Category: Volume 4 Issue 2

Introduction to: “A Conversation with Hsieh Tehching, from The Black Cover Book”

This introduction situates the conversation between Hsieh Teh-Ching, Ai Weiwei and Xu Bing within a larger historic and socio-cultural framework, as well as elaborates a brief history of the publication in which the conversation was first published, The Black Cover Book. The text also elaborates on the unarticulated issues informing their discussion, such as their émigré status, and briefly outlines a history of the artists’ work at the time of the conversation. The work of other avant-garde artists in the Chinese diaspora whose work was published in The Black Cover Book is also touched upon briefly. This introduction reclaims some … Read more

When Next We Meet: On the Figure of the Nonposthumous Survivor

Framed as posthumous, or that which lives on past its death, the survivor is tagged by official postwar discourses and practices an impediment to the reconstruction of society along normative guidelines. But the persistent conditions of protracted civil war in Lebanon call for a re-conceptualization of the figure of the survivor along another temporal axis. No longer posthumous, the survivor is not an over-liver who aimlessly questions the significance of his brute survival but rather a witness who knows too much, carrying the weight of an unwelcome knowledge gathered from within war and crisis that challenges the official closure of … Read more

As We Walk on Water

This project chronicles the significant changes in Singapore’s natural and urban landscape. The images in this volume have been carefully selected to capture the changing face of this tropical island-state. They touch on issues of land reclamation, national boundaries, ecological changes, pollution, conservation and the ever-evolving skyline. The pictures capture an ongoing dialogue between the city’s man-made infrastructure and its natural spaces and creatures. While Singapore architecture is documented in aerial views of the country’s tallest buildings, and its ubiquitous public housing, there are also photographs the island’s wildlife.

Unnaming the System? Retrieving Postmodernism’s Contemporaneity

This article discusses the ongoing pertinence to the present of Fredric Jameson’s work on postmodernism in the context of recent elaborations of “the contemporary” and “contemporaneity” in art history, theory and criticism. It is argued that, while postmodernism is fraught with contradiction and in any case irretrievable by now as a periodization of the present, it nonetheless remains crucially instructive for a fuller understanding and politicization of contemporaneity. In particular, both the nature of the relationship between culture and capital, as well as the theoretical imperative to totalize remain central to Jameson’s problematic in ways that the discourse on the … Read more

Anishinaabe Artists, of the Great Lakes? Problematizing the Exhibition of Place in Native American Art

This article discusses the relationship between Native American art and place as a curatorial strategy in the recent exhibition Before and After the Horizon: Anishinaabe Artists of the Great Lakes. It is argued that while the Anishinaabe connection to the Great Lakes region as a spiritual, cultural, and epistemological center is essential to the art of the exhibition, the curators present this place as timeless and unchanging. The result is an interpretation of the Native American relationship to place that is idealized, ahistorical, and inaccurate to the tumultuous legacy of colonialism. Rather, as the art on display makes clear despite … Read more

A Conversation with Hsieh Tehching, from The Black Cover Book

This is a translation of a 1993 conversation involving three artists from the Chinese diaspora Hsieh Teh-Ching, Ai Weiwei and Xu Bing. Through candid dialog they tease out the motivations behind their conceptually driven artistic practices, their individual perceptions of social systems and politics, a “Western” art system from which they are marginalized, the concept “Modern art,” the Duchampian imagination, contingency, and postmodernism, etc. Their dialogue helps to situate the frame of mind of émigré artists working and living in New York in the early 1990s, with particular attention to the spiritual and social motivations behind art-making, while elaborating the … Read more

Price or Prize: The Artist as Vertreter

This article discusses different modes of delegation in Martin Kippenberger’s work. Drawing both on the artist’s work as a painter in post-II WW Berlin and on his performance of his own life as part of his artistic work, the article contends that Kippenberger keeps in the balance a modernist logic of art as deskilling and delegation that endorses the artist as an entrepreneur; and a postmodern position that emphasizes more performative elements in subjectivity.