Material Links | Shanghai, 2008

Material Links– A Dialogue Between Greek and Chinese Artists

Group Exhibition

Curated by: Iris Kritikou

Project Participation: The Soma The Psyche The Spirit The Self

MOCA Shanghai Museum

Shanghai, China, 2008

The exhibition Material Links, featuring contemporary Greek and Chinese artists, offers a superb opportunity to trace the elective affinities between two civilizations, both with centuries of tradition and influence on various cultural industries. What distinguishes this exhibition is the challenge of a creative cultural dialogue on the level of traditional materials and techniques applied in contemporary art, thus creating a new artistic language with original images and innovative directions in the artistic evolution between Chinese and Greek art.The exhibition first opened at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MoCA Shanghai) after which it traveled to Greece. The exhibition lies under the auspices of the Greek Ministry of Culture and the Greek National Tourist Organization, Embassy of Greece in Beijing, Consulate General of Greece in Shanghai, Shanghai Cultural Development Foundation in the frame of “Cultural Year of Greece in China”.“The participating artists in Material Links are outstanding in their pursuit utilizing the past while embracing the future.
Through their contemporary language and usage of various mediums, they comprehend and compare traditional art forms of the past, bringing us to a new artistic end, which is both stimulating and innovative.,” says Samuel Kung, Chairman and Director of MoCA Shanghai.Material Links provides us with a better understanding of the diversity of the art scenes in both Greece and China and the works of the artists themselves. With varied themes their works represent different discourses and visions and face the challenge of continuously redefining ideas and concerns of both contemporary art and culture. Moreover, continuously questioning how they themselves fit into an environment that is changing so rapidly.
Collectively the artists demonstrate respect for the classical tradition, yet a passionate desire to revitalize it and rescue it from languishing in the past. They identify strongly with the legacy of their ancestry yet feel a responsibility to perpetuate that legacy towards contemporary culture. Their art gives expression to their unique sense of aesthetics set amongst an international contemporary environment.The Soma The Psyche The Spirit The Self is a video installation projected on two facing freestanding walls. It comprises two counter-opposed projections, mirroring one another, and depicting the figure of a Shaolin monk, in his traditional orange robe, moving in from a distance. The two images differ only in that the one is a slightly more ethereal version of the other. The Shaolin monk’s movement is choreographed based on the Tai-Chi form.
The space between the two projection screens is energized by the synchronized movements, as he approaches, slowly moving closer and closer toward his ethereal self (in the opposite screen). The energy builds up as the movement becomes increasingly faster, and the choreography shifts seamlessly from Tai-Chi to Kung-Fu. The video is shot in front of the main gate of Berlin’s Olympic Stadium, circa 1936.