Friday, July 13, 2012
Artist and Film maker Vincent Ward launches book and seeks support for epic Shanghai Biennale solo show
Ward seeks support for epic Shanghai Biennale solo show
With just over three months to go before the prestigious 9th Shanghai Biennale kicks off, New Zealand artist and filmmaker Vincent Ward is looking for support to get his epic solo exhibition to China.
Ward, the first New Zealander ever to be invited to exhibit at the biennale, will join renowned artists from around the world who will show their work in the City Pavilions at the international event from October to February next year.
Ward says it is a huge honour to be invited to attend and the challenge now is to get himself and his work to Shanghai.
“Friends of the project plan to raise funds through crowdsourcing sites such as Kickstarter (www.kickstarter.com) and Pledge Me (www.pledgeme.co.nz), backed by people like actors Robin Williams and Taika Waititi. We’re also looking for sponsorship from New Zealand and Chinese companies wanting to enhance their presence in Shanghai and New Zealand,” says Ward.
The Shanghai Biennale is one of the most established contemporary art festivals in China on a par with the Venice Biennale. It attracted more than 300,000 visitors in 2010 and this year visitor numbers are expected to top 800,000.
Ward’s solo exhibition titled, Auckland Station: Destinies Lost and Found, will be exhibited in a deconsecrated, historic cathedral in The Bund, the former area of the English Concession, which is now home to the thriving arts centre of Shanghai.
The show is at the heart of the Shanghai Biennale City Pavilions section, representing different countries, and the venue for the principal opening ceremony on October 2. It will feature a multi-screen, cinematic installation and oil paintings on canvass some two storeys high, dropped from the cathedral’s rafters to the floor.
“The cathedral is an exciting space creatively. The atmosphere lends itself to the worlds I create through my art. The height of the walls, up to ten metres, will allow me to construct large-scale works of birds flying and of figures falling and floating,” says Ward.
“Through these images, I hope to take the viewer on a journey into otherworldly landscapes and transcendent states. At the core, is an exploration of human vulnerability and the intensity and brevity of life.”
Curators of the Shanghai Biennale this year are world-renowned multi-media artist Qui Zhiiie and his team from the China Academy of Art, as well as international curators Boris Groys and Jens Hoffman.
Honorary Patrons for Ward’s exhibition include: Weta Workshop’s Sir Richard Taylor, the New Zealand
Ambassador to China, Carl Worker, the Chinese Ambassador to New Zealand, His Excellency Xu Jianguo, art patron Sir James Wallace and the Mayor of Auckland, Len Brown.
In the lead-up to the Shanghai Biennale, Ward is mounting two, simultaneous public exhibitions in Auckland in early July titled, Inhale and Exhale. Inhale and Exhale build upon the range of works he originally created for his solo show at New Plymouth’s Govett-Brewster Art Gallery last December. They explore themes of human vulnerability and transformation.
The show entitled, Exhale, opened on July 2 at The Pah Homestead, TSB Bank Wallace Arts Centre, showcasing a series of physically imposing photographic, print and painted works. Standard attendance at The Pah Homestead doubled during the opening week. Inhale features Ward’s cinematic installations and opened on July 6 at the Gus Fisher Gallery at The University of Auckland. The installations have been well received with a strong Chinese community presence, mixed with celebrity, university, film and arts community.
The two Auckland exhibitions are a unique opportunity to view Ward’s work and to experience his metamorphosis from award-winning filmmaker to exhibiting artist.
As part of the opening celebrations, Ward launched his new book, also titled Inhale | Exhale. The impressive 180-page, large format publication explores Ward’s distinctive fusion of film, photography and paint. Released by Montana Book Award-winning publisher Ron Sang Inhale | Exhale will sit alongside Sang’s books on the work of Ralph Hotere, Len Castle and Michael Smither.
To find out more, and track Vincent’s progress to the Shanghai Biennale, go to: www.vincentwardfilms.com
Exhale: Prints and paintings, 2 July – 2 September.
The Pah Homestead, TSB Bank Wallace Arts Centre
72 Hillsborough Road
Inhale: Cinematic installations, 6 July – 25 August.
The Gus Fisher Gallery
74 Shortland Street