Each generation of artists has to be sensitive to the needs of changing social and cultural structures in order to select the tactics of their practice. Tactics involve shaking off the rigidity of the art system—its productions and value systems—and, ultimately, mobilizing spaces beyond artistic practice. This issue’s cover feature probes into how artists worldwide “strategize”: we examine the art fair, corporatized art production, the urban context, invented and incorporated artist identities, and other tactics that expand the possibilities for contemporary art.
In addition, our middle section introduces two artists—Liu Wei, a unique Beijing figure, and medium-savvy Taiwanese video artist Kao Chung-Li. Robin Peckham uses diagrams to investigate the material and linguistic features of Liu’s work between 1999 and 2015; while Hsu Fang-Tze analyzes Kao Chung-Li’s video practice by way of his machines (including all sorts of video cameras, projectors and other mechanisms for image circulation propelled by capitalism), and looks at how the artist turns his eye back on the intellectual hegemony of image machines and machine images alike.
In our regular column “My Miles” in the top section, LEAP interviews Art Basel’s newly appointed Director Asia, Adeline Ooi. “New Directions” explores China’s first generation of internet artists through the artist Miao Ying’s practice; “Conference Room” documents French philosopher Alain Badiou’s restaging of his intense conversation with an unnamed Chinese philosopher; “On Canvas” investigates the spiritual elements in Shanghai-based painter Fang Wei’s work; and“Yet Unknown Monuments” finds Hong Kong’s geographical, architectural, and cultural imprint on a map of Admiralty.
Our bottom section includes 14 exhibition reviews in all, including “The 10th Shanghai Biennale,” “Kochi-Muziris Biennale 2014,” “4th Taiwan International Video Art Exhibition,” and other large-scale exhibitions around the world. You’ll also read about Zhan Wang, Yu Honglei, Hito Steyerl, and Matthew Barney’s most recent solo exhibitions.
P028 THE STATE OF THINGS
P032 MY MILES? ADELINE OOI
P036 EXHIBITION MAKING? A MAZE OF INTERSECTING VIEWS: 2ND SHENZHEN
INDEPENDENT ANIMATION BIENNALE
The Ouroboros-film in art history and experimental video in film history-creates a continuous cycle of meaning by devouring and producing history.
P040 ON CANVAS? ASSASSIN, HERO, FANG WEI
P044 NEW DIRECTIONS? MIAO YING AND THE FIRST GENERATION OF
CHINESE NET ART
Miao Ying’s practice—particularly her web-based work—allows users outside China to get a glimpse of life within the Great Firewall in a humorous and accessible way.
P048 INSTITUTIONAL CRITIQUE? LEARNING PERSPECTIVE
HB STATION Contemporary Art Research Center stands for the preservation and support of experimentation in art. It is a loose yet cohesive institution, but it does not offer absolute guidance or services.
P052 WRITERS’ CAMP? OVERLAPPING IMAGES:AN ANALYSIS OF FOUR PORTRAITS
Despite his untimely death, the German artist Harun Farocki leaves behind a monument to our visual epistemology, demanding that future artists remain critical of the regime of images within their work.
CONTEMPORARY CHINESE ART & ITS CRITICAL HISTORY
TWO ARTISTS’S BOOKS: COLLAGE & MAN OVERBOARD
P060 CONFERENCE ROOM? CREATIVE NONFICTION:A LECTURE-PERFORMANCE BY ALAIN BADIOU
P064 UNKNOWN MONUMENT? AD HOC ADMIRALTY
The neighborhood has no center, no axis, no edge. There is no square, no boulevard, no significant monument. There is no symmetry. Admiralty, like Hong Kong, has no ground, culturally or physically.
COVER FEATURE # TACTICS
P078 ALL THE WORLD’S A FAIR
P094 ART IN THE URBAN ENVIRONMENT
P102 INVENTED AND INCORPORATED
P114 SHANGHAI DEAL
P116 MIND GAMES
P126 LIU WEI
No matter how abstract or formal his objects sometimes appear, Liu works in what is ultimately a realist mode that cannot help but reflect the world around him. For the artist, successful art accurately captures and reflects the state of the self, which is naturally formed and permeated by its immediate environment, itself a product of the workings of society.
P140 GAO CHONG-LI
An industry-standard 35 mm camera is transformed into a projector, transmitting a video composed of half-frame camera shots of family life.
P150 BUILDING THE BEAST
P156 “45 DEGREES AS THE REASON”: SELECTED PROPOSALS
P172 SOCIAL FACTORY: 10TH SHANGHAI BIENNALE 2014
“Social Factory” is no longer a massive social narrative and cultural critique; instead, it is a microcosmic consideration of the internal systems and mechanisms of society. This perspective is rooted in local history and reality, but the exhibition outlines social systems of a global nature.
P178 KOCHI-MUZIRIS BIENNALE 2014
Curator Jitish Kallat takes cues from the history of Kochi as a maritime hub since the fifteenth century, but, while invoking an age of discovery, he also raises its unseemly aspects: subjugation, colonialism, and exploitation.
P182 PIERRE HUYGHE
Huyghe’s exhibition acknowledges its own discomfort within the institution. For all the seductive, sublime charm of the artist’s work, it is still left to the audience to participate: the retrospective rests on uneasy haunches in the museum, waiting for customers who may or may not come, but upon whose complicity the exhibition hangs.
P186 4TH TAIWAN INTERNATIONAL VIDEO ART EXHIBITION
P192 BOREDOM IS THE BEGINNING OF ACTION? OMNIPRESENT CONCRETE
P194 ZHAN WANG
P196 HITO STEYERL
P198 MATTHEW BARNEY
P200 YU HONGLEI
Yu offers his audience a refresher course in the vocabulary of the everyday, terms visual and conceptual that ultimately become building blocks for his tinkering.
P202 CUI JIE
P204 QIN QI
P206 TURNER PRIZE 2014