BEIJING - Espace 789 - Hutongs

Espace 789
Post sur les galleries et la rue

Galleria Continua -
Galleria Continua est née à l'initiative de trois amis : Mario Cristiani, Lorenzo Fiaschi et Maurizio Rigillo, en 1990 à San Gimignano, en Italie. Installée dans une ancienne salle de théâtre et de cinéma, Galleria Continua est implantée là où personne ne l'attendait, dans un lieu, San Gimignano, chargé d'histoire et intemporellement magnifique. De nouvelles possibilités de dialogues et de croisements peuvent ainsi naître entre des géographies inattendues, rurales, industrielles, locales et globales, entre l'art d'hier et celui 'aujourd'hui, entre artistes de renom et artistes émergents. Galleria Continua représente ce désir de continuité entre les époques, les individus et les géographies diverses et inaccoutumées. Ainsi, depuis vingt ans, Galleria Continua s'est forgée une identité forte autour de valeurs généreuses et altruistes qui ont servies de base à ses collaborations artistiques, à son rapport au public et à son développement. 
Galleria Continua ouvre en 2004 un espace pionnier en Chine, à Beijing, dans le but de promouvoir l'art contemporain international là où celui-ci était encore peu visible et avec la volonté d'établir des échanges inusités. L'attrait pour la Chine est d'abord né grâce à l'amitié très solide avec l'artiste Chen Zhen et sa femme, Xu Min. D'autres rencontres ont attisé l'intérêt pour ce pays, initiant de nouveaux liens. L'espace de 1 000 m2 se trouve dans le 798 Art District, un lieu accueillant une communauté d'artistes dans un espace industriel, une ancienne usine d'armement. L'initiative de Galleria Continua impulse aujourd'hui un tout nouveau dynamisme au quartier. 
En octobre 2007, Galleria Continua a inauguré Le Moulin, site singulier pour la création contemporaine dans la campagne parisienne. Le Moulin accueille plusieurs fois par an, au rythme des saisons, les projets et l'exposition d'oeuvres grands formats d'artistes des cinq continents. Réhabilité, le site, une ancienne manufacture de plus de 10 000 m2, embrasse sa nouvelle vie artistique avec d'ores et déjà plus de 18 000 visiteurs reçus en seulement deux ans d'activité. Un nouveau vent culturel souffle sur le département et un intérêt fort se manifeste de la part du public local, comme parisien et international. Le lieu allie aussi bien les préoccupations d'une entreprise privée à celles, philanthropiques, du public. 
Song Dong - Wisdom of the Poor - (ci-dessus) UCCA
In his first solo exhibition at UCCA, leading Chinese artist Song Dong fills the exhibition halls and corridors with installations that reveal how ingenuity, frugality and neighborly values – what the artist terms "the wisdom of the poor" – have transformed our homes, streets, communities and lives. A project six years in the making, Wisdom of the Poor expands on Song Dong's widely-acclaimed installation in the Arsenale at this year's Venice Biennale.
As a boy growing up in Beijing's hutongs , Song Dong gained a unique insight into the dynamics of "borrowing rights": the way in which friends and neighbors borrow from each other, thus striking a delicate balance between public and private space, personal rights and respect for the rights of others . In recent years, urbanization and development have wiped many of the old neighborhoods off the map, uprooting communities, eroding the "social ecosystem" and causing people to become estranged from the past—and from each other. Small wonder that many feel nostalgic for Beijing's familiar hutongs , with their natural scenery, sense of warmth and community, and folk wisdom passed from generation to generation.
Simple wisdom is often the most easily overlooked. Motivated by necessity, our parents and grandparents mastered the art of conserving, saving, recycling and sharing the scant resources of the hutongs . As neighborhoods changed, so did habits: people became more careless and wasteful, less considerate of friends and neighbors, and increasingly cavalier about the environmental damage being passed on to future generations. Song Dong's artwork reminds us that we are inheritors of a simple but valuable wisdom, a spiritual wealth that has little to do with material possession. 
 Ji Zhou - Ashes of time - (ci-dessus) Tang Contemporary Art
Two years ago, Ji Zhou witnessed a fire in an artists’ studio in Paris. The fire destroyed a year’s work of the artist, leaving nothing but thick ashes. Ji Zhou clicked the shutter, thus sealing a duration of mourning onto film. What has solidified in the image is the conclusion of an event within a boundless world. It is not a decisive instant that has been captured, it does not intend to show us the splices of linear time or the links connected to an axis of time. What remains in Ji Zhou’s film is the tranquility after a disaster and the sedimentation of time. A conception of time has immediately materialized from a landscape of dead ashes. From silent time to the images that pass through the film frame, the film shutter produces images of parallel realities of time and space.

Through the space-time image, Ji Zhou proceeds to create an illusional world of ash. The world of black and white, monochrome landscape is buried under thick layers of ash. There is a quiet dialogue with time without any specific connection to contextual or historical meaning. The presence of ash reduces the physicality of the image. The artist has created realistic spaces deprived of function in order for them to appear as simple furnishing. The landscape is therefore rendered homogenous and empty. The scenery of a world of ash eliminates any nature of symbolism; there is a fundamental separation between Ji Zhou’s photography and the context of “spectacle” or “solution” in contemporary photography. These images obviously produce a feeling of both existentialism and nihilism. The world of imagination is peaceful and poetic, but the strange silence covering the thick ashes of daily reality convey a deep suspicion. If we regard photography as a process that displays objective results, then the image is a direct materialization of this because the existence of frames restrict the angles for viewing this reality.

However, Ji Zhou’s understanding of photography never remains as an individual narration of reality or the depiction of public and social landscapes. What he is more interested in is the appreciation of visual perspectives, the rational analysis and deconstruction of time and space, and the visual language of a post-digital era. From the initial “Construction Site” series in which virtual 3D scaffolding transform the facade of urban buildings; to the “Event” series, a parody on the function of the real and virtual in documentary photography; or the “Mirror Image” series that challenges the observation abilities of the audience - Ji Zhou has always utilized his work to challenge the traditions that determine patterns of our thinking or how we ‘view’ things. The work stimulates our attention towards thinking about what we can see and how we might learn. In the installation of the back garden, Ji Zhou has arranged multiple frames. What the audience can see through the frame is a matter of opinion because of these various angles. However, the experience of watching is unique for everyone. The mode of observation unconsciously corresponds to Heidegger’s basic conception of the origin of art: art is the existence of truth above artwork; the appreciation of art is a process of concealment and opening up. The appreciation of art has alternative ways of understanding and different levels of ability. Therefore the degrees of ‘opening’ are bound to be different. The mode of observation that Ji Zhou employs has to some extent, returned to the original basis of looking at art: visual language has become a medium and carrier of art and the end of the material world. However, references to ideas and emotions do not have to be constrained by time and space in art. Through the medium of the image, what is encouraged is a person’s spiritual experience. Here, to quote a sentence from Vajracchedika-sutra, “Everything with form is unreal”. Ji Zhou uses his unreality to invite us to re-examine the realm of senses and to carefully observe the resolution and truth behind images.
Night -
(c) Chavanitas