Ian Cheng

Liverpool Biennial 2016 recommendations, July 9 – Oct 16

6 July 2016

The Liverpool Biennial 2016 is on across venues in the UK city, opening July 9 and running to October 16.

Unlike many other biennials and larger art fairs, this one is arranged around a coherent narrative with much specificity involved. The viewer will be taken on a series of voyages through time and space, drawing on Liverpool’s past, present and future in six ‘episodes’: Ancient Greece, Chinatown, Children’s Episode, Software, Monuments from the Future and Flashback, all installed in public spaces, unused buildings and galleries across the city.

Also unique to the biennial is that many of the 44 artists have made work for more than one episode. Some are repeated across different episodes, some venues host more than one episode and many of the artists have curated events within the extensive events and film screening programme.

Here are some aqnb recommendations:

Elena Narbutaite and Eduardo Costa’s collaborative swimsuits designed by Costa in the 1980s and materialised by Lithuanian artist Narbutaite in 2016 will be on display in a photoshoot performance called ‘Sun Kiss Feline‘ at the Adelphi Hotel swimming pool.

Adam Linder @ Tate Liverpool

Isabel Lewis @ Sefton Park Palm House 

Ian Cheng @ Cains Brewery

Lucy Beech @ FACT

Installation, Slice a Slanted Arc into Dry Paper Sky by Ramin Haerizadeh, Rokni Haerizadeh and Hesam Rahmanian, who have smuggled objects, props, works and films from their collection in Dubai where they are living and where they are in exile by shipping container, also @ Cains Brewery.

Ana Jotta‘s work across multiple locations.

Arseny Zhilyaev @ Granby Four Streets

Suzanne Treister’s @ John Moores University’s Exhibition Research Lab

Betty Woodman @ Tate Liverpool

Liv Wynter @ The Royal Standard

Ryan Gander @ Cactus

Krzysztof Wodiczko @ FACT

See the Liverpool Biennal website for more details.**


Elena Narbutaite + Eduardo Costa, 'Sun Kiss Feline' (1982-2016). Courtesy the artists.
Elena Narbutaite + Eduardo Costa, ‘Sun Kiss Feline’ (1982-2016). Courtesy the artists.


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Co-Workers – Network as Artist @ MAM reviewed

30 October 2015

Co-Workers – Network as Artist, running from October 9 till January 31 at Musée de l’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, presents the work of artists emerged in the 2000s and whose practices deal mainly with networking and systems of exchange that displace the anthropocentric position of the subject, outweighing its human scale. It comes as one of two exhibitions, the other being Co-Workers: Beyond Disaster at Bétonsalon, Centre for Art and Research, focussing more on the way people interact with their environment and how disasters impact and transform us collectively.

Three curators were brought in for  the exhibition at Musee d’Art Moderne alone, along with curatorial participation from 89plus, and artists such as Ryan Trecartin, Trisha Baga, Aude Pariset & Juliette Bonneviot, Rachel Rose, and Timur Si-Qin, it is a colossal institutional project.

Co-Workers – Network as Artist (2015). Exhibition view. Courtesy Musée de l’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris.
Co-Workers – Network as Artist (2015). Exhibition view. Courtesy Musée de l’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris.

In Co-Workers one can discern echoes from the 1985 Les Immatériaux at Centre Georges Pompidou. Organised by Jean-Francois Lyotard and Thierry Chaput, director at the Centre de Création Industrielle, it questioned mainly how our relationship to the world had changed. Stating how materiality had lost its criteria of identification and that dematerialisation was but a word that constitutes the materiality of material, Lyotard foresaw the scenario that we are presented with today.

The notion of co-working is illustrated, perhaps too cohesively by the scenography, designed by New York art collective DIS. Approaching the exhibition with their signature fluidity whereby they manage to subdue most divergences, they create a space in flux, the transitions between the individual works are generally smooth, resembling a working area with no clear delineation between private and public space. This dimension is particularly present in DIS’s installation, ‘The Island (KEN)’ (2015), a composite kitchen bench and shower in the room that’s host to talks and performances. The installation becomes a kind of mainframe to the exhibition, providing a reading or a point of entry to the other works.

