REVIEW - 03 JUL 2018
Chen Tong & Tian Hui: What Might it Mean to ‘Think Like a Mall’?
A double solo show in a luxury Shenzhen shopping mall poses questions about the spectacle-driven nature of the space it occupies
BY MING LIN
The O’Plaza mall at OCT Harbour is one of Shenzhen’s many luxury shopping destinations. Intentionally derailing attempts to traverse it in a straight shot, its strategically placed escalators, mirrored surfaces and false exits lead visitors to crisscross its floors and offerings. Along this glittering axis are the 20 carefully placed vitrines comprising Boxes Art Space.
Founded in 2013 by the Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts and an unnamed commercial partner, Boxes Art Space rests on the assertion that ‘the art exhibition and economic consumption can exist together.’ The gallery’s curator, Fan Bo, notes that our habits and tastes are subconsciously formed through consumption; one aim of the project is thus to parse the patented narratives of luxury and question their motives. This gallery model has been pursued by others, most notably Adrian Cheng, who recently opened the fourth of his K11 Art Malls in Guangzhou. But what Boxes Art Space seems to offer – which other mall galleries have lacked – is a reflexive and critical lens on the mall itself, rather than simply seeing it as a glitzy analogue to the so-called white cube. Chen Tong and Tian Hui’s exhibition, ‘Overall Situation’, overtly gestures at the broader economic history underwriting this commercial context, alluding, respectively, to the opening up of the Pearl River Delta region and the rise of financialization.
Chen Tong & Tian Hui, installation view, 2018, Boxes Art Space, O’Plaza Mall, Shenzen. Courtesy and photograph: Boxes Art Space, Shenzen
Boxes Art Space’s open plan harnesses the meandering layout of O’Plaza. At the main entrance, the first ‘box’ makes for a bold introduction. An empty vitrine bearing a quote from Karl Marx is part of New York-based artist Tian Hui’s series ‘Psychological Counselling Proposal for the Capitalist Sweet Life’. Taking as its starting point the 2007–08 worldwide financial crisis, it comprises several empty vitrines inscribed with quotes, often gathering dust within them, alongside others showcasing drawings of politicians, philosophers, economists and revolutionary theorists – the authors of our current financial situation. The empty boxes seem as much a part of Tian’s message as those in which portraits are placed at odds with the conventions of display (hung on the ceiling or laying on the floor). Emptiness is presented as resistance to the commodification of space, while the child-like quality of Tian’s drawings alludes to the episodic nature of economy, in which our current moment will soon be historicized.
Shown alongside Tian’s work is that of veteran Guangzhou artist and writer Chen Tong, whose various activities include running Libreria Borges and the video-art archive Video Bureau. At Boxes Art Space, Chen also proves himself to be a screenwriter. Based on the first chapter of his eponymous novel, the series ‘Oi Kwan Hotel’ takes the form of a spy thriller, with each box containing the setting for a subsequent scene. The story centres around the Canton Fair, the oldest and largest trade fair in China; it is symbolic for its role in the establishment of Deng Xiaoping’s special economic zones, through which China first opened its doors to foreign investment. The Oi Kwan Hotel, an art deco building that was once the tallest in southern China, has hosted the opening and closing receptions of the fair since its inception in 1957.
Chen Tong & Tian Hui, installation view, 2018, Boxes Art Space, O’Plaza Mall, Shenzen. Courtesy and photograph: Boxes Art Space, Shenzen
The two series culminate in the main gallery on the rooftop of the mall. Chen’s storyboard is depicted through a series of ink paintings, while Tian’s sketches are further swathed in quotations. With their thoughtfully developed narratives, both works demonstrate a commitment to long-term research; their situation within the mall challenges the space’s typically fragmentary, spectacle-driven configuration. At the same time, the show inevitably draws attention to commerce-deficit spaces and serves effectively to occupy the last possible sites of indeterminacy that a mall can provide. In this way, it runs the risk of merely adding cultural capital where capital is already rife. But perhaps these various commercial ecologies, when considered side by side, allow the exhibition to pose questions about our broader social environment. Might they ask, in the words of environmental philosopher Steven Vogel, what it might mean to ‘think like a mall’?
