|Wang Gongxin, Tonight Maybe Have Wind (2006), video stills|
The new space opened late last year with a solo show by Zhang Peili, who pretty much initiated video art in China with his 1988 video performance of repeatedly smashing a mirror, gluing it back together, smashing it again, regluing etc etc. Now MAAP is showing the other major pioneer of video art in China, Wang Gongxin, who installed and exhibited The Sky of Brooklyn—Digging a hole in Beijing in his own home in 1995, the first time video art was shown in Beijing.
Two works from Gongxin. The unfortunately named Tonight Maybe Have Wind (2006) is there as you enter—flat TV-sized monitor on the wall, a close-ish shot of swaying branches running in a repeated pattern of super-fast and ultra slow. Four minutes sped up and slowed down in such a way as to keep the ‘actual’ total duration unchanged. And there’s a subtle change synced to the image speed—the colour drops out to black and white, then slowly returns. Seems a bit of a formalist exercise on the representation of time through tech and I find myself struggling to get much of an aesthetic or intellectual buzz. I think about subjective time and attentional focus, the adaptive function of colour vision for an ape wanting to munch the ripest fruit and the freshest leaves but, nup, nothing. Ah well.
|Wang Gongxin, Basic Colour (2010), installation view|
photo Emily Nelson
The body as land goes back forever. There are bodies of water, breast-named hills and bodies marked with ochre and ash. Gongxin shows that tradition and washes it away. The video loops and the tradition replays.
Wang Gongxin, MAAP Space, Fortitude Valley, Brisbane, March 22-May 3; maap.org.au; wanggongxin.com
Also check out http://www.maap.org.au/publications/, the recently launched online archive featuring 15-years of MAAP publications.
This article originally appeared as part of RT's Online e-dition May 15, 2013
RealTime issue #115 June-July 2013 pg. 28
© Greg Hooper; for permission to reproduce apply to firstname.lastname@example.org