China Up Close – art, film, society and culture through the lens
China is the focus for the ACMI in its first international ‘Up Close’ program. ACMI today announced in Shanghai that it will present China Up Close – a deeply rich program of art, film, digital programs, talks and live events exploring Chinese culture and society, in Melbourne from 4 December 2014 to March 2015.
Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) Director & CEO, Tony Sweeney, said China Up Close represents the most significant exploration of a major trading and cultural partner ever undertaken by the organisation across the breadth of its programming streams.It is part of ACMI’s refocused international engagement strategy unveiled on the Victoria Trade Mission to China this week.
“China Up Close is a rich program that seeks to showcase China’s greatest screen artists and examines the powerful changes that are being experienced in Chinese culture and society today,” Mr Sweeney said. “From video art on a huge scale, new films, Chinese classics and an extensive program of talks, we will be spotlighting key movements, makers and themes in Chinese film and culture for a wide audience from filmmakers to families.”
Chinese screen culture is exploding in the world’s fastest growing economy today. This rapid ascent has occurred in a country with more than 20 per cent of the world’s population, making China the second largest international economy behind the United States. New opportunities for international collaboration and market penetration are now emerging, at the same time that Chinese society is undergoing a dramatic transformation and film audiences are growing. All of this will be explored in the season.
At the nucleus of China Up Close is a free exhibition profiling the elaborate films and film installations of celebrated Shanghai-based artist Yang Fudong in Yang Fudong: Filmscapes. This premiere exhibition boasts three seminal works: Ye Jiang/The Nightman Cometh (2011), The Fifth Night (2010) and East of Que Village (2007). It will also feature a brand new work co-commissioned by ACMI and the Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki (Auckland Art Gallery), titled New Women II (2014).
The exhibition is complemented by a major program of film and public events ranging from an expert symposium to family green screen workshops and an augmented reality ‘fingernail bar’, which takes tech and fashion to new realms. It also includes the Golden Koala Chinese Film Festival organised by Chinese Film Incorporated, which aims to promote Chinese films and boost the understanding of Chinese film culture.
Presented in partnership with Asialink, the China Up Close symposium is a platform to raise awareness of Chinese art and culture, drawing on experts from China, Hong Kong (including Doryun Chong, Chief Curator M+ Museum of Visual Culture, West Kowloon Cultural District Authority (WKCDA) Hong Kong) and Australia to discuss the significance of Chinese film and screen-based art in a global context.
The program will also explore the contemporary film production industry in China and ways of expanding and maximising opportunities for Chinese/Australian co-production.
Luring the Tiger from the Mountain will enable the local industry to survey the development of Chinese/Australian transnational co-production. Featuring experts and film industry practitioners from China and Australia, the discussion will focus on the significance of the Chinese film industry in a global context, and the advancement of co-production possibilities for Australian filmmakers.
To round out the season, China Up Close will feature an expansive film and talks program, Perspectives on China Now from December 2014 to March 2015, screening works by celebrated contemporary Chinese artists and filmmakers, Yang Fudong, Jia Zhang and Wong Kar-Wai. An exciting array of workshops, live events and screenings for youth and families will also be presented.
“The distinction between contemporary mainland Chinese artists and diasporic Chinese and local Chinese/Australian artists hasn’t been fully examined in the Australian art and film worlds before by a major cultural institution, so this will also be a key area of focus for China Up Close, providing truly unique insights and experiences for audiences,” Mr Sweeney said.
More about Yang Fudong
Born in Beijing and based in Shanghai, Yang Fudong was trained as a painter before emerging onto the international arts scene in the early 1990s when he began working with multi-channel video installations, single channel films and photography. Today, Yang Fudong is lauded for introducing multi-screen Chinese film installations to the West.
Drawing on Asian and Western cinema (particularly film noir and the French avant-garde), Yang Fudong’s dramatic and highly stylised film installations are rooted in the traditions of Chinese literature, philosophy and art. Often described as dreamlike, his works gracefully transition between layered stories and settings, spanning multiple screens.
Yang Fudong: Filmscapes will exhibit from Thursday 4 December 2014. Entry is free. Yang Fudong is represented by ShanghART Gallery, Shanghai, and Marian Goodman Gallery, New York.
For more information about China Up Close, please visit acmi.net.au/chinaupclose.
China Up Close is supported by the Commonwealth Government through the Australia-China Council of the Department of Foreign and Trade; the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body and Melbourne Airport.