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So yeah, the rally. We thought that if we arrived 3 hours ahead of the 7pm start time, we’d have a good chance of getting close enough to at least see Barack give his address. It didn’t work out that way. After passing through the Brandenburg Gate and beginning the mile long walk to the Victory Column, it soon became clear that we’d arrived too late. After passing the first jumbotron and heading into the bratwurst and beer concessions, I thought we might just get there, but then the second screening station appeared and the push to the front came to a halt. The polizei had set up a barrier to control the size of the crowd that would get to fill in around Obama’s podium. We ended up about 200 meters away, but it was still exciting to see the response of the crowd when Obama took the stage.
Approach to the Brandenburg Tor.
One to 200,000: not very good odds.
Andre was nice enough to send me some photos he’d taken of the newly completed CCTV and TVCC buildings in Beijing. Andre was the project architect for TVCC, so he’s been there from the start.
They visited us last weekend, so we got them to show us their “surprised” look.
I’ve fascinated by personal libraries, or collections of any sort, as forms of cognitive mapping. E-flux founder Anton Vidokle has collaborated with Martha Rosler to transform the artist’s 7,700 volume personal library into a traveling installation/map/research room. The collection began its tour at the e-flux space in downtown Manhattan in November 2005, and will make its appearance at Stills in Edinburgh in August. You can explore the bibliography of Rosler’s collection here. Below, one of Rosler’s most well known works, Semiotics of the Kitchen (1975).
The Chinese artist Yang Maoyuan’s ancestors lived as nomads, wandering the steppes of Mongolia with horses and livestock. His grotesque and slightly comic work is being exhibited at Alexander Ochs Gallery in Beijing right now. Gives new meaning to “dead animals.” From the press release:
Yang’s series of inflated animals – horses, goats and sheep, inflated to monstrous size and sometimes in lucid colours – is concentrating on the past and family tradition. The work shows Yang’s personal interest in his cultural roots and the identity of his family.
Horse NO.2, 2001. Sculpture, horseskin inflated. 280×180×200cm
Horse No.3, 2003. Sculpture, horseskin inflated. 290×280×230cm
Just discovered the work of the Chinese American artist Hung Liu, whose new show, Daughters of China (Zhonghua nü’er), is opening at the F2 Gallery in Beijing this month. The paintings depict scenes from the Chinese film of the same name, directed by first time filmmaker Ling Zifeng in 1949, at the height of the Maoists struggle against the Nationalists for control over China. The stuff of heroic fables, the film is based on a novel recounted by a Communist activist named Yan Yiyan. In her novel, Eight Women Throw Themselves into the River (Ba nü toujiang), she recounts the story of eight women who drowned themselves to avoid becoming Japanese prisoners of war. Daughters of China was one of the first propaganda movies in China and sought to encourage support for the Communist cause.
What’s interesting about Hung Liu’s paintings is that they are interpretations of a historical moment, as defined by a film, which was itself based on a memoir. The truth of that moment becomes far less important when compared to the tales of heroism it inspired. Through the lens of these paintings, one begins to form an understanding of the historical place of women in China and their important, albeit sometimes superficial, role in shaping Communism.
Tis The Final Conflict No.2, 2007. Oil on canvas. 152.4 x 243.84 cm
Tis The Final Conflict No.4, 2007. Oil on canvas. 152.4 x 182.88 cm / diptych
No Saviour From On High Delivers #1 , 2008. Oil on canvas. 203.2 x 243.84 cm
Robert Therrien is an artist who works with scale. From the Gagosian Gallery press release:
No Title (Folding Table and Chairs) comprises four sets of card tables and chairs in authentic ‘institutional’ tones of beige, brown, and green. The monumentality of these objects invites the viewer to walk around and beneath them, altering perspective and experience to render a formerly familiar situation strange.
No Title (folding table and chairs, dark brown), 2007. Painted metal and fabric. Table: 96 x 120 x 120 inches (243.8 x 304.8 x 304.8 cm)
Four chairs 104 x 64 x 72 inches each (264.2 x 162.6 x 182.9 cm)