Fresh Feelings. HUGO BOSS Asia Art Award for Emerging Asian Artists @ RAM Shanghai

At RAM again! An amazing and, in my opinion, well organized exhibition again!

Rockbound Art Museum’s cozy space hosts the 2015 HUGO BOSS Asian Art Award for Emerging Asian Artists. More clearly, six artists have been presented: Yang Xinguang (China), Vandy Rattana (Cambodia), Moe Satt (Myanmar), Huang Po-Chih (Taiwan), Guan Xiao (China) and the HUGO BOSS Award’s winner Maria Taniguchi from Philippines. All of ‘em under 35, their works are basically introspective and highly conceptual but all mirrors of several and different realities. I’ll analyze just some works, in my opinion, most interesting.

Maria Taniguchi, Untitled series (2012-2015), RAM, Shanghai, 2015. Photo by L.R.
Maria Taniguchi, Untitled series (2012-2015), RAM, Shanghai, 2015. Photo by L.R.

Talking of which, I just want to start from the winner, Maria Taniguchi’s an artist from Manila, her range of medium is pretty total, paintings, sculptures, videos, whom bring us in a “different” space-time that is common at all in some way, our Memory’s space which’s permanently changed by Time. The work called ram dram sram consists in a pile of big white paper sheets, all of ‘em blank and same sized, impossible to replace in the same position in a second moment if it were not for little random holes cutted through them. Those holes create a path to follow in case of a future “reorder”, perhaps same mechanisms which only our memory may match.

Taniguchi’s Untitled paintings series is also moving. As simple to describe as deep to comprehend, huge canvases are covered by little black bricks painted, small groups a day, by the artist. Just a work about the Time and its swipe up, its everything’s “covering” little step by little step creating this black whole mass which may contain every single synapse switched on by ourselves, every single memory about ourselves, every single Art thought. Time is a wall builder, can we just give ‘em another coat?

I really appreciated Moe Satt from Myanmar, probably for his deep social-focused poetry which, in some way, remembers me of Zhang Huan. The 2008 performance Face and Fingers focuses on the deeply connection between Buddhism belief and Myanmar’s society, Satt supposed to mimic some famous Buddha’s gestures, decontextualizing them with new titles like CLOSED SOCIETY, GUN or MASK. Buddha’s gesture graceful gestures assume totally different meanings closely connected to the artist’s life or, more in general the Social situation of his country. Could this work be related to 10 years earlier Zhang Huan’s Skin (1997) performance? Most likely, in my opinion, considering that most of Zhang Huan’s works are related to the same belief and its connection to the society in which the artist lives.

Huang Po-Chih, Production Line (2012-2015), RAM, Shanghai, 2015. Photo by L.R.
Huang Po-Chih, Production Line (2012-2015), RAM, Shanghai, 2015. Photo by L.R.

Photographer and video-artist, Vandy Rattana from Cambodia really astounds me. His Bomb Ponds series is photojournalism, documentary and Art action at the same time. During the Vietnam War the US bombed the eastern part of Cambodia and Rattana decided to document how those territories look today; bombs craters are ponds or gentle holes in Cambodian territory. Those photographs are like fuzzy memories of a tempestuous past which left scars in the ground. Nature, like men, has absorbed these wounds; they’ll remain printed in those countries History forever but actually, standing in that dark room staring at those pictures, a supreme feeling of survival, a “move on” call, a sweet “despite everything” is spread out at very last.

Just some hints. Yang Xinguang’s Untitled (Canes) installation is a series of cans lying on the ground each with a steel ball connected on the end. Every ball has a weight of 32,6 kilograms and wants to report the hard and “heavy” life of the old age.

Huang Po-Chih’s Production Line installation, already exhibited in Shenzhen and Taipei in 2014, is focused on the connection between product and consumer. Artist personal life is strictly connected to this work (his aunt and mother were part of the performances in Shenzhen and Taipei) like lives of who produces are connected to those of who consumes. Social, consumism, economy connections between Shenzhen and Taipei are made of flesh and blood.

Taniguchi’s prize giving is an excellent choice though I preferred Moe Satt poetry related to his actions deeply connected to his country. Anyway, this is just a personal inclination.

Just some thoughts about this amazing exhibition I totally recommend; the small black guide has a small presentation for each artist and will give you some tips for every work.



“HUGO BOSS ASIA ART Award for Emerging Asian Artists”

RAM, Shanghai, PRC

October.30.2015 – January.03.2016

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