August 26th to December 3rd, 2023
1F-3F Beijing Inside-Out Art Museum
The exhibition is free of charge and no booking is required. For more information, please contact the reception staff.
The conception of the exhibition Meaning has been spawned by our recent experience. During the last over-stretched three years, traveling was nearly completely paused. Despite all the constraints, we managed to maintain certain ties with artists and art institutions around the world. The art network that emerged in the rosy era of globalization has been put to test by physical and ideological barriers, yet it still upholds good faith and conveys news from other parts of the art world to us despite our immobility. Through such connections, we had the opportunity to stay informed with artists around the world, who use video as their main creative medium. When physical travel was out of the question, moving images from across the globe kept a window open for us to see the world.
Through recommendations by curators active in East Asia, we conducted a comprehensive survey of nearly all video works by artists that have emerged in East Asia, Southeast Asia, and South America in the past five years. Eventually, we selected fifteen works by fourteen artists and art group, spanning more than a decade from 2012 to the present. Their perspectives, approaches, and issues tackled might be different, but they all demonstrate the sincerity and courage to face up to the reality and challenging conditions. They seriously contemplate and reveal living conditions of human beings, as well as care for souls and emotions. These are powerful works that can withstand the test of time. The variety of experiences revealed in these works, both individual and collective, present and historical, physical and emotional predicaments, as well as the fear, helplessness, despair, and hope that human beings display in moments of confrontation with adversity, is the very veracious testimony to the true human nature. After vicissitudes of the past few years, we are more capable of identifying with various situations in these works, both in terms of experience and emotions. In these works, we get to see the existence of the others as well as that of our own. To a certain extent, these works offer a lesson about humanity and meaning that we urgently need today.
Meaning presents fifteen works, selected from the pool of video art shortlisted or supported by the Han Nefkens Foundation in the past ten years. Together, they make visible a relative world constructed by various forms of language such as spoken language, sign language, eye contact, images, lights, and fuel containers. Through Gabriel Mascaro’s perceptive yet distant lens, Rodrigo, the protagonist in Ebb and Flow, keeps stepping into the “impossible” world, dancing happily to the drums of nightclubs, despite his deafness, AIDS, poverty, and other challenges that he faces. The exhibition Meaning departs from here. Most of the fifteen artists were born in the 1980s, while a small number were born in the 1970s or the 1990s. They share the experience of drastic changes brought about by technological innovation worldwide; at the same time, they are all deeply concerned with a particular place, capturing the gaps in thinking, and representing individual limitations and struggles in concrete ways for the audience. Thus it begins the exploration of “meaning.” A little girl in Sabah, Malaysia, begins to realize the society’s definition of women because of a word from her male friend. Camera algorithms based on the East Asian population encounters a fatal problem when applied in Africa. Peace is often mistaken as the default during peaceful times; however, the horrific massacre in Yoonsuk Jung’s work, the female asylum-seekers in northern Iraq who have escaped ISIS and pray on their knees every day as captured by Erkan Özgen, and the 6,000 unexcavated mass graves and 16,000 missing individuals as results of a genocide in Maya Watanabe’s calm footage all illustrate one fact: wars and the threat of wars have never left us. All the cognitive boundaries that we are accustomed to and taken for granted are subject to another interpretation and possibility in a parallel universe. Just like in Reversal at the end of the exhibition, wisps of ghosts arise from the soil ravaged by colonization, capital control, and large-scale industrialization, engulfing everyone trapped on the land. Even those who try to break free have marks left on their body.
Rory Guan is Associate Director of Research and Curatorial Department at Beijing Inside-Out Art Museum. She worked as assistant curator in exhibition “The River We Share, From Langcang to Mekong” and participated in multiple reseach-based exhibitions “Notes: Chinese Artistic and Intellectual Voices from the End of the Twentieth Century”, “Infinite Realism: Humanism in Chinese Photography from 1920s to 1980s” and “The Envelope of Hidden Paintings: Divine Inspiration and Master Stroke”. She also worked as executive editor for research outcome Note and Wang Youshen: Codes of Culture.
Na Rongkun serves as a curatorial assistant of Inside-Out Art Museum. She completed undergraduate and master studies in the Department of Painting, Academy of Arts & Design, Tsinghua University, focuses on neglected and forgotten fragments in society. She curated “How Can I Rid My Mind of Her: ‘Mother’ in Zhao Wenliang’s Paintings”.
Yanan Zhu is a curatorial assistant of Beijing Inside-Out Art Museum. She curated the exhibition of Inside-Out Practice, Firewatching: Witness and Narrative. Her research and creation focus on human instincts and desires, and the dilemmas caused by established social structures. She graduated from University College London, Slade School of Fine Arts with a Master degree in Fine Art Media and California Institute of the Arts with a Bachelor degree in Film and Video.
Ekin Kee Charles
Timoteus Anggawan Kusno
26 August to 3 December 2023
Beijing Inside-Out Art Museum, No.50 Xingshikou Road, Haidian District, Beijing
This exhibition is free of charge.
Children under the age of 16 must be accompanied by an adult at all times
We provide barrier-free access. Please make an appointment by telephone in advance. Tel: (010) 62730230