For the November/December issue of ArtAsiaPacific, we look at artists who in spite of, or because of, all the dire news surrounding global politics, economy and culture, have reimagined different possibilities for art’s relationship to the world.
We begin with Lebanese-American writer, essayist, filmmaker, poet and artist Etel Adnan, whose family sought refuge in Beirut following the collapse of the Ottoman Empire roughly a century ago, and who herself left her home city at the outset of the country’s sectarian civil war. Independent curator Daniel Kurjaković sat down with Adnan in her Paris home to discuss a range of topics, including how writing, history, conflict, her love for the physical world, and notions of transcendence have informed her abstract paintings—oftentimes suggestive of landscapes—a path she first embarked upon more than 50 years ago.
Employing a more direct, provocative visual approach to politics is the Chilean-Australian painter Juan Davila. Australia desk editor Tim Walsh explores Davila’s four decades of work, focused on pointed critiques of Australia’s colonialist legacy and identity politics, along with his recent departure from highly referential works to a more gestural style derived from psychoanalysis. Challenging our perceptions of social order by liberating quotidian objects from the monotony of daily life is Kyoto-born sculptor Teppei Kaneuji, whose work appears on this issue’s cover. AAP reviews editor Hanae Ko takes us through Kaneuji’s surreal installations of ordinary items—from toy figurines to construction tools and other household goods—which he transforms with a shambolic sensibility.
From artists we can also learn survival tactics. This issue’s edition of the special feature Inside Burger Collection looks at the work of Bulgarian artist Nedko Solakov, who is known for his humorous oeuvre that addresses living under a socialist dictatorship. Iara Boubnova, the founding director of the Institute of Contemporary Art in Sofia, talks with Solakov about his way of looking at the absurdities of life through his drawings, paintings and installations, which at times act as a form of personal “exorcism,” purging from his consciousness the mess that he witnesses in society.
In Essays, artist, curator and Hong Kong City University assistant professor Man Ching-Ying Phoebe considers the recent controversy surrounding the removal of Jason Lam and Sampson Wong’s public artwork Countdown Machine, a light installation flickering on the facade of Hong Kong’s tallest skyscraper, by the project’s curator and arts-funding body. Meanwhile, South Asian art scholar Cleo Roberts ruminates on how Indian prime minister Narendra Modi’s form of Hindu-majoritarian politics has prompted a critical artistic response, particularly through an examination of Sajan Mani’s performances that challenge the growing trend of right-wing nationalism.
In Profiles, we turn our attention to three midcareer artists: New Delhi-based multimedia practitioner Aditya Pande, Beijing’s quiet abstractionist Wang Guangle and the enthusiastic Le Brothers, a Vietnamese sibling partnership that invites artists from around the world to their hometown of Hue.
Also in this issue’s Where I Work, AAP visits the verdant Hong Kong studio of artist Trevor Yeung, an ardent enthusiast of botany and horticulture. For One on One, Amsterdam-based Bengali artist Praneet Soi shares his admiration of French Nouvelle Vague filmmaker Jean-Pierre Gorin, while nonprofit artspace Ilham Gallery’s creative director Valentine Willie files a Dispatch on the buzzing cultural life in Kuala Lumpur. In The Point, Hong Kong artist Wong Wai Yin reveals her anxieties about making art in today’s troubled climate. Finally, in Reviews we feature: ”Soil and Stones, Souls and Songs” at Museum of Contemporary Art and Design, Manila; Mona Hatoum at London’s Tate Modern; plus much more.
Select articles now online in Arabic and Chinese: artasiapacific.com