From one of the most famous multi-faceted artist-performers celebrating approximately 125 works, to young installation artists addressing commonplace post-millennial issues: This wide spectrum of current major international exhibitions has a lot to offer.
It seems as though MoMA may be the go-to destination for internationally renowned performance art: and quite rightly so. Recently, they were host to Marina Abrmović’s high-profile exhibition ‘The Artist is Present’, acting as a retrospective to her years as the world’s leading performance artist and simultaneously showcasing a piece which saw her sit in a chair across from visitors every day for three months. In a similar vein, MoMA in New York currently exhibits a Yoko Ono retrospective: ‘One Woman Show, 1960-1971’. Not only can one witness a huge variety of installation works, objects, recordings and films, but this exhibition has spawned a variety of events. Ono’s ‘Morning Peace’ event encouraged a global gathering during sunrise on the 21st June this year during the course of the current exhibition, remembering its first performance by Ono herself in Tokyo 1964, this time, seeing 5am musical performances by Devonté Hynes of Blood Orange.
Across the Pacific, at the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, is Ryan Gander’s ‘Read Only’. Gander is well known as an art innovator: a generator for streams of ideas. His artistic endeavours often surprise and intrigue audiences with a playful sense of imagination and commentary. Gander’s work has always been associated with the unseen, unknown and unpredictable, adding intrigue to a lot of his work. ‘Read Only’ sees 66 unique objects placed on a revolving conveyor belt, only to be witnessed by the audience through a ‘viewing window’ acting as an ‘irl’ slideshow. Inherent to a collection of objects shown one at a time, a viewer begins to search for narrative or association in the juxtapositions of objects, creating meaning that may not actually exist. To some extent, most of the works collated by Gander at this exhibition reflect this sentiment: the artist sets up opportunity for the viewer to infer meaning in a work by purposefully hiding components of the pieces.
The Rockbund Art Museum, located in Shanghai, is showing the work of the late Chen Zhen. With works displayed in the Tate and MoMA, Zhen’s ability to compose large sculptural masses of combined antique objects and sand-dusted sculptural scenes is unparalleled. Often, his work is associated with an exploration of cultures and societies – obtaining the ability to discuss the contrast of modern society and cultural antiquity and the human condition. This year, the Rockbund celebrates its 5th year anniversary, and the current Zhen exhibition embodies the importance the gallery represents in the context of China’s contemporary arts scene and with the impact of the art deco building itself amidst the city of Shanghai.
Located in the impressive ‘historical hall’ of Hamburger Bahnhof, or Museum für Gegenwart of Berlin, the architectural and structural mystery of Michael Beutler’s ‘Moby Dick’. Beutler transforms this former railway station into an artistic workshop, an intentional ‘work in progress’ and mass of diverse constructed materials. With this, Beutler explores industry and creativity: the act and need of ‘making’ in our society. Through colour and use of space, the exhibition creates the feeling of constant movement and work occurring in this massive space consumed by an overwhelming amount of material and construction.
Finally, Palais de Tokyo puts on the work of Tianzhuo Chen, an installation artist exploring contemporary social issues of the 21st century. Chen explores ideas surrounding morality in our celebrity-obsessed culture through unique neon-tinted imagery reflecting iconic objects and scenes throughout our current culture. With these images, Chen is able to explore devotional and near-religious reactions and attitudes regarding these moral attitudes. With a mix of sculpture, video, performance and painting, Chen creates a hypnotic new world within which the viewer will get lost in.