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Mar 16 2017

AAP Monthly Picks: March–April 2017

by The Editors

Jia Aili

Mar 17–Jun 18

Centro de Arte Contemporáneo, Málaga, Spain

JIA AILIWasteland Series No. 1, 2009, oil on canvas, 210 × 270 cm. Courtesy the artist. 

Málaga’s Centro de Arte Contemporáneo will host one of Jia Aili’s most comprehensive exhibitions to date, featuring more than 30 paintings. Jia merges contemporary and traditional figurative styles to comment on the dramatic social and political changes and increasing globalization in China in the latter half of the 20th century. His iconic blend of styles features dark palettes and depictions of desolate, apocalyptic landscapes that provoke questions of humanity’s role and our future survival on earth. The nexus of the exhibition will be the five-panel painting We Are From the Century (2009), which will reach a colossal height of 6 meters and will stretch 15 meters in length, premiering in a public institution for the first time. The work depicts figures—some seemingly dressed in radiation gear—against a wasteland and also contains a large, toppled figure set in the distance, just in front of an encroaching and ominous dust cloud.

Soil and Stones, Souls and Songs

Mar 18–Jun 11 

Para Site, Hong Kong

HO SIU KEESand Cone, 2015, sculpture installation and sand, dimensions variable. Performance as part of the exhibition “Body Geometry” at Cattle Depot Artist Village, Hong Kong, 2015. Courtesy the artist. 

Co-presented by the non-profit Kadist Foundation, and curated by Cosmin Costinas and Inti Guerrero, the traveling exhibition explores the ever-changing discourse concerning broad realities in Asia, such as environment, urbanization, labor, history and politics. The show will make its final stop at Para Site Hong Kong after a successful showing at Manila’s Museum of Contemporary Art and Design. More than 30 artists will examine social shifts in their respective native countries and investigate how these developments have shaped the region. A single-channel video by Li Binyuan probes the issues of the agricultural land rights in China while Edgar Talusan Fernandez’s poster reveals the artist’s participation in the 1979 campaigns against mining in Philippines’ indigenous lands. The new host city will be discussed through local artist Ocean Leung’s investigation of the post-Umbrella Revolution climate, and a special performance by Ho Siu Kee, Sand Cone (2017), which will greet visitors on opening night.

Scene/Asia Annual Event 2017

Mar 20–21

Hong Kong Arts Centre McAulay Studio, Hong Kong

CHEN CHIEH-JENEmpire’s Borders, 2008–09, still from 35mm transferred to DVD, single-channel, color and sound: 27 min. Copyright and courtesy the artist.

The performing arts research platform Scene/Asia will present their second annual symposium circling curatorial theories and the participatory elements in performance. Organized by Arts Commons Tokyo and supported by the Japan Foundation – Asia Center and Saison Foundation, the two-day forum features Q&As and talks with six artists and six moderators, including Taiwanese guerilla artist and political activist Chen Chieh-Jen, who will pontificate on the relationship between art and democracy in Asia. The headline event will be a panel talk with artists Fahmi Reza, Ho Rui An, Akira Takayama and Hansol Yoon, about the symposium’s theme: “(Un) Doing Democracies in Asia: Performance, Narratives and Silence.”

Kathmandu Triennale

Mar 24–Apr 9

Various locations, Kathmandu, Nepal 

MITHU SENMOU, Museum of Unbelongings, 2012, fabric and found objects, site-specific installation, dimensions variable. Courtesy the artist.

Derived from the celebrated Kathmandu International Art Festival, the inaugural iteration of the Kathmandu Triennale will open under the curatorial direction of Philippe Van Cauteren, artistic director of Stedelijk Museum voor Actuele Kunst in Belgium. The Triennale will take place across the city in a series of exhibitions, educational initiatives and workshops, including the central show, titled “The City, My Studio / The City, My Life” at Siddartha Art Gallery, Patan Museum, Taragaon Museum and Nepal Art Council. Focus is placed on cultivating engagement with the local community, and the event will play host to over 50 artists from 25 countries who will create new commissions in response to the city. Participants include Nepalese artists Hit Man Gurung and Tsherin Sherpa, Lee Kit from Hong Kong and New Delhi-based Mithu Sen.

Qiu Zhijie: Journeys Without Arrivals

Apr 1–Sep 24

Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, Netherlands

QIU ZHIJIERainbow 1, 1995, photo. Courtesy the artist. 

Qiu Zhijie’s upcoming solo exhibition at Van Abbemuseum marks the first comprehensive overview of the Chinese artist’s oeuvre. The exhibition will showcase works from across the artist’s two-decade-long career in a variety of media including sculpture, installation, photography and print. As a witness to China’s rapid economic growth and globalization, Qiu’s work deals with the tensions present in the country’s social identity, aggravated by these developments. Curated by Van Abbemuseum’s Annie Fletcher and Charles Esche in collaboration with China-based curator Davide Quadrio, “Journeys Without Arrivals” proposes that the artist’s work be seen as a series of unending journeys that reinterpret elements of different traditions, as a way to comprehend contemporary, global culture.

Documenta 14

Apr 8–Jul 16

Various locations, Athens, Greece

Fridericianum, Kassel. Photo by Mathias Voelzke. Courtesy Documenta.

This year’s edition of the quinquennial Documenta will be held across two cities—Athens, Greece and the event’s traditional location of Kassel, Germany—and headed by Artistic Director Adam Szymczyk. Under the title of “Documenta 14: Learning From Athens,” the exhibition seeks to flood the economically distressed Greek city with art crowds, in a move that has polarized critics since its announcement in 2014. In the first portion, commissioned artists will create artworks responding to a researched theme on the relationship between Kassel and Athens, including Kurdish-Iraqi artist Hiwa K, Pakistan-born, London-based artist Rasheed Araeen, Chinese film director Wang Bing and Iranian sculptor Nairy Baghramian. The exhibition in Athens will be unveiled first in April, while its twin in Germany will open in June. 

But a Storm is Blowing from Paradise: Contemporary Art from the Middle East and North Africa

Apr 15–Jun 11

Rockbund Art Museum, Shanghai, China

ROKNI HAERIZADEH, But a Storm Is Blowing from Paradise, 2014, gesso, watercolor and ink on inkjet prints, 18 parts from a 24-part work, 30 × 40 cm each. Copyright the artist. Courtesy the artist and Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York. 

New York’s Solomon R. Guggenheim UBS MAP Global Art Initiative’s traveling exhibition, “But a Storm is Blowing from Paradise,” will end its journey at Shanghai’s Rockbund Art Museum (RAM). Organized by Sara Raza and RAM’s curatorial team, the group show of 15 artists highlights contemporary art voices in North Africa and the Middle East. The presentation will include works by Tehran-born, Dubai-based Rokni Haerizadeh, who will show his collage painting series “But a Storm is Blowing from Paradise” (2014) and Beirut-based duo Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige’s Latent Images, Diary of a Photographer, 177 Days of Performance (2015), an installation based on the film archives and research of a fictitious photographer named Abdallah Farah, who reported on the Lebanese Civil War. As one of the most substantial displays of contemporary art from the region to date in China, the collection will allow for unprecedented exchange between the exhibition’s cross-cultural agendas and Shanghai’s affluent art scene.