Moving on Asia: Towards a New Art Network 2004–2013

ARTISTS: Michelle Dizon, Zhen Xu, Jian Wei Wang, Yongho Kim, Kuang-yu Tsui, Lieko Shiga, Jinyeoul Jung, Dong Wensheng, Hyunjoo Kim, Minouk Lim, Mahardika Yudha, Silas Fong, Takayuki Hino, MadeIn Company, Eric Siu, Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Seungwon Park, Tushar Joag, Henry Foundation, Donna Ong, Yang Fudong, Li Yongbin, Meiro Koizumi, Poklong Anading and Ringo Bunoan, Chitra Ganesh, Song Dong, Tzu-Nyen Ho, Charles Lim, Sun Xun,Li Pinghu,Zhang Ding, Chen Xiaoyun, Thukral and Tagra, Tejal Shah, Ma Quisha, Manny Montelibano, Double Fly Art Centre, Jet Pascua, Sarah Jane Parton, Lydia Chai, Steve Carr, Kate Woods and National Park, Murray Hewitt, Seung Yul Oh, Bryce Galloway, Shannon Te Ao and Iain Frengley, Mike Heynes, James Oram, Rebecca Ann Hobbs.

Moving on Asia: Towards a New Art Network 2004-2013 draws on an established collection of Asian video art housed at Gallery LOOP in Seoul, Korea. Consisting of 200 single screen videos selected by the Asia Curators Network, the Moving on Asia collection is the centrepiece of a programme of events and publications presented by Gallery LOOP to promote the exchange of art, knowledge, and ideas in and beyond the Asia region.  

The exhibition features 45 works from the collection, and is divided into three successive parts, each of a month’s duration. In some cases, the exhibition reaches beyond the archive, presenting new or alternative works from artists, or inviting other artists and initiatives to participate. Each iteration includes an Artist Focus section which highlights major figures in contemporary Asian practice, and a Reading Room where the complete Moving on Asia collection is available for user-directed viewing. Special screening events focus on the activities of Hanoi Doc Lab and The Bangkok Experimental Film Festival—two small, highly-mobile collectives using video with a strong political and social agenda.  

Part 1: New Town Ghosts explores artists’ use of video to activate the street and the city at a time of rapid urbanisation and gentrification. Its title is lifted from a work by South Korean artist Minouk Lim, which captures a slam poetry performance on the back of a pickup truck driving through the Yeongdeugpo district in Seoul. The poet sings to and about the newly gentrified landscape where traditional neighbourhoods have been overrun by high-density urban developments (‘I have nowhere to go. I’m a New Town Ghost’). Lim is the highlighted artist of this first iteration.

The second iteration, Movement No.2, centres around Made In Company’s Physique of Consciousness (2011)—a series of exercises to improve physical and cultural fitness. The instructor leads us through a 30-minute, 10 part exercise routine containing over 200 steps, movements, and gestures informed by different religious traditions, rituals, and ceremonies from within and outside China. Its proposal that unilateral belief systems, established boundaries, and traditional cultural obligations are no longer fixed provides the overarching theme for this iteration, where artists grapple with inherited images, traditions, and values.

The final instalment, Who Cares About the Future?, takes its name and theme from a video by Shanghai collective Double Fly Art Centre. Their nihilistic, throwaway response to the question is intended as a negation of both the future and the past. This is an art of the young and subversive, of the here and now, rooted in karaoke-video and YouTube aesthetics, in collective actions, pranks and parties. Double Fly’s question echoes around and through the works included in this iteration where the future is something to be negotiated, to be taken on both individually and collectively, with urgency.

The final phase of the exhibition features 10 New Zealand works selected by the curators. These videos will enter the archive where they will be made available for future exhibition programmes as part of the Moving on Asia project. 

Curated with Mark Williams and Jinsuk Suh, City Gallery Wellington, 22 February–3 June 2013

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