November 8, 2009 - ArtAsiaPacific - Issue 66: Out Now
November 8, 2009

Issue 66: Out Now

ArtAsiaPacific Issue 66
November/December 2009

Whether performance artists operate in the placid white cubes of exhibition spaces or the bustle of city streets, and whether they continue to voice political discontent, encourage intellectual debate or revel in absurdist humor, their works engage with audiences in ways that surpass the limitations of the traditional art object. ArtAsiaPacific‘s November/December issue delves into the visceral, comical, morbid, staged and transient character of performative works by a diverse range of artists.

AAP contributor Angie Baecker surveys the remarkable career of Zhang Huan, whose provocative acts of social discontent included suspending himself from the ceiling and inserting a tube into his veins that allowed his blood to drip and burn on a hot-plate below. Features editor Ashley Rawlings introduces the significantly less violent but no less intriguing work of Aki Sasamoto, who trained in dance and mathematics, and now performs durational meditations on anxieties that underlie quotidian life, while AAP contributor Brian Curtin examines Thailand’s social attitudes about mortality and those outside the social “norm,” such as patients in psychiatric institutions and single working mothers, through the work of Chang Mai-based Araya Rasdjarmrearnsook. Editor-at-large HG Masters considers themes of solitude and familial discord in the work of Guy Ben-Ner, who explores the gap between live performance and video documentation. In suggesting that filming oneself is a survival tactic, Masters draws parallels between Ben-Ner’s video pieces and reality television.

Tino Sehgal is an artist whose “constructed situations” reject documentation and, more broadly, all forms of object-making, including photography, video and press releases. Although his creations are ephemeral moments conjured into being by the artist himself or his designated “interpreters,” Sehgal’s intangible art is very much for sale. On the eve of Sehgal’s major solo exhibition at New York’s Guggenheim Museum early next year, contributing editor Chin-Chin Yap discusses what it means to exhibit and collect a Sehgal work, what she describes as “the most rarefied examples of contemporary consumption to date.”

In Profiles, AAP examines the 50-year-old career of veteran Filipino conceptualist Roberto Chabet. Back in New York, assistant editor Hanae Ko sits down with RoseLee Goldberg, the founding director of performance-art biennial Performa, and discusses some of the works commissioned for the event, including a theatrical video work by Seoul’s Yeondoo Jung. In our new photo-essay section, On Site, we feature Beijing multimedia artist Song Dong‘s Waste Not installation at New York’s Museum of Modern Art—an orderly yet emotionally charged display of thousands of objects collected obsessively by the artist’s mother. Contributing editor Olivier Krischer interviews Song about the mother-son duo’s process of turning domestic life into art.

Kabul-based video artist Lida Abdul tells AAP about creating art in her native country of Afghanistan, which continues to struggle for peace and national unity, in Questionnaire. For Where I Work, Gregory Galligan visits the Brooklyn studio of Thai painter Richard Tsao. In Essays, AAP‘s new managing editor, William Pym, reflects on one of the narrative videos of Omer Fast and his revelations of truth and falsity in a highly mediated world, while independent curator and scholar Reiko Tomii assesses the current international interest in Japan’s Gutai Art Association, and poet Fatima Bhutto, from Karachi, examines how the art practices of three of her peers comment on the dangerous act of simply being a woman artist in Pakistan today. In The Point, Catherine Wilson contemplates the United Kingdom’s recently instituted immigration policy for artists, which is damaging the country’s reputation as a haven for free expression. And delving into new books on time-based media, senior editor Don J. Cohn reviews three monographs on performance artists Mike Parr, Zhang Huan and Tehching Hsieh.

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