Despite the misleading moniker (not an Asian branch of the Hollywood mainstay) Universal Studios Beijing has drawn quite a bit of praise recently. In an article for Frieze Magazine published last week, Jörg Heiser suggests that the gallery offers the best exhibition program among all of the capital’s 300+ art spaces. And he may be right.
The two ongoing exhibits at USB are both worth mentioning. The gallery’s main space is occupied by Qiu Anxiong’s installation piece Staring Into Amnesia. The work consists of a retired train carriage that the artist cut into several pieces, shipped to Beijing from western China, and reassembled in the gallery’s hanger-like exhibition space. Upon each of the car’s 24 windows, Qiu projects archival footage of China’s past, interspersing it with his own animated sequences. Twelve different audio loops miscegenate throughout the train, also combining historical reference (folk songs) and contemporary creation (abstract audio recordings). The combination offers a bit of the sensation of a haunted house – with Staring Into Amnesia Qiu has definitely drawn out some ghosts.
This weekend marked the opening of USB’s other exhibition: Sites, Routes and Traces. The show includes work from three international artists: James Beckett, Pash Buzari and David Zinkyi, and was intended to occupy the larger train-filled space. Luckily, the move to the gallery’s smaller space hasn’t choked the work on display. Beckett’s Rube Goldbergesque clock, Buzari’s minimalist gestures and Zinkyi’s split-screen video all have ample space to breathe.
Pash Buzari, Where Does Where Do You Come From Come From, dispersion paint, 2007.
Pash Buzari, Stereoopticon, bronze, 2007.
Qiu Anxiong, Staring Into Amnesia, train carriage, 24 video projections, animation, audio, 2007.
James Beckett, Pash Buzari, Andre Schmidt, Beatric Leanza, and Waling Boers, co-founder of Universal Studios Beijing.
Damon McMahon and Stacey Duff.