Asia Society Presents Projected Realities: Video Art from East Asia
May 23 - August 6, 2006
Exhibition Launches Asian Contemporary Art Week, May 22-27
Opening Reception and Panel Discussion: May 22 at 6:30 p.m. at Asia Society and Museum
Projected Realities: Video Art from East Asia is an exhibition of 11 cutting-edge video works by artists from China, Korea, Japan, and Taiwan at the forefront of new media art. The exhibition includes works created by six young artists that have never been seen before in the United States. Created between 1999 and 2005, the exhibition videos range in length from one minute to 20 minutes.
Commercially successful and technologically advanced, today's East Asian societies have emerged as fertile ground for exciting new video artwork. More interested in subverting the constraints of conventional mediums such as painting and sculpture, the latest generation of artists in these countries has embraced video as a primary means of artistic expression. Theirs is the first generation to have "leapfrogged" ahead of classically-based art training to develop and practice primarily in the medium of video.
"A new generation of Asian artists are distinguishing themselves through video-based media," noted Asia Society Museum Director Melissa Chiu, who is also curator for Contemporary Asian and Asian American Art. "Their international ascendance is significant and may reflect in part that their work is less culturally prescribed and therefore more globally accessible."
Chiu co-curated the exhibition with Asia Society Assistant Curator Miwako Tezuka.
The artworks in the exhibition were created using a variety of techniques, including computer-generation, key-frame animation, time-based recording, slick narrative, and hand-held one-takes. Many of the artists borrow from cultural traditions and at the same time reference issues of relevance in contemporary society.
Bak Ikeda (b. 1964 in Kagoshima Prefecture, Japan) uses computer graphic animation for his darkly comic video narrative about extraterrestrial creatures called PiNMeN. The series is a commentary on socio-economic challenges in Japan following the economic downturn of the late 1990s. Unlike most anime blockbusters that heavily rely on motion capture tools, his works are created through a labor-intensive process of keyframing that retains the feel of hand-made animation. Shown at numerous film festivals and graphic art exhibitions in Japan and Europe, PiNMeN episodes and the theme song can be downloaded on cellular phones in Japan.
Inspired by traditional Japanese screen painting, Mami Kosemura (b. 1975 in Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan) was formally trained as a painter. In her work, she artfully arranges plants and flowers in formal compositions and records their growth and decay, collaging them together to create a moving image that records the passage of time, while referencing traditional painting practices. Rather than capture a precise moment in time, her large-scale projections depict the seasons of the year. She has completed three seasons, two of which, spring and autumn, are on view in this exhibition.
Junebum Park (b. 1976 in Seoul, Korea) uses a digital video camera to transform everyday scenes or mundane subjects into carefully composed theatrical illusions; however unlike theater, his work exposes the presence of both the invisible lens and the artist as agent. His works alter scale and use other devices to challenge viewer perceptions of the reality of broadcast images. His work draws the viewer in to solve the "puzzle" of his eponymous work and encourages the viewer to watch it again to solve it.
Kuang-Yu Tsui (b. 1974 in Taipei, Taiwan) creates performance-based video works that investigate physical and visual perceptions of reality. Tsui casts himself in works that satirize warrior culture and shaolin martial arts films. Eighteen Copper Guardians in Shao-Lin Temple and Penetration: The Perceptive document the artist undergoing apparently serious, but ultimately irrational, training to become a Kung-fu master who can intuitively perceive things without physically seeing them. His work was exhibited at the 2005 Venice Biennale.
Wang Gongxin (b. 1960 in Beijing, China) is credited as one of the first video artists to create a site-specific video installation in China in the mid-1990s. His works reference notions of individualism in a post-Communist society. They also deal with social and cultural clichés and misconceptions, often with a hint of humor, such as the work Kara Oke, in which an enormous mouth and teeth frame a group of amateur karaoke singers. From a distance, they appear to be performing in sync but on closer inspection, the viewer can see and hear that everyone is singing a different song.
Kazuhiro Goshima (b. 1969 in Shizuoka Prefecture, Japan) is an award-winning video artist and computer graphics animator who has been creating animation videos since the mid-1990s. His series of digital animation videos FADE into WHITE experiments with image shading in an ascetic approach he likens to haiku. This video, shot in high contrast black and white, stimulates the viewer's imagination "with a minimum of information."
Projected Realities: Video Art from East Asia is dedicated to the memory of Nam June Paik (1932-2006), who incorporated video into his groundbreaking experimental works in the 1960s. The exhibition is made possible with support from Asia Society's Contemporary Art Council. The exhibition launches Asian Contemporary Art Week (ACAW), an annual city-wide program of art exhibitions and events organized by the Asian Contemporary Art Consortium, May 22-27 (for details, see http://www.acaw.net). The ACAW opening panel discussion, Dialogues in Asian Contemporary Art: Take 4, is held at Asia Society and Museum on Monday, May 22 at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $15 ($10 for Asia Society members; $7 students w/ ID) and are available by contacting the Asia Society Box Office at (212) 517-ASIA.
About Asia Society
Asia Society is the leading global organization working to strengthen relationships and promote understanding among the people, leaders, and institutions of Asia and the United States. We seek to enhance dialogue, encourage creative expression, and generate new ideas across the fields of policy, business, education, arts, and culture. Founded in 1956, Asia Society is a nonpartisan, nonprofit educational institution with offices in Hong Kong, Houston, Los Angeles, Manila, Melbourne, Mumbai, New York, San Francisco, Shanghai, and Washington, D.C. On the web at www.asiasociety.org.
Asia Society and Museum
725 Park Avenue (at 70th Street), New York City. The Museum is open Tuesday through Sunday from 11:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m., Friday from 11:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. Closed Monday. General admission is $10, seniors $7, students $5 and free for members and persons under 16. Free admission Fridays, 6:00 to 9:00 p.m.
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Contact: Elaine Merguerian or Jennifer Suh, Asia Society, 212-327-9271