OPEN16 - 2013
© Sergio Martucci
PAVILION OF CÔTE D'IVOIRE
at the 55th International Art Exhibition - la Biennale di Venezia
First official participation
Title of Exhibition: "Traces and signs"
Exhibitors: Frédéric Bruly Bouabré, Tamsir Dia, Jems Robert Koko Bi, Franck Fanny
Commissioner: Paolo De Grandis
Curator: Yacouba Konaté
Coordinator in Venice: Carlotta Scarpa, PDG Arte Communications
Coordinator in Côte d'Ivoire: Yacouba Konaté
Venue: Spiazzi, Arsenale, Castello 3865, 30122 Venice
The Government of Côte d'Ivoire, through the Ministry of Culture, is taking part in the 55thInternational Art Exhibition – la Biennale di Venezia. This is a first individual participation not only for Côte d'Ivoire, but also for Western African nations including Nigeria, which is also involving for the first time.
Art lovers have known Ivory Coast as an outstanding land of masks and statues, where one could find a variety of schools and styles of traditional sculptures: Dan, Guéré, Senufo, Baule, Guro. Some leading figures of Western Modern Art were inspired by theses style figures. On the other hand, Ivorian contemporary visual arts are not well known. Today, Côte d'Ivoire is emerging from more than a decade (1999-2011) of a difficult crisis.
The Ivorian pavilion in Venice aims to raise awareness of the talent and genius of national artists. At the same time, it is aimed at demonstrating the growing space that is now devoted to creativity and cultural values.
Under the general title of Traces and signs, the Pavilion of Côte d'Ivoire will present the works by four artists:
- Frédéric Bruly Bouabré;
- Tamsir Dia, painter;
- Jems Koko Bi, sculptor;
- Franck Fanny photographer.
1.Inventor of his personal alphabet, founder of his own religion and writer, Frédéric Bruly Bouabré is a hunter of signs: signs of nature on human beings, traces of man on nature. From one small drawing to another with a direct and essential style, he reinterprets the world and maps out a disconnected vision of that world. Bouabré was born in 1921 and the big challenge of his life was not to die in anonymity. He took the way of art to reach this goal and he succeeded in becoming one of the most singular figures in the history of African contemporary art.
2. Tamsir Dia is also an explorer of signs. Born in 1952, he is an art teacher. He had noticed that when a man without pretensions to art, repainted his house, he did not scour the walls, but simply spread the new layer over the old one. Tamsir Dia learned from this experience. His paintings are the parable of the progressive and soft tension inside the wall. Like seismic trays that move and push each other, the surfaces of his works suggest traces of life, memories of time. The general ochre tonality of his paintings indicates the lateritic atmosphere of sub-Saharan roads and landscapes.
3. Born in 1966, Jems Robert Koko Bi is a rising figure in contemporary art in Côte d'Ivoire. Alumnus of the Dusseldorf Academy of Arts after being a student at the National Higher Institute of Arts and Culture Action (INSAAC) in Abidjan, this regular guest of the Dakar Biennial and several other international events excels in cutting and burning wood, which is his favourite material. He is comfortable with figurative forms as well as with abstract and conceptual constructions. The works he presents in Venice deal with the struggle for power (seeInstallation de chaises) on the one hand, and the 'brain drain' (see Convoi royal) on the other.
4. Franck Fanny has a way for him to absorb and distribute the grain of women’s skin and the stridence of some men’s gazes. He subtly captures the rawness and realism of situations. Without misery, but also without idealism or cruelty. His pictures develop a pictorial naturalism that cuts social scenes as slices dripping with the juice of life. By night, venues appear as hallucinating crystal jewels.
A storing memory makes no noise. Facts do not engrave memory as a disk, but they affect our life by signs and traces that refer to happy or painful events with which we have to learn to live together. Over and over again.
© Sergio Martucci
‘You (you).’ - Lee Kit
Collateral Event of the 55th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia
Major solo exhibition by leading Hong Kong Artist Lee Kit presented in Venice
Venue: Castello 2126, Campo della Tana (Opposite the main entrance of Arsenale)
‘You (you).’, Collateral Event of the 55th International Art Exhibition - la Biennale di Venezia opening 1 June 2013, will feature a major solo exhibition by leading Hong Kong artist Lee Kit. ‘You (you).’ will present a series of new commissions, including sound, video and performance works, ready-made objects, and fabrics. The exhibition is co-presented by M+, Hong Kong’s new museum for 20th and 21st century visual culture in the West Kowloon Cultural District and The Hong Kong Arts Development Council (HKADC). Dr Lars Nittve, world-renowned curator and Executive Director of M+, is the Lead Curator.
