预展：2011/08月 6日下午5点至 7点
PREVIEW 6TH AUGUST 17:00-19:00
Preceded by an event from 15:00 with
psychoanalYSL FREE SCHOOL
嶺空间, 鵝嶺公园, 渝中区, 重庆
CEILING SPACE, ELING PARK,
London/Berlin-based artist/DJ collective psychoanalYSL specialise in the disorientation of popular entertainment. For their first solo exhibition in China at Ceiling Space (in association with 501 Contemporary Art Centre and China and Chinese Art Centre, UK) the artists respond to the wrong-footed boycotting of Chinese cultural exchange in their home country and the way in which Chinese contemporary art is curated in the UK as novel political curio. Their presentation includes a mute-sensory installation and a series of quixotic prints.
The collective (Christopher Thomas, Benjamin Orlow and Joey Holder) make artworks which stockpile clichés. Their London exhibition The Emaciated Spectator at Apiary (London) earlier this year was immediately identified as urgent to current conversations concerning the professionalisation of art. Their hyperreal vision of the scene in London is now being exported to China, enveloping the Chinese art world in their own ideological smoke screen.
Spotlighting how activism has been co-opted, monetized and amalgamated by the marketplace, psychoanalYSL were fascinated by the festival of protest which followed the detention of Ai Weiwei. The artists planned to exhibit an artwork which responded to the market’s dependence on political cache in Chinese contemporary art; however the project faced two levels of censorship from both their hosts in China and supporters of the project in the UK. This exhibition reverberates these prohibitions.
Cultural exchange is often described as soft power: a reinforcement of Chinese authority, with a friendly face. This is the excuse of a number of UK organisations in culturally boycotting China. We refuse the principal of culturally boycotting China on the grounds that boycotting shuts down discourse.
The curatorial approach to Chinese contemporary art in the West can been associated with a wider phenomenon of “the collapsing distinction between marketing and activism” outlined by Micah White and others. Ai Weiwei’s sunflower seeds at Tate Modern provided not only mass entertainment but a satisfying moral soup. For their exhibition at Ceiling Space the collective utilise these surface observations to build a critical spectacle of the spirit of these international cultural relations. The artist’s process of observation and presentation studies and reflects capital’s operation that with one breath gives and another takes away the possibilities for art.
As Sontag purports “practically all metaphors for style amount to placing matter on the inside, style on the outside. It would be more to the point to reverse the metaphor. The matter, the subject, is on the outside; the style is on the Inside” (On Style, 1965). With this is mind, psychoanalYSL allows the matter to reveal itself by embodying and reflecting the preferred appearance for Chinese contemporary art in the West. The collective announce the conviviality of the apparently radical thematic in art; it is not that the politics is not present, but rather that simple resistance might be futile in our ‘Age of Complicity’ and maybe there is no easy oppositional solution.
- Helen Kaplinsky, Curator