02.09.2019 - 05.09.2019
On the occasion of this trip to London, patrons were invited to the opening of the artist residency programme co-presented by K11 Art Foundation and Royal Academy of Arts, followed by dinner with the artist, artistic director and curators at the historic Life Drawing Room. The trip also included curator-led tour of “Olafur Eliasson: In Real Life” at Tate Modern, Tracey Emin’s studio visit and the visit to Central Saint Martins.
Zhang Jian-Jun is the fourth artist participating in the long-term residency programme co-presented by the K11 Art Foundation and Royal Academy of Arts. The partnership facilitates an exchange of artistic practice with Chinese artists invited to work in London to highlight the diversity and dynamism of