Show ex­plores Rauschen­berg’s spir­i­tual jour­ney

China Daily (USA) - - LIFE | CULTURE - By LIN QI

In June, Bei­jing-based artist Qiu Zhi­jie and his stu­dents of ex­per­i­men­tal art from the Cen­tral Academy of Fine Arts staged a live per­for­mance at the Ul­lens Cen­ter for Con­tem­po­rary Arts.

The show at the gallery, lo­cated in the city’s 798 art dis­trict, was a trib­ute to the late Amer­i­can artist Robert Rauschen­berg whose works were then on dis­play there. The per­form­ers used many props made of tra­di­tional rice pa­per from Jing county in East China’s An­hui prov­ince that he had vis­ited in the 1980s.

That show, Some­where Only We Know, is the in­spi­ra­tion for an on­go­ing ex­hi­bi­tion of con­tem­po­rary art at a Bei­jing mall. The ex­hi­bi­tion has artists show­ing their paint­ings, sculp­tures, in­stal­la­tions and other mixed-me­dia works to fur­ther ex­plore the idea of Tao­hua Yuan Ji.

Tao­hua Yuan Ji (The Records of Peach Blos­som), is a 5th-cen­tury fa­ble from which the ti­tle of the ear­lier per­for­mance and the cur­rent ex­hi­bi­tion emerged. The story de­scribes a fish­er­man’s chance dis­cov­ery of Tao­hua Yuan, a vil­lage where peo­ple live in har­mony with na­ture and are se­cluded from the out­side world.

The June per­for­mance re­called Rauschen­berg’s visit to the county — an in­spir­ing trip lead­ing to his later cre­ations just like the fa­ble’s cen­tral char­ac­ter.

Qiu, whois a cu­ra­tor of the present ex­hi­bi­tion and whose works are also on dis­play here, says the ex­hi­bi­tion cel­e­brates the short his­tory of Black­Moun­tain Col­lege in the United States that Rauschen­berg at­tended in the late 1940s.

The col­lege opened in 1933 at a rel­a­tively quiet coun­try­side site in North Cal­i­for­nia and op­er­ated for 24 years. Its ex­per­i­men­tal na­ture helped to launch the ca­reers of many of its stu­dents like Through Dec 8. 2F, World Fi­nan­cial Cen­ter, 1 East Third Ring Mid­dle Road, Bei­jing. Rauschen­berg who had a last­ing in­flu­ence on the US con­tem­po­rary art since the end ofWorldWar II.

The col­lege was closed at its prime, be­cause of fi­nan­cial con­straints but it is also said to have been a vic­tim of McCarthy­ism, Qiu says.

“At the end of Tao­hua Yuan Ji, the fish­er­man re­vealed the ex­is­tence of the vil­lage to other peo­ple but they couldn’t find it any­more,” he adds.

The dis­play of 32 art­works on another level re­views the trends of thoughts since the avant-garde 1985 art move­mentofChina, among­whose driv­ing forces was Rauschen­berg’s ex­hi­bi­tion at the Na­tional ArtMu­seum ofChina in 1985. It was the ori­gin from which a di­verse art land­scape evolved in the coun­try.

At the start of the present ex­hi­bi­tion on Oct 20, a new art cen­ter, spon­sored by the in­ter­na­tional law firm King & Wood Mallesons and the KWM art fund, was in­au­gu­rated at the World Fi­nan­cial Cen­ter in Bei­jing’s com­mer­cialCBDarea, in a bid to pro­mote con­tem­po­rary art among of­fice work­ers.

The ex­hi­bi­tion is held here.

Han­del Lee, the law firm’s in­ter­na­tional part­ner, says peo­ple to­day live and work un­der huge pres­sures and an art space in the heart of the city will help ease things up.

The ex­hi­bi­tion will in­spire view­ers, many of whom work for more than eight hours a day, to re­con­sider their cir­cum­stances. It may also lead them to pur­chase art, he says. be­ing

PRO­VIDED TO CHINA DAILY

The show at KWM Art Cen­ter in Bei­jing is a trib­ute to late US artist Robert Rauschen­berg.

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