(Anti)Realism brought together young contemporary visual artists based in Sweden, China, Great Britain, Holland and France. The first part of the project was a practical workshop that took place in Guangzhou, China, in September 2008. The European participants developed collaborative projects with their Chinese peers that focused on time-based art (in this case mostly performance and video). The themes addressed were related to differences and similarities in culture and artistic values and practices and created a platform for exchange through personal and artistic development. The results of the workshop was presented to the public at the Guangzhou Academy of Fine Art and a second presentation will be part of the Third Guangzhou Triennial at Guangdong Museum of Art.
In December 2008 participants met up a second time in Norrköping, Sweden for another period of collaborative artistic work and an exhibition at Verkstad/Norrköpings konsthall. The exhibition was later shown at ERBA in Besançon and AdeleC in Rome.
The goal of the workshops was to give the participating artists a different perspective on their own culture and practice through mirroring in a foreign culture and meeting with peers and traditions from other contexts. The practical work that was made together expanded and intensified the individual knowledge of the self and each artist's practice and deepened the understanding of the implications of living and working in a globalized world where national boundaries play a diminished role.
GUANGZHOU WORKSHOP 19 - 28 September 2008
Arrival in Guangzhou from all over the world. Getting accustomed to the hot weather and kindly put up by the Academy of Fine Art on their new campus.
Early start. 10 AM introduction and presentation of work by all involved. 25 presentations in an afternoon was a test to all of us.
In the evening everyone had their first dinner together in 'the village'.
Early start. The Swedish group introduces their workshop: Exquisite corpse.
Small groups take a video camera and some props and head off into the sunshine to do a short film of 3-5 minutes edited directly in the camera. We work hard all day, gathering at base to swap tapes.
More food and drink in the evening….
Early start. Continuation of Swedish workshop, but with very different energy three days of intense working starts to take its toll.
We all gather in the evening to see the results. There is much laughter and amazement at how imagination runs wild in the five films (with an inflatable pillow amongst other things).
Energies slightly depleted. The heat, the late nights, discussions and the intense program takes it's toll. Not so early start, many have problems sleeping, up till 5 in the morning for most Europeans.
French workshop introduction: 'The supermarket of dreams'. We spend the day in Xiaopeng's studio, a massive room with stunning views, manufacturing 'dreams'. There are two sides to this project: those that run the supermarket and 'the zombies' the disruptive punk energy that is against anything to do with the supermarket.
In the evening the English group present a mellow melange of film, vodka orange, nibbles, charades, dancing and a violent typhoon!!!
Second day of French workshop.
The supermarket is getting ready to sell 'dreams' on the unsuspecting Chinese students who turn out in impressive numbers. Mayhem ensues when the 'zombies' invade and disrupt the bliss of shopping. Some get upset, some hide, the supermarket security guard gets tough ….at the end no-one knows what really happened…
Majority of the group go by bus to nearby city of Shenzen where there's an art residency program and there are visits to three an art museums. ( Some woke up late, had dumplings for breakfast in the village and later went swimming in the rain…..welcome break)
Triennial Day in Guangzhou. Day at the Museum, looking at some more art. It is an impressive exhibition. In the afternoon, most of the group went to the second exhibition space with a huge gallery atop three residential blocks of flats, very interesting space, somewhat more satisfying.
Later, sheltering from horizontal rain, a quiet and thoughtful visit to Vitamin Creative Space and Xu Tan's Keyword Exhibition.
Chinese workshop day. It started with a brief English workshop consisting of a performance where each were given an instruction to follow repetitively for seven minutes while two cameras recorded the event.
From three till six the Chinese workshop proper: All participants in the workshop are 'Imprisoned' in a space (Xiaopeng's studio) for three hours with only one object allowed per person to bring, no speaking, no leaving the room allowed. Some interesting human behaviour patterns emerged. Some were sleeping, some were reading, most were engaged in games.
In the evening a presentation of the workshop for all the students of the Guangzhou Academy, followed by dinner in the village and, later, crazy karaoke, where the large majority loosened up and ended up singing and dancing to Madonna's 'Like a virgin' and local celebrities 'Beyond'.
Per and Love's last evening with us
Shopping in Guangzhou! Quite an incredible experience. I think all the girls were very happy.
The end of the workshops. Quite a melancholy day.
Saying goodbye, some went to Honk Kong, some went home, a small group went swimming in the hot springs in the mountain, two hours away from camp. The most relaxing and unbearably beautiful swim under the stars! Ever!