opening night

East End Art is an area north of 798 featuring more than 10 galleries, art organizations and artist studios centered around a courtyard. Tracey Moffatt's "LOVE" video is showing on a monitor at L.A. Gallery. I find myself sympathizing with the women as they clumsily slap and shoot their lovers, while goose pimples pop up on my skin when the men counter with much more powerful blows.

Across the courtyard at Beijing Commune another opening "Mayfly" features 3 artists: Zhang Dali, Xiao Yu and Ma Luming exploring the ongoing process of forming new identities of the individual in a rapidly changing society.
Xiao Yu explores the concept of the modern 'person' in a series of computer manipulated photographs where different parts of different faces are pieced together to form new faces. The nature of individuals is turned into a question mark.
Zhang Dali has studied the peasant workers who are the fundamental force behind China's ongoing construction work. He describes how they only have their bodies to offer to survive. They have left their villages, homes and families ? their old identities in exchange for minimal pay for physical work. They have no status, no rights, no faces. In "New Faces" Zhang Dali has portrayed the workers in a series of heads emphasizing individual features while the eyes are closed. In another piece exhibited in the near by STUDIO 3 full size sculptures of the migrant workers are hanging in ropes from the ceiling. While the buildings are rising, the workers are hanging upside down.

Another artist in STUDIO 3 is Sheng Qi who shows his signature four-fingered hand photographed with passport-sized portraits of various people. Corporal punishment, and Dali Lama worship comes to mind as powerful metaphors. He also displays a provocative painting of Tian Anmen Square covered with military tanks and dripping red paint. On the floor is a model tank aiming at the painting which is called "National Day"- irony or propaganda?

We move on to 798 or Dashanzi Art District where we stop to have a coffee at trendy At Cafe. I order a tuna sandwich with fries and feel like I'm in Europe. The feeling continues to Galleria Continua, a pretty new gallery here in a beautiful huge industrial space. They promise to bring the best contemporary European Art to China, and we can see mirror stripes by Daniel Buren and Ilya Kabakov's fly writing on the wall. Anish Kapoor and Michelangelo Pistoletto are also on view (they are not joking). Before departure from Oslo I was given a photocopy of the invitation to this show that was floating around at Ute's desk at OCA...

A forceful rain-storm keeps me up all night, so I go out to record the amazing sounds of falling water...
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