The 7th Guangzhou Triennial hosted by the Guangdong Museum of Art will open at the end of 2022. The curatorial team includes the chief curator Wang Shaoqiang and four curators, Wu Hongliang, Philip Dodd, Thomas Eller, and Jiang Jun. The past three years have seen an unexpected public health crisis that has shattered our expectations of the continuing development of globalization. "Change" has become an issue that cannot be ignored. After discussion between the academic committee and the curatorial team, the theme of the Triennial focuses on "change" and "transformation” and is thus titled "Symphony of All the Changes".
The development of Chinese contemporary art over the past 40 years has been accompanied by the same period of reform and opening up. Guangdong was at the forefront of reform and opening up, the first place to experience the pioneering nature and complexity such opening up entailed. Likewise, the Guangzhou Triennial, a significant academic program of GDMoA since its 2002 establishment, has witnessed the development of Chinese experimental art over the past 20 years. In the context of the museum’s relocation to Bai’e Tan Greater Bay Art Centre, the 7th Guangzhou Triennial can be seen as the conclusion of a particular phase in the museum’s history. A proper review of history is no mere memorial; history provides a mirror with which to reflect on the future. When we expand our horizon of observation over a longer historical period and a wider spatial dimension, the huge changes that China and the world face today appear more distinct.
The theme “Symphony of All the Changes” has been chosen after sustained reflection on both local conditions and the wider global context. It is inspired by Zhuangzi’s the Way of Heaven, which states, "All things are transformed; every bud and feature have its proper form", and by Wen Xin Diao Long, which holds, "Change is a form of longevity, and generalization does not lack.” The word "change" refers to the evolutionary process of the world in which all things and phenomena come into being, while the phrase "through change" is an expression of our attitude toward the development of art today. Change is the only way to endure and the only way not to become impoverished is to transform ourselves across the past and into the present. This exhibition divides the curators’ perspectives into four sections, each of them overseen by a single curator.
Wu Hongliang alludes to the problems that occur on the edge, yet cannot be ignored by the center, with the title Bumps on the Edge. The fringes of society are typically the forefront of foreign exchange, the birthplace of ideas and art. In Guangzhou, for example, individual characteristics have been highlighted and incorporated into its diverse cultural soil to a profound extent, yet at the expense of Guangzhou’s overall image as a proper center of contemporary art, deemed relatively "marginal" and "fragmented". Such "marginalization" is not only reflected in its regional expression but also in its modes of creation, as they pertain to poetry and other arts. In the narrative of Chinese contemporary art history, there has been a stream of artists and works with unique personalities, but certainly no flood. Alas, it is all too easy to be obscured by the grand narrative, while the creations of famous artists, touchstones in art’s ecology, take on their own meaning. The flashes of these "fragments" reflect a splendor that may lead to mainstream acceptance and positive regard.
Philip Dodd begins from the position that, despite recent stumblings, hyper-globalisation and hyper-digitalisation are still the dominant, if increasingly fragile, story - not least in the artworld where marketisation and digitalisation (NFTs etc) are still rampant. The paradox of the present is that art is increasingly 'brushing against the grain' of the world. A new recognition of the importance of 'Slow Art' (compare the Slow Food Movement) is emerging - the return and revaluation of traditional materials and media, an embrace of the physical body and its capacities and limits, of 'slow time' (rather than digital time).
In Praise of Slow Art: when all that is solid melt into the air brings together Chinese and foreign artists, young and old, women and men. Some of the younger artists are making use of traditional materials and media to tell national or local stories; other older artists may have been working for a long time with traditional media and materials - yet the present moment enables us to see them and their work afresh. This exhibition deliberately avoids the temptation to identify 'the next hot young artist. It is opposed to such commodification which the present globalised art world encourages.
Thomas Eller explores the relationship between man and the material world with Touch Screen / Me. In retrospect, the cultural concepts of the Confucian middle way and Taoist naturalism have profoundly shaped and influenced the Chinese aesthetic and epistemological connections to nature, while Western utilitarianism sees nature as a resource to be exploited and accumulated. Today, digitalization has had a global impact on the way people interact with both nature and matter. Under these two themes, the curators of this section have drawn from four specific topics: "Touch", "Mother and Information", "Water" and "The Human Body". The curators of this section discuss those four specific topics, arguing that the West and China’s future will be more similar than the respective cultural heritages, which of course have been dramatically different.
Jiang Jun takes "Immanence" into the title, in the process of looking back at the local from the global perspective, yet basing the reflection on local reality. Since 1978, in a global art discourse dominated by the West, the entrenched "outward-facing" and "global" orientation of Chinese contemporary art has perforce shaped a self-conscious take on "Chinese characteristics" in Chinese artists self-orientation, leading so far as a certain self-exoticism. Today, more than 40 years later, the local audience for contemporary art has been growing. This audience is no longer satisfied with a superficial "Chineseness", but are instead looking forward to a kind of deep-rooted local context, thriving in and reconciling the present within the present. In order to subconsciously generate dialogue and strong resonance with the creations therein, this section shifts perspective from a Western-centric "shock and response" approach, to a China-centric "endogenous power" dynamic, one which focuses on local production and the ecology of Chinese contemporary art after 2008, instilling a new appreciation and acceptance, with special attention paid to the impact of art on Chinese society, local consciousness, and traditional heritage.
审阅 / 涂晓庞
视觉设计 / TEN BUTTONS
字体支持 / 方正字库