‘You (you).’ has been conceived through the recollection of personal and collective moments to reflect on the construction of memory, time and place. The exhibition is a continuation of Lee’s investigation into the ambiguous territory between the private and public. Lee’s employment of repetitive gestures, mundane objects and other intangible materials subtly recall the qualities of the everyday. These commonplace materials seemingly placed at random throughout the exhibition, are in fact meticulously arranged to function as emotive and sensory triggers, evoking both real and imagined memories.
Lars Nittve said: “Lee Kit is to me one of the leading artists in Hong Kong’s thriving contemporary art scene. I have during my years here been repeatedly touched by how Lee Kit so seemingly effortlessly manages to mix a deep understanding of contemporary art with something very personal and intimate. His work is at the same time uncompromising and extraordinarily open for participation, intimate and at the same time public. It truly embodies the fundamental and wonderful uncertainty at the heart of all good art – while bringing together western and ancient Asian cultural traditions.”
Born in 1978, Hong Kong, Lee Kit currently lives and works in Hong Kong and Taipei. Shifting across a diverse range of media, Lee’s practice is deeply rooted in his personal surroundings and experience. Lee trained as a painter at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, during which he began to move away from representational tendencies and the confinement of stretched canvases, reducing the act of painting to a network of repetitive lines on fabrics, using the process to document time and emotions. These hand-painted fabrics were then turned into and used as ordinary functional items, such as tablecloths, curtains and blankets, engaging these essentially private outcomes with the public sphere. His recent installations combine different objects, images and mediums to form sparse yet intimate settings that suggest traces of immaterialised relationships.
Lee has featured in major exhibitions in top museums worldwide including The New Museum and MoMA New York in 2012 and Tate Modern, London in 2010. His recent solo exhibitions include Every breath you take., Minsheng Art Museum, Shanghai, China (2012), 1, 2, 3, 4..., Lombard Freid Projects, New York, USA (2011), Henry (Have you ever been this low?), Western Front, Vancouver, Canada (2011), Well, that’s just a chill, ShugoArts, Tokyo, Japan (2010), Someone Singing and Calling our Name, Osage, Hong Kong (2009), Remains from several days, Mori Gallery, Sydney, Australia (2008), ¾ suggestions for a better living, Para/Site Art Space, Hong Kong (2007). He has also participated in numerous international group exhibitions such as What should I do to live in your life?, Sharjah Art Foundation, Sharjah, UAE (2012), Trading Futures, Taipei Contemporary Art Center, Taipei, Taiwan (2012), The Ungovernables, The New Museum, New York, USA (2012), Print/Out, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, USA (2012), No Soul For Sale, Tate Modern, London, UK (2010), Platform in Kimusa, Seoul, South Korea (2009), Farewell to Post-Colonialism, The 3rd Guangzhou Triennial, Guangdong Museum of Art, Guangzhou, China (2008), Sprout from White Nights, Bonniers Konsthall, Stockholm, Sweden (2008), Pearl River City, Contemporary Art Centre, Vilnius, Lithuania (2007). Lee is the recipient of the Art Futures Award at Art HK in 2012. His works are collected by a number of public and private collections worldwide, including Stedelijk Museum voor Actuele Kunst and the Hong Kong Museum of Art.
Jade Ouk / Erica Siu, Sutton PR Asia, firstname.lastname@example.org / email@example.com, +852 2528 0792
Debbie Ho, WKCDA, firstname.lastname@example.org, +852 2200 0210 / +852 9177 1686
Wendy Tso, HKADC, email@example.com, +852 2820 1031
Notes for Editors
Dr Lars NITTVE
Executive Director, M+
West Kowloon Cultural District Authority, Hong Kong
Born 1953 in Stockholm, Nittve is currently the Executive Director of M+ in Hong Kong. After studies at the Stockholm School of Economics, a M.A. at Stockholm University and Post Graduate Studies at New York University, he served as lecturer in art history at the University of Stockholm (1978-85). During the same period he held a post as senior art critic at the Swedish daily Svenska Dagbladet, and contributed regularly to Artforum.
Nittve was appointed chief curator at the Moderna Museet in Stockholm in 1986. He served as the founding Director of Rooseum – Center for Contemporary Art in Malmö, Sweden (1990-1995). In July 1995, Dr Nittve became the Director of the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Humlebaek, Denmark, where he also curated the groundbreaking exhibition Sunshine & Noir – Art in L.A. 1960-1997 and the first solo exhibition of Cai Guo Qiang outside Asia. In 1998, he was named the first Director of Tate Modern, London, which opened in May 2000 to great acclaim. In November 2001, he returned to Moderna Museet in Stockholm as Director. Since January 2011, Nittve has been with the West Kowloon Cultural District as the Executive Director of M+, the museum for visual culture in Hong Kong.
