Wed, Oct 01, 2008 - Page 15 News List

One fair too many

This year’s Guangzhou Triennial, the Chinese city’s third attempt to lure the art world, suffers from a number of problems — not the least of which is bad timing

By Julia Tanski  /  BLOOMBERG

Sculptures of a horse’s head crown the two exits of the tent. The ensemble is meant to put us in the shoes of a Chinese person having lived through Chairman Mao Zedong’s (毛澤東) reign.

“Contemporary art is diverging in the strategies taken,” said Chang. “One level maintains a heady theoretical track and the other is breaking into a more gutsy, intuitive one.”


Amy Cheung’s (張韻雯) sculpture-and-sound installation Ashes Unto Pearl is part of the latter category. A deep purple meteorite-like sphere lets off sparks of light that draw the viewer in to look through holes in the surface to a Chinese demon-headed figure, while voices and sounds play around the work.

Behind Liu’s tent are 16 paintings entitled China Painters by Christian Jankowski from Germany. He depicts the ideas Chinese art academies taught students — examples of Western art, landscapes, Chinese portraiture and theater.

The works were done at Dafen Painting Village in Dafen (大芬), a town near Shenzhen known as the art-forgery capital of the world, and mounted on cement and scaffolding to evoke “the hierarchies of art, the range of artistic production,” said Chang.

Just as Dafen’s output has exploded in the past few years, so China seems to be adding more and more art shows. Guangzhou will need to get better organized to stay in the competition.


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