Alumni Events Around the World
Civilization: The Way We Live Now presents nearly 300 works by more than 130 of the world’s most renowned photographic artists, offering a complex and sprawling vision of contemporary life. The images gathered here, produced in the past 25 years, speak to the changes brought about by globalization, and draw attention both to the increasing amount of complexity and conflict, and to the unprecedented degree of interdependence, that characterize life today. They attest, as well, to the development of the medium of photography, and its ability to document these sweeping changes. Organized in collaboration between UCCA and the Foundation for the Exhibition of Photography, the Beijing presentation of Civilization is curated by William A. Ewing and Holly Roussell.
In his 2011 book, Civilization, the historian Niall Ferguson notes: “These days most people around the world dress in much the same way: the same jeans, the same sneakers, the same T-shirts… It is one of the greatest paradoxes of modern history that a system designed to offer infinite choice to the individual has ended up homogenizing humanity.” This paradox lies at the core of “Civilization,” which strives to explain the “complex whole” that is modern society, in all its spiritual and material richness. The photographers in this exhibition depict, reveal, examine, criticize and otherwise reflect our hyper-modern and complex social terrain, from Edward Burtynsky’smassively transformed landscapesto Lauren Greenfield’s revealing urban portraits,from Toshio Shibata’s highly ordered tableaus to Xing Danwen’s electronic pollution.
The exhibition is divided into eight sections. “Hive” explores the systems of cohabitation and collaboration that have developed in urban settings. “Alone Together” documents the solidarities and estrangements found within communities, as well as the effect of the internet on sociality. “Flow” testifies to the accelerated production and widening wealth gap in the post-industrial world. “Persuasion” explores the power of symbolic capital, from marketing strategies to consumption habits, from religious beliefs to personality cults. “Control” examines humanity’s ability to create order, resolve disputes, and organize political and social structures. “Rupture” focuses on the breakdown of this order, and the conflicts between individuals and collectives. “Escape” follows the ascent of recreational culture, where relaxation, entertainment, adventure, and thrill-seeking offer freedom from the given. Finally, “Next” presents visions of the future, questioning teleological narratives of development.
Grantee: Xing Danwen
In addition to a number of scientists and artists, the Japanese artist and activist Yoshiaki Kaihatsu, an ACC alumni, was invited to design the central island of freedom for the ZU. Since Kaihatsu's works are always based on a cooperative formation and reinterpretation of a concrete social environment, his island of freedom will by no means correspond to the cliché of the lonely island. Rather, the Japanese activist creates a space that looks like a futuristic extra-terrestrial living room and invites you to grapple with questions of freedom in the 21st century in various formats. The result is a spaceship of free speech.
Grantee: Kaihatsu Yoshiaki
AliensofManila is an immersive site-specific installation by ACC alumnus and artist/designer Leeroy New and curated by Pintô director Luca Parolari. It will launch at Pintô International’s East Village headquarters at 431 East 12th Street on March 9, 2018. In the meantime, New’s Aliens of Manila will be making public appearances in New York City throughout this week. Keep an eye out for the Aliens as you navigate the streets of NYC!
Grantee: Jan Leeroy New
The largest solo exhibition in the United States in more than a decade of the work of internationally-renowned artist Dinh Q. Lê, this exhibition of five major video and photography installations entwines rarely heard narratives of war and migration from people in North Vietnam, the Vietnamese diaspora, and refugees who, like Lê, have returned to live in their home country. Assembling these obscure stories through the collection of found photographs, artists’ war sketches, and oral histories, Lê presents a multifaceted story about Vietnamese life before, during, and after the Vietnam War. In the process, he questions the viability of collective memory and reveals the effects of trauma on the cultural imagination.
ACC has provided support to the San Jose Museum of Art for this exhibition.
Somnath Bhatt | Issam Kourbaj | Firoz Mahmud | Qinza Najm | Sahana Ramakrishnan | Sa’dia Rehman | Mohsin Shafi | Marcelino Stuhmer | Saira Wasim
Curated by Atif Sheikh
“Take it like a ...”; contemporary trends in the aesthetics of violence takes a look at violence as methodology and/or aesthetics in contemporary art, and the exploration of its connection to similar aesthetics in ancient art.
The show, curated by Twelve Gates’ Atif Sheikh, brings together a group of artists whose work responds to and explores the many aspects of violence in contemporary society. By referencing the aesthetics of the past, each in their own way, the tradition of depicting violence in art becomes evident; as applied to contemporary issues, the aesthetics call into question the tradition itself. As we as a global society become increasingly aware of the destructive, divisive outcomes and less convinced by the narrative in favor of the necessity of engaging in conflict, the tradition of depicting violence in art reflects this almost traumatized, fragmented reckoning. The pieces seem to seek to slow down the process of conflict enough to understand it and perhaps choose a different conclusion.
Sheikh says, “Ancient art offers a valuable insight into ancient societies and their aesthetics of violence. This is especially the case in the classical and medieval representation of the ‘Other’ as either monstrous or feminine (e.g. the ancient Greek representation of the masculine hero in juxtaposition to the feminine Barbarian enemy). Whereas war was considered noble in ancient times, it still needed justification through the representation of the enemy in art. Today, as we live in a time of multiple, simultaneous wars, violence is similarly justified by painting the ‘enemy’ as vile in the media, thereby engendering a sense of righteousness.
By exploring the resonances between the ancient and the contemporary world, the aim of my project is to stir up conversations about issues that are otherwise complacently accepted.”
Grantee: Firoz Mahmud
This two-person multimedia exhibition will explore ideas of place - both the physical and the conceptual. San Francisco-based artist Jenny Odell’s collages of Google Satellite image cutouts - views of landfills, waste ponds, parking lots - force viewers to step back and consider fundamental questions of humanity, our presence and impact on the Earth. California-born, Brooklyn-based artist and ACC alumna Ellie Irons foregrounds ecology and Anthropocene in her diverse projects, two of which will be featured in the gallery space. Her series Flight Lines, a collaboration with her husband, Dan Phiffer, documents aerial landscapes, recording and reinstating movements of both living and non-living entities - from birds and bugs to drones and floating plastic bags - through video and abstracted animation. Irons’ Invasive Pigments focuses on relationships between humans and plants, bringing to mind ideas of migration and proliferation across place and time. For this show, pigments made from ‘unintentional’ plants (AKA weeds) gathered from the local Humboldt environment will be placed along with Irons’ “Handbook for Painting with Weeds” at stations in the gallery. Visitors will be invited to create their own paintings, allowing them to actively engage with and experience their local environment from a new angle. This show will challenge viewers to interrogate ideas of place - near and far, abstract and personal - both actively and passively, in new and complex ways.
Grantee: Ellie Irons