Assistant Curator, M+
West Kowloon Cultural District Authority, Hong Kong
Born 1979 in Shanghai, Ma is currently assistant curator at M+ in Hong Kong. He was the gallery manager at Art Statements Gallery and the assistant curator at Para/Site Art Space, both in Hong Kong. He was also the assistant curator and project manager of Pak Sheung Chuen’s solo exhibition Making (Perfect) Word: Harbour, Hong Kong, Alienated Cities and Dreams at the 53rd International Art Exhibition – la Biennale di Venezia. In 2011, he was the guest curator of A Wedding, an exhibition and event featuring works from over 100 international artists co-organised by Para/Site Art Space and Vitamin Creative Space, and co-curator of The Visionary Trading Project at Guest Projects in London. Ma also contributes regularly to a number of publications and exhibition catalogues. He holds a M.A. in Curating Contemporary Art from the Royal College of Art and a B.A. in Fine Art and Japanese from the University of Reading.
WEST KOWLOON CULTURAL DISTRICT
The West Kowloon Cultural District is the largest arts and cultural project in Hong Kong to date. Its vision is to provide a vibrant cultural quarter for the city; a vital platform for the local arts scene to interact, develop and collaborate; and major facilities to host and produce world-class exhibitions, performances and arts and cultural events. The District will include 17 core arts and cultural venues and 30,000 square metres of space for arts education. It will be a low-density development, providing ample open green space and embracing two kilometres of a vibrant harbour-front promenade, 23 hectares of open space and a green avenue, and closely connected with the neighbourhood.
The project will be developed in phases with construction scheduled to commence in 2013. The venues to be commissioned in Phase 1 include M+ (20th-21st century visual culture museum), the Xiqu Centre (main theatre and Tea House), a Freespace with an outdoor stage, a Lyric Theatre, a Centre for Contemporary Performance, Medium Theatre I, a Music Centre with a Concert and Recital Hall, a Musical Theatre, a Mega Performance Venue and an Exhibition Centre. A host of ancillary facilities including a Resident Company Centre, other creative learning facilities and a number of Arts Pavilions for visual arts exhibitions will also be constructed in this phase. Phase 2 will involve the commissioning of the Great Theatre, a small theatre as part of the Xiqu Centre, Medium Theatre II.
WKCDA’s first cultural event was the West Kowloon Bamboo Theatre which was staged at the future site of the Xiqu Centre near Canton Road during the Chinese New Year in 2012. Mobile M+: Yau Ma Tei marked the second program presented by WKCDA and the first in the series curated by M+ scheduled to occur leading up to the opening of the M+ museum in 2017.
M+ is the new museum for visual culture in Hong Kong, as part of the West Kowloon Cultural District (WKCD), focusing on 20th- and 21st- century art, design, architecture and the moving image. From day one, M+ is set to develop content from a Hong Kong perspective, the perspective of the “now”, and with a global vision, from the “inside out”. M+ will be shaped around the ideas, vision and, eventually, contents formulated now and in the coming years through programs such as the recent Mobile M+: Yau Ma Tei exhibition. The scale of the building, at around 60,000 square metres, will be on par with the Museum of Modern Art in New York. It is a project with a strong public service ethos, fundamentally as a museum for the more than seven million people living and working in Hong Kong, firmly rooted in the location and its unique cultural ecology.
HONG KONG ARTS DEVELOPMENT COUNCIL
Established in 1995, the Hong Kong Arts Development Council (HKADC) is a statutory body set up by the government to plan, promote and support the broad development of the arts including literary arts, performing arts, visual arts as well as film and media arts in Hong Kong. Aiming to foster a thriving arts environment and enhancing the quality of life of the public, the HKADC is also committed to facilitating community-wide participation in the arts and arts education, encouraging arts criticism, raising the standard of arts administration and strengthening the works on arts policy research.
To achieve the goals of fostering the development of arts groups, raising the level of artistic standards and exploring development opportunities for artists, the following development strategies will be adopted:
- Supporting promising artists and arts groups for artistic pursuits
- Promoting arts administration to improve the management of arts groups
- Focusing on the arts environment and proposing policy recommendations
- Enhancing public participation and exploring arts space
- Fostering strategic partnerships and bringing arts resources together
The HKADC has been taken part in the Biennale as a collateral event since 2001, with an aim to enhance exchange and communication between Hong Kong and other countries in the world. About 400,000 people have visited the past six exhibitions.
