Wang Keping, Taryn Simon and Tino Sehgal

Ullens Center for Contemporary Art

The Ullens Center for Contemporary Art proposes three new exhibition on view from September 27.Wang Keping presents the largest exhibition of his work ever shown in the country, composed of more than 50 works that cover a wide range of different subjects and themes. The artworks range in size from 30 cm to several meters tall, variously evoking grotesque deformity, sensual beauty and sublime abstraction. The artist’s seemingly anachronistic, lyrical sculpture cuts an intriguing figure in an art world dominated by increasingly complex and reflexive systems of meaning and signification. Wang Keping started out making political sculpture as part of the charged environment of late 1970s Beijing. After moving to France in 1984, he shifted to a more naturalistic way of working. The artist’s work can be roughly divided into five thematic categories—men, women, birds, couples and pure forms—into which they are grouped for the UCCA exhibition.Wang Keping’s practice evinces a patience beyond that of virtually any artist practicing today. To prepare the wood for his sculptures, he will let logs sit for months, sometimes years, allowing the innate features and fissures of the material to grow and deepen until they take on their own distinctive, biologically-determined shapes. Wang’s decades of woodworking experience allows him some measure of foresight into how the wood will splinter, though every piece contains an element of chance. For each sculpture, Wang blends his aesthetic perspective with the form determined by the wood itself.The second exhibition, A Living Man Declared Dead and Other Chapters I-XVIII, presents a major body of work by the American artist Taryn Simon. For four years (2008-2011), the artist crossed the globe researching bloodlines and their related stories. In each of the work’s eighteen chapters, the external forces of territory, power, circumstance or religion collide with the internal forces of psychological and physical inheritance. Simon’s subjects span a wide range of topics and social relations and each of the work’s chapters contains three parts: on the left, a portrait panel, an ordered set of portraits of every living relative of the “point person” central to each chapter; in the center, an annotation panel, a written description of the events that inspired Simon’s research into the bloodline; and on the right, a footnote panel, documentary images related to the narrative events. The unique format offers three distinct modes of engaging with the often dramatic events depicted in each chapter.For this exhibition Tarny Simon spent four years exhaustively researching different bloodlines and tracking down their every living member. Absent members are even represented by blank portraits with captions listing the reason for their absence, ranging from fear of abduction to imprisonment to Dengue Fever. The cumulative effect of the installations leads to one overarching question: what do these intertwined systems of individual and bloodline, of chance and fate, of order and chaos, add up to? The viewer is witness to literal, abstract juxtapositions of history and bloodline, yet the lived experience of these inherited histories is left to the viewer’s imagination.The last exhibition presents the work of Tino Sehgal, the Berlin-based artist’s largest presentation in Asia to date, presenting works that span the continuum of his artistic practice, from the choreographic to the discursive. With its game-like quality, Sehgal’s work invites visitors into unfamiliar situations that shift the parameters of the traditional exhibition. Through these encounters, the artist asks the museum visitor to reflect upon their participation in the landscape of value and meaning that comprises their everyday. These questions take on a particular resonance in China, a nation that has only recently shifted from an economy of scarcity to one of affluence. Once a society reaches a certain level of material comfort, what more do its members desire? The result is a series of exchanges, both mass-produced and personalized, that touch upon philosophical, political, and economic issues, variously questioning the social conventions that underpin our daily existence. The exhibition is opened until November 17th.
Wang Keping Taryn Simon Tino Sehgal

Open:Friday, 27 September 2013
Close:Sunday, 05 January 2014
Address:UCCA, 798 Art District, No. 4 Jiuxianqiao Lu, Chaoyang District, Beijing
Phone:+86 10 5780 0200
Opening hour:Tue – Sun, 10am – 7pm
Closing day:Jan 1 – 3 and Feb 8 – 15
Admission:¥10, free for students and over 60 ysr. Free admission Sept 5 – 9
Photo credits:Wang Keping, Daughter, 1996. Elm. 37x35x18 cm. Courtesy of the artist; Taryn Simon, Excerpt from Dead and Other Chapters I-XVIII. VI, B. 15. No. 338, 28 Mar. 2009. Inglewood, Queensland, Australia. 2011. Courtesy of Gagosian Gallery; Tino Sehgal, image courtesy of the artist


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