Geopolitical Grounds


Tokyo Exhibition : 11 Sep - 6 Oct 2018

Piramide Bldg. 3F, 6-6-9 Roppongi, Minatoku, Tokyo, 1060032 Japan

Singapore Exhibition : 9 Jun - 28 July 2018

7 Lock Road, #02-13 Gillman Barracks, Singapore 108935

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Artists : Jong YuGyong, Koh Chaik Hong, Gabriel Leung, Chulayarnnon Siriphol, Nobuaki Takekawa 

Curator : Yohsuke Ishizuka

Ota Fine Arts is delighted to present "Geopolitical Grounds", a group exhibition featuring 5 artists from different parts of Asia: Jong YuGyong (Japan / South Korea), Koh Chaik Hong (Singapore), Gabriel Leung (Hong Kong), Chulayarnnon Siriphol (Thailand), Nobuaki Takekawa (Japan). This exhibition aims to showcase each artist's reaction to the current socio-political issues in their countries. From photography to video and painting, distinctive yet diverse expressions by the artists will bring new perspectives to our recognition of dynamics in Asia.

Koh Chaik Hong (b. 1994, Singapore) showcases works from his photo series, The Distanced Land (2015). He turns his camera lens to the suburbs of his home country, where urban development has been progressing steadily at the expense of nature. The very process of nature being invaded and destroyed is documented in this series of works, making viewers ponder on the value of urban development and its dilemma. Yet, Koh's works do not reveal dramatic or sensational scenes; rather, the images intrigue viewers through a silent voice heard from nature. Using photography, Gabriel Leung (b. 1983, Hong Kong) focuses on the contrast of nature and artificial objects in a different way. In his work Frontier Opened Area (2014), he photographs the border fence between Hong Kong and Shenzhen and prints the image on large fabric, which looks like a curtain you can walk through. The image shows a rather vernacular scenery with a tall metal structure surrounded by wild vegetation. However, once the history is unfolded, this scenery turns into a different view. This fence was built to prevent illegal migrants from mainland China to the former colonial city, symbolizing the political tension between the two political entities. At the same time, the political buffer has been a paradise for animals and plants, with limited access from human beings. The ambient sound recorded on the spot of photographing is also presented with the visual, as to create a holistic experience of this bizarre peripheric scenery.

Chulayarnnon Siriphol (b.1986, Thailand) presents his video work, Myth of Modernity (2014). The work talks about a crucial notion in Thai Buddhism - "three worlds". The pyramid-shaped ornate structures can be found at various places for worship in Thailand, as a symbol of "three worlds". The structure can be also seen in modern buildings in Bangkok nowadays still, but it seems to be losing its original meaning and only the form has been reproduced and applied to the architectural design. Similarly, observing protest by PDRC (People's Democratic Reform Committee) in 2013-2014, the artist notices a bizarre connection between the protesters' religious beliefs and political actions and draws a parallel discourse. Rather than documenting the protests directly, Siriphol creates his own narrative with affluent imagination towards cosmology and presents it in the 16 minute video work.

The painting series For One and Only Country (2017-) by Jong YuGyong (b.1991, Japan, currently based in South Korea) provides different perspectives to the relationship between visual experience and politics, and also one's globalized identity. Jong gets inspiration from North Korea's propaganda posters. He enlarges the original image and makes it into a collage-like painting. He even inserts some kind of "noise" to deform the image and also adds bright colours in the background. This repeated adjustment of distance and colours is deeply connected to his core idea. "This is my way to confront 'the feeling of alienation'", the artist puts, as a person who grew up in Japan with the identity of Korean origins. On the other hand, woodblock prints by Nobuaki Takekawa (b.1977, Japan) articulate the dilemma that the current Japanese society holds. Osprey and Okinawa (2016), at a glance, looks like a poster featuring animals. In the middle of the work is a flying bird, which is grabbing a fish with its claws. This bird's name is Osprey and it is also a nickname for the American tiltrotor military aircraft used in Japan. Japanese people held protests against the US military's plan to use this aircraft with the reason of high risks for accidents. Depicted on the body of the fish is the map of Okinawa, the southmost region of Japan where most of the US military bases in Japan are concentrated. This work provokes the question of the geopolitical situation of Okinawa.

Living in different environments, these artists are facing sociopolitical issues in their own local context, and their artistic approaches are equally diverse. However, at the same time, their works link each other and provide some threads to viewers to ponder on more universal issues in this post-modern world.

Jimei X Arles: East West Encounters International Photo Festival

Date: 15 Nov - 16 Dec 2015
Location: Yuanbo Garden, Tan Kan Kee Art Center, Three Shadows Xiamen Photography Art Centre

This day in age, many countries and regions are forming photo biennials, triennials, and international photo festivals to promote traditional and contemporary art photography while spurring on the economic and cultural development of the areas in which they are held. The internationally renowned “Les Rencontres d’Arles” already has an illustrious history and has developed its own unique style and model. Furthermore, it continues to strive for change amidst today’s global economic and cultural transformation.

Jimei X Arles emerges precisely from the convergent needs of both this specialized discipline and the broader public. Xiamen possesses a truly unique cumulative cultural heritage and history of overseas interaction and exchange. Jimei X Arles aims to have a widespread effect upon culture in its neighboring countries and regions, as well as that of the global characteristics of contemporary photography, which originated in Europe.

Jimei is one of China’s most attractive cities—one of Xiamen’s administrative areas, Its landforms consist of a vast mountain range splitting into five smaller ranges and surrounded by two gulfs, which was the basis for the exquisite traditional saying “five dragons playing with a pearl.”

When the land is beautiful, the people thrive. Chen Jiageng, once called “a radiant overseas Chinese ethnic minority leader” by Chairman Mao Zedong, was born here and established one of the longest standing academic areas in China—Jimei School Village, where tens of thousands of teachers and students continue to study, create, and attain academic excellence.

Cultured Jimei is comprised of software/information technology services, mechanized equipment production, business and commercial tourism, as well as the leading cultural performing arts industry. Life in Jimei is peaceful and content, happy and harmonious.

Jimei X Arles International Photo Festival will rely upon Les Rencontres d’Arles’ extensive international exhibition expertise and content, while incorporating Three Shadows Photography Art Centre’s comparable Asian and Chinese exhibition expertise and content, all strategically situated within Jimei district’s newly developed arts & culture estate. These elements will be synthesized with local civic and cultural resources to create China’s best international photo festival, bringing Jimei into the international public sphere and encouraging the expansion of its cultural industry.

Jimei X Arles International Photo Festival is supported by Xiamen, Jimei district and organized by Three Shadows Photography Art Centre and TianxiaJimei Media. Jimei X Arles International Photo Festival was jointly initiated by Sam Stourdze, Director of Les Rencontres d’Arles, and RongRong, Founder of Three Shadows Photography Art Centre. Independent curator Li Zhenhua will serve as CEO of the event.

Jimei X Arles International Photo Festival is the matically divided as follows: Encounter the East, Fashion & Photography, City Navigation, Double Nostalgia, Local Action, Extended Photography, Audio Visual, and Prize & Collection. The festival will encompass more than ten countries and regions, over a hundred photographers from China and abroad, and over a thousand photographs.