Labyrinth: Friday, September 15-, 7-10 pm
The Amber Room
guest curators: David Spalding and Pauline J. Yao
the luggage store
is proud to feature newly commissioned work inspired by
The Amber Room:
LIU DING (Beijing)
WON JU LIM (LA)
SHIRLEY TSE (LA)
WANG WEI (Beijing)
Won Ju Lim’s “Orange Extension Cord”
Wang Wei’s “Untitled” scaffold piece, Liu Ding’s “forevermore” and Shirley Tse’s “Sink Like a Submarie” (light green sculpture at left)
The Amber Room is a groundbreaking exhibition of contemporary art that invites four leading Chinese and Asian American artists to create new works in response to the fabled Amber Room, an exquisite chamber made of carved golden tree resin, shimmering gold and mosaics of precious minerals.
The original Amber Room was a masterpiece of Baroque excess. Commissioned in 1716 by Fredrick I of Prussia as an extraordinary gift for Peter the Great, it was once considered the eighth wonder of the world. But it is also one of the worlds most mysterious treasures. It decorated the Catherine Palace, near St Petersburg, until September 1941, when German troops invaded. By the time the Soviet Army recaptured the city, all traces of the Amber Room had vanished.
In its staggering opulence and sudden disappearance, the Amber Room is a crucible for many things: the lost paradises, mythical treasures and secret desires that we both sublimate and seek. A full-scale recreation of the original Amber Room, on display in St Petersburg, raises additional questions about simulation and authenticity.
The artists selected for The Amber Room have created a dazzling array of sculptures, installations and site-specific interventions that embody the fractured utopias, baroque manias, and displacements of time and space that the Amber Room inspired.
For his first exhibition in the United States, LIU DING will present forevermore, an interactive installation which covers the gallerys windows with
colored plastic panels, inset with peepholes that invite viewers to peer onto the street below. forevermore a double entendre that suggests the future and also refers to the endless desire for opulence so prevalent in China and throughout the globe links viewers through the simple act of looking, and evokes the original Amber Rooms disappearance and the search and longing it inspired.
WON JU LIM has created Orange Extension Cord, a sculptural installation of mirrored and colored Plexiglas that, when illuminated, uses a cool, geometric sensibility to create a dazzling atmosphere of Baroque sensations, enveloping viewers in a magnetic haze of amber light. Part architectural maquette, part minimalist object, the work ultimately shirks both associations, using a modernist vocabulary that dissolves into a play of colored shadows and reflections that suggest the effects of the original Amber Room, leaving viewers with one solid sculptural element the orange extension cord used to light the work.
Won Ju Lim is represented by Patrick Painter Gallery, Los Angeles.
SHIRLEY TSE’s new sculpture, Sinks Like a Submarine, brings together the industrial and the handmade, the ancient and the contemporary, combining jade-colored cast resin submarine parts, brass detailing, and a full-scale human heart carved from solid jade. The sculptures title refers to rumors that the original Amber Room was lost at the bottom of the Baltic Sea – where much of the amber was first harvested.
Shirley Tse is represented by The Shoshana Wayne Gallery in Los Angeles.
interactive, site-specific installation, comprised of enclosed walkways leading to and from a pavilion, links the Amber Room to classical Chinese garden architecture with a twist. Simultaneously majestic and temporary, the work uses decidedly non-precious materials everyday construction scaffolding to create a monumental, phantom space that echoes the disappearance of the original Amber Room, while citing the constant cycle of demolition and construction that is ubiquitous in China today.
LIU DING (male, b.Changzhou, China, resides in Beijing) works between the genres of sculpture, installation and performance to evoke the excess,
ambitions and absurdity resulting from Chinas recent social mutations. His evolving series of related installations, Samples from the Transition, confronts viewers with artifacts that point to the contradictions produced by Chinas frenzied capitalism. Liu Dings work has been featured in many group and solo exhibitions throughout China and Europe. Recent solo shows of his work have been held at the L.A. Gallery, Frankfurt, Germany (2006); the Long March Space, Beijing (2005); and the Rooseum Malm, Sweden (2004). Selected group exhibitions include Fiction @ Love, MOCA, Shanghai (2005), Beyond: The Second Guangzhou Triennial, Guangdong Art Museum, Guangzhou (2005); and the 2nd Triennial of Chinese Art, Nanjing Museum, Nanjing (2005). The Amber Room is the artists first exhibition in the United States.