Parker Ito’s 24 image series are the first works you encounter in the space. The images are made up of a material that responds to light. This, coupled with the superimposed images, gives the impression that they are constantly changing and re-materialising. Ito’s work thus introduces the first topic of the exhibition: ‘Circulation and Rematerialisation of Images’.

Co-Workers – Network as Artist (2015). Exhibition view. Courtesy Musée de l’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris.
Co-Workers – Network as Artist (2015). Exhibition view. Courtesy Musée de l’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris.

Further on, Cecile B. Evans ‘Working on What the Heart Wants’ (2015) is a prototype for a work that will be presented at the 2016 Berlin Biennale, also curated by DIS.  It’s an installation made up of a three channel work, where Evans presents a 3D environment on the left side, a video showing a character with wavering emotions in the centre, and a chat with freelancers that were asked to work on the production on the right.

The notion of mutability and consciousness especially during times of emotional agitation and change –is further developed in Ian Cheng’s ‘Emissary in the Squat of Gods’ (2015). It’s the first episode in a new series of works made up of two parts. The first shows a preconscious primitive community faced with a geological catastrophe. The second shows a character coming out of a volcano, as his consciousness starts to grow.

Similarly Hito Steyerl’s ‘Liquidity, Inc.’ (2014), presents an installation that represents a time of crisis and impending catastrophe, while questioning our response to this situation. It’s an installation piece made up of a screen that divides the room in two. On the entrance side, vertically positioned blue foam benches direct you to the other side of the screen where one finds a tsunami-like cushioned area made of the same material.

Co-Workers – Network as Artist (2015). Exhibition view. Courtesy Musée de l’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris.
Co-Workers – Network as Artist (2015). Exhibition view. Courtesy Musée de l’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris.

Placed at the exit is Ed Atkins’ darkly humorous video ‘Even Pricks’ (2015). The work deals with depression and the inability to express a deeper connection than is afforded through emoticons. Following that one finds the self-proclaimed “exhibition within an exhibition”, a curatorial contribution from by a long-term research and multi-platform project 89plus, founded by Simon Castets and Hans-Ulrich Obrist. Their project, presenting work by a younger generation of artists born in or after 1989 –a year marked by the fall of the Berlin wall and the introduction of the World Wide Web –is cut-off from the rest of the exhibition, contained in a glass booth right next to the exit.

Certain aspects of Lyotard and Chaput’s 1985 exhibition remain central and recurrent in 2015’s  Co-Workers. It presents as an exhibition dramaturgy of the complex relationship between objects and subjects and new materialism. On an aesthetic level this is vastly explored here, there could be more engagement with an ethical discourse concerned with its themes that goes beyond an aestheticization of the subject. Thirty years on, it’s a problem that’s not yet been resolved. **

The Co-Workers – Network as Artist group exhibition is on at Musée de l’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, running October 9 to January 31, 2016. 

Header image: Nøne Futbol Club, ‘Work nº2B : La tonsure (after Marcel Duchamp)’ (2015). Installation view. Courtesy Musée de l’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris.

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HUMAN+ @ CCCB, Oct 7 – Apr 10

6 October 2015

The Centre de Cultura Contemporania de Barcelona is opening a new exhibition this week, titled HUMAN+: The future of our species and running from October 7, 2015 to April 10, 2016.

The exhibition explores “potential future trajectories of our species”, considering both the historical and emerging technologies as well as their ethical and culture contexts. Knowing that our lives are determined, in a sense, by the state and transience of technological tools and scientific discoveries, HUMAN+ presents a range of imagined and real possibilities. 

First presented at Science Gallery Dublin in 2011, HUMAN+ now re-emerges as a co-production between CCCB and Science Gallery, complete with a slew of additional works as well as a full event series and new catalogue.

See the exhibition page for details. **

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Co-Workers: Beyond Disaster @ Bétonsalon, Oct 7 – Jan 30

6 October 2015

A new group project titled Co-Workers: Beyond Disaster opens this week, running at Paris’ Bétonsalon from October 7, 2015 to January 30, 2016.

