Vietnamese ghost culture (Wandering Soul) against Viet Cong during the Vietnam War. (When clicking play on the video, please be cautious of the danger in the psychological effects it might cause on the viewer. )
The series of black and white photographs by Amy Lien and Enzo Camacho in collaboration with Marc Asekhame are taken inside their solo exhibition at Kunstverein Freiburg, titled 陰府Shady Mansion, disenchanting the highly speculated New York real estate project Low Line. They also made Asian imagination of underworld guardians into raccoon figures, which subsequently testifies against an obvious lie of habitability in a speculative green economy. Playing off the advertising propaganda, the underground trees that grow off collected solar energy looked more like money tree for the funeral, with the disenfranchised local voices due to the restless speculations reverberating in the traditional ring bells.
If the disjointed order of justice can be restored, then is it possible to restore the time order? Can the apparition find its way back to the corpse? To revisit the time anchored in past memories is also to revisit a projected oneself in the past. Or should one put behind the previous devotion and sacrifices, and only focus on the present time? Can we still throw in fists against the (capitalistic) doom, like the chess playing scene against death in Bergman’s Seventh Seal?
Enabling an overlay or intermix of lived time, social time, currency time, emotional time, landscape time, conscious time, mythological time, art historical time, works in this exhibition create a fine-tuned spatial-temporal construct in the moments of critical reflection, examining the paradoxes and absurdities in speculative behaviors and psychology of exclusivity in relation to desires. In this virtual extension of Antenna Space, Spring Time, Palm Trees invites and embraces alternative hybrid periodization, to create a disjointed yet illuminating conceptualization across time zones and to look for the eternal in the cyclical.
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