Public Viewings

Mnemonics of the Self and Social Space in the film works of 7 Chinese artists

Screening program and public presentation

video animation

November 13, 2009
Salon of MoCAb – Museum of Contemporary Art Belgrade
in collaboration ::  Jelena VESIC

November 18, 2009
Galeria Nova | Zagreb, CR
support :: WHW Collective

artists ::  CHEN Xiaoyun (1971, lives and works in Hangzhou), GAO Shiqiang (1971, lives and works in Hangzhou), LU Chunsheng (1968, Shanghai), QIU Anxiong (1972, Sichuan province; lives and works in Shanghai), SHI Qing (1969, Inner Mongolia; lives and works in Beijing), SUN Xun (1980, Fuxin; lives and works in Beijing), ZHANG Ding (1980, Gansu; lives and works in Shanghai)

Much of the literature compiled around the popularity of Chinese contemporary art is generally concerned with its commitment to an aesthetic modernization process that satisfies international exhibitions’ agenda by translating the social and economic implications of an increasingly globalized country into the critical achievements sustained by its creative miracle. While such form of discourse is motivated by transformative notions of urban growth, social development, economic differentiation, and is largely interpreted via a secular portraiture of changing credos and mentalities, not much of it seems to engage with the less manifest phenomena informing the shifting nature of private and public spatiality as culturally and subjectively constructed processes.

In recasting attention to the processes of spatial voyage and memory formation through the filmic experiments of these artists – be those documentary evidence, fictive journey or personal diary — subtle commentaries of self-disclosure reappear into a totally new feature of change which no longer inhabits the vestiges of the past – its symbols, iconographies and idols, but sits on the ruins of the present by eliciting mental, psychological and spatial associations of contemporary ‘inner landscapes’ . By articulating intimate writings into the architectural peripatetics of moving pictures, these artists’ works make use of an elliptic emphasis on subjectivity, mnemonics and imaging, so that the viewing product comes into being as a space of collective recollection where social fundaments and behavioural schema are readjusted into the artists’ contemplation of interpersonal dependencies and historical loci.

Public Viewings thus represents an attempt to elucidate theoretically and aesthetically on the changing psyche and processes of identity formation in contemporary China through their aesthetic re-enactment in cinematic space. In the wake of critical historical changes defined by forms of transcultural regionalism and denationalization in place in the Asian continent, a dive into the representational apparatus of the Self in the reality of globalizing China is a necessary exercise for anyone interested in venturing inside a yet un-coded domain of public culture where networked societies and a-political subjectivities are shaping new sociological mainstays.