Jan 042020

A Chinese Dream by Wang Jin

First Class by Xu Bing

First Class (detail)

Closing 1/5/20 is The Allure of Matter: Material Art from China at LACMA.

From their website-

Since the 1980s, Chinese contemporary artists have cultivated intimate relationships with their materials, establishing a framework of interpretation revolving around materiality. Their media range from the commonplace to the unconventional, the natural to the synthetic, the elemental to the composite: from plastic, water, and wood, to hair, tobacco, and Coca-Cola. Artists continue to explore and develop this creative mode, with some devoting decades of their practice to experiments with a single material. The Allure of Matter: Material Art from China brings together works from the past four decades in which conscious material choice has become a symbol of the artists’ expression, representing this unique trend throughout recent history. Some of the most influential Chinese contemporary artists today are featured in this exhibition, including Xu Bing, Cai Guo-Qiang, Lin Tianmiao, and Ai Weiwei.

There are a lot of impressive pieces in the show, including Xu Bing’s First Class, pictured above. Inspired by a photograph of a tiger-skin rug in a colonial home in Shanghai, it was created using cigarettes, also considered a luxury item by many. 

Also pictured are Wang Jin’s imperial robes/theatrical costumes that were created using PVC and fishing wire- replacing the traditional silk material. According to the wall description, the title Chinese Dream “alludes to the commercialization of tradition”. Held up by thick metal chains, they are also much heavier than the originals they copy.

Feb 122017

Jamie xx- Gosh

The Grammy Awards are tonight and the above video is one of the nominations for Best Music Video. It was directed by Romain Gavras, son of Costa-Gavras who has made numerous feature films, including Z and Missing, which won an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay. Romain Gavras has received a lot of attention in the past for his more violent videos including Born Free for M.I.A., which depicts a military attack on red haired people, and Justice’s Stress, which focused on a Parisian youth gang. The video for Gosh takes place in the Chinese city of Tianducheng. The city was built to replicate Paris and to house 10,000 residents, but its current population of about 2,000 gives it a ghost town quality which adds to the eeriness of this video.

For a more on the making of Gosh– here is a behind the scenes look, which includes a scene of the children’s hair being bleached (and only for that day!)-

For even more information, Dazed has an interesting article on Gosh, the director’s previous work, and an interview with Gavras.