As the hectic art calendar decelerates north of the equator, the July/August issue of ArtAsiaPacific spotlights artists who methodically capture the subtle aspects of time and place that constitute personal and collective memory.
We begin with a cover Feature on conceptual photographer Kunié Sugiura. AAP editor-at-large HG Masters visits Sugiura’s Chinatown studio in New York and walks us through her career beginning in the early 1960s when she left Japan for the United States. After studying at the Art Institute of Chicago and then moving to New York, she began photographing everyday life—primarily the streets, buildings, parks, pets and friends surrounding her—although many details are unidentifiable.
London-based Rana Begum also finds inspiration and transience in the urban environment. AAP‘s London desk editor Ned Carter Miles spoke to Begum in her studio about her vibrantly hued paintings, sculptures and public installations. While evocative of fleeting moments in the city, most of Begum’s work also references her childhood in Bangladesh.
In Guangzhou, Centre Pompidou’s curator of the contemporary and prospective creation department Yung Ma sat down with video artist Zhou Tao to discuss his elusively meditative practice. At first glance, the 41-year-old artist’s more recent work, including that which debuted at this year’s Venice Biennale, appears as video documentation of ordinary life captured during Zhou’s international artist residencies or exhibitions around the world. He then stitches the footage together to create a seamless, familiar yet otherworldly atmosphere.
In our special feature Inside Burger Collection, Isa Cossement interviews Belgian conceptual artist Kris Martin, who makes indistinct modifications to found objects, exploring universal issues of the human condition.
For Essays, AAP contributing editor Antony Dapiran ponders the fate of Hong Kong as the city marks the 20th anniversary of the British-Chinese handover, and argues that the last two decades of debates and actions have been a boon for the city’s creative class.
This issue’s Profiles include Brisbane-based kinetic sound artist Ross Manning and rising Filipino star Cian Dayrit. We also introduce Ian Holliday, Hong Kong University’s vice president and pro-vice-chancellor, who is slowly amassing a major collection of Burmese contemporary art, currently comprising more than 1,000 paintings.
In One on One, the minimalist artist and public intellectual Rasheed Araeen—whose work can be seen at this year’s Documenta 14 in Kassel and Athens, as well as the Venice Biennale—reflects on the exhilarating experience of discovering an unknown work by British modernist Anthony Caro in the sculpture garden of the Museum of Modern Art in New York in 1985. For The Point, Shireen Atassi, director of the Atassi Foundation for Arts and Culture in the United Arab Emirates, articulates her family’s vision as art patrons. From the vantage point of Syria and West Asia, she writes: “By creating the Foundation, we were no longer passive, but active initiators in maintaining the collective memory of artistic production in Syria.”
Reviews include 2 or 3 Tigers at Haus der Kulturen der Welt in Berlin, Ian Cheng‘s Emissaries at MoMA PS1 in New York, and more. In Where I Work, AAP managing editor Ysabelle Cheung heads to Hong Kong’s New Territories to visit the studio of painter Firenze Lai on the eve of dispatching her melancholic, dreamlike paintings to Venice’s Central Pavilion in the Giardini. Like the work of other artists featured in this issue, the spare simplicity of Lai’s anonymous portraits is stripped of details revealing who we are. Instead, we see that it is these indistinct nuances of our immediate environment that help us understand our own place in the world.
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