Friday, January 13, 2006

China biennale

The Forbidden City, Beijing, 2005

It is an honor and a pleasure to be invited to a biennale. For many in the art world, the argument has been made that there are too many of them. But for artists who take their work very seriously, it is an opportunity to see what is going on in the field. The range of works that I was exposed to with my visit to China was at some points quite dizzying. There was definitely an overload of visual stimulus. What struck me most was the appreciation for art. The delegates of the biennale were encouraged to see the art practice of the very young, the very old and all the in between. You could not deny the towering history of the country. I kept feeling that all I could do was take everything in, not process it right away, and indeed, that was the case. There is a sense that what you experience is so much larger than one’s capacity to understand the depth of the place. My country could fit into China’s a million times! What was also always clear was the quality of what I saw. No matter what kind of work it was, sculpture or Abstraction, everything was of the highest quality possible. As artists, we were very aware of wanting to see the real China, despite all of the chaperoning that went on, and one or two people had been to China before and were able to tell us of their experiences in other cities. Naturally, going to Tiananmen Square was extremely emotional, even to write it now, makes me feel it. Who could forget the lone, brave man with the flower before the tanks!

Queen of the jungle at the Second Beijing Art Biennale, 2005

Anselm Keifer was the heavyweight of the show, along with Sandro Chia. No surprise there. But there was also a lot of exciting work to see from people whose names I have kept with me, some now good friends. What China taught me was balance, an awareness of everything happening alongside everything else. An unfathomably big place, where the people are no different in desire and intent than anywhere else. They desire the same things. They worry about their country moving to fast to change, yet change is everywhere. The old China is disappearing faster than you can blink. The people are resourceful. The young are impatient. The technology, seductive. The industrial boom, worrisome. China has to find answers faster than anywhere else where pollution is concerned. Yet, you feel the history, and you know that a super power is making itself. China is a Tiger. - Adele

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Best regards from NY!
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