06 May 夜间阅读：回合
鸣谢：英国领事馆中英文化连线，吾辈画廊，共同体艺术空间，JOHN KOH，张颂仁先生，SARAT MAHARAJ,田震坤，谭彬，唐晓林，戴章伦，叶斯，李晟曌，袁文珊，惠干源，黄梁鹏，李潇俊，王志鹏，翁巍，曾晓嵛，王晋，严月萍，DANIELLA ROSSI
Reading At Night: A Curatorial Note
At this moment, the project’s legitimacy, feasibility and limitation, even its theme are still under correcting, distorting, declaring, and hanging. It takes pared down thought, rather than fancy words, to allow the project a brief moment of respite, before it continues to charge forward…
Perhaps ‘reading at night’ should be treated as a form of experience and an attitude toward contemporary art exhibitions. On the one hand, we try to interpret artworks that are already known to us and to re-interpret the context of these artworks. On the other hand, the artists involved in the project also try to understand the notion and practice of ‘reading at night’. It marks the beginning of a new experience. To me, art-making and curating are parallel practices. Creating exhibitions and viewing exhibitions are both open experiences and processes that tend to crisscross each other. Just as the night lies at the end of each day without doubt, these two processes are bound to have numerous intersections.
‘Reading at night’ began as a vague idea. It gradually clarified itself in the process of the previous two exhibitions of the same theme. Here, I try to take a dualistic approach to understand the idea of ‘reading at night’, trying to see it from two opposing angles.
So what does ‘reading at night’ as a curatorial concept entail?
Thesis: The project of ‘Reading at Night’ is about books, text and knowledge. It is also about process, consequence and being.
Antithesis: ‘Reading at Night’ is a thesis, an inducement and consolidation. It leads to isolation, conclusion or oblivion.
Thesis: The project of ‘Reading at Night’ starts as a transparent empty bottle. It does not start with a stance. Its curatorial process is more than just filling the exhibition space with artworks. Our first step is not about piling up arguments to support the thesis statement. It is to add contents, bit by bit, to the empty bottle to form the substance of the thesis.
Antithesis: Even at the very beginning, ‘Reading at night’ is already a fixed thesis. All of us attempt to approach, rather than refute, the thesis statement. The end result is a circumscribed burst of activities and energy, rather than resistance that comes from outside the box.
Thesis: Reading an artwork is reading one aspect of the artist. To understand an artist, we need to understand how s/he as an artist works as a system from which artworks are generated. ‘Reading at night’ attempts to show a process, one which feeds back into the creative drives that initiates the process in the first place. The process and the drives form a kind of internal cycle within an individual, or even among a group of individuals.
Antithesis: Only those in the middle of the process can understand this cycle. The mutual support among the artworks, and between the curating and participating practice seem only achievable through interpretation. But art does not reside in this process.
Thesis: We have feelings towards human, also towards object. ‘Reading at night’ refocuses our attention to our feelings toward objects.
Antithesis: Our feelings for objects may simply be affectation, prompted by visual stimuli.
Thesis: Art-making and distribution take place simultaneously – we together, benefiting each other.
Antithesis: The effect we have on each other may be mutually inhibiting.
Thesis: Like reading, the practice of reading at night needs to be repeated and savored repeatedly.
Antithesis: Daily practice could become a natural rhythm. It could also be reduced to mere routine.
Thesis: Who is the audience of ‘Reading at night’? Only the night readers.
Antithesis: ‘Reading at night’ could end up being confined within our selves. That is the limitation of relying on oneself for insight.
Thesis: ‘Reading at night’ tries to keep an open and critical attitude, accommodating spontaneous responses. It avoids succumbing to any specific discipline and remains watchful on established artistic jargon and convention. All advice is welcome.
Antithesis: Overly encompassing theme equals no theme.
Thesis: An artwork is an object with a life; curating is a process with a life. Artworks have interlocking roots, so does curating. The life of curating comes with the continuous reflection while one moves back and forth. Its interlocking system of roots manifests itself through the collisions and interactions with artists.
Antithesis: The curatorial stance can never lie hidden imperceptibly behind artworks, so why not present it openly instead? The origin of the word ‘curatorship’ comes from ‘cure’. Maybe it suggests that curating should be self-curative, or perhaps even mutually curative.
What ‘reading at night’ could be: It examines what we take for granted. It remodels our past experiences and generates a new force forged by you and me together. We believe, only through a fresher understanding of art could we approach something new – a future.
China-UK Connections through Culture, British Council, WESPACE，COMMUNITY ART，JOHN KOH，JOHNSON CHANG TSONG-ZUNG, SARAT MAHARAJ, TIAN ZHENKUN, TAN BIN, TANG XIAOLIN, DAI ZHANGLUN, YE SI, LI SHENGZHAO, YUAN WENSHAN, HUI GANYUAN, HUANG LIANGPENG, LI XIAOJUN, WANG ZHIPENG, WENG WEI, ZENG XIAOYU, WANG JIN, YUEHPING YAN, DANIELLA ROSSI