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欧文·奥拉夫摄影展回顾 · 上海摄影艺术中心    

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Exhibition poster, courtesy of RAM
Since 2013 the Rockbund Art Museum (RAM) and Hugo Boss have collaborated to hold the biannual HUGO BOSS ASIA ART Award. The purpose of the award is to promote new and diverse narratives in contemporary Asian art. It also serves to foster international artistic exchange and direct attention to Asia’s lively and fast-growing contemporary art scene. The finalists of the award’s fourth edition are currently>
The RAM is just a short walk from the hustle and bustle of East Nanjing Road in the former British concession. It is housed in a majestic Art Deco building that was originally the home of the Royal Asiatic Society. The building’s geometric forms and clean lines ooze with an understated grandeur that never fails to draw me in. This stylish simplicity continues throughout the building with whitewash walls, black marble floors and wrought iron bannisters. The building has five floors, in my opinion the perfect size for a contemporary art gallery. I always manage to stay entertained and engaged without feeling overwhelmed by the quantity of work>


Rockbund Art Museum    

The museum is dedicated to supporting contemporary art production and creativity, and elevating Chinese contemporary art in international scenes. The museum has no collection of its own, which enables it to completely transform its gallery spaces for each exhibition.    

The Hugo Boss award finalists were chosen by a jury panel with a strong knowledge of contemporary art practices in Greater China and Southeast Asia, chaired by Larys Frogier, director of the RAM. The finalists are Hao Jingban (Beijing), Hsu Che-Yu (Taipei), Thao-Nguyen Phan (Ho Chi Minh City) and Eisa Jocson (Manila), the latter of whom was announced winner>


Hsu  Che-Yu, Hao Jingban, Eisa Jocson and Thảo-Nguyên Phan with Larys Frogier, Billy  Tang and Carolin Westermann. Courtesy of RAM

The exhibition spans four floors of the museum. Each floor is dedicated to>Forsaken Landscapes by Hao Jingban and Corponomy by award winner Eisa Jocson.    

The second floor exhibits the works of Hao Jingban, who lives and works in Beijing. Hao’s practice involves using different video languages to explore interweaving narratives from both the past and present. Her works are often the product of long-term historical investigation, field study and archival research. Her interest focuses>Forsaken Landscapes consists of four moving images projected>


Forsaken Landscapes, Hao Jingan, courtesy of RAM.    


Upon entering the gallery, the two largest screens feature silent extracts from a selection of films in combination with text. These extracts depict the same geographical terrain in China from the 1930s to the present day. Over time this territory has been appropriated to convey different messages, from representing utopian fertile land to barren and unrelenting space. These two screens form a contextual background to a performance by benshi performer Ichiro Kataoka. Kataoka provides the silent films with narration, bridging the gap between past and present, in doing so connecting the video footage>


Forsaken Landscapes, Hao Jingban, courtesy of RAM    

The landscapes portrayed>
The second floor exhibits two works by Eisa Jocson, a choreographer, dancer and visual artist based in Manila. Her work is dedicated to investigating the representation of the body, focusing>
Corponomy exhibits a compilation of archival material from different performances of Jocson’s diverse practice combined with a sound installation. The name Corponomy comes from combining the words ‘corpus’ and ‘economy’, which she uses to describe the body as it adapts to different economic situations. The work consists of four interplaying video installations. They feature Jocson mimicking a variety of genres attributed to Philippine migrant workers in the entertainment industry.    



Corponomy,  Eisa Jocson, courtesy of RAM

When I enter, the videos are showing Jocson as a tacky looking Snow White saying the following to her audience>“What do you do when things go wrong?”    
“I’m awfully sorry, I didn’t mean to frighten you, but you don’t know what I’ve been through. And all because I was afraid… I’m so ashamed of the fuss I’ve made…”    
Snow White then starts laughing. The laughter becomes increasingly hysterical and unpleasant, morphing into panting and screams of pain. The screens go black. Snow White is replaced with a pole dancer, Jocson, whose pole dancing morphs into a macho display. Information provided outside the installation explains that macho dancing is performed by young men in nightclubs for male and female clients. It has a specific physicality and movement vocabulary and is unique to the Philippines. By embodying a macho dancer, Jocson aims to challenge our perceptions of sexuality and questions gender as a tool for social mobility.    



Corponomy  (Snow White), Eisa Jocson, courtesy of RAM    

I found this work both upsetting and empowering. Seeing prescribed identities put together and performed by no>
To view these works alone I would highly recommend a visit to RAM. The works by Thảo-Nguyên Phan and Hsu Che-Yu are also thought-provoking and moving. The different practices and choices of medium within the exhibition make for a varied experience. The fact that each floor is dedicated to>
The HUGO BOSS ASIA ART Award runs until 1 January 2019.     

Visiting details

20 Huqiu Road, Huangpu District, Shanghai    
10:00 - 18:00 Tuesday - Sunday (last admission: 17:30)    
Closed Mondays    
Regular Ticket: 50 RMB
Concessionary Ticket: 20 RMB    





About the Author:    
Emily Beckwith, a cultural heritage professional with international work experience in museums and galleries, is a volunteer contributor to Elevate. Her passions are art, education and interpretation. She believes that art should be accessible for everyone to enjoy, and loves exploring Shanghai's art scene.  "It's such a pleasure to have found the Elevate community and I'm excited to be writing exhibition reviews for them. Please feel free to reach out to me if you have any suggestions, my WeChat is emilyrb93."    


欧文·奥拉夫摄影展回顾 · 上海摄影艺术中心    

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Cover Image: Corponomy  (Snow White), Eisa Jocson, courtesy of RAM, copyright Eisa Jocson and Rockbund Art Museum    


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