Thursday, June 21, 2012

Home and Away, ISE Cultural Foundation, New York

Home and Away
Curated by: Ting-Ting Cheng


Venue: ISE Cultural Foundation
555 Broadway, New York NY 10012
Date: 4 Nov - 31 Dec 2011
Private view: Fri, 4 Nov, 6pm – 8pm

       
“Why do people travel? What does it mean to be away from 'home'? Does our idea of 'home' change and transmute the more we travel, or does it perhaps only come into existence when we leave the physical reality behind? Can we ever simply and un-problematically 'return home' after our travels, and will it be the same 'home' we left? How do we negotiate between our past spatial memories and the new geographical locations we find ourselves in? Last but not least, can we ever really experience a new place for the first time, outside its familiar representations in maps, guidebooks, films, and news programs?” Ting Ting Cheng

At the private view evening

‘Home and Away’, an exhibition I took part in New York at the ISE Cultural Foundation, negotiates what the idea of ‘home’ means when living in an era that is increasingly globalisation. The exhibition features works by six other international artists including Ting-Ting Cheng, Chu Yin-Hua, Barney & Lucy Heywood, AlexandraWolkowicz, and Joanna Zylinska who experienced living and working outside their homeland. They use photography, video, and installation ‘to discuss poignant questions about spatial identity, geographical belonging, and the passage of time’, said curator of the exhibition Ting Ting Cheng who studied and working abroad for many years. Linking it to politic, economic and personal encounters the exhibition offers a poetic reflection on the movement of bodies and minds across geographical and cultural boundaries in the age of globalization.

Curator Ting Ting Cheng discussing the exhibition

My work Every Corner of My Flat is being selected for the exhibition. Started in 2009 and ongoing, I use photography to document the process of removing the dust in my studio flat. The process allows me to observe and re-familiarise with myself as I recollect my life whilst going through my own physical and personal belongings in my own home. Engaged with the distant, recent and immediate past, the piece is concerned with the relationship between objects, space, man and his behaviour and how they influence each other. It reflects the way a space can affect its inhabitant and how we arrange our living spaces to suit our needs. The idea can be expanded to my own experience where I had to adapt and adjust my life in a very different and unfamiliar cultural environment when I arrived in the UK back in 1994. Contradictorily, after years of living in the UK, I have to re-adjust myself to adapt to my own cultural environment whenever I visited my homeland, in which I found myself caught in the notion of strange and familiar within these two ‘homes’.

My work Every Corner of My Flat

I consider that the piece is one of many potentials to ‘draw a portrait’ of a person, or to describe the character of his habitant space. The endless repetitive and accumulative activities manifest a sense of infinity and meditative process that reflects in some of my work. Every Corner of My Flat embarked on the idea of a habitant home but along the way I made connection with my inner home, a mental landscape.

Alexandra discussing her work

The exhibition also includes a Q&A session (Sat 5 Nov, 6 - 8pm) to open the debate to the audience, asking for their memories, recollections, and accounts of both "home making" and "art making" in a global and local context.

I am discussing my work


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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.