China in Four Seasons: Jin Jiangbo
4 July – 6 September 2009
Curated by Rhana Devenport
Govett-Brewster Art Gallery
Queen St, New Plymouth
Aotearoa New Zealand
The vast and penetrating photographs of Jin Jiangbo mark the beginning of the Govett-Brewster’s major series China in Four Seasons. Eschewing the national survey format in favour of a year long project comprising four exhibitions and residencies, it presents the extraordinary power, singularity and insight of certain artists working in China today.
Against a backdrop of worldwide economic malaise, Jin Jiangbo presents recent series of photographic works. Begun in 2007 and using titles such as Great Economic Retreat, Chinese Market Scene and Shanghai, Shanghai, his arresting panaromas offer an immediate response to the complex fabric within the unique socialist economic landscape of China as it negotiates within wider frames of globalisation and integration.
The artist says, “My process enters a space of expressionless aesthetic research. Within the long process of history, things and people shuttle though, and as time passes they gradually disappear and are lost, leaving only the buildings and spaces, as ‘witnesses to history’.”
As the Gallery’s 2009 International Artist in Residence, Jin Jiangbo will also explore related concerns by examining disused factories and sites within the region of Taranaki, itself a unique platform for rapid economic growth over the past two decades.
China in Four Seasons curator and Govett-Brewster Director Rhana Devenport says, “2009 is a potent moment to examine contemporary arts practice in China after twenty years of tremendous social, political, economic and cultural upheaval since 1989.
“This century has witnessed unprecedented attention on Chinese contemporary art from the (western) international arts community while art production, infrastructure and distribution within China has radically expanded and redefined itself. Museums alone have grown exponentially from 300 to 2,300 over the period. The current global financial crisis has now provoked an equally dramatic deflation of the Chinese art market ‘bubble’. Jin Jiangbo’s work interrogates the very heart of these last five to ten years as evidence of the China’s ‘Economic Miracle’ and subsequent ‘retreat’ and ‘re-balance’ playing out in the physical world.”
Based in Shanghai and Bejjing, Jin Jiangbo is one of China’s foremost recent generation of media artists while this exhibition presents his first investigations with the ‘historic’ process of medium format photography. Jin Jiangbo was born in 1972 in Zhejiang province. He is Director of Digital Arts at Shanghai University and is completing his PhD at Tsinghua University in Beijing. Jin Jiangbo exhibits internationally; exhibitions include the Venice Biennale (2003), the 3rd Nanjing Triennial (2008), the Shanghai Biennale (2002) and Booming?, Wall Art Museum, Beijing and Shanghai Gallery of Art (2008).
Further artists to be presented in China in Four Seasons include Guo Fengyi (curated with The Long March Space, Bejing), Song Dong and Yin Xiuzhen.
Photo hiStories: Mark Adams, Bruce Connew and John Miller
Curated by Mercedes Vicente
13 June – 30 August 2009
Photo hiStories traces the documentary approaches of New Zealand photographers Mark Adams, Bruce Connew and John Miller. With the limitations of global mainstream media to deal with social and political subjects, artists have embarked upon alternative ways of documenting social reality. Consciously investigating overlooked and precarious histories, the photographers narrate their own stories with distinct methods of representation. Mark Adams’ research-based photo essays engage with New Zealand’s postcolonial history; Bruce Connew offers ‘sideways glances’ at behaviour and control in everyday life; and John Miller’s street protest scenes trace four decades of Māori political history.
Mieke Gerritzen: Beautiful World
4 July – 6 September 2009
Described by the artist as, “A Typo-Film… a visual machine for meaning, manipulation and the seduction of the word”.
The Govett-Brewster gratefully acknowledges the following supporters: