• Zou Susu • Ding Dong • Thomas Charveriat • Christophe Demaître •
• Xie Chao • Yang Longhai • Rose Tang • Zack Simpson • Valère Terrier • Jean-François Cantin •
• Malvina Delesalle • Maxime Gabillet • Steve Messam • Zane Mellupe • Xigua • Thomas Israël •
"Made in China" by Zou Susu
“Last year while walking on the streets of Paris, I wanted to buy a present for my mother. Since I had heard a lot about French bags, I went to a leather bag shop. A pair of black woman’s eyes welcomed me warmly. After having a look at the bags I asked: -Are these made in China? Her eyes became even bigger as she said: -But of course!
During the 90s China drew a great attention to itself by its economical expansion. More and more countries came to China to find their ways in this new market; production of food, clothes, vehicles and what else not both for the market in China and worldwide started booming. No wonder why since recent years the phrase ‘The world is made in China’ has become very popular.
My friends – a French couple – are living in Shanghai; they have a five year old daughter. The girl most of the time is speaking Chinese, even Shanghainese. Every morning the mother takes her to a local kindergarten where she is studying and playing together with their Chinese neighbor’s children. Once I asked my friend if they are planning to go back to France by the time their daughter will have to go to primary school. She said that their daughter will study in Shanghai. I had a thought on that - the little girl is definitely thinking in Chinese, and this new east and west integrated thinking is also ‘made in China’.
During the school years I could rarely buy any editions that would be related to computer arts. Most of the ones I came across were from Hong Kong. Although the magazines were in Chinese most of the art work was from the West – I would say ‘pure import’. Although time has passed most of the Chinese computer and electronic artwork and artists are still living underground. A few days ago I was discussing this question with Thomas Charveriat - this Spanish and English Speaking Frenchman – he had the same opinion - Chinese computer arts are still not enough exposed. So we decided to make an exhibition. Thomas asked me to think of a good Chinese name for the exhibition. I said – (Zhongguo zhizao) Made in China. We set the rules of this ‘game’ – it had to be Electronic, Computer, Multimedia artwork that is made in China. Of course we did not restrict nationalities of the artists. We wanted to have a work that has undergone different cultural influences. Due to the easiness of cross-cultural communication and mobility of the present world Made in China in reality is ‘Made in the world’. This same model also applies to the art work; the very best example is Island6's group of artists. Artists from different countries are working together in Shanghai. They are different people with different traditions, from different cultural backgrounds. By working together in a new environment they are exposed to each others influence that leads them to new discoveries.
Made in China has its pros and cons. On one hand, both in China and all over the world, we can see more and more high-tech goods that are produced in China; on the other hand, more and more cities in China are trying hard to be modern and look the same as the rest of the world while loosing their identity and culture. This phenomenon of cross-cultural mixing touches not only China but also the rest of the world.
Made in China has influenced the west but not to extent were western cultures would become endangered. While China being ‘the world’s factory’ and undergoing these different influences has put itself in danger… Our culture has started to take a strange shape. There is a very popular square in Shanghai that has a huge statue on one side of it and two glass constructions on the other side; at the sight of it you know it’s a copy of Parisian underground station. On my way home I have to pass a huge building that has two Roman warrior statues on both sides of its main door; the ceramic tiles on its façade are perfectly matching the tiles on the public toilet from across the road.
Enormous number of old buildings are brought down, but instead of them appear copies of buildings from all over the world, containing the most bizarre elements; even interiors of private apartments are starting to look like karaoke rooms - this is the present appearance of our culture.
Art is the mirror of a society’s culture. In this exhibition artists by using different mixed media art-tech tools, show their contemplation on ‘mutation’ between different cultures in the Made in China mood.”
