Works by seven contemporary Asian artists, some living in New Zealand, others based internationally, will shine at The Dowse this winter with the opening of Crystal City on July 16th. The exhibition deals with travel and exploration, invoking a sense of uncovering the wilderness within urban environments and bringing together the organic with the manufactured. Curator Emma Bugden says Crystal City demonstrates The Dowse’s commitment to bringing art from elsewhere to showcase alongside the work of local artists.
Crystal City takes its name from the video work by flamboyant Korean-born artist Hye Rim Lee. In Hye Rim’s work, the crystal city itself is formed from a landscape of sensual yet commanding sky-scrapers, a world in which fantasy creatures roam. It’s a spectacle of sexually charged stimuli that opens with a cityscape of spinning towers. Hye Rim immigrated to New Zealand in 1993, where she gained a BFA from Auckland’s Elam School of Art. She lives in New York. www.hyerimlee.com
Taiwan’s Cheng-Ta Yu is currently undertaking a residency at Auckland’s Unitec. His works often deal with misunderstandings that occur between cultures, placing himself central to the action, ‘I attempt to address the imagined relationship between a subject and an other, through the subtle cracks that may exist within culture, language and identity.’ Cheng-Ta Yu was recently in Wellington to film a new video work for the exhibition.
Auckland’s Tiffany Singh is of Samoan, Indian, Maori and Pakeha descent. Her wind chimes will ignite conversations with a flurry of sound and colour. The work is in two parts, with a companion show taking place at Wellington’s Enjoy Gallery, ‘reflecting an ancient collective experience, as wind chimes or bells have gradually gained religious significance to almost all cultures’. Visitors will be encouraged to participate, entrusted with the task of relocating chimes from Enjoy to The Dowse; knitting together the respective galleries and weaving a journey through the city itself.
Wellington’s Kerry Ann Lee will exhibit works made during a recent Ware residency in Shanghai. A Chinese New Zealander who spoke no Mandarin when she initially travelled to Shanghai, Lee’s photo-montaged pieces draw on science fiction and World Expo publicity to suggest the changing state of Shanghai as a city.
Hong Kong-based Chinese artist Pak Sheung-Chuen deals with exploration and records his own experiences, discovering and uncovering the poetic absurdity of ordinary activities. Sometimes his works represent the potential of a possible connection, such as Waiting for Everyone to Fall Asleep in which he stood all night in front of an apartment building waiting for the lights in the building to be turned off. In Kim Beom’s video A Rock That Was Taught It Was A Bird, a rock is earnestly given lessons on flying in an effort to defy the logical rules of physics and gravity.
Shanghai and Beijing-based media artist Jin Jiangbo is one of China's foremost recent generation of media artists. He will present a series of photographs taken in New Zealand, transforming familiar landscapes into surreal vistas that are entirely strange to us.
Tiffany Singh and Pak Sheung-Chuen will travel to Wellington for the exhibition's opening.
Crystal City is supported by the Asia NZ Foundation and the Wellington City Council through the Wellington Artists Residency Exchange Programme