Preface by the Austrian Ambassador to the PR of China
"The Austrians are back" . This was the title
the Chinese newspaper chose on the occasion of ASAP's last year "Da
Bao" exhibition at 798 art district. As Austrian Ambassador to China,
I am particularly delighted, that in 2011, when we are celebrating 40
years of diplomatic relations between Austria and China, we will yet again
have the opportunity to marvel at the work of 25 artists from Austria
and other countries at Dashanzi Art District.
After the very successful event "Mifan" in 2009 and last year's "Da Bao" exhibition with 30.000 visitors, ASAP brings its third group exhibition to Beijing. 25 artists, who all lived in China for some time, will show how this incredible experience impacts their work. The result is truly exceptional, as almost all works have been created here in China, expressing memories in videos, movies, drawings, sculptures, photographs and texts.
I sincerely hope that the success of the past years can be repeated, and I am looking forward to seeing the Austrians come back soon!
the Fun of "chuan men"
Artistic Director Tony Chang
Amelie Art Gallery
It is an honor for the Amelie Gallery to cooperate with the Austro Sino Arts Program to present "chuan men"("Visit your Friend's House")-the third exhibition of ASAP in China. In China, "chuan men" is an everyday behavior between relatives and friends who each other and communicate their feelings. The guest comes in delight, and the host who is at ease will bring brand-new surprises in the true colors of life to the guest. The "chuan men" exhibition is a spontaneous and unofficial activity of art exchange. 25 artists from Austria, the Netherlands, the United States and so on, all are highly curious about China. They create works of art based on their experiences of living and travelling in China, mediating between the Chinese and the Western cultural context. Daily adventures and cultural conflicts blend with each other in the works, which makes the exhibition highly interesting, with their novel perspectives and particular "misreadings". For instance, artist Bernhard Gwiggner completed 701 paintings on paper by placing the original sentences in Tao Teh Ching by Lao Tse and the two different translated versions in German side by side and matching them with portraits. He is leading us into a fantastic adventure across cultures by using Lao Tse's contemplation.
The works exhibited in "chuan men" are possible only in present-day China. It is in China, where the phenomena shown in the works are happening now. Momentary appearances can be historical records, which are sincere and precious. Their mode of creation carries a strong improvisational feature: Facing brand-new Chinese experiences, the foreign artists feel strange, curious and excited. They react rapidly with their creation, revealing their instinct spontaneously, which restores the primitive nature of artistic creation in a sense. The improvisational spirit of literati has been valued since ancient China. The peak works of calligraphers such as Wang Xizhi and Huai Su were mostly created by following the feelings, and not deliberately. Taking one sentence from Calligraphy of Bitter Bamboo Shoots: Bitter bamboo shoots and tea are extremely tasty. Just get them served. It's that Drunk Zen Huai Su was expressing his great admiration for the tasty and fresh bamboo shoots and tea. Yan Zhenqing's Manuscript of Mourning For Nephew was originally an elegy with grief and generosity floating on the paper, which made the swan song of calligraphy. However, many contemporary Chinese artists have gradually lost their unrestricted passion in the deep consideration in creation. They are addicted to the practice of ingenious techniques and are weighing and considering the preferences and tastes of the market. They have begun to be absent from the mental essence of art.
I've been enjoying a brief but pleasant acquaintance with Mr. Karel Dudesek, who is one of the co-founders of ASAP. It's his passion of promoting art exchanges between China and Austria with the help of ASAP that makes me think of internationalism mentioned by Mao Zedong in his In Memory of Norman Bethune. Chinese artist Cai Guoqiang carried out his Fireworks Plan in small cities in Japan during the 1990s. At that time, he was anonymous but he gained wide support from the population. Ordinary Japanese people enthusiastically participated in organizing and laying gunpowder. Likewise, we ought to support the practice of international artists in China more openly and selflessly. Especially such a personage like Karel Dudesek, he does everything himself steadily and indefatigably, promoting the understanding of the occidental about China through a series of art projects organized by ASAP. As the pattern of contemporary art is getting international, it is assured that these efforts of his will definitely provide beneficial enlightenment for us.