If This is a Man. The exhibition revisits the concepts about artist, exhibition making and solo exhibition, which triggers a process of 're-viewing' and 'reproduction'. Jiang Zhi takes on the role of a curator and reflects on the concept of the 'artist' and his/her persona.
Curated by: Bao Dong, Nikita Yingqian Cai
You who live safe
In your warm houses,
You who find, returning in the evening,
Hot food and friendly faces:
Consider if this is a man
Who works in the mud,
Who does not know peace,
Who fights for a scrap of bread,
Who dies because of a yes or a no.
Consider if this is a woman
Without hair and without name,
With no more strength to remember,
Her eyes empty and her womb cold
Like a frog in winter.
Primo Levi, If This is a Man, 1947
Guangdong Times Museum has the pleasure to present Jiang Zhi: If This is a Man from April 28 to June 24, 2012. It is the first solo exhibition organized by Guangdong Times Museum since its inauguration, and the first of Jiangzhi's solo presented by a museum in China. The exhibition revisits the concepts about artist, exhibition making and solo exhibition, which triggers a process of "re-viewing" and "reproduction."
Today, the influence and decisive power of the entire art system over artistic practices has already far surpassed that of any single person. The difference between an artist and a non-artist is perhaps only determined by whether or not "the man" is—either actively or passively—situated within this very system. When one restores the images of an artist from the previous ones, such as the prodigy, the lunatic, the nobleman, the hero, the recluse, the star or the great man to a man; and set aside the idea of the "art system", "the man" insofar could be disenchanted to just "a man." The interaction between the museum public, the artist and the curator have made the subject of this exhibition no longer the artist as an individual but instead the field of a multiple "everyone." Possibly the most interesting, however, is that a fabricated character, "Mu Mu," has also entered into the subject of the exhibition. "Mu Mu" can be any person, including a member of the audience.
In this exhibition, Jiang Zhi takes on the role of a curator and reflects on the concept of the "artist" and his/her persona. There are four exhibitions under the title of "If This Is a Man": Jiang Zhi's solo exhibition curated by the curators; The Man with the Eye-white and Landscape of the Very Spirit curated by Jiang Zhi; and the museum constructed for "Mu Mu"; there is no linear relationship of subordination between them, but four paralleled mirrored worlds.
Is artist "a man"? Under such a construct, who is "a man" is hard to say at this point. Is it Jiang Zhi the individual? Is it Xiong Wangzhou, his fellow painter from hometown? Is it "Landscape of the Very Spirit", the once closely watched blog identity? Or is it "Mu Mu", the doll and mask? Of course, "a man" can also be someone connected to Jiang Zhi's works, such as the poet Forefinger, the actress Ah-Jiao, or Jiang Zhi's friends and relatives. "A man" might appear in a written passage, a recorded segment, a video or a photograph. "A man" could be in the exhibition hall looking at the artworks, or reading this text right now.
Jiang Zhi was born in 1971 in Yuanjiang City, Hunan Province and graduated from the China Academy of Art in 1995. Jiang spent his early years in the city of Shenzhen and currently lives in Beijing. Jiang uses video, painting, photography, installation, writing and other mediums, blurring the boundaries between fictional documentary, mediated images and private narratives to reveal the intersections and segmentations between the body, desire and emotion of different individual and its representation or imagination in contemporary society. Selected exhibitions include: The Power of Doubt, Photo España, Museo Colecciones ICO, Madrid, Spain (2011); Super-Organism CAFAM Biennial, Museum of the Central Academy of Fine Art, Beijing; Attitude, Shanghai, Arario Art Space, Shanghai and Platform China, Beijing (2009–2010); The 2nd Guangzhou Triennial, Guangdong Museum of Art, Guangzhou (2005); Techniques of the Visible-The 5th Shanghai Biennial, Shanghai Museum of Art (2004); The 5th System, He Xiangning Art Museum, Shenzhen (2003); Zone of Urgency-The 50th Venice Biennale (2003); Pause, The 4th Gwangju Biennial, Korea(2002); Fantasia / Under Construction, Space imA, Seoul, Korea(2001); Post-Sense Sensibility, Beijing (1999).
The publication If This is a Man will be released at the opening of the exhibition. This publication collects a selection of the artist's writings as well as essays and interviews by the curators. Aside from a selection of critical essays, the publication has also collected various writings about the artist by Qiu Zhijie, Chen Tong, Chen Xiaoyun and others. This publication is presented by the Guangdong Times Museum.
Sun. April 22, 2012, 14:30–17:00, What is Artist, Artist is What- Talk by Bao Dong
Mon. April 23, 2012, 20:00–22:00, A Talk of No Talking- Artist Talk by Jiang Zhi / Venue: Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts
Sun. April 29, 2012, 14:00–16:00, Terrace Conversation: Yang Fudong, Chen Xiaoyun and Jiang Zhi on Video Arts; Moderated by: Du Qingchun
Fri. June 22, 2012, 20:00–21:30, Art Overtime "Jiang Zhi: If It is A Man" Friday Late Art
"Mu Mu and Me" and "See with Them" would be part of the Learn and Experience activities during the exhibition, for further updates please visit Sina Weibo, Douban or the museum's official website.
Vernissage: Sat. April 28, 2012 15:30–17:30
Guangdong Times Museum
Huangbianbei Road Baiyun Avenue (Times Rose Garden III) Guangzhou
Closed on Mondays except for public holidays
Guided Tour: 15:00–15:30 every Sat. & Sun.