Future Relevance The 6th OCAT International Artist Residency

TOFUD # Shenzhen

‘Future Relevance’ is an exhibition of four international artists from Europe. OCAT International Residency Programme has selected artists Thomas Adebahr (DE), Frank Havermans (NL) and Nika Oblak and Primoz Novak (SL)and curator Paula Orrell (UK). This exhibition includes the residual ideas developed on the residency.

Contemporary art now illuminates the present and explores the world around us. Through observation, research and process, the artists consider context and histories, both real and imagined. Thomas Adebahr, Frank Havermans, and Nika Oblak and Primoz Novak all consider and propose alternative thinking about the here and now within a global context. Creating new works of sculpture, film, and installation that are determined from their experience of China. Their collective works explore questions of surveillance, construction, city dwelling and mediated experience of politics and contradictions in society. Paula Orrell’s research in China is outlined in the catalogue ‘Future Relevance’

Thomas Adebahr charges the presence with the resonance of cultural history to explore the boundaries between authentic and mediated fact and fiction. Constructing installations that query the principles of an individual, taken from specific historical or political events he opens out and questions the dogmatic structures of society and coded behaviours. For ‘Future Relevance’ he will install a four-screen film installation from a series of constructed public gatherings, interacted by the viewer.

The unique forms and sculpture presented by Frank Havermans consider the language of architecture and construction. Formed through his observations and experience of urbanism in Shenzhen and greater area, the large-scale floor to ceiling installation utilises found and recycled materials to build a large urban cave structure. Considering the potential of alternative habitation and economy of recycling materials that coexists in this city as another system within a system.

The satirical work of Nika Oblak and Primoz Novak lampoon the notion of authority in their work. The humorous, films, sculptures, robots, question mediated space. They pose a perverse idea that the most effective communication can take place through misunderstanding, and the potential of ambiguity holds the greatest currency for making sense of the present. As in Lost in Translation their work wanders around the city considering our mediated reality.

The exhibition title has been devised by International Curator Paula Orrell, to explore her current research ‘What Will the Art World Look Like in 2061’. Related to the contemporary art programme at Plymouth Arts Centre, where she is Artistic Director and part of creating a new institution in the city. Within the context of China, looking to the future was a cultural phenomenon, but now one of the past. The change of conditions and priority in Chinese culture will have significant global impact in the future. The tensions and difference between Eastern and Western cultures grow vastly apart, when the idea of the future is irrelevant and ever relevant to the other.

The exhibition title ‘Future Relevance’ explores the potential, to look to the past to inform the future, understanding what are the conditions we need to establish to have a global discussion about the future of contemporary art.

Paula Orrell’s research in China will inform a symposium in Plymouth in December that investigates art’s current precarious conditions and speculates on future possibilities.

It is organised into two strands: firstly, an investigation into the conditions under which we produce art, against a backdrop of the financial crisis, austerity measures, and the increased privatisation of communications networks and public services. Secondly, the symposium speculates on the future of contemporary art, its institutions and practices of exhibition making, and alternatives for art education. Together there is a recognition that the art world is ever more vulnerable but also at the same time a crucial site of production of ideas and concepts.

Host: He Xiang Ning Art Museum, OCT Contemporary Art Terminal, Shenzhen

Program Executive: Wang Jing

Program Assistant: Marry Ann (USA),Xu Yuntao

Curator: Paula Orrell (UK)

Artists: Frank Havermans ( The Netherlands), Nika Oblak & Primoz Novak (Slovenia), Thomas Adebahr (Germany)

Opening: 5:00 pm Nov 11, 2011

Support: Shenzhen Overseas Chinese Town Corporation, ltd. , The
Netherlands Foundation for Visual Arts , Design and Architecture(FBKVB)

Thanks: 2011 Shenzhen and Hong Kong Bi City Biennale of
Urbanism/Archite, Sica dutch centre for Internationale Culturele
Activiteiten (SICA)

Duration: Nov 11, 2011 to Jan 8, 2012

Location: B10, North district of OCT Loft