Thursday, August 30, 2007

U Can't Touch Dis:

Five photographs of mine will be included in the exhibition "U Can't Touch Dis: The New Asian Art." at the ZONE: Chelsea Center for the Arts which opens next Thursday, September 6th, from 6 to 8 pm. if you happen to be in town, I would love to see you there. The exhibition is curated by Eric Shiner.

ZONE:Chelsea Center for the Arts
601 W. 26th St. #302
New York, NY 10001
Tel: (212)255-2177

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Lust Caution

If you ask me, which past era of China I would like to live in, I would say my first choice is Tang Dynasty and second choice is 1920s - 1940s of Shanghai. Both eras are mysterious, glamorous, and full of colorful stories.
Zhang Xuan. Tang Dynasty.

I only studied Tang Dynasty from the Tang paintings, which women are plump and sassy, men are heroic and smart. But it is much easier for me to imagine myself live in the 1930s of Shanghai. I have seen pictures of my mother’s mom dressed in fur and silk Qi Pao hand-painted with orchards. I once lived with a friend who residents in a French style apartment building that built in 1930s, as I was watching the movie Red Rose, White Rose a few nights ago, I actually start to smell the face powder and hair oil.
©Jin Weihong
©Liu Jianhua

The image of Shanghai women of the 1930s is iconic in many art form. Many Chinese contemporary artists have used this subject as their inspiration, so do many filmmakers. Center Stage, Shanghai Triad, Temptress Moon are some of the most well known films about Shanghai in 1920s – 1940s. So not so surprise, Academy Award winning film director Ang Lee’s next film is also about Shanghai in that era. It is very hard to get the story line from watching the trailer (of course); I have heard the rumor that the film maybe rated NC-17, not unusual for a director who made Brokenback Mountain. I just can’t wait to see the film.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Opening at Griffin Museum

My recent adventure was a road trip to Winchester, MA for the opening of 13th Annual Juried Show at Griffin Museum of Photography. The trip was exceptional fun because good friend Amy Stein was on the wheels, not mention I had chance to see Amy in action which was mind-blowing exciting.

The opening was quite successful, it started with artist’s talk by Amy Stein, David Wolf, Nicholas Fedak II and myself. The curator/jury Brian Clamp of Clampart was also at the opening. If you are in Boston area, please don’t miss the show.

Also don't miss is the new issue of Seesaw Magazine. The Issue 8 features my portrait work from Almost Naked series and also work by Jackie Nickerson, Hank Willis Thomas, Daniel Gustav Cramer, Roger Ballen, Nicky Bird, Kerim Ayac and an interview with Roger Ballen.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Personal Hostory - Lane 390

Image by Rik Sferra

Last night, I watched the film City of God, absolutely stunning, I like the mind twisting way of story-telling, the cinematography and really everything about this film. Most of all, I get emotionally attached to the film's subject matter tremendously, not the gangster part, but the life style of the slums.

I know I really am getting old, because I start to think about the past. Not many of my American friends knew that I was born and grew up in one of the largest slum in Shanghai. In Chinese, Slum is called "Peng Hu Qu", it literally means "Cote & Shed District"in Chinese. For the first 19 years of my life, until some developer had spotted our land, I have lived in a slum in Yang Pu District, near the infamous Su Zhou River. The slum was dark, colorless, smelly, no tree, no animals, just sheds one connected to another. I have rarely seen strangers coming into the slum, if I see one, he is probably lost in the maze and desperately needs to get out.

Four generations of my father's family had lived in the same house. The house I grew up was actually considered one of the best houses in the whole slum, a small two-story brick house with a separate fenced yard and a shared courtyard with five other families and a well which is one of my favorite things at the time. Unlike the kids in City of God or Born into the Brothels, my childhood in the slum was quite pleasant. I had a lot of friends, it was very safe and we invented games to play.

In the summer of 1997, When we first got notice that the section we had lived was in the new developing zone, everyone was so excited to be able to finally move out of the slum. Sadly, no one, has even had a slice of thought of taking a picture of the place. Everyday, I saw families drove their furnitures out of the slum and they don't even look back. One week after the last person moved out, the slum Lane 390, the size of two Time Square, was flattened. Since then, I have never gone back to see the old neighborhood, but from the recent Google Satellite map, I discovered little has been changed in the area since 10 years ago while most of Shanghai boomed with skyscrapers like the speedy growing of bamboo shots.

Well, I hope you enjoy this little bit of personal history of mine. I am extremely regretted that there is nothing has recorded of my childhood and teenage-hood in the slum. This is just maybe why having a camera now and have it with me at all time become so important to me.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

K. Min

K. Min. Aging, 11"x14". Pastel on Paper. 2007 (click the image to see detail)

I recently met K. Min, a Korean artist who does drawing and small sculpture, she is also a SVA alum. I was very much amused when she showed me her interesting work, they are humorous, intimate and original.

The subjects of Min’s pastel drawings mostly focus on food and snacks that everyone encounters in daily life. In her work, Min subtly depicts stages of decay as if a photographer who documents models through their careers or lives. Cake, sandwich and cookies, exposed on bare white background, are depicted half-eaten and forgotten in plastic containers or sandwich bags. These foods, waiting to be consumed, are shown to being mildewed and inedible.

K. Min will have her solo exhibition In the Middle of Nowhere at Gallery 456 SoHo from August 2 to August 30, 2007 with an opening reception on this Friday, August 3, 2007, 6-8pm. Gallery 456 is located at 456 Broadway, 3rd Floor, New York City. Tel: 212.431.9740.