Wednesday, August 20, 2008

been there, beijing that

So I can finally claim that I am now really in Beijing and immersing in the pinnacle of an empire of enigma called China. Well, instead of treading from its roots with its 3,000 year old history, I did exactly the reverse. My first day in Beijing started with the modern beat of its humanity as a misunderstood nation – through modern art.

And by modern art, it doesn’t get more monumentally on the edge of our age than this.



I visited the 798 Art Center with very little expectations. For one, the international media has been inaccurate in its reporting – I always thought that this was one giant gallery made from a former ammunition factory. Little did I know that this place is an entire ART CITY by itself! It wasn’t made up of one but a whole lot of communist-style buildings and structures that used to make weapons of mass destruction for Russia and China during the years of the cold war.



Now, these factories and ammunitions depot as well as its supporting quarters have been given new lease of life as cutting edge art galleries, auditoriums, theatres, art cafes, conceptual restaurants, bookstores, shops, and almost anything that has art on its core.


A photo gallery with a collage of portraits of former workers in the factories



The Ullens Center for Contemporary Art (UCCA), one of the biggest and most exciting art complexes in the area, was founded by collectors Guy and Myriam Ullens and houses perhaps the most groundbreaking exhibitions in Asia. Over 60 artists are represented in its ongoing exhibition called Our Future – an open dialogue between what will come together to Chinese creators and the other communities around the globe.





One of the most breathtaking concepts is by an artist named Yin Xiuzhen with her exhibition called Introspective Cavity – a cavernous tent made of pinkish / flesh colored used (ukay ukay) clothing that she stitched together. She is known to use her own clothes in past exhibitions as medium for her art.


Inside the cavity...


I walked into another "cavity" this time its a tunnel with television screens beaming on you on four sides. The concept feels like being eaten and driven into a digestive system of mass media...



The tunnel leads you to the end where you have to slide down. Once out, you are on the main exhibition hall already....



This dragon is trying to get itself out of the wall


This huge piece is a collection of calligraphy painted into sheer, delicate fabrics

Chairman Mao's gigantic hand lies on the floor... almost like that scene from Cloverfield!

This piece makes you look to it like a mirror, but the "reflection" you see is astually the other people looking into the exhibition on the other room...

This piece is made up of canvas and worker's gloves


These ones are screen captures of famous Nintendo and PS2 games


the cafe is absolutely cool!


caged red dinosaurs installation outside


Another cool exhibition is by a South Korean artist who seems to be too passionate about Louis Vuitto Speedy bags and its fake counterparts...


hmmm... my wife would have definitely loved this show.

This tea place on the other hand offers al fresco tea experience inside a giant bird cage!

There was also an exhibition showcasing ancient and contemporary art from Tibet

the 798 art space was one of the first ones that opened in the area. This exhibition houses a unique show of photographs printed in reverse.


JoyArt on the other hand featured video installation by artist Joyce Hiller and featured girls that have telekinetic powers...

798 Art DistrictNo. 4 Jiuxianquaio Lu, Chaoyang District, Beijing

6 comments:

RONeiluke, RN said...

wow! thanks, really, for posting this... i am a frustrated artist and i have always wanted to visit art galleries. wow...

about joy art>...are there really girls in there with telekinetic powers?

the spool artist said...

hi roneiluke! nope, it was just a video installation of girls with kinetic powers, moreso like a desire for all of us... it was pretty cool actually. wow, i'm sure if you visited this place, you will be deeply driven to become an artist again!

you really ought to visit this place!

salingPUSA said...

Cool Photo's. I have a former student of English who is Korean and is at that time and until currently is working in Beijing. She always mention this place co'z she often go here. Her favorite spot is a coffee shop somewhere near I think your 3rd to the last picture.

Yeah, she mentioned that it was a former factory during the communist revolution turned museum. She didn't mention though that the place was huge. It's beautiful. I hope we can have a similar place in the Philippines....

fuchsiaboy said...

OMG!

More than the Olympics which is really not my cup of tea, well except maybe seeing the Bird's Nest, the Water Cube, et al, this artistic village got me excited!

I so wanna go to Beijing just to check it out!

Anonymous said...

I agree with Fuchsiaboy.. I wanna go to Beijing because of this artistic chuva village... i heart LV.. and I wanna go there sa Winter..and I want to stay in Aman Beijing!!!!

Rofel John said...

omg, loved China's arts ! wish I could visit it soon to. amazingly imaginative gid ya ! winner ! i'm so inspired!