Virginia Karina Peña Rodriguez, Zhuang Bin, Cao Yang, Yornel Martinez Elias, Michał Kozłowski and Aleksandra Pawłowska
The Travelling Artwork is an exhibition showing work from the youngest generation of artists from Poland, Cuba and China. These countries are all in different phases of a process of increasingly open borders. The consequence of these somewhat more open borders are on the one hand the confrontation with different cultures in these countries themselves, and on the other hand the possibility to leave the country and sniff out these other cultures in their own territory. These changes are also detectable in the distribution of works of art, that are suddenly able to set foot on new grounds.
The Travelling Artwork is an attempt to show the possibilities that come forth from these changing situations. The artwork has left its home, and is shown outside of its national context.
Each artist has their own interpretation of the travelling artwork. Zhuang Bin from China takes the possibility of travel for art literally in her work Culture in a hard trip, and shows how in contemporary China the traditional culture is fighting to overcome the fast growing gap between generations. In his video work Soiled Tattered Tissue Cao Yang’s basis is the pollution of the Chinese art world by the new freedom that China’s more open borders has created. In Apenas somos pasajeros / testigos by the Cuban artist Virginia Karina Peña Rodriguez the impossibility of Cuban people to travel is the central theme. Her ‘showbox’ is a suggested way of imaginary travel: for most Cubans this is the only way to cross the coastlines of the island. In his work Equilibrio Yornel Martinez Elias lets the western spectator create a balance that’s a metaphor between the eastern, western and Caribbean cultures. Michał Kozłowski from Poland shows the instability of country borders by comparing them to the instability of the human memory, in his work Klasa/Mapa. Aleksandra Pawłowska lets her artwork Polish Postcards travel literally by means of the international postal system, with the north and south borders of her country as the basis.
Each artist in The Travelling Artwork shares his or her own position at the subject, and shows exactly what’s important to him or her, considering the developments in their home country.
Curated by Stephanie Noach and Inez Piso
8 September 2010
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In the work Soiled Tattered Tissue Cao Yang tries to map the pollution of Chinese contemporary art. A pollution that started from the moment China opened up its borders and was infected by foreign influences and worlds that solely focus on consumption.
Because of this, many elements of China are now focused on devotion to fame and fortune, that was made possible by the cornucopia that flooded China. Cao sees this happening, and sadly determines that the opening of China’s borders has lead to a polluted Chinese art world.
This is portrayed by a sequence of photographic images of the polluted Thonghui river in Beijing. Cao focuses on one of the consequences that the travelling artwork brings along; the influence of materialism on the Chinese contemporary art world.
That is why he attempts to create a clean and aesthetic image where toilet paper is rolled into the landscape by people dressed in traditional costumes dating from the Han-dynasty. This results in a strange contrast between the virgin white surface and the brown colours of the surroundings. This way, Cao shows his audience his sadness of the situation that emerged from the possibility of the travelling artwork.