Chen Tong & Tian Hui runs at Boxes Art Space, O'Plaza Mall, Shenzen, until 10 August.
Main image: Chen Tong & Tian Hui, installation view, 2018, Boxes Art Space, O’Plaza Mall, Shenzen. Courtesy and photograph: Boxes Art Space, Shenzen
[Yachang Zhuangao] Tian Hui, who has stepped out of the artistic ivory tower: The problem facing art today is the about meaning of being of life.
On April 8, 2018 "Great Environment: Chen Tong and Tian Hui double Solo Exhibition" opened in Shenzhen OCAT Art Space.
The double solo exhibitions, two artists, via their art works, all point to the socio-economic environment in which they are living. Art and politics,
The bond between the economies is practiced here as paintings, texts, videos and installations that can be viewed, read thought
As a result, the discussion about the status quo, anxiety, crisis, etc.
In 1990, Tian Hui studied abroad in graduate school of the Brooklyn College at City University of New York. For the first time in 28 years, he have hold art show in China.
Although he has lived abroad for a long time, but looking through the history of Tian Hui, we were not surprised to find that since the 1980s
Since then, the artist who originated from this standard academy did not “stay out” in Chinese art activities: 1985
Graduated from Oil Painting Department of Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts, and taught at the Oil Painting Department of Hubei Academy of Fine Arts in the same year; 1985 and Hubei Fine Arts
The young teachers of the institute established the "Tribal Tribal Art Society" and participated in some important exhibitions of "85 Art Trends" and
Activities; works were exhibited at the China Art Museum in 1987.
In other countries, Tian Hui did not “slow out” and participated in many academic exhibitions in New York, such as
The annual exhibition of the forum, "Tian Huitan with Painting Exhibition", "Asia Pacific Artists Exhibition" and so on. Near abroad
Thirty years of life experience have become another source of creation for Tian Hui. The subprime crisis and capital pursuit in the United States
Benefits are maximized and workers are unemployed. Various social events and scenarios trigger the thinking that Tian Hui has never stopped.
In this “big environment: Chen Xi and Tian Hui’s solo exhibition”, Tian Hui was known as a thinker and politician through sketches.
Portraits of philosophers, economists, revolutionary theoreticians, social activists, etc. Collecting and transcribing their relevance
Statement, "The Capitalist Sweet Life Psychological Counseling Program" series is his actual life in the United States for nearly three decades
Concentration of observations and reflections, as well as constant quest for self-identity—the artist in a large environment.
What’s different is that he’s talking to Hetian and you even feel at some point that he’s not only an artist, he’s
Thinking, his questioning, and some emotions are sorely afflicted. They seem to carry some kind of philosophical and humane relations.
Yachang Art Network: In the past 30 years abroad, what kind of gains did you feel about art? If you let yourself
How will you divide the artistic stage? Is there any obvious turning point or change point in the middle?
Tian Wei: Before I went abroad, I was obsessed with the art of medieval Europe and the early Renaissance, and I painted a number of them.
Style works. While studying at Brooklyn College in New York, an Italian-born professor taught me systematically.
Tantra techniques. When I got started, I was fascinated by its mellow color effect. I used this technique to draw a batch of ribbons
There are works of oriental philosophical significance and a solo exhibition was held to resolve the homesickness. These works have been painted by painters
And critics alike. I thought I would walk on this road all the time.
Around the year 2000 or so, two things changed my thinking. One was the economic globalization that began in the late 1990s.
Another thing is the 2008 financial crisis. These two things took me away from the oriental cultural complex of “Heaven and Man”.
Come out, and at the same time, I rushed out of my artistic pursuit from the ivory tower and started to pay attention to the capitalism I was in.
Problems in all aspects of society. It is natural for the artist to move from early Renaissance to contemporary art because
The artistic methods are not suitable for expressing today's social problems. I think the problem facing art today is about life.
The significance of existence is not just about aesthetics.
Yachang Art Network: Look at your works displayed in the two solo exhibitions. The text is an important part and I feel that you are
Outside of the art, "Voiceover" seems to want to express more. But do you worry that such works exceed the art?
Category? In fact, how do you define the scope of art?
Tian Hui: As you can see, in my batch of works, the text is an important part. The most important part is
The presentation of pure text on the glass window is the work that I completed in the final stage. For me, drawing is not important,
They are just one way for me to expand my thinking activities. I can only hold a pencil or charcoal
It is my special way to start thinking. My main concern is text and ideas.
I am not worried that such works are beyond the scope of art. On the contrary, I am afraid that they are too artistic. If someone says,
You have done something that is not like art. I will be very happy. I do not have the ability to define the scope of art. and,
Modern art, contemporary art or art after art are completely different. Hans Bertin's
The History of Art After Modernism and Arthur Tanto's After the End of Art discuss the end of art history
The definition of art after the knot. Only after confirming the previous question, can the discussion begin.
Yachang Art Network: I have read some of the ironic, reflective and profound meaning in your works.
It's a great deal of thinking about philosophical and economic backgrounds, so it's curious how your knowledge system is structured
Kind of? What kind of background can give birth to such works?
Tian Hui: Yes, my work seeks to express my values in modern society and the American capitalist economy.
The questioning and criticism of the structure. Take the 2008 US financial crisis as an example, the world economy has lost in that crisis
Up to nearly 13 trillion US dollars. The United States lost 2 trillion U.S. dollars in this crisis, which is equivalent to the 2012 U.S.
11% of GDP. Since 1929, the United States has experienced many financial crises.
After careful examination, I discovered that the crisis is not as simple as the natural cycle of economic development. nice
Federal Reserve-designed financial derivatives, stock market bubble in technology concepts, real estate subprime mortgage bubble, etc.
The economy brought great harm. They knew it beforehand and called it a "deep water bomb." After the crisis broke out, U.S.
Secretary of State Henry Paulson proposed a $700 billion bad debt plan for the United States
Department’s unrestricted $700 billion use rights, which violates the United States’s legislative, administrative, and judicial
The principle of separation of powers.
During the 28 years I lived in the United States, I really experienced these changes and witnessed the helplessness of the middle class.
Anxious and struggling. Confidence from the heart entangled me from time to time. Why does one never experience foreign invasion, also
There is no political turbulence, a country that has created extreme prosperity, and continuous technological innovation leads the world, the economy
But step by step into the recession? Why is the power of finance so great that the state is unable to supervise? Neoliberalism is
What role does capital play in the pursuit of unlimited profits? Capitalism and the core values of Western civilization are a
What is the relationship? Is it an inevitable result of Christian civilization? It is in keeping with the principles of respect for independence, freedom, and fairness.
These puzzles led my thinking to the middle of the 19th century. Marx's phenomenon of the cyclical economic crisis of capitalism
Research and conclusions. His analysis of the crisis of overproduction deepens into the roots of capitalist economic relations. root
According to Marx's analysis, the crisis contained in the field of market exchange is caused by the production of goods under the simple commodity economy.
The contradiction between social labor and private labor is determined by the production society under the capitalist commodity economy.
The contradiction between capitalization and the private ownership of capitalist capital is determined, and the economic crisis is inevitable.
Since the outbreak of the first economic crisis in the world in Britain in 1825, the economy has alternated between prosperity and depression.
This has led to various theories that explain the causes of the economic crisis. Keynesian economic crisis in the context of the Great Depression
The theoretical macroeconomic control policies of Western countries affected Roosevelt's New Deal and Obama’s economic policies. To
The Austrian school represented by Karl Menger, Friedrich Wiesel, and Friedrich Hayek,
And the neo-liberalism that emerged from this influence has introduced Western mainstream economics into a dynamic economic outlook.
It gradually became ideological and dominated the process and nature of globalization in the post-Cold War era. Britain's Thatcherism,
Reagan’s economics in the United States, and the subsequent “financial innovation” that Wall Street is not regulated by the government, can all be seen as
It is the product of neoliberalism. Western society is in the midst of the influence and results of these theories. In fact, when I think
When we examined these questions, another voice reminded me that with my ignorance and ability, it is impossible to understand these principles.
On the issue to make a deep understanding and research. I should return to an artist’s point of view
Suspicion and reflection are presented in an appropriate form. Do not be correct, just for sincerity. This exhibition is an attempt.
Yachang Art Network: At the opening ceremony, you heard that your starting point for introducing your own creation was to see laborers lose their labor.
Right, I personally feel that this is more of a humanistic scholar's general thinking, so you think that contemporary artists are in society,
In addition to creating, in addition to conveying aesthetics, what kind of responsibilities should it have? Whether humane care should be
What more is there to do?
Tian Hui: The economic globalization proposed by T. Levy in 1985 and fully implemented by the Clinton administration is the pursuit of capital.
The realization of profit maximization. One of the results it brings is the hollowing out of the capitalist countries' industries, that is, a large number of industrial laborers.
The unemployed. I have been to many cities in Upstate and Pennsylvania in New York and I have seen workers who used to work on steel, textiles, coal, etc.
The booming landscape of the prosperous cities is shocking now. I used to have a personal design in New York
The company (without employees, working for itself) is also a part of the capitalist production chain.
I deeply felt that in the capitalist production process, people were enslaved by labor work and they lost their “subject” (I).
On the surface, I and the company I work with are equal and free. Essentially because of the brutal competition in the market,
As a laborer, I have always been chosen and controlled. Moreover, there is no guarantee for this relationship.
Because of the renewal of technology and changes in one's own physical strength, it may be eliminated at any moment and thus lose the power of labor.
For me, the loss of labor power will be permanent and irreversible.
In 2000, I voluntarily withdrew from the game. However, exit will inevitably face tremendous pressure for survival. It is this way
The experience led me to reflect on what the laborers lost in the process of capital’s unlimited pursuit of profit. I read
To the economic globalization, first of all, the workers in developed capitalist countries have lost their right to labor. Marx is talking
When the labor is alienated, he said: "(The alienated laborer) is not affirming himself in his own work, not feeling
Happiness, but unfortunately. Instead of exercising their physical strength and intelligence freely, they are making their own body compromised.
Grinding, mentally devastated." However, today in the context of economic globalization, laborers even have "labor
Alienation is not eligible.
The accompanying artificial intelligence will fully replace the labor force from the bottom up to the high end, and the laborers’ right to lose labor will
It is global. What was the person as a laborer at that time? I came up with a word: " Extra people” did you noticed, after I used a lot of text, the last part was the ellipsis? This is
I want to tell the audience "...". When we face this situation, besides speechless, it may still be speechless!
Artron Art Network: What is your chance for you to come to Shenzhen and Miss Chen Hao to hold a double exhibition? Why did you choose
Shenzhen city? What is your impression of Shenzhen?
Tian Hui: This time, the teachers from Shenzhen and Chen Yu organized two exhibitions thanks to the artistic director of the box space, Mr. Zhou Li and Liu.
Can teacher. I seldom made appearances at the domestic painting studio. They generously provided me with this rare opportunity.
Often moved. I would like to thank the curator Wang Jing. With a high degree of professionalism, she found me and her very keenly.
The thinking of Teacher Chen Yan is consistent, that is, in the contemporary environment, the living conditions of people and the society
Reflections and questions on the issue. We are able to make subtle dialogues on these issues from different perspectives. I think
This is very interesting. I would like to thank my teacher Chen Xi for their support and help in preparing and decorating the exhibition.
I really like the city of Shenzhen. Clean and tidy and modern. This is a young and vibrant city.
Late at night, I saw many young people rushing through the streets who may have just returned home from work. In people
What I see on my face is the expression of freedom, self-confidence and satisfaction. This expression is not easy to see abroad.
Yachang Art Network: Afterwards, will your creation continue along this current style? Will there be more changes
Tian Hui: I do not know. There is no long-term plan for me to do things. At present, I will continue to do the right to lose my job.
Afterwards, the issue of what people have in terms of their significance is far from enough. I will continue to work hard on it.
2018-04-23 23:06:41 来源： 雅昌艺术网专稿
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