© Sergio Martucci
Passage to History: 20 Years of La Biennale di Venezia and Chinese Contemporary Art
Collateral Event at 55th International Art Exhibition – la Biennale di Venezia
Curators: Lü Peng, Achille Bonito Oliva
Commissioner: Paolo De Grandis
Artists: Chen Xi, Cui Xiuwen, Fang Lijun, Li Qing, Liu Wei, Liu Xiaodong, Mao Xuhui, Sui Jianguo, Wang Guangyi, Wang Jianwei, Xu Bing, Yan Peiming, Ye Yongqing, Yin Zhaoyang, Yue Minjun, Zeng Fanzhi, Zhan Wang, Zhang Peili, Zhang Xiaogang, Zhou Chunya
Organizer: Museum of Contemporary Art, Chengdu
Producer: Institutions of Chinart
Patronised by: Comune di Venezia – Assessorato alle Attività Culturali
Designer: Guo Chenghui
Coordinator: PDG Arte Communications - Director, Carlotta Scarpa; Francesca Romana Greco; Roberto Rosolen
Venue: Arsenale di Venezia, Nappa 89
Websites: www.chengdumoca.org - www.artecommunications.com
2013 marks the twentieth anniversary of the participation of Chinese contemporary artists in La Biennale di Venezia; it also marks twenty years of economic, cultural and artistic exchange between China and the West. Since 1993, when Chinese contemporary artists participated in the exhibition “Passage to Orient” as individual artists, there has been sporadic participation from Chinese contemporary artists in La Biennale di Venezia; as we reexamine this chapter in the Biennale's history, we can see how Chinese contemporary artists, each in their own way, have been engaged in the process of negotiating an international identity through cultural exchange with the West. There is also an awareness from the Western world of the unique and different ways in which Chinese artist have responded to conditions of cultural dialogue with the West. At the same time, as we finely comb through the documents of this exhibition, the rise of China's economy and the increase in its international influence can be seen, mapped out over 20 years. Through this time period there is a recorded change in accepted attitudes toward Chinese culture and its international identity in the Western world, as well as toward China's contribution to contemporary art, particularly in painting. The theme of exhibition, passage to history, derives from these.
Actually, we can clearly see that it was the combined efforts of Chinese contemporary artists and critics at home and abroad, as well as those Western curators with a passion for art that made this precious period of Chinese contemporary art history possible.
It is to make a polygonal mirror taking Venice Biennale as a central topic for researching, through which to observe the broader art world because we can inevitably encounter everything on the Biennale: art, artists, visitors, curators and art institutions as well as cultural policy, trade market range, work scope, special occasions, tourism and urban tag. The “Historic Route” Exhibition aims to research, from different angles of the East and the West, the historical elements and cultural contexts of Chinese contemporary art's participation in the globalization process and also let visitors to clearly understand the connecting background and historical significance between the Venice Biennale and Chinese contemporary art and to give a clear positioning of the past 20 years Chinese contemporary art in the history of world art.
The Venice Biennale is the large-scale international exhibition that Chinese contemporary art faces for the first time. Its impact on Chinese contemporary art is not just an international identity or the international arena for Chinese contemporary artists, the more important is that it has given the perspective of reflection and painted the image of Chinese contemporary art. Early Chinese contemporary artists' participation in exhibition was not that smooth as imagined, which is full of hardships. Realistically speaking, in the eyes of the Chinese artists at the time of the early 1990s, there were not particularly complete differences between China and West but they considered the arts as a whole in the world. Therefore, no matter influencing or be influenced, it is the "out of the center "cultural policy for art history. This center is not only the center of the West, but also to get rid of the narrative of Orientalism in order to look for a space based on a common cultural basis. Such exploration is the most pertinent action in the phenomenon of cultural capital globalization.
Two major components make up this collateral event: the first, a showing of easel painted works; the second will be an archive presentation. Each part of the exhibition serves to illustrate the other, and each is a confirmation of the other one. By means of their individual voices, artists have communicated elements of Chinese and Western cultures in translation through the medium of painting. Meanwhile, by combing history with the detailed historical documents in the second part of the exhibition, there is an exploration of and reflection upon Chinese and Western cultural exchanges.
Invited to co-curate are Italian art critic and curator Achille Bonito Oliva, together with Chinese art historian Lü Peng, who will offer their historical perspectives on this exhibition and its cultural subjects. Thanks to the former's participation, we may gain a clearer understanding of and affinity for the Chinese contemporary art exhibition at La Biennale di Venezia, its background and historical significance. As for the participation of the latter, he has for twenty years been in the position of clarifying contemporary art in China for international audiences.
© Sergio Martucci