STATION V: Beijing, China

(November 5 – 20, 2005)

“The collection is a very ‘open’ collection. ‘Open’ may be a strange word here; I mean different things. It a collection of works of artists who are themselves very open, exploring new ways, asking more questions than giving answers, artists also who are still developing. It doesn’t aim to fix images people should have of China, or to transmit stereotypes of China. It is not about ‘signature works’ or ‘trophy pieces’ it’s more about a spirit, about involvement. It is an open cooperation between a special collector, artists, curators and a gallery. It is not an overview, it is an entrance.” – Lorenz Helbling, Director ShanghART

“It says in the Book of Poems, ‘When feelings flood, one could express in words; when words could not express the feelings, one heaves a sigh; if a sigh is still not enough, once could sing a song; when songs still could not quench the emotions, one dances.” Nowadays, contemporary artists use video and photography as a new media to express their passion.’

In the image age, with the widespread circulation of newspapers, magazines, movies and the Internet, the impact of new media on our daily lives cannot be ignored. These “images” reflect modern people’s insights towards the world and the universe, and at the same time reflect our living environment. The camera has become the carrier of these most important visual expressions. Compared with the paintbrush, it also becomes a more accepted and natural tool. Furthermore, it leads creative art activities to the new media art tide.

Since the 1990s, Chinese artist have made noticeable achievements in new media such as photography and video, which have attracted much attention from the art community inside and outside of China. Zooming into Focus features the collection of the Haudenschilds. As the first retrospective show of Chinese contemporary photography and video ever held in the National Museum of China, Beijing, it reveals the changes of social notions and technologies in Chinese contemporary art from a totally different angle. The exhibition showcases the most outstanding and symbolic works since the end of the last century, which directly reflect the changing culture, social environment and values in China’s booming economy.” -Feng Yuan, Director of the National Art Museum, of China, Beijing

“China’s National Art Museum is currently hosting what some are calling ‘its best exhibit ever.’ It’s a stronghold of landmark artworks from the breakout period of the early 90s, and this is a ‘once in Beijing’ opportunity to see them all in one place. Go at once to the art museum, but make it before the 20th of November, when the show ends and art fans sadly walk back to the distant 798-Dashanzi district.” – Published in That’s Beijing

“The National Art Museum of China presented the exhibition Zooming Into Focus: Contemporary Chinese Photography From the Haudenschild Collection. The exhibition highlighted the remarkable photography and videography works currently being created in China. The swift transformation of Chinese culture is reflected in the work of each of the participating artists, who comment on contemporary Chinese urban life with intelligence, wit, apprehension and nostalgia.

Noted American art collectors Eloisa and Chris Haudenschild have created one of the most important collections of contemporary Chinese art in the world. Focusing on the work of experimental artists from Beijing, Guangzhou and Shanghai, the collection makes groundbreaking contributions to the field of international contemporary art. The National Art Museum of China, which is China’s national museum for the visual arts, focuses on collecting, studying and exhibiting China’s modern and contemporary works of fine art based on people’s daily life.

Shi Yong, one of the participating artists has his own opinion about getting some local exposure, ‘I feel very lucky that we can do this exhibition in our home country today. Actually many Chinese artists care more about domestic exhibitions then overseas ones.'” – Published by the Siemens Art Program for Culture Times Beijing

Zooming into Focus: Contemporary Chinese Photograph and Video from the Haudenschild Collection

November 5 – 20, 2005, National Museum of China, Beijing, China
Exhibition organized by Laura Zhou
Zooming into Focus catalog and installation design at the National Museum of China, Beijing by Shi Yong

About Lorenz Helbling
Lorenz Helbling is a curator and founder and director of ShanghART, a gallery located in the popular Moganshan Road complex of Shanghai. Helbling has earned a reputation as an exceptional talent scout, exhibiting, promoting, and nurturing dozens of emerging and respected Chinese artists over the past two decades. He was listed third in Andrew James’  list of the Top 100 Most Influential People in Chinese contemporary art. After earning his degree in art history from the University of Zurich, Helbling studied Chinese at Shanghai’s Fudan University in 1985 and developed an interest in Chinese history and film. Before opening ShanghART in 1996, he worked in Hong Kong. ShanghART was the first gallery in the city to be dedicated to Chinese contemporary art. It was chosen as one of the top 75 galleries of the 20th century by Taschen.

About Laura Zhou
Laura Zhou is currently the gallery director of White Cube Hong Kong. Previously she was the co-director and co-founder of ShanghART in Shanghai, China. It was initiated in 1996 and it has since grown to become one of China’s most influential contemporary art institutions. ShanghART contributes as a vital resource to the development of contemporary Chinese art. Being recognized for its importance, it became the first gallery from China participating in major international art fairs like Art Basel and Fiac, Paris. Founded by Lorenz Helbling, ShanghART represents over 40 of China most talented artists working with different media ranging from painting and sculpture to video art and performance.Today ShanghART works out of three spaces in Shanghai (Moganshan Rd and Huaihai Rd) and one space in Beijing (Cao Changdi).

About Shi Yong
Shi Yong’s work embraces modernization and the ideology of consumerism as the basis for self-imagination and creation. He has produced a series of photo-based works around the concept of the ideal Shanghai citizen. It is an ongoing multifaceted project that explores images of consumption, commodity and the development of the culture industry. One series, entitled “Made in China – Welcome to China” (1999), consists of hand-painted plaster models of a young businessman in a Mao suit, sunglasses, briefcase and waving. The image of the ideal citizen used for the statue was the outcome of an Internet project through which Shi Yong asked volunteers to vote for the ideal way of looking. The individual now transforms the identity of his or her self by following the logic of commodity market surveys. It is a composite image that Shi Yong has repeatedly used in other pieces such as “Longing For” (2000) and “You Cannot Clone It, But You Can Buy It” (2001). The iconic figure is morphed through the agency of the marketplace. Recently, Shi Yong has focused his attention on large-scale installations and architectural models imbued with an absurd twist of humor. Most notably, his mixed media installation “Flying Q” is of a UFO built with the purpose of opening up the sky. The flying object comes with no additional explanation, but might be recognized as just another signature vision of and interventions into the imaginary world of Shi Yong. His subversive approach pokes fun at architecture based on rules and pre-established schemas. Shi Yong fabricates a colorful and ironic architectural structure that is at once a parody of serious design and its synthesis. In short, his work is an amalgam of Shanghai’s eclectic ‘anything goes’ attitude towards the built environment. Shi Yong was born in Shanghai in 1963. He graduated from Light Industrial School, Fine Art Department. He resides and works in Shanghai. Shi Yong has exhibited widely since the early 1990’s. Recent shows include Follow Me!, Mori Art Museum (Tokyo, 2005), Second Guangzhou Triennale, Guangsong Museum of Art (2005), Zooming into Focus, China National Art Museum (Beijing, 2005), Felicidad Indecible, Tamayo Museum of Contemporary Art (Mexico, 2005), The Heaven, The World, ShanghART & H-Space (Shanghai, 2004), Shanghai Biennale (2002), Bienal de Sao Paulo (2002) and Bienal de Maia (1999). (ShanghART; Shanghai, China)