Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Private/Public at Gallery 320, 20 - 25 Sep 2010

The cover for the invitation card. Image by: Ting-Ting Cheng


In July 2010, I came across the information of ‘call for submission’ for Private/Public exhibition and met Ting-Ting Cheng, artist and the curator for the exhibition. Tingting works with photography, and use everyday objects as the subject for her images. For example, in her ‘Invisible’ piece, she picked up discarded objects from the streets, placed them on the plinth and photographed them. Her practice “focus[es] on the relationship between objects, places and people’s emotion toward them” and “celebrates the banality of everyday life”.

At the entrance of the gallery


Private/Public was a group exhibition “scrutinizes the idea of domestic place in our everyday life”, and explores the concept of private space in public gallery context. Twelve artists including Hannah Forbes Black, Ting-Ting Cheng, Yin-Hua Chu, Sarah Churlish, Gerard Cuartero, Milena Galli, Denise Hickey, Steve Hines, Sule Kemanci, Katherine Lubar, Clare Motte and myself, “using various mediums to turn the gallery space into domestic, oscillating between private and public” said Tingting. The exhibition encourages raising questions on: “How does the domestic place mean to us? And what is the relationship between them? How does it reflect our personal history and everyday routine? And, how do artists reveal the residents by exploring the space? Furthermore, when the private becomes public in the contemporary art exhibition, what has been changed?”

A scene from the private view

I presented ‘Every Corner of my Flat’ for the exhibition, the piece inspired by the dust accumulates in my living space. Started in 2009 and ongoing, I use photography to document the process when I clear the dust, they are being rolled into a ball shape and continue to grow. The process provides a chance for me to scrutiny more intensely about my own living space. Along the way I observe, familiarize and recollect myself when going through my belongings.

'Every Corner of my Flat' in the exhibition. Image by Tingting Cheng.

'Every Corner of the Flat' (Archived image from Strange/Familiar exhibition)

The piece motivated by the relationship between objects, spaces, man and his behaviour and examines how they influence each other, it reflects how a space affects its inhabitant and the way we arrange our inhabit spaces to suit our needs. It is one of many potentials to ‘draw a portrait’ of a person, or to describe the character in his habitant space. The endless repetitive and accumulative activities manifest a sense of infinity and meditative quality that reflects in some of my work. In a separate thought, dust reminds me of two Buddhist poems:

The body is the Bodhi Tree;
The mind is like a bright mirror standing.
Take care to wipe it all the time,
And allow no dust to cling.
Shen Hsiu

There never was a Bodhi Tree
Nor bright mirror standing.
Fundamentally, not one thing exists,
So where is the dust to cling?
Hui Neng

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Welcome to the ground

Thank you for stopping over. The Ground We Share evolves from my research study where I make a comparative study between the concepts of the everyday in art practice and Zen.

My art practice may be seen as the result of my interest on the matters of the everyday and Eastern thoughts. Over the years, I have produced a body of cross-disciplinary work that explores the as-it-is-ness of things, and interconnectedness between objects and people. My own cultural background and life experience are often revisited, examined and evidenced in the work within this journey of exploration.

In Zen tradition, mindfulness to everyday trivial is important in their spiritual pratice, my research relates this notion of attentiveness from my work to this tradition. Historically, many important twentieth century artists and art groups who expanded Duchamp’s theory of the ready-made and the everyday were also influenced by Zen teaching from D.T. Suzuki and Shunryu Suzuki that can also be related to this research.

In contrast to the Western sociological perspective on the study of the everyday from important thinkers like Henri Lefebvre and Michel de Certeau; I look at it from a different perspective - through the prism of a contemporary artist that comes from an Eastern background.

This blog provides a space to share my activities and information arising from my work and research. You are welcome to be part of this interconnection by posting your valuable experience, thoughts and comments.