May 14, 2021 - Cooper Gallery - CURRENT: Contemporary Art from Scotland
May 14, 2021

Cooper Gallery / OCAT Shenzhen

[1] Courtesy Cooper Gallery, DJCAD, University of Dundee and OCAT Shenzhen. [2] Nashashibi/Skaer, Bear (still), 2021. Courtesy the artists. [3] Corin Sworn, Habits of Assembly (still), 2019. Courtesy the artist.

CURRENT: Contemporary Art from Scotland
Phase Four
May 22–August 22, 2021

Preview: May 22, 2–6pm

OCT Contemporary Art Terminal (OCAT)
-1F Sunken Garden
Lane 9, Qufu Road
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Exhibition programme:
Nashashibi/Skaer: Chimera
Corin Sworn: Variations of Assembly 

Organised by:
Cooper Gallery, DJCAD, University of Dundee
OCT Contemporary Art Terminal (OCAT) Shenzhen

In partnership with the British Council

There is no full stop to “the contemporary.”

With no conclusion, not even grammatical, “the contemporary” refuses to stop. No pause for breath or rest in which to catch a glimpse, an illumination of what “now” might be. Instead, revelling in an associative fugue, “the contemporary” is inexhaustible and all-encompassing.

Shuffling and swapping, substituting and mirroring, the contemporary upsets and disrupts what is seen, known and imagined. In this discursive frenzy, metamorphosis and transformation operate as principle and technique, calculated then deployed to efficiently and so industriously extract and unsettle.

Querying and queering historical details, cultural capital and techniques of revolutionised management, Phase Four of CURRENT: Contemporary Art from Scotland captures a passing likeness of the contemporary in all its immediate and impatient necessity.

Encompassing two exhibitions from Corin Sworn and Nashashibi/Skaer, Phase Four of CURRENT dissects the fictions and truths absorbed and transmitted by the contemporary. Juxtaposing chronologies and histories, the exhibitions critically interrupt the singular economy of the contemporary, bringing tempestuous visions of “now” into a meditative pose.

Composed of artist's films and prints, Chimera, the exhibition by Nashashibi/Skaer, traverses mythology, nature, language and interpretation to elucidate the protean metamorphosis underpinning the contemporary. Examining the act of looking and the transformative potential of film, Chimera reprises Paul Nash’s evocative 1944 painting Flight of the Magnolia in Our Magnolia and blurs the distinctions between the wild and the farmed in Lamb and its sequel Bear, a newly produced film which features a soundtrack created in collaboration with Cantonese opera singer Zhuo Peili. Bear also provides the starting point for a new woodblock print developed in collaboration with Chinese artist Xu Zhiwei. 

Corin Sworn’s solo exhibition Variations of Assembly encompasses architecture, sound, video, dance, and poetry to explicate the undercurrents of monitoring, movement, sincerity, and drive that score the contemporary. With a new multi-media installation Habits of Assembly II and an artist’s publication Folding Vesuvius created specifically for this exhibition, Sworn appropriates 20th-century time-motion studies to unpick the false claims of virtuousness and efficiency declared by industrial discipline. Presented in Chinese (translated by Chinese writer Chen Dongbiao) and English, the poems and images in Folding Vesuvius explore the tacit modes of assessment folded within the managerial systems of industrialised labour, offering a sensory reaching towards the world.

Curated by Cooper Gallery, Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design, University of Dundee, UK in collaboration with leading art organisations in China and organised in partnership with the British Council, CURRENT: Contemporary Art from Scotland is a four-phase contemporary art exhibition programme, showcasing for the first time in China the distinctiveness of contemporary art made in Scotland, its grass-roots spirit and its keen debates with the social dimensions of art and culture.

Phase Four of CURRENT: Contemporary Art from Scotland is kindly supported by the British Council, China-UK Connections through Culture, The National Lottery through Creative Scotland, and the Scottish Government. CURRENT is a direct result of the Research and Development Trip (January 2014) funded by Creative Scotland.

Cooper Gallery
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