HANS OP DE BEECK, ERWIN WURM, ZHANG DING
SHCONTEMPORARY, SHANGHAI, BOOTH NO. D19
SEPTEMBER 10 - 13, 2008
At this year's ShContemporary we will be presenting a one-man show of Hans Op de Beeck in the
center of Galerie Krinzinger's D 19 booth. "Extensions (Part 2)" created specially for the Shanghai
fair continues the idea of an exhibition that traveled through Europe in 2007/2008. For the first time this
series of works by Op de Beeck will be shown in Asia. Last year we also presented, together with the
gallery Cristina Guerra Contemporary, a very successful show devoted exclusively to Erwin Wurm, an
internationally renowned artist. A number of his works have been added to important private collections
- this reflecting the great echo his work has had. This year Galerie Krinzinger will also be showing some
of Erwin Wurm's latest works at the booth that it is sharing with Gallery Guerra.
In addition to the two
cited artists, the gallery will also be showing a number of recent photographic works by Chinese artist
Zhang Ding who has just completed his first show ("Wind") at Krinzinger Projekte where he was an
artist in residence.
The presentation of work by Hans Op de Beeck (*1969 in Turnhout, Belgium) is a continuation of his
exhibition "Extensions" that traveled through Europe in 2007/08. The focus of this exhibition was our
contemporary rationalized society and the ever-growing discrepancy between body and mind. This
problematic relation between body, thinking, technology and large architectural spaces has resulted in a
sense of void, suffering and mediocrity while at the same time it has created a sort of beauty and liberation.
Op Beeck concentrates here on the complex configurations of devices and architectural volumes that
function as a sort of body extensions, providing readymade solutions for both real and artificial desires
and for ethical problems. He addresses a number of issues: the growing negation and manipulation of
our own bodies, our changing approach to information and knowledge, the disappearance of distance
and our problematic relation to this period of time and to all others in a technology-driven lifeworld.
"Extensions (Part 2)" at the ShContemporary presents four photo works: "Iris", "Eric", "Anke" and "Yves-
Pascale". The portraits depict personalities who either have body extensions such as bionic arms or
legs, or hold complex equipment for medical or technological purposes such as "motion capture"
apparatus for the face, a robot suit designed for paralyzed persons or a skull-mounted brain scanner. To
do this, the artist used medical technology to scan persons, to alter this on the computer and worked
with the same materials that are used to manufacture artificial hips and the like.
The artist employed the same technology to create the sculptures "Medusa", "Splitting" and "Attack"
which are the product of computer interpretations of nuclear and microscopic research. These are cells
whose beauty remains ambivalent: they represent one or more cells but it is not clear whether they are
healthy, ill or a combination of both.
The sculptures "Arena", "Social Housing" and "Observatory" also created with a 3D-plotter, embody life, leisure time (bread and games) and science. The three not really existing buildings constitute clear
references to "classical" modern architecture, modernism in a time in which an unconditional belief in
progress reigned and social utopias were still fresh and untouched by irony and cultural pessimism.
The sculptures show small damage and slight fractures an seem to be silent witnesses of the decline of
modern thinking and lacking human principles.
"Spheres and Paradigms (1+2+3+4)" is a series of water-color paintings that put the spheres with various
paradigms on one level. Elements such as viruses, puzzles, benign and malignant cells, soap bubbles,
ornaments and mathematical models -all part of the same universe- are put on paper.
Erwin Wurm will, in addition to his sculptures, present photographs and drawings. The sculpture "Mind
Bubble", for instance, illustrates the concept in Wurm's most recent series. This work consists of various
clad elements, whose forms resemble a potatoe. And it is precisely this vagueness in terms of form that
Erwin Wurm uses to let mental bubbles materialize as non-form.
At the fair stand there are also works from the series "Untitled" which continue the artist's exploration of
pieces of clothing. Wurm has pulled huge sweaters and polo-shirts over large-format canvases so that
the colored surface of the fabric recalls abstract, monochrome paintings. The works move in a field of
tension between two-dimensional canvas painting and wall objects in which a hanging sleeve, a poloshirt
collar or buttons can be seen.
Not only photographs but also drawings are exhibited, for instance, from Wurm's series "Thinking about
Philosophers" which Wurm has been putting together systematically for year. Here the artist invites the
viewer to think of important philosophers such as Epicure, Confucius, Novalis or John Locke. The big
historical thinkers are used here like brandnames as if their ideas and theories were part of general
education. Erwin Wurm (born 1954 in Bruck an der Mur) is one Austria's most eminent and successful
artists of his generation. In recent years he has had large solo exhibitions in the most important
museums and exhibition institutions in Europe and America, including the Hamburg Deichtorhallen,
the Kunstmuseum St. Gallen, the Central House of Artists, Moscow, the Musé d'Art Contemporain in
Lyon and the MUMOK in Vienna as well as the Ludwig Forum for international art in Aachen, Germany,
the Rose Museum at Brandeis University, Waltham, Massachucsetts and the Frye Art Museum in
Seattle, USA. The German "Kunstzeitung" has nominated Erwin Wurm artist of the year 2007.
Krinzinger has been representing Erwin Wurm since 1986.
Zhang Ding was Artist in Residence at Krinzinger Projekte in June 2008. At the ShContemporary
he is showing photo works created as part of his "Wind" exhibition shown at Krinzinger Projekte. He
designed the exhibition in Vienna as a neutral landscape with a light texture resulting from wind. He did
not want anything specifically cultural to be associated with his work.
In the exhibition, the viewer steps onto a slanting plateau at the end of which there is a view. This
threshold offers an option: standing on two boards on the plateau the viewer can either jump or not.
From there is a view of the installation consisting of large-format paintings of landscape and cloud
formations in the middle of the exhibition space (the Chinese concept for landscape consists of the sign
for wind (feng) and the sign for image, scene (jing)). These formations cover each other and cannot
be perceived unless one jumps, and even then only momentarily.
The formations seem as if they have just been blown in through the window. Any moment it seems as
if they will be carried away again.
In Zhang Ding's installation there is also the lightness of temporary
appearance, and the short presence its dissolution is already immanent. The artist thus creates a sense
of space carried by the dynamic of wind. Things concentrate only to dissolve again. His installation
resembles an ephemeral phenomenon in an essentially neutral space, like clouds against the backdrop
of a perfectly blue sky. For the artist, the essence is to be found in this very background, in the nonvisible,
what is shrouded in clouds, in pure blue.
Zhang Ding, born in Gansu, China in 1980, lives and works in Shanghai. He is seen as one of the
shooting stars of the Chinese art scene. He studied oil painting at the North West Minority University
and new media at the China Academy of Art in Hangzhou. His sensational installations and film miseen-
scenes were presented in 2005 in "Big City and A Lot of Ash - A Lot of Dust" at the BizArt Center,
Shanghai. They could also be seen at the MC 1, the first Biennial for Contemporary Chinese Art in
Montpelier in 2005 and at Krinzinger Projekte in 2008.