Ontological questions on art have not yet been raised in China. Contemporary art critics and art historians seem to avoid this question. Some do not even seem to realize its importance, although its key position in art research is abundantly evident. The reason for this neglect is twofold. In the first place, the emphasis on the social and psychological content of art works has so far dominated the perception and analysis of art events and the art works itself. Secondly, art works have too often and too quickly been forced into a political and society- related interpretation. Therefore, our main focus should not be limited to a mere ‘reflection’ or ‘display’, but should broaden its scope to ‘critique’ and ‘expression’. Our concern should not be based on a poor modern thinking pattern but should depart from a rich post-modern frame of thought.
How does art ‘reflect’ or ‘display’ and, more important, how can art effectively ‘critique’ or ‘express’? This is a question essential to our understanding of art. Whether art is a theoretical thoroughfare or a practical tool, they are all equally possible identities of ‘art’. But every identity is also intrinsically connected to a body. This question on the body of art is in se ontological in nature. In its reflection on the nature of art, contemporary art ontology is not looking for a representational and epistemological definition of art. It rather aims to reflect on the ‘ready-to-hand’ (Zuhandenheit) status of art, which means in other words, being ‘concerned’ (Sorge) about art.
Art works are often seen as a result of materialization. Art events are understood as a process of materialization, as a way of processing subject, mind, form, content and soul. Objects have entered a representational structure and as such are being ‘processed’. In this context, art is seen as the mirror of nature or society. It is an empty space containing mind and thought, but where the ontological question is slowly being neglected.
In this exhibition we see the art object not as a representation but as an obstruction. The object is a veil that covers subject, substance, material, medium and body. It rallies all heterogeneous elements and opposes a one-sided homogeneous representation. At the same time however, the object can not be but subsumed under this representational relation, for it is in this relation that art events can solidify their real value in being a continuous reflection on the established representational art practice. By lifting the ‘unconcealment’ (Aletheia) from the ‘concealment’ (Lethe), the essential truth of art ontology reveals itself. Therefore we have chosen Obstruction as title of this exhibition, since the real question that should preoccupy art events is the presence of heterogeneity.
Director: A Thousand Plateaus Art Space
Art Director: Liu Jie
Curator: Bao Dong
Artists: Chen Qiulin, Guan Yinfu, Xiao Xiong, Yu Ji, Zhang Hui
Opening: July 28th 2009, 3pm
Exhibition Time: July 28th – Sept. 30th, 2009
Exhibition Venue: A Thousand Plateaus Art Space, 87 Fangqin Jie, Chengdu