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Forum: 'Here Was Elsewhere: A Memorandum of a Summer in Shanghai'

18:00 on 13 April 2016
Cooper Gallery Exhibitions, Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design University of Dundee, 13 Perth Road, DD1 4HT

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Following the successful realisation of the first phase of Cooper Gallery’s major international project CURRENT | 不合时宜: Contemporary Art from Scotland in Shanghai in summer 2015, Cooper Gallery and the British Council are delighted to announce the forum Here Was Elsewhere: A Memorandum of a Summer in Shanghai.

Taking place on the evening of the 13th April at Cooper Gallery in Dundee, the forum will feature artists Poster Club, Anne-Marie Copestake and Edgar Schmitz who were involved in the CURRENT | 不合时宜 programme and specially invited speakers from both China and UK including JJ Charlesworth (art critic and publisher of Art Review), Wang Nanming (independent curator and critic) and Weng Yunpeng (Director, Minsheng Art Museum, Shanghai).

Curated by Cooper Gallery in collaboration with curators and art organisations in China and organised in partnership with the British Council, CURRENT | 不合时宜 is a two-year four-phase contemporary art exhibition and forum programme. Building on the international interest in GENERATION, one of the most ambitious programmes of contemporary art to have taken place in Scotland, CURRENT | 不合时宜 showcases for the first time in China the distinctiveness of contemporary art made in Scotland, its grass-roots spirit and its keen debates with the social and political dimensions of art and culture.

Drawing upon Roland Barthes apt aphorism “the contemporary is the untimely”, the project opens a sustained critique on the notion of the ‘contemporary’. Through questioning political, social and economic discourses, CURRENT| 不合时宜 explores how the present moment is mediated into culture.

The Forum Here Was Elsewhere: A Memorandum of a Summer in Shanghai will share the experience gained and further expand the thoughts and discussions developed along the journey from Scotland to China. The forum will problematise the fictionality of the ‘contemporary’ that revokes the multiplicity of history in favour of a single all encompassing image; now. The critical focus of CURRENT | 不合时宜 is to instigate what it means to create a transnational exhibition/cultural exchange programme in a world of shifting geo-political and social realities and how art can distinctively re-negotiate the similar yet different relationships that two locations have with a ‘globalised’ world.

JJ Charlesworth is a freelance art critic and since 2006 has worked on the editorial staff of the London-based international art magazine ArtReview, where he is currently the magazine’s publisher. JJ studied fine art at Goldsmiths College, London, in the mid-1990s, before turning his hand to criticism. Since 1999, he has published reviews, articles and commentaries in publications such as Art Monthly, Flash Art, Modern Painters, Contemporary, Time Out London, Third Text and the Daily Telegraph newspaper. He has also published many features and catalogue essays on artists such as Roger Hiorns, David Claerbout, Sarah Lucas and Liam Gillick. As well as writing, he has lectured and taught extensively, tutoring at London’s Royal College of Art, the Royal Academy Schools and Central St Martins College. He is a member of the executive committee of AICA UK, the UK section of the International Association of Art Critics.

Wang Nanming is an independent curator, critic and artist based in Shanghai, China. Wang is best known for his research, and writing on contemporary art in China, and is considered one of the most distinctive voices in Chinese contemporary art; his paper “Shanghai Art Museum Should Not Become a Market Stall in China for Western Hegemonism” delivered at the 3rd Shanghai Biennale in 2000 gained praise from all quarters (In Wu Hong. ed.) Chinese Art at the Crossroads: Between Past and Future, Between East and West, 2001. Wang is an active advocate of “Avant-garde,” “Post Avant-garde,” and “Metavant-garde” art within a Chinese context. His recent work examines how Chinese contemporary art responds to the world, and how it contributes its specific perception of Contemporary art within a global context.

Collaborating with Cooper Gallery DJCAD curator Sophia Hao, Wang Nanming co-curated Phase One of CURRENT | 不合时宜:Contemporary Art from Scotland in 2015.

Wang has authored several books including Art Must Die: from Chinese Painting to Modern Ink Painting,(2006,) After Concept: Art and Criticism (2006), The Rise of Critical Art: Chinese Problem Situations, Theories of Liberal Society (2011), Art, System and Legislation: China’s International Exchange (2012), A Post-colonial Honour: the Chinese-ness of Art and the Chinese identity of Artists (2012) and Obstacles of Calligraphy: Neoclassical Calligraphy, Popular Calligraphic Style and Modern Calligraphy Issues (2014).

Weng Yunpeng is Director of Minsheng Art Museum, Shanghai (opened in 2008), one of the largest non-profit public art museums in China today. The museum is funded by the China Minsheng Banking Corporation alongside its two sister venues; Shanghai 21st Century Art Museum (opened in 2014) and Beijing Minsheng Art Museum (opened in 2015).

A graduate of East China Normal University in 1989 where he majored in oil painting, Weng obtained his MA in Painting from the Central Academy of Fine Art in Beijing in 1997, he undertook a PhD research course in Painting at Tsinghua University in 2000. Alongside his organizational commitments and curatorial work, Weng has always pursued his own artistic practice and is known for his painting, photography and moving image works. As an artist, Weng has been shown in major art museums in China and internationally.

Weng joined Minsheng Art Museums in 2012 as a member of the Development Committee of the organisation’s new venue Beijing Minsheng Art Museum. In 2014, Weng was appointed Director of Minsheng Art Museum, Shanghai. Major projects curated at Minsheng Art Museum include Childhood Friends Getting Fat: Moving Image by Liu Xiao Dong 1984-2014 (2014), Contemporary Photography in China 2009-2014 (2014), The System of Objects(2015) and Linguistic Pavilion (2016). In 2015, in collaboration with the Photographers’ Gallery in London and the British Council, Weng led the team at the museum on organising and presenting Work, Rest and Play: British Photography from the 1960s to Today, which is part of the 2015 UK-China Year of Cultural Exchange.

Anne-Marie Copestake is an artist that works with moving image, sound, performance, text, print, and sculpture. Fundamental to her practice is the exploration of language, in the form of printed artworks, texts, explorations of construction through lyric forms and scripts. Copestake often works collaboratively and has been a founding member of two long-term collective projects in Glasgow: Poster Club and Muscles of Joy. Poster Club is a group of six artists using the medium of print as a site for experimental collaborative practice. In Muscles of Joy, a band formed in 2008, Copestake has focused on sound and textual ideas, as well as building sculptural objects and instruments for performance.

Copestake’s exhibitions and screenings include: Ripples On The Pond, Gallery of Modern Art, Glasgow (2015), E E E O E E E I A A E E A, Rhubaba, Edinburgh (2015), Inverleith House, Edinburgh (2015), The Trigger Tonic Compendium, Tramway (2014), Studio Jamming (with Full Eye), Cooper Gallery, Dundee (2014), And Under That, Cafe Oto, London, Glasgow Film Theatre and CCA Glasgow (2012); Bronze: Fred Pedersen and Anne-Marie Copestake, Glasgow International Festival of Visual Art (2010); Victoria Morton and Films by Anne-Marie Copestake, Inverleith House, Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh (2010). Copestake was the recipient of the Margaret Tait Award in 2011 and the inaugural BFI Experimenta Pitch Award in 2015.

Copestake is part of the CURRENT programme through her membership of Poster Club and as an individual artist. As part of CURRENT, Copestake undertook a month residency in summer 2015 in the water town of Zhu Jiajiao on the outskirts of Shanghai where she developed new works and collaborated with artists and musicians.

Poster Club is a group of artists who collaborate on designing and printing posters. They approach the idea of what a ‘poster’ is, and can be, by creating works that announce their own presence without informing us as to what they might mean. Using the poster format as an open-ended starting point for their projects, Poster Club’s primary interest is in using the medium of print as a site for experimental collaborative practice.

Poster Club’s ideals are succinct yet open.

1. Make posters 2. Collaborate

Poster Club are Anne-Marie Copestake, Charlie Hammond, Tom O’Sullivan, Nicolas Party, Ciara Phillips and Michael Stumpf. Poster Club have exhibited at: Cooper Gallery DJCAD, Dundee (2016), Himalayas Museum, Shanghai (2015); Martha Street Studio, Winnipeg (2014), Dundee Contemporary Arts (2013), Platform, Glasgow (2013), The Duchy, Glasgow (2013), Glasgow Print Studio (2011) and Eastside Projects, Birmingham (2011).

In summer 2015, Poster Club participated in Phase One of CURRENT and travelled to Shanghai for the exhibition and a week-long residency in the water town of Zhu Jiajiao.

Edgar Schmitz is an artist who is interested in the relationships between contemporary art and cinematic productions. He uses images, storylines as well as soundtracks from films in order to produce installations in art gallery spaces that are over-saturated with the promises of the multiple invoked elsewhere. His works operate as backdrops which turn the gallery into a film set for movies always yet to be made, and investigate how to best withdraw from the here and now of the present.

Recent exhibitions include Surplus Cameo Decor: Sindanao 2, part of Phase One of CURRENT at Shanghai Himalayas Museum (2015),Surplus Cameo Decor, Cooper Gallery, (2012), British Art Show 7 – In The Days of the Comet, Hayward Gallery and touring (2010/11), extra added bonus material, FormContent (2010), Dictionary of War, Steirischer Herbst Graz (2006); A-C-A-D-E-M-Y, Vanabbemuseum Eindhoven (2006); and Liam Gillick: ‘Edgar Schmitz’, ICA London (2005). Schmitz is the co-director of A Conversation in Many Parts, an international discursive platform for contemporary art and concepts, and a lecturer in Critical Studies at Goldsmiths.



Detail of NEW Wheat, NEW Mud, NEW Machine, Poster Club, 2016

Detail of NEW Wheat, NEW Mud, NEW Machine, Poster Club, 2016