WON JU LIM
(female, born Korea, resides in LA. MFA from Art Center College of Design, Pasadena, CA, 1998) Well-known for her room-sized installations comprised of carefully lit, interlocking geometries of colored Plexiglas, Lim has created glittering, phantom cityscapes that seduce and deceive the viewer. More recently, she has pursued her exploration of baroque sensations in a series of custom light boxes, while continuing to create stunning works with Plexi and light. Won Ju Lim is represented by Emily Tsingou Gallery, London; Galerie Max Hetzler, Berlin; Pilar Parra & Romero Galeria de Arte, Madrid and Patrick Painter, Inc., Santa Monica. Her work has been featured in solo shows at all of these venues, and included in group shows around the world,
including: the 2002 Gwangju Biennale ; the 2001 Munster Sculpture Biennial; and Under the Bridges, Casino Luxembourg (2001).
SHIRLEY TSE (female, Hong Kong; resides in LA. MFA from Art Center College of Design, Pasadena, CA,1996) Shirley Tse’s intricately crafted sculptures and installationsmade from materials ranging from memory foam to custom molded polymertest the formal and conceptual limits of
plastics, using the materials inherent multiplicity to compliment the range of associations her works generate. Tses work has been exhibited in museums worldwide, including: The Biennale of Sydney, Australia; Bienal Ceara America, Brazil; Kaohshiung Museum of Fine Arts, Taiwan; Art Gallery of Ontario, Canada; Museum of Modern Art, Bologna, Italy; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; New Museum of Contemporary Art, New
York; P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, New York; Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston; Cincinnati Contemporary Art Center and Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, New Zealand. One-person exhibition venues include Shoshana Wayne Gallery, Santa Monica; Murray Guy, New York; Perugi Arte Contemporanea, Pardova, Italy; Pomoma College Museum of Art, Claremont; and Para/Site, Hong Kong. Tse is represented by Shoshana Wayne Gallery in Santa Monica, California, and Murray Guy in New York.
WANG WEI (male, born Beijing, China, resides in Beijing. MFA, Central Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing, 1996) Often modifying existing architectural
structures with subtle, surprising additions, Wang Weis site-specific interventions are aimed to disrupt human perceptions of space while initiating dialogues about construction, labor and economic systems. Wang Weis recent solo exhibitions have been held at Platform China, Beijing (2005) and the 25000 Cultural Transmission Center, Beijing (2003). Group exhibitions include: the 2005 Prague Biennial; China, The Body Everywhere, Museum of Contemporary Art, Marseilles, France (2004); Between Past and Future: New Photography and Video from China International Center of Photography, New York, and the Smart Museum of Art, Chicago, USA (2004); The First Guangzhou Triennial, Guangdong Museum of Art, Guangzhou, China (2002); and Revolutionary Capitals: Beijing in London Institute of Contemporary Art, London (1999).
ABOUT THE CURATORS
David Spalding is an independent curator, critic and educator from San Francisco. He is a Correspondent / Contributing Editor for Contemporary, Art Papers and Flash Art, and the China correspondent for Artforum. He teaches contemporary art and critical theory at the California College of the Arts, San Francisco, and Mills College in Oakland, California. The recipient of a 2005 Asian Cultural Council Fellowship to research experimental Chinese art, Spalding is currently based in Beijing.
Pauline J. Yao, independent curator and former Assistant Curator of Chinese Art at the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco. Yao is a regular contributor to Yishu: Journal of Contemporary Chinese Art, ART Asia Pacific and Art Papers, and teaches contemporary Chinese visual culture and experimental art at the California College of Arts in San Francisco. Recently awarded a grant from the Fulbright Scholars Program, she will be based in Beijing during the 2006-2007 academic year.
Funding for The Amber Room has been made possible by the generosity of The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, The Herringer Family Foundation, The Asian Cultural Council, Grants for the Arts of the Hotel Tax Fund, The SF Art Commission Cultural Equity Fund, Frederick L. Gordon and other private donations.
See SF Weekly
September 25, 2006, 6pm (free)
San Francisco Art Institute
800 Chestnut Street, SF CA , Studio 18
“Pacific Perspectives” will present WANG WEI and LIU DING
The series is curated by Hou Hanru
September 6, 2006 7pm (free)
Danforth Lecture Hall, Oakland, CA
Inside the Amber
Room: Contemporary Sculpture and
A panel discussion with the artists moderated by the curators.