The Bétonsalon centre for art and research, integrated into the site of the University Paris 7, opens a new show curated by Mélanie Bouteloup and Garance Malivel that “puts forth the speculative powers of storytelling and science fiction to rethink the ways we inhabit our environment” through collaboration between different fields and formats.

Participating in the exhibition are 17 different artists, including Antoine Catala, Ian Cheng, Nobuko Tsuchiya, Pamela Rosenkranz and Wu Tsang

See the exhibition page for details. **

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Phantom Limbs (2014) @ Pilar Corrias exhibition photos

18 August 2014

Named after the neurological phenomenon of a body part, even organ, that’s missing or amputated but still felt in its absence, the Phantom Limbs group exhibition expressed a dearth in its abundance. Running at London’ s Pilar Corrias between June 27 and August 1, eight artists exploring “notions of consciousness” within a digitally mediated existence were presented across its two floors.

Ken Okiishi‘s ‘E.lliotT.: Children of the New Age’ (2004) presented a surreal look into a mediated suburban dead end via amateur aesthetics and the disembodied mumblings of its performers, featured in its own white box display just across from Charlotte Prodger‘s ‘Compression Fern Face (2014)’ installation. A Sony reference monitor displayed a 3D animation filtering human experience through found texts in the latter artist’s work, YouTube clips, 16mm film and spoken narratives presented as “two coded abstract symbols move in tension with each other” on the screens white, framed background.

Philippe Parreno‘s ‘Happy Ending, Stockholm, Paris, 1996, 1997’ (2014), one of ten transparent glass scultpures, stands near the gallery reception, as easily overlooked as when an earlier incarnation of the work mysteriously disappeared from a 1996 solo exhibition. Antoine Catala‘s ‘: )’ (2014) and ‘(::( )::) (bandaid)’ (2014) are emoticons made material and moving on a motor on the floor beneath ‘Storage’ (2014) – an image of a fridge with an impress of pot and pan in it – while Ian Cheng‘s live computer simulations, stood in a corner across, present basic algorithms acting as “DNA that seeds the generation of endless, mutating sequences of behaviours between objects and characters”.

Films by Rachel Rose and Cécile B. Evans, ‘Palisades in Palisades’ (2014) and ‘The Brightness’ (2013) appear in the darkened downstairs. The former is a 3D monitor featuring choreographed, rootless teeth and an interview with a Phantom Limb specialist, also called Cécile B. Evans, her speech consciously and self-reflexively out of sync with the movement of her mouth. The latter uses scripted, documentary and post-production processes to explore the major consequences of “images and data overflowing from the flat surfaces of the screen” across historical timelines, while Alisa Baremboym‘s ‘Leakage Industries: Clear Conduit’ (2012) – a sculptural construction of organic and synthesised materials converged and suspended from the ceiling – flows top-down but is constrained by its context as the materials list describes its product as “dimensions variable”.

From here, other works by the same artists intersperse the two floors across media, including the sculptural incarnation of the CGI of Evans’ ‘The Brigthness’ in ‘Lost, Teeth’ (2014) and Okiishi’s ‘Holding my arm/phone above the visual barrier to see it becoming a cyborg’ (2013 – 2014) inkjet print wallpaper confusing notions of space, materiality and authorship. Together they reveal a chilling examination of a language and experience in perpetual, ungraspable, motion. **

Exhibition photos, top-right.

Rachel Rose, ‘Palisades in Palisades'(2014) (excerpt) 

Phantom Limbs group exhibition ran at London’s Pilar Corrias from June 27 to August 1, 2014.

Header image: Phantom Limbs (2014) @ Pilar Corrias exhibition view. Courtesy the gallery.

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31 July 2012

Can’t believe I missed this one when it came out… but it’s still a hidden gem today so maybe it’s worth mentioning Liars‘ clip for Brats which very much follows the disturbing trend their “No.1 Against The Rush” clip started back in April.

“Brats” clip is signed by New York visual artist Ian Cheng whose “This Papaya Tastes Perfect” mix of performance & projection became quite popular last year using Steve Day and his Motion Capture Nyc expertise, now reused for Liar’s latest clip. I always knew Bugs Bunny had a twisted mind…

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