• Forming Alliance

    Date posted: February 4, 2009 Author: jolanta
    Showtime is meant as a series of events that will happen every two months in Shanghai inviting artists to explore possibilities of performance art under different themes that myself and artists find important after discussions. Performance art as a main activator of new ideas through development of Chinese contemporary art in the last ten years lost its visibility. In years, development of commercial system and galleries on one side, and on the other side, institutional system as art museums, rarely left any place in between where performance could be explored or accepted as a way of expression. This is one of the reasons why Showtime was initiated without any institutional background. I usually search for non-art spaces or neutral venues that we can use for one-night events. In November 2008 Showtime happened on the construction site of DDM Warehouse. Image

    Biljana Ciric

    Image
    Huang Kui, November 3, 2008, Shanghai, 2008. Artist invited 30 people to cry in dark room. Participants: actors, ordinary people, and audience. At the end of the performance, artist collected their tissues.

    Showtime is meant as a series of events that will happen every two months in Shanghai inviting artists to explore possibilities of performance art under different themes that myself and artists find important after discussions.

    Performance art as a main activator of new ideas through development of Chinese contemporary art in the last ten years lost its visibility. In years, development of commercial system and galleries on one side, and on the other side, institutional system as art museums, rarely left any place in between where performance could be explored or accepted as a way of expression.

    This is one of the reasons why Showtime was initiated without any institutional background. I usually search for non-art spaces or neutral venues that we can use for one-night events. In November 2008 Showtime happened on the construction site of DDM Warehouse. All artists invited to take part in the project went through very a long process of discussions between myself and other participating artists, trying to reach common ground as to why we were doing events like this, what statement we wanted to make, and what issues we were trying to raise.

    I selected artists with various backgrounds and from different age groups, which was important to facilitate dialogues that usually would not take place. Some artists are like Huang Kui, who made his name locally through performance pieces ten years ago. Others are like Jin Feng, who is not taken as a performance artist, makes work that is performative in many aspects. For most of them, this was the first performance piece ever made, and it was a very complex turning point from an object-based presentation to a dematerialized one. Dematerialization of art at this point, I think, is crucial because artists need to work on the new strategies that can confront the art economy and commercial system, challenging their own practice, experimenting on new possible ways of expression.

    This series of events during the years 2009 and 2010 is an experiment, a creative lab, a dialogue between artists and myself. Its outcome will be presented on a regular basis as a one-night event. Artists will be invited to produce pieces that will further notions of performance, and presence of body in traditional oeuvre of performance art. The project aims to bring new possibilities in performance practice, breaking stereotypes of performance art that are still present in China today.

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