I thought it might be a good thing to make an additional, but short, blog post today since most people don’t speak Swedish, and someone might find my experiance so far of Bejing and the Red Gate residency useful. Ok, I came to Beijing one week before the residency started. My thought was that it might be good to do some sightseeing so you get used to the environment before you begin with your own work. Actually I couldn’t have been more right! (Keep in mind that I’m only staying for one month.) The first week was absolutely great even though I was all on my own. I stayed at a very good hostel downtown in a hutong area somewhere in the middle east direction inside the first ringroad. I can most definitely recommend the hostel, it’s called Fly by Knight Courtyard Hostel. You can actually stay there for free as a visual artist if you donate a piece of art and if you won’t mind staying in a dorm. Otherwise it seemed to me cheap enough to have my own room for a week. Then I came here to the residency, and I’m staying in one of the studios that are located, I don’t know but maybe 30 or 40 kilometers from downtown. It has been very good to see both the downtown area and this place since Feijiacun is absolutely more village-like. People are very friendly here and it is easy to make contact even though you might not always really understand eachother, but you get a hang of it! It might seem like I’m exaggerating, but I almost started to cry when I saw the studio (Emma knows that it’s true!). This is like a studio I’ve always wanted to have. Of course people have different preferences so this is from my point of view. Some people sure might find it a bit rough, but it is a studio and not a hotel. It is also a very good place for getting work done, though the heat some times is getting to me (but I knew it would be hot this time of the year), because the problem downtown is that it might be to many distractions, like all the time. So instead of getting work done you might end up just sitting at a bar somewhere just looking at people passing by (that can of course also be totally enough depending on your project). Even here in the village there can be a lot of distractions and this is just a quite small place. My feeling so far is that I want to come back already and I haven’t even yet left! There are so much to see and do here! (I will most definitely get one of those “I love Beijing” t-shirts before I go back home ;))
This is some of my work so far. I’m doing new patterns out of things I find around here. It can be everything from a small branch from a cypruss to a kids toy or maybe the swat from the studio next door!
This is the “Fly by Knight Courtyard Hostel”. They also have a wonderful roof terrass, mostly they seem to just hang their laundry there but you can also go up there to have a beer and just sit down and listen to the sounds from the city.
You will probably find small “gardens” around the city at the most random places!
A popular street downtown where you can find a lot of clothes, music instruments, restaurants and cafés among other things.
The studio I’m staying at.
Flowers just around the corner of our studios (and a lot of wines that must be very beautiful in the autumn.)
Wonderful people that I met because I started to eat at their restaurant. I never knew what I ordered though, I just pointed at some Chinese characters ;).
Some of the food you can find in one of the village markets.
Don’t worry about not being able to find enough art supply!
It’s easy to find inspiring things in the village, it’s just to take a stroll down the main street.
Iconic group shot from our July open studio exhibition last Sunday. Thanks for coming! See you in August. #redgateresidency #openstudio #feijiacun #费家村 #工作室开放日 #edwineasydorchik #mariaayub #displaydistribute #bloodbecomeswater #aiplusps
Chan Wei (Chan), China, Visual Artist I attempt to represent the forms of my works by current ways of interpreting nature. For example, “the state of plurals”, the concept that is recently emphasized, means that in the sheer perception of “viewing”, nature is not represented as the “whole” integrated with different concepts, but the “whole” that is directly assembled with individual parts. This simple way of viewing makes it possible to hide more complexity, chances and logic under the surface of nature. Therefore, in my working practice, I adopt installation art as a means to display and, moreover, emphasize the identity and simultaneity between “viewing” and “understanding”. In fact, the inclusiveness of my works are also closely related to my upbringing background: my family, somewhat resembling a matriarchal family, having more or less influenced my way of viewing the world, the way combining male’ s rationality and female’ s inclusiveness.
Lydia Chen, United States, Writing/Filmmaking http://www.innervisions25.com My current project is a documentary film about the tensions between being an artist and having to navigate complex social, psychological, moral, and material environments. The project, tentatively called “Art and Smog,” will explore the lives and works of contemporary Chinese artists and their challenges during the past 25 years of phenomenal economic growth. However, my broader objective is to explore the essence of art in a global context. During my residency at Red Gate, I will be engaging with artists, critics, scholars, and others who can shed light on my questions.
Andrea Cooper, New Zealand, Sculpture/Mixed Media http://artofandreas.com My country New Zealand has only a couple of hundred years of history. I am so looking forward to immersing myself in China’s ancient history. As a sculptor and mixed media artist I am completely interested in China,s historical printing methods, be it wood block, stone or bronze rubbings and anything in a contemporary context as well. I love the idea of making a rubbing from something very old and using it in a contemporary way.
Geoff Overheu, Australia, Sculpture/Oil Paint http://www.geoffoverheu.com I am currently working with sculptural oil paint and hope to continue my exploration with this medium.
Georges Saillard, France, Photography http://www.gsaillard.com I am a photographer and I share my time between Paris and the countryside in France.I am a professional since the age of 17, I first made photography for the news for several years and then fashion and advertising for 20 years. The digital caused the need of urgency in professional photography . This urgency has became a normality in our world. Since the industrial revolution and the rise of capitalism, the world tries to go faster and faster, trying to win time and accumulate assets. Men run and end up losing their lives by trying to earn a living.
In 2009 I decided to give more importance and time to my personal work, and I use an appreciated technique from photographers of the pictorial movement from the late nineteenth century. This ancient technic is called photogravure on copper. Because its implementation is anything but fast, I have the feeling of controlling the time.
I love photographing people because a picture is an encounter. Through the other’s differences I discover myself a little more every time. Otherwise, philosophy is very important in my life and I found through my medium another way to explore it.
Reading the Chinese philosopher Zhuangzi (3rd century BC) from whom I found the texts so close to our time, gave me the desire to come back to China. I would use my residence in Beijing to look for in everyday life but also among local artists, traces of this particular text in an environment of economic contrast. I have in mind specific ideas of images that I desire to make but I know that I might be totally destabilized by the chock of the culture, the mix of tradition and modernity.
The work that I would produce will be on display in June to “Paris Paname” an ephemeral cultural hub crossover during “Le French May Arts Festival” in Hong Kong.
Bevan Shaw, New Zealand, Painting http://bevanshaw.co.nz/ I am a visual artist from Wellington, New Zealand and I am exploring the process of how ideas change over time, through the mediums of painting and video. I am interested in perception and the relationship between structured pattern and free forms. I like to experiment with this by using bright colour, patterns and brushstrokes.
My residency (March, April, May) will be used to research aspects of traditional Chinese painting and create a new body of paintings responding to the architectural environment in Beijing. This will also involve taking site-specific sound recordings in Beijing, as well as documenting the studio painting process with digital photographs to reveal how the paintings change over time.
The work produced during the residency will be shown in an open studio exhibition at Red Gate towards the end of the residency. The digital photographs and sound recordings gathered will be used to create a video work to be shown alongside the residency paintings at Toi Pōneke Gallery, Wellington, New Zealand in October 2015.
Ilona van Weeren-Kieft, Netherlands, Printmaker http://www.ilona.vanweeren.com As a printmaker I have specialised in woodcarving and non-toxic etching. During my 2 months stay in this residency program I will explore other kinds of printmaking: monoprint, lithography and/or silkscreen. This is the 5th time I am working as an artist-in-resident in Beijing.
Hans Van Weeren, Netherlands, Visual Art/Painting http://www.hans.vanweeren.com Coming to Beijing for the Red Gate Residency for the sixth time I know already what to expect. I know I have the time and opportunity to work and reflect on what I’m doing. As a painter I really love the village of Feijiacun. But this year will make a new start with all kind of printing techniques.
Regram from current artist-in-residence Alex Silva @alexknex
Alex Silva is a Bay Area-based artist working in photography and mixed media. Alex will be a resident at RGR through October. Keep an eye out for what he gets up to while he’s here!