ArtAsiaPacific July/August 2012
While the northern hemisphere basks in summer weather, ArtAsiaPacific has decided to take a hint from this change of seasons and let our hair down. In our desire to lighten the tone, the July/August issue of AAP looks at artists who are exuberant in their methods yet take the time to be playful, even naughty.
Our Features begin with a look at Trippple Nippples, a six-piece noise-pop ensemble from Tokyo. While some readers may wonder why we are dedicating pages to a pop band, other mainstream media outlets resort to discussing Trippple Nippples as an art group. In his article, Taipei desk editor David Frazier reveals the artistic influences of Trippple Nippples’ work, arguing that the band’s performances will inevitably circulate in the realm of visual culture.
Also working at the border of popular culture and conceptual art is Turkey’s Vahap Avşar. Editor-at-large H.G. Masters traveled from Istanbul to New York to speak with Avşar, who only recently returned to art-making after nearly 10 years as the founding director of the street-wear clothing company Brooklyn Industries in the US. Masters traces Avşar’s artistic career, from painting sentimental imagery drawn from postcards to creating conceptual works that were consistently questioned by mentors, banned by authorities and beloved by young Turkish artists.
Taking another cue from popular culture, guest contributor Elisabeth Stoney interviews Lebanese filmmaker Rania Stephan about her epic filmic montage The Three Disappearances of Soad Hosni (2011), which assembles film clips of famed Egyptian actress Soad Hosni in an exploration of her life, as well as the golden age of Arab cinema and the impact of modernity on West Asia. With the London Olympics set to launch in late July, AAP managing editor Olivier Krischer looks at the art-trio Xijing Men (Tsuyoshi Ozawa from Japan, Chen Shaoxiong from China, and Gimhongsok from Korea), whose collaborations include a staging of their own “Xijing Olympics” in 2008, with absurdist events such as a sleep marathon and a cigarette relay race.
In Essays, we run the first of a two-part treatise by art historian and critic Terry Smith, examining how the biennial format has nurtured and embraced experimental art-making. We also hear from Arahmaiani, a radical Indonesian artist who has initiated an environmental project with a Tibetan Buddhist temple in China. For Case Study, Chin-Chin Yap examines José Antonio Vega Macotela’s Time Divisa (2006–10), for which the artist interacted with 365 prison inmates over a period of four years.
Among our Profiles, Dubai desk editor Isabella E. Hughes sits down with Sultan Sooud al-Qassemi, founder of the Barjeel Art Foundation in Sharjah. From Sydney, contributing editor Michael Young examines Australian art patrons, Simon and Catriona Mordant, who have supported local artists and leading institutions for nearly 30 years. Contributor Susan Gibb offers a candid portrait of the Philippines’ bad-boy artist Manuel Ocampo and his latest initiative, the artist-run space Bureau of Artistic Rehab.
In The Point, San Francisco-based artist and experimental philosopher Jonathon Keats contemplates why there isn’t more humor in art. For our Projects, Sydney’s Janet Laurence answers the Questionnaire, while in One on One, peripatetic artist Heman Chong explains his affection for Young-Hae Chang Heavy Industries’ work. In Berlin, we visit the sparse studio of Song-Ming Ang, who is known for a practice that deconstructs music and sound.
Our long-form review takes senior editor Don J. Cohn to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York for Chinese Art in an Age of Revolution: Fu Baoshi (1904–1965). Among other reviews, Anneke Jaspers heads to Tokyo’s Museum of Contemporary Art for the survey show of Atsuko Tanaka, and Narelle Yabuka sizes up the solo exhibition of Lee Wen at the Singapore Museum of Art. And in search of an informative yet fun read, we consider Michael Findlay’s latest book, The Value of Art, which helps remind us why we love art.