Zou Susu, Shanghai 2007. [ ↑ ]
Yang Longhai was born in Guiyang (China) in 1978. He graduated from the Guizhou Institute of the Arts in 2000. Since 2006, Yang Longhai has been collaborating on the organization and coordination of fourteen art exhibitions for Island6 Arts Center. In the beginning of 2006, he founded the Chinese Contemporary Art Files Project (CCAFP), a large database on Chinese contemporary art. Yang participated in many international exhibitions, most notably "Remote/Control", an interactive multimedia art exhibition held at MOCA Shanghai, and the first Chinese edition of the world-known French festival "Nuit Blanche". Yang Longhai was the first Chinese artist to present work at Fernelmont Contemporary art fair in Belgium. Although Yang Longhai from time to time refreshes himself through refuge in traditional painting, he has already established a strong link with the computer. In this exhibition Yang Longhai has pushed forward the traditional Chinese elements with a help of high-tech tools. [ ↑ ]
Zou Susu was born in Guiyang (China). He graduated with a Master of Fine Arts at Guizhou University in 2004. During his education he set up Mandone Art Studio in 1999 with five other fellow artists from the school. In his work he questions the self, trying to find a different way of experiencing identity. Through different media such as video art, laser installation and soundscape, he dances on the thin line of the public representation and inner spirituality. In 2007, Zou Susu participated in "Remote/Control", an interactive multimedia art exhibition held at Museum of Contemporary Art in Shanghai, and in the notorious French festival "Nuit Blanche" for its first Asian edition. Susu’s work is part of private and public collection in London, Brussels, Milano, New York, Paris, Xiamen and Shanghai. Zou Susu - creates electronic art with computers, laser lights, and telecommunications technology. His work explores the nature of technological life and its cultural representation. In “Made in China”, his installation draws out tensions between concepts of utopian urban planning in the context of Shanghainese social behaviors. [ ↑ ]
Rose Tang was born twice; first as a boy on the beautiful hills surrounding Taichung (Taiwan) in 1967, and then, in Shanghai, at the turn of this century as the most promising Chinese artist of her generation. Rose is extravagant, rebellious and fearless, and she indiscriminately touches on all aspects of Chinese culture. In “Made in China”, Rose tries to understand the impact and influence that culture, relationships and family values had on the development of her sexual identity. Rose Tang's work captures much of the essence and uniqueness of her identity journey by presenting a delicate balance of sociological analysis, social perception, facts, style and history.
In the last year, Rose had more than 15 exhibitions in Asia and Europe. In March 2007, she was part of the exhibition “Remote/control” in the MOCA, Shanghai.
For this exhibition, Rose Tang is presenting artwork that, though being as complex as her nature, is containing supernatural lightness. Her computer is a single device that is paint, brush, and canvas. [ ↑ ]
Ding Dong is a photographer. After moving to Shanghai in 2004, he worked at various artistic related jobs (for Elle and L’Oréal) while continuing to photograph primarily portraits, both in black & white and color, in the province of Guangxi and throughout China. In Shanghai, he grasped technique after technique of traditional lighting, photography, and design, as well as digital photography and computer generated imaging. In 2007, along with the artist Zou Susu, he founded “The view”, a video art and photo studio. In “Made in China”, Ding Dong will present an interactive sound installation. [ ↑ ]
Xie Chao (b. 1984) grew up in the town of Guiyang, Guizhou Province. Fascinated by fluid design created in clay similar to the work of Spanish sculptural architect Antoni Gaudi, Xie Chao began experimenting with clay animation. After graduating with a degree in computer art from Guizhou Industrial University, he entered the world of 3D animation, working primarily as a 3d modeler but also as a director and script writer on a variety of personal and commercial entertainment projects.
His experimental feature, “Flow”, captured the essence of the “high-tech culture” and became a key source of footage for other Chinese productions. For “Made in China”, Xie Chao has created an explicit 3d work with a sensitivity of material that is specific to a sculptor– making the untouchable alive. [ ↑ ]
Xigua (b. 1982, Shanghai) is a famous and mysterious part of Shanghai’s underground art circle, no one knows her real name, or when her notoriety started. Xigua is a multi-talented artist that has anthropological approach to human behaviors. For “Made in China”, Xigua has created artwork that integrates sound and movement and expresses diverse nature of modern life pace. [ ↑ ]
Christophe Demaître (Belgium 1968) is an image hunter. He masters a wide range of different media such as fresco painting, charcoal drawing, engraving on zinc and photography. While living and working in Shanghai, Sao Paolo and Brussels, he incorporated the graphical elegance of Asia, the temperament that is South-America and the great European art history. His travels profoundly influenced his creativity. In Indonesia he was confronted with the primitive culture of the Mentawais. Their image culture inspired him in the search for his drawing style. The Arte Povera, which he discovered in Barcelona, influenced his way of combining materials. His residency in Italy has granted him to discover the use of pigments and to experiment with different techniques of fresco painting. The metropol of Shanghai allowed him to realize work on a bigger scale and the collaboration with Island6 inspired him to integrate technology such as LED displays and microchips into his work. The artist currently exhibits on a regular basis in international art shows and different galleries such as Palazo Correr Venice, ARTantide, Verona and Mac-Metissatge in Barcelona. His work is part of public and private collections all over Europe and Asia. In July 2007, Christophe Demaître's work became part of the Deutsche Bank Collection, the world’s biggest and most notorious corporate collection, which today constitutes 50,000 works of art.
In “Made in China”, Christophe Demaître will present two kinetic sculptures and five motion tracking LED photographs. His artwork adds new elements to classical virtues and makes mixed media look organic. [ ↑ ]
Thomas Charveriat (Paris 1974 - lives in Shanghai) creates animatronics installations with GPS, SMS, video, sound, electronic data and humor that interact with the viewer. Complexity and elegance are combined to create a multi-sensorial atmosphere investigating vulnerability and apprehension. The artist currently exhibits on a regular basis in international new media art shows, such as Art Futura and Observatori. Charveriat has collaborated with various art institutions such as Museo de las Ciencias Prìncipe Felipe, Museo Amadeo de Souza-Cardoso, Museo Maritimo de Barcelona and Museum of Contemporary Art Shanghai. Thomas Charveriat is the director and founder of Montcada5 in Barcelona and Island6 in Shanghai, two non-profit projects dedicated to the support of emerging artists. Since 2006, his organizations have supported 100 artists through a unique residency program focused on production. Island6 has helped to the realization of 600 art projects and organized 30 exhibitions in situ and abroad.
In “Made in China”, Charveriat makes the viewer relate with the artwork by penetrating the multi-sensorial aspects of human nature. [ ↑ ]
Coming from the theatre world, Thomas Israël (Brussels, 1975) approaches the visual arts from a multi-media perspective, challenging the visitor who is invited to take part in an artistic experiment. By means of sophisticated devices and sensors, it is the self-image which he questions by processing appearance, disappearance and superposition. Thomas uses the notion of temporality to evoke the human destiny in forms of contemporary vanities. Also an author of video projections, one of which was recently selected and presented by the MoMA in New York, Thomas Israël provokes contradictory feelings among the spectators. Thomas frequently participates in festival and international art exhibitions in Europe, North America and Asia. In “Made in China”, Thomas Israël will convey the visitor into his 'Emotions Recycling Factory'. This project combines sculptures and videos such as his new shanghai-based video "Breath me out". [ ↑ ]
Jean-François Cantin's is among the first generation of Canadian artist to be involved in video installation and performance. Cantin's video installations and public space’s interventions question the exhibition site as a place where ideas are produced, presented, and perceived. Cantin's productions synthesize natural effects of light and technological-produced imagery in such a way they become poetic phenomena that cause us to question our perceptual relation to space and time. Cantin’s has exhibited in Canada and abroad, amongst others: the Museum of Contemporary Arts of Montreal, the Museum of Holography of New York, the Museum of Fine Arts of Clermont-Ferrand. He also has realized numerous permanent installations in public spaces: the Montreal Congress Hall, the McGill University of Montreal, and the Theatre of the National Monument of Montreal. Cantin’s lives and works in the city of Montreal, in the Canadian French province of Québec. In “Made in China”, Jean-François Cantin will be presenting the perceptual installation “Inner City_01” and some study pieces. Cantin describes his work as organic-technology; devices which integrate high technology (LED video display in this case) with low technology (natural optical phenomenon). He is also gifted with a unique perspective and insight on the brief history of computer art, and its filiations with the history of fine art in general. His project is made possible with the support of the Canada Council for the Arts and the Québec Council for Arts and Literature. [ ↑ ]
Zane Mellupe is a photographer from Latvia who has displayed her work in England, Latvia and China. She is using photography and multimedia in exploring diverse social subjects in Asia and Europe. Zane has also been working together with Ilmars Latkovskis on a project about cultural integration, on Hiperteksts, a cross media literature project with Haralds Matulis. Since graduating from the University of the Arts in London she has been working together with such artists as Douglas Abuelo, Kalin Coromina, Ned Dyke-Coomes, Tia Brooks, Irina Kalashnikova, Steel Jiang and Qiqi. In “Made in China”, Zane Mellupe is showing a photographic work that reveals history of a moment with extended number of question marks at the end. [ ↑ ]
Maxime Gabillet (born Paris 1984) studied art history and archaeology at Sorbonne University before studying Graphic Design at Maryse Eloy under the supervision of Sophie Dutertre and U.G (both renowned French artist) where he is expecting his diploma in 2008. Gabillet is a multi-talented and complete artist. During his residency at Island6 Arts Center (Shanghai) in 2007, he participated to three exhibitions: “Mingong, Thoughts on Contemporary China” (at ifa Village gallery); “PlugIT”, an exhibition curated by Thomas Charveriat and “Shemale”, an exhibition curated by Zane Mellupe and Rose Tang. [ ↑ ]
Malvina Delesalle (born Paris 1985) is a photographer, a designer and a sculptor. She’s finishing her B.A in graphic Design at EPSAA (Ecole Professionnelle Supérieure d’Arts graphique et d'Architecture). During her residency at Island6 Arts Center in 2007, she completed 30 artworks and was part of three exhibitions: “Mingong, Thoughts on Contemporary China” (at ifa Village gallery); “PlugIT”, an exhibition curated by Thomas Charveriat and “Shemale”, an exhibition curated by Zane Mellupe and Rose Tang.
