November 18, 2014 - Ullens Center for Contemporary Art (UCCA) - Polit-Sheer-Form
November 18, 2014

Polit-Sheer-Form

Polit-Sheer-Form, Fitness for All, 2014. Installation, mixed media, dimensions variable. Courtesy Polit-Sheer-Form and MABSOCIETY.

Polit-Sheer-Form: Fitness for All
21 November 2014–4 January 2015

Ullens Center for Contemporary Art
798 Art District
No. 4 Jiuxianqiao Lu
Beijing
China

T +86 10 5780 0200
visitor [​at​] ucca.org.cn

www.ucca.org.cn

The artistic collective Polit-Sheer-Form was founded in 2005 by artists Hong Hao, Xiao Yu, Liu Jianhua, Song Dong, and curator Leng Lin. In the past nine years they have pioneered a way of working in which artistic commentary on cultural and spiritual life in contemporary China grows out of a relational regimen of ordinary, communal activities: talking, traveling, eating, reading, and playing together. Polit-Sheer-Form: Fitness for All is the collective’s largest institutional survey in China to date. The show, which opens in conjunction with the 2014 UCCA gala and benefit auction for which Polit-Sheer-Form have provided artistic direction, occupies the Central Gallery, Nave, and Long Gallery and runs from November 21, 2014, until January 4, 2015.

Born in the 1960s, Polit-Sheer-Form’s five members belong to a special generation with memories—albeit only childhood memories—of life during China’s socialist high tide. In their art, they reconstitute the visuality and affect of that earlier moment, distilling its previously political imperatives into pure (sheer) forms, devoid of programmatic content. Their signature “Polit-Sheer-Blue,” as ubiquitous as it is innocuous, is perhaps the most obvious manifestation of this singular tendency.

At the heart of the varied works shown in Polit-Sheer-Form: Fitness for All—which range from a composite portrait of the five members as their collective avatar Mr. Zheng, to the new performance Whip It! in which a performer in a Polit-Sheer-Blue suit batters the museum’s walls, to a beautifully produced multi-channel video of volunteers coming together to wash a public bus as they heed the dictate Do the Same Good Deed—lies an ongoing interest in how art can make ideological structures visible. They do this with brotherly camaraderie and self-effacing humor, a side of their practice perhaps most clearly visible in the exhibition’s titular piece, in which fitness machines identical to those found in community spaces around the country are appropriated into the gallery context for the cheerful, perhaps winking, betterment of the viewer. Through a healthy regimen of artistic exploration, Polit-Sheer-Form urges us at once to savor the intellectual freedoms, however ambiguous, of a moment where substantive dogma has given way to instrumental rationality, and to yearn for the lucid moral imperatives, however problematic, of a bygone era. In so doing, they champion a value system based on happiness that might prove instructive for our shared future.

Polit-Sheer-Form: Fitness for All is curated by UCCA Director Philip Tinari together with exhibitions manager Bian Ka and assistant curator Guo Xi. CP and WTi Group are the new media art production partner. Chronus Art Center is the new media art partner. Special thanks to MABSOCIETY and Catherine Lee for their support.

UCCA 2015 exhibition highlights
Liu Wei: Colors
6 February–13 April

William Kentridge: Notes Toward a Model Opera
26 June–30 August

David Diao
18 September–15 November

Michael Chow: Voice for My Father
24 January–22 March

Zhao Gang: The Road to Serfdom
3 April–31 May

The Chinese Photobook
10 April–31 May

Ming Wong
12 June–9 August

Korakrit Arunanondchai
21 August–19 October

Haegue Yang 
30 October–3 January 2016

Editorial contacts:
Ling Chen, UCCA: ling.chen [​at​] ucca.org.cn
Cheng Xia, UCCA: cheng.xia [​at​] ucca.org.cn
Phoebe Moore, Sutton PR Asia: phoebe [​at​] suttonprasia.com
Dylan Shuai, Sutton PR Asia: dylan [​at​] suttonprasia.com

Polit-Sheer-Form at the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art (UCCA)
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