VENICE.- Artists Francis Al˙s, Song Dong and Rinus van de Velde were selected by curator Hans De Wolf to represent the Ministry of the Flemish community in the Nani Mocenigo Palace in Dorsoduro.
De Wolf has developed a controversial and humorous exhibition, constructed around some of the most fundamental misunderstandings between Western tradition and the Far East. Traditionally, in the West, the idea of authorship has always been highly protected and linked with the notion of genius. Today, many artists operating in the avant-garde have transcended those ideas, a trend that started perhaps with Duchamp. What is not yet clear is the question of whether we have already come to terms with all possible consequences of this new situation, a question which became all the more obvious since a new kid appeared on the block: the Chinese artist.
Taking Andy Warhols famous Brillo Boxes as a starting point, this exhibition leads the spectator into a new climate, in which the status of the art work as an object becomes unsecure and suggesting that we might have reached a post-object-era. This current situation is being tackled head on by a new piece by painter Rinus Van de Velde, while the exhibition as a whole has been considerably enriched by a new installation by Song Dong and a video by Francis Al˙s.
Hans De Wolf, 1961 - Lives and works in Brussels, Belgium
Hans De Wolf is an art historian who focuses mainly on modern and contemporary art, philosophy and aesthetics. In 2009 De Wolf was commissioned by the Brussels Regional Government to create a first exhibition project for Shanghai 2010. Several other projects would follow, all bringing some of Belgiums outstanding artists to cities such as Beijing, Hangzhou, Seoul, Gwangju, Chengdu and Beijing. Over the years a unique methodology was developed that can be understood as the intertwining of cultural and academic diplomacy, whereby exhibition projects become the driving force for an intensive interchange including local universities and art schools. Most recently, in October 2014, De Wolf curated the exhibition Master Mould and Copy Room at the museum of the Central Academy of Fine Arts (CAFA) in Beijing.
Francis Al˙s, 1959 - Lives and works in Mexico City, Mexico
Francis Al˙s works consist of performances, videos, drawings, paintings and sculptures, which he creates and developes in different cities, such as New York, London, Lima and Jerusalem. Al˙s describes the context of his artistic activities as being political, but in the Greek meaning of the word polis: the city as a place of awareness and conflict. With simple, ironic and outspoken actions, he studies the influence of art on life in the city.
Song Dong, 1966 - Lives and works in Beijing, China
Song Dong has stood up on top of the avant-garde action art movement in China and became an important conceptual artist in the contemporary art development of China. The artistic forms of Songs works cross such areas as actions, images and sculpture, etc. His works are often found between the modern and the traditional and between art and life. They often explore the transience of human behaviors and the relationship between human memory on one side and history, sentiment, self-awareness and the external world on the other side.
Rinus Van de Velde, 1983 - Lives and works in Antwerp, Belgium
At the base of the recent work of the Antwerp-based artist, Rinus Van de Velde lies an obsessive documentary process, in which the artist works with an archive of photographic images which are then used as basic elements for a series of charcoal drawings. These drawings do not contain a certain essence, nor the structure of the image, but they are produced because of the effect of the drawing itself. Van de Velde occupies the material in order to tell a new story.