Li Ming, Rendering the Mind, 2017, video still
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LEAP 15

Born in Berlin in 1934, Hilla Becher first started collaborating with Bernd Becher in 1959, taking photographs of the water towers, blast furnaces, cooling towers, and other industrial structures that are legacies of Germany’s industrial era. Cataloging them according to type, Hilla and Bernd became pioneers of the field of industrial photography. In the years…

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It would be easy to view the artistic practice of Lee Kit as a quaint celebration of the quotidian side of life, or perhaps as a pensive homage to the everyday carried out through a mute interplay of found objects placed within a space. In this sense it resembles so much global arte povera seen…

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1. EDDIE PEAKE “Everyone just can’t stop talking about Eddie Peake!” was the slightly obnoxious maxim repeatedly uttered around London this past March. Indeed, the young artist’s work was featured in multiple well-known galleries in the British capital, some only blocks away from each other. In March alone, Peake launched a solo exhibition at Cell…

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In Michael Lin’s work there is a consistent allusion to the relationship between people and their environment. The departure point is in his observation and intuition towards a particular setting. Gradually the works initiate a dialogue at the conjunction between the institutionalization of art spaces and the environments of the “everyday.” So what does this…

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The nightlife of Beijing is remarkably lackluster. Long-term foreign residents, bored stiff, often find themselves in search of a little entertainment. These laowai come in all stripes, and the good are mixed in with the bad. Of the various diversions they devise for themselves, one form is particularly noteworthy: “foreign salons” (yang shalong). On the…

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AT UNIVERSITY, GUO Hongwei was obsessed with analyzing the different styles of brushwork techniques corresponding to different periods of art history. But shortly after, he began attempting to abandoning them. From 2005 to 2007, Guo’s oil paintings mostly drew inspiration from his and his relatives’ childhood photographs. Regardless of whether these photos were in color,…

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Just as their George Street neighbors had nearly forgotten the fact that the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia (MCA) was under renovation, at the start of fall the MCA finally reopened after more than one year. Bustling with street performers on a daily basis, the Sydney Harbour celebrated the reopening with a week-long series of…

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The artists’ talk that followed GUEST’s recent show at Ullens Center for Contemporary Art (UCCA) was more an extension of the exhibition than an explanation thereof. Three group members, Zhao Yao, Xu Qu, and Lu Pingyuan— Li Ming and Lin Ke were absent— spent a good deal of time showing images and videos downloaded from…

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The greatness of Edouard Manet’s The Execution of Maximilian, according to Georges Bataille, lies exactly in its relationship to the original— Francisco Goya’s El Tres de Mayo 1808— or its inheritance of resistance: the regard for and expression of indifference. “There is no essential difference between him painting the scene of an execution or painting…

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Following a performance of the now iconic Gutai work Electric Dress (1956), Atsuko Tanaka laid down the garment’s 200 colored light bulbs to rest on a piece of fabric. Still hot, the light bulbs scorched the material, leaving behind an ad hoc composition of black circles loosely marking out a figure. This figurative index, both…

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THE BOSTON EXHIBITION— 12 abstract paintings, in context with 58 figurative paintings showing 200 years of American art— jolted the Chinese public and artists out of the Soviet and Socialist Realism then permeating the academies in the period following the Cultural Revolution. The artists had no frame of reference to absorb these new art forms,…

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APROPOS THE ART world, Dubai in many ways mirrors Hong Kong. Both are post-colonial waterfront cities that boast histories centuries-long, but have only come to full maturation within the last few decades— Dubai after the establishment of the UAE, Hong Kong after Opening and Reform— and for the most part, they have been perceived as…

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ALTHOUGH EVERYTHING IN the Middle East may be big news at the moment, it remained necessary to explain to everyone, on the eve of a visit to Sharjah, exactly what Sharjah is. The vast majority of my Beijing friends— both foreign and Chinese— reacted the same way to hearing these two syllables: they were completely…

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MID-MAY IN Hong Kong— the arrival of another art fair left everyone dizzy amid the humidity and unseasonable rain. The highly-anticipated new visual culture museum, M+, contributed to the season’s loaded slate its first large-scale public exhibition project: “Mobile M+: Yau Ma Tei.” In recent years art and culture in Hong Kong has expanded at…

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In 1942, Mao Zedong spoke to the encampment of a burgeoning Communist Party of China in Shaanxi province, in what would later be heralded as the “Yan’an Talks on Literature and Art.” At the time, the American scholar Joseph Nye was five years old. Half a century would pass before he, as dean of Harvard’s…

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LEAP 47 | Spring/Summer 2018

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