In “Made in China”, Maxime is presenting LED work and illuminated Chinese ink. With graphic precision, Maxime has managed to successfully submerge East and West elements that result in a new vision on Chinese cultural identity. Malvina is letting us read LED sketch books that, apart from being visual, are also inquiry on language that acts as metaphor on several levels of human comprehension. [ ↑ ]
Co-founder of the independent Paris-based video label, Factoid, Valère Terrier’s work embraces all disciplines related to image and movement: photo, experimental video, performance, theater, dance and music video. Both fascinated by natural and urban landscapes, he began his career by directing a series of documentaries about extreme sports for French TV, while creating experimental videos and films in Indonesia. He also works as a VJ in prestigious Parisian and Chinese night-clubs, using the dance-floor as an experimental field that allows him to test his own video effects directly on the audience. Working on the integration of video in space and real-time, he collaborated with several stage directors and developed original systems to transcend the traditional theatrical conventions of time and space by creating holograms. He performed on various national stages such as the Théâtre de la Madeleine, the Théâtre de Chaillot, the Théâtre d’Aubervilliers, the Festival d’Avignon and Cairo’s Opera House. In 2005, he spent a year in New York, where he discovered contemporary dance and explored the subtleties of movement. Using an original photographic approach, he aimed at capturing the dancers’ emotion and sensuality, sublimated by light and minimalist decorating. On his own or in collaboration with Pierre Nouvel, he creates commercials and music videos, for companies such as Lagardère, Levis, Lee Cooper, Lancel, Hennessy, Swarovski. He was awarded the Toronto Rebelfest 2006 Best Music Video for the clip he created for New Yorker rapper artist Eshy. He is also the author of several performances and installations exhibited at the Centre Beaubourg (Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris), in New York, at Art Basel Miami, and in Shanghai. In “Made in China”, Valère Terrier will exhibit “Frying Pan”, a dance photo sequence projection. His very specific vision of still photos linked in a timeline makes your mind linger around it for a long while. With creativity and imagination, the multimedia artist brings new sophistication to his images. [ ↑ ]
Zack Simpson is Mine-Control's creator and principal artist. He was lured out of school in the eleventh grade to start a life of international computer hacking by a band of Chinese dissidents with a curiously strong desire to write really bad database software. After squandering his youth folding origami and writing compilers, he became the Director of Technology at the game company Origin / Electronic Arts where he helped create Ultima, Wing Commander, Ultima Online, and a host of other brand-name time-wasters. Later he started Titanic Entertainment with Jim and Ken where they created, according to C-Net, "The best game of all time that nobody bought." Both Origin and Titanic are now out of business, so what does that tell you? He currently splits his time between Mine-Control and the Institute for Cellular and Molecular Biology, University of Texas at Austin where he investigates his pet theories in molecular biology and helps build strange new life forms to amuse and horrify. Zack has permanent exhibition in New York Hall of Science, Barcelona Museum of Science, Chicago Museum of Science and Industry, Santa Ana Discovery Science Center and the San Jose Tech Museum of Innovation.
Zack Simpson - whose interactive projection has long been a beacon for interactive art and aesthetics, will exhibit a new plug-in for his Shadow Garden. Being a great artist he once again proves his vast knowledge of art-tech tools that result in a piece which makes the viewer sense the magical. [ ↑ ]
Steve Messam's primary interest lies in the crossover between popular culture and contemporary arts practice, with a particular emphasis on the way it relates to rurally isolated communities. Messam is the co-founder of Fold, an artist-led organisation based in Kirkby Stephen on the Cumbria, North Yorkshire and County Durham borders. Established in 2001, Fold aims to provide and promote access to contemporary art in the rural environment and challenge the preconceptions of work by rural artists. Messam is also co-founder and Director of FRED, an annual art event in Cumbria. It consists of installations and interventions in non-gallery environments. FRED has become Europe’s largest festival of site-specific work. [ ↑ ]
Special thanks to all who have helped to make this presentation a reality.
Especially: Consulate General of Canada in Shanghai, Canada Council for the Arts, Québec Council for Arts and Literature, Computer Arts Magazine China, Leone&M.D, Christopher Charveriat, Margherita Salmaso, Zheng Guoyang, Kang Jingfang, Wang Junfeng, Zane Mellupe, Malvina Delesalle, Maxime Gabillet, Oussama Laftimi, Olivier Verhaeghe, Yang Longhai, Zou Susu, Ding Dong, Yu Wei, Zhu Yumei, friends and families.