Now that I've gotten that off my chest, I will say that the opening was not all bad, namely because of the work of Indonesian artist Syagini Ratna Wuhan. Her last work shown in Shanghai was for the Bandung Pavilion at the Shanghai Biennale, though I cannot for the life of me remember what the work was. Just goes to show you can never see an exhibition enough times. For "Some Like it Hot", she contributed lovely pencil drawings and an interactive, performance piece that was a "smashing" success with attendees. For Catharsis, she created a wall with a diagram of different issues written on it. Viewers were provided with plates with which they could throw and smash against the wall, aiming for whatever ails them at the moment.
Elsewhere in the show, I saw pickles in resin (Feng Lin), gold-tipped plaster wings (Wu Di, who also contributed the lovely little collage at the top of this post), a taxidermied peacock and a hilariously accurate installation of a mah-jong game devoid of players (both Li Wei). As I mentioned before, I did not have a chance to experience any of the works as fully as I wanted (aside from Catharsis); perhaps some works will stand out more on second viewing. One artist whose work I am getting increasingly annoyed with is Lu Yang. Her scientifically inclined installations are getting to be a bore and more than that, they don't stir any kind of emotion in me. Her installation consists of videos using infrared technology displayed on oscilloscopes, revealing things about animals and the human body that is otherwise hidden. Her works read well on paper and in fact, she is quite articulate in her assessment of her own work but the physical experience of viewing these works does not match the depth of meaning attached to them. For me at least, cold logic and art are not ideal tango partners. Of course, it matters not what I think. She is a hot artist with a hot career and will see success despite my reservations about her. And she seemed to have found the perfect partner in fellow artist Chen Tianzhuo, who I found out she just starting dating. Chen's crazy, neon installation of religious iconography at MoCA's current show, "Existence", looks like it was born from the same mother as Lu Yang's work.
This show was the first for the gallery's new director, Josef Ng, formerly of Tang Contemporary, who replaces Mathieu Borysevicz. This is the gallery's fourth director since they opened in 2004; I'll be curious to see how long Josef lasts and what he has in store for the space. I met him briefly but did not have a chance to speak to him in depth. I will say this though; this is the first show in, well, ever where a majority of the artists were of the fairer sex. For this, he deserves big kudos.
Later in the week, Daniel, Alexander Oleksyn and I will be going on a big field trip, visiting young artists' studios in the Taopu area in anticipation for a project that I'm hoping to initiate with Randian. I'm reluctant to give further details as this project could quite possibly implode in my face but for now, I am excited to embark on new ventures with good friends and colleagues! Be sure to check back to see what treasures I've unearthed in Taopu.