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Concert Hall of Zheng Daoxing / Post, Pause / Ink City / Whose Utopia / One Day (Guangzhou)

4 Aug (Fri),8:00pm

Concert Hall of Zheng Daoxing (2002-2004)
18 min, Putonghua with Chinese and English subtitles, Digital, China

Charismatic singer-songwriter Zheng Daoxing hails from Yangjiang. Forced to abandon his job as a truck driver during the 1997 Asian economic crisis, sixty-year-old Zheng has reinvented himself as a travelling musician and performer, playing a hand-constructed electric guitar and singing songs that tell a convoluted story about his former working life as a farmer, soldier, and trucker. Part biography and part contemporary folklore, Concert Hall of Zheng Daoxing captures personal tales from an ordinary man, reframed as alternative national histories.

Xu Tan (Chinese, b.1957) was a member of the Big Tail Elephant Group, an experimental artist collective that actively addressed problems arising from the rapid urbanisation of Guangzhou. Today, he is an internationally-recognised artist whose practice intersects with social theory. His works have been shown at the 50th and 53rd Venice Biennials, the 2nd Berlin Biennial, the 2nd Guangzhou Triennial, and the 4th Gwangju Biennial.

Courtesy the artist
Post, Pause (2004)
9 min, Digital, China

Filmed in the artist’s previous home city of Shenzhen, Post, Pause presents a series of fantastical vignettes in urban spaces. Inspired by the surreal scenes that play out on the city’s streets every day, the video pays tribute to China’s working poor, the desperate and determined ‘dreamers’ who flock to Shenzhen seeking to change their fortune. Motivated by consumerist desire, Jiang’s characters crawl their way over a towering flyover, symbolically edging their way closer to the Chinese Dream. 

Jiang Zhi (Chinese, b.1971) is a prolific multidisciplinary artist long engaged with writing and video art. From 1995 to 2005, he worked as a journalist, an experience that deeply influenced the language and context of his art practice. With work that treads a fine line between brutal reality and poetic imagination, Jiang uses gesture and theatricality to explore the body, gender and identity, all within the context of China’s rapid social transformation.

Courtesy of the Artist
Ink City (2005)
3 min, Digital, China

Ink City presents memories of urban change that are both personal and collective. Bringing together more than 300 ink drawings based on personal photographs and images culled from the internet, the seemingly continuous journey in Ink City jumbles together multiple skylines, transportation systems, and architectures. Shanghai and Guangzhou landmarks are seamlessly interwoven in a monochromatic ink wash, creating fictions and omissions that characterise our own unreliable memory processes.

Chen Shaoxiong (Chinese, 1962–2016) was a member of the Big Tail Elephant Group, an experimental artist collective that actively addressed problems arising from the rapid urbanisation of Guangzhou. His conceptual art crossed many mediums, including painting, video, animation, photography and drawing. Chen was interested in new perceptions and realities that circulated in the global information age, and the perpetuation of historical and media fictions.

Courtesy the artist and Pékin Fine Arts Gallery
Whose Utopia (2006)
20 min, Digital, China

Whose Utopia was produced during the artist’s residency at a lighting factory in Foshan, in the Pearl River Delta region. She began by giving factory workers—migrants with modest means and limited education—a questionnaire, asking them about their backgrounds and prospects for the future. She later invited her collaborators to break away from their work routines and perform their secret aspirations alongside their production lines. By juxtaposing shots of modern machinery with theatrical scenes of personal dreams, Whose Utopia interrogates personal ideals in an age of economic reform and globalisation.

Cao Fei (Chinese, b.1978) is a Beijing-based visual artist and filmmaker. She works within a range of mediums including film, performance, and installation to create works that often meld fictional scenarios with contemporary Chinese realities.

M+ Collection
One Day (Guangzhou) (2007)
13 min, Digital, China

Over the course of one day, Zhou Tao performed his domestic routine in a local supermarket, mobilising subtle and humorous interactions between himself and anonymous onlookers. One Day (Guangzhou) explores the collapse of the private sphere into the public, and the increasing tendency to live out our personal lives in very impersonal arenas.

Zhou Tao (Chinese, b.1976) finds visual and narrative materials in the everyday places and communities he encounters. As well as documenting Guangzhou, where he lives and works, he has made videos about New York, Paris, Bangkok, and Barcelona. Fascinated by oft-ignored sites, actions and situations that shape our cities, Zhou’s work opens up new ways of seeing.

Courtesy the artist

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