|Dinh Q. Lê, Signs and Signals From the Periphery, installation view|
Under the direction of staff curator Iris Shu-Ping Huang, this exhibition proposes the theme Medi(t)ation, a neologism coined especially for this exhibition. This term combines the two core concepts of mediation and meditation, stressing mediation of conflict while also standing for the longing for reconciliation inherent in the human spirit. Medi(t)ation refers to exploring changing Asian culture, and how artists search for a middle ground between traditional values and modern cultural development amidst widely varying extreme influences; and how they look for the room for “cultural mediation” over the course of reflection and shifting power structures, to establish their position in the anxious area of global cultural competition.
This exhibition enlists the participation of artists from 20 countries across Asia. Through various creative forms and types of works, they will reflect the cultural essence of Medi(t)ation, stressing subjective self-awareness, communication approaches in response to shifting realities, and means of adjusting to structural transformation. Teams of artists from such countries as Indonesia, the Philippines, China, and Taiwan will also be invited to undertake new on-site commissions, conducting social research surveys, lyrical transfer of everyday language and things, and the inspiration and responses of physical conduct as paths for analyzing Asian reality.
This biennial features 40 artists and collaboration groups, including Shi Jin-Hua, Lin Chuan-Chu, Hamra Abbas, Alfredo & Isabel Aquilizan, Leslie de chavez, E Chen, Parastou Forouhar, Shaun Gladwell, Nigel Heyler, Penny Hes Yassour, Ho Tzu Nyen, Dinh Q Le, Ahmet Ögüt, Sopheap Pich , Sara Rahbar, Raqs Media Collective, Shinoda Taro, Tromarama , Tsang Kin-Wah , Xu Tan, Yin Xiuzhen, Yuan Goang-Ming, Andrey Blazhnov, Park Chang Kyong, Bae Young-whan, Min Jung Yeon, Ohmaki Shinji, Aida Makoto, Tiffany Singh, L.N. Tallur, Guy Ben-Ner, Huang Ming-Zheng, Wen Chi-yi, Wawi Nabarroza, Aristarkh Chernyshev, Yee I Lann, Bani Abidi, Samsuddin Wahab, Alexander Ugay, and Michael Rakowitz.
Dinh Q. Lê, a Vietnamese-born artist active in the contemporary art scene fresh off a 2010 solo exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) in New York, works in diverse media including painting, installation and video. His entry in the Asian Art Biennial, Signs and Signals from the Periphery, 2009-2011, represents the artist’s observations on Vietnam’s fluid economic model from 2009 through the present. Taking an improvisational lyrical approach, he transforms the vehicles used by street vendors to haul parts and components, or signs and tools for repair services, into artworks rich with metaphorical meaning. Seemingly in response to the conceptual sculpture of American artist Bruce Nauman, the artist proposes aesthetic perspectives rooted in current Asian reality with reference to the context of a Vietnamese society heavily impacted by economic transformation.