Hou Hanru: Constructed shifts
Although less provocative on the surface, it is in Hou Hanru’s curatorial practice that the seeds of change can be identified most clearly. Hou’s methodology can be seen as an arrhythmanalytical tool as he curatorally constructs a set of arrhythms that become the basis of inquiry though practice. Lefebvre is written all over it, though not acknowledged as such by Hou. His approach is not so much to respond to or reflect artists’ new ways of making art as to create a dense interrelationship between curator, artist and audience through movement as an integral part of the exhibition model. Cities on the Move (1997-2000) was jointly curated with European-born Hans Ulrich Obrist. It began in Vienna as the Secession celebrated its centenary of the break away of a group of avant-garde artists from the more traditional Vienna Kunstlerhaus artists at the turn of the twentieth century. Above the entrance of the Secession building in Vienna a sign reads in German Der Zeit ihre Kunst. Der Kunst ihre Fre-iheit/To the Age Its Art. To Art Its Freedom. Like the Secessionists, Hou is seeking the art of his age. The model developed for Cities on the Move was pivotal in changing many modes of curatorial practice. The title itself flags its intensions. Central to the new practice was movement or transience but also a changing relationship between East and West. Concepts of joint transformation have replaced concepts of exoticism of the other. Such a mind space could only be shaped by urbaness. Hou constructed an inter-disciplinary, inter-cultural, inter-urban mapping that embraced multiple cities over its timeframe, each time reinventing itself. Each component was connected to the other through arrhythm and transience. This is even more evident in the curatorial model for the second Guangzhou Triennial in 2005 titled Beyond: An Extraordinary Space for Experimentation for Modernization. It did indeed go beyond conventional curatorial models. Again Hou worked with Obrist as well as Guo Xiaoyan and Wang Huangsheng, curator and director of the Guangdong Museum. The intention was to interrogate the Pearl River Delta as an urban performative mind space, rather than set out to represent the changes taking place through artistic interpretation. The key word is performative. It is a word that embraces cultural collision as a reciprocal contact zone’ (Obrist 2005) within which new values and understandings of city and self are shaped by urbaness. Hou has turned the exhibition model into an act that is a process of deidentification, re-identification and re-invention of the self’ (Munroe 2008: 79). Rem Koolhaas is a favourite of Hou and one can see why by observing how Hou’s curatorial strategies are played out by Koolhaas. Koolhaas’s Hyper Building in Cities on the Move created spontaneous diversity’ (Koolhaas, cited in Hou and Obrist 1997: 35) by creating a vertical population density comparable with the density, complexity and diversity of thirty-six square kilometres of horizontal central Bangkok. In Beyond: An Extraordinary Space for Experimentation for Modernization he randomly inserted a library across an existing residential building. As with Hou, he constructs a space within which transience, arrhythmia and exacerbated difference are the key performative elements.
The Transient City: The city as urbaness
In this chapter it has been argued that the city in the twenty-first urban century is in the process of being re-imagined as urbaness. China’s rapid urbanization and its associated changes in consciousness along with the art practice emerging out of this experience has provided a platform from which to investigate urbaness. Within that platform the practice of Ai Weiwei and Hou Hanru suggest clues as to changes taking place in the urban consciousness of the first urban century. Through applying a re-interpretation of Henri Lefebvre’s Rhythmanalysis to Ai and Hou’s practice it has been shown that both reinforce observations of China more broadly. The indications are that the city is in the process of being re-imagined as a mindscape that embraces accelerated transience and arrhythmia as increasingly natural states of thought and being.
A painting can be a philosophical exercise. Other lesser dynasties Jilin City Metro Map made their marks; the Yuan era in AD 1300 has Mongolian influence and a mural technique Jilin City Metro Map of flowing movement. They painted the best of the flying devis. Various artists used a predominance of red, others preferred indigo blue or a vibrant turquoise. Some painted in outline, some in line-shading or block colour. There was much black which in fact is oxidised red ochre.
Jilin City Metro Map Photo Gallery
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