Simultaneous Eidos — Guangzhou Image Triennial 2017
The launch of 2017 Guangzhou Image Triennial promises the advent of "image"era.Contemporary art master Anselm Kiefer once had it about the uniqueness of image,"it is just like an exclamation mark standing there,and before that is a mere piece of scenery."Once the everyday scenery stepping into the shutter,it changes its form and color,and becomes a metamorphosis recognized and appreciated in a limited frame,as mystery goes hand in hand with the meaning produced.Such is a epitome of strength from image.From the historical accumulation of the past three Guangzhou Photo Biennial to today’s Guangzhou Image Triennial,Guangdong Museum of Art has been pursuing international vision and the cultural position of image sociology in humanities;except for that,it reinitiates the thinking on photo,or put it in a broader sense,on the independence of image itself as a composite media,and on the transcendence appeared among different media.It enables us to construct a space with a deep engagement between photography and various forms of image art in a more open position in the face of today's dazzling image media.
Having a retrospect of Guangzhou Photo Biennial and a series of theme exhibitions,Guangdong Museum of Art has been closely focusing on the relationship between photography and time,history,society and humanities,and constantly exploring and following the production of image images as well as features and meanings that make it a part of sociology.Such work accumulates rich academic resources to modern and contemporary image art research and art work collection.Historically,"photography"is not a solid and fixed concept.From camera obscuras to the art of photography in the 19th century,people were trying to capture various chemical reactions of the "light";and now,"light"has transformed to digitalized images.Fission process like this not only greatly extends the boundary defining photography,but makes it gradually penetrate into other media forms and establishments of modern day life to become a shared and communicative aesthetic experience.Naturally,a new direction for us to focus and study is the approaches of sorting out interdisciplinary practices arisen from the collision and integration of static photography and other image media.
The theme of this Guangzhou Image Triennial--Interweaving Eidos·Overlapping Images--is based on such a position,or in other words,the transition from "photo"to "image",indicating the transition from the original "photography of humanities"to a more inclusive and disciplinary "photography of visual research".Driven by modern technology,the concept of "image"we are talking today has entered into a larger dimension.The overlapping of static and dynamic,physical and non-physical as well as two dimensional and multidimensional elements begins to leap beyond the visual expression defined by "photography".In this sense,we can take "image"as a composite medium which interacts with the current aesthetic taste and cultural status to produce more organic connections and propagation effect.It is worth mentioning that although "image"and "photography"have different meanings in English language,they have the same meaning in Cantonese,though written in different characters.In the theme,"image"and "Eidos"project the referred object to the space and discourse corresponding to the subject,namely traditional photo studios and photography;"interweaving"and "overlapping"indicates that "truth"of the world is only nearer when images captured by different media are collected and demonstrated.Domestic curator Bao Dong and his international counterpart Alejandro Castellote share the task to present the theme exhibition,and stimulate the reflection on traditional photography as well as propagation and consumption of photos;in the meantime,as the media transform,we are trying to find future form of image art and sketch out its visualized map from a global perspective.
Guangdong Museum of Art has always been putting special attention on regional ecology and local arts,and modern photography is closely linked to the history and cultural development in the Pearl River Delta region.In the 19th century when photography was just born,it was carried to all the way to the oriental world by a French trade mission,first landed in Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau region,then flourished across China.From 1940s,Hong Kong unveiled its over-30-year-long salon photography era,and a stream of studio-based photography works were created.Until 1980s and 1990s,the Pearl River Delta region had always been an important stage of modern photography,accompanied by artists recording traces of urbanization and waves of consumerism.Therefore,we should "come back"to the Pearl River Delta if we want to explore characters of photography in each stage in China.The exhibition has also invited domestic curator Zeng Han to present a special exhibition themed Guangdong Image Reflected in Mirrors,an attempt of "coming back".Starting from the research on history of photography in Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau region and the thinking on the parallel relationship with global history,the exhibition discusses the relationship between photography and history,society and the time we are living in through demonstrating art works in groups with 15 artists in each.Photo sampling in such a manner presents the hundred-year long photography creation process in front of us.
It's fair to say that image is one of the most open and experimental art forms of all the contemporary art,and Guangdong Museum of Art has always been leading its development course.It becomes crucial to perform a comprehensive and systematic summary and reflection of image art and refresh our understanding and conduct research on this medium from a dynamic point of view.I'd like to take this opportunity to express my heartfelt gratitude to the Academic Board consisting of Gu Zheng,Pi Li,Chen Weixing,Yang Xiaoyan,Feng Yuan,Qin Wei and other experts and scholars,and to the Observation Group consisting of Lu Mingjun,Sun Dongdong,Sun Xiaofeng and Chen Wei.Since September 2016,Guangdong Museum of Art has invited the aforementioned experts and scholars to participate in three exhibition planning meetings from an academic perspective.Numerous in-depth and fruitful discussions were made on topics covering the meaning of relaunching Guangzhou Photo Biennial,changes in contemporary photo exhibition planning and the academic institutionalization of the art museum among other issues.We hope this exhibition not only enriches the long-time research of image art by Guangdong Museum of Art,but clearly shows its academic position and cultural stance to provide a sound platform for popularizing image arts and filing phased achievements;at the same time,the museum takes the exhibition as the opportunity to provide broad and comprehensive materials to people from all walks of life and channel the visitors' attention on image arts,so as to further enhance practices and development of contemporary image art in China.
Wang Shaoqiang
Director of Guangdong Museum of Art