Snippets: Beijing, Jul 2013

Chaochangdi 草场地, a suburban area where common folk go about their daily routine, is also home to serious art galleries like Three Shadows, Urs Meile, and the China Art Archives. White Space was exhibiting 4 artists at the time, one whom is Liu Ren 刘任. The 'Sea Grain' 海粒 installation involves cutting a large poster of the sea into squares, folding each square into a cube, then scattering these cubes onto a bed of salt. The blue background and white salt/sand (representing evaporated sea water), transports the viewer to a beach, where this play on sensory-colour triggers a human memory. A commentary on colour association, time, and space, this cerebral work was immensely fulfilling - its surreal presentation making it all the more memorable.

 Liu Ren 刘任 - Sea Grain 海粒 (2013)

Performance artist Ma Liuming 马六明 gives the perception of suffering schizophrenia, where his obsession to decipher the eventuality of human reaction, led to the creation of androgynous alter-ego Fen-Ma Liuming. Having retired from performance art, the artist's latest showcase "Tenth of a Second 十分之一秒" at White Box features the amazing "leaking paintings". Pigment is pushed through mesh from the back, to create portraits that glisten with light and airflow, imbuing an ethereal quality into his works. With its plain background and centred subjects, Liuming's paintings are vivid depictions of a recollection, a mesmerising tribute to the fleeting moment.

Ma Liuming 马六明 portrait; close-up view of "leaking painting" technique

798 Art District is a demarcated area filled with art galleries, home to great spaces like the Long March Space (a former warehouse with Mao-ist slogans still ins cribed on its walls), and the high ceilings of Pace Beijing. Galleria Continua consists of 3 floors with ample natural light, a perfect setting to show Loris Cecchini's works. Metallic sculptures that mimic nature adorn the large space, occupying one's visual interest like wonderful interior decoration. The incredible "Wallwave Vibrations" series sculpts harmonic symmetry onto white walls, where polyester resin manifests a liquid yet tactile representation, of an organic phenomena. 

Loris Cecchini - Wallwave Vibration (Ears particle tingles) (2012): front view + side view

A room documenting Hsieh Tehching's “Time Clock Piece” (One Year Performance 1980-1981) was memorable, but the marquee exhibition at Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, was Wang Xingwei's retrospective. Cleverly divided into sections titled Front / Side / Back, which indicates the painted subject's orientation, the exhibition shows an artist who is well-versed in Western art history and loves to inject a sharp dose of irony into his works. A remarkable trait is the non-commitment to a single style, yet the emotional undertone in his works are strong. From early works featuring Duchamp's urinal and Beuy's rabbit, to the current series of an old lady at the window, 王兴伟 appropriates painterly traditions with personal commentaries on contemporary art. Surreal projections mask the overarching influence of great modern painters, yet the lack of originality is no hindrance, but celebrates a visual and cerebral delight in this age of reactionary art.

Wang Xingwei 王兴伟 - Untitled (Flowerpot) 无题(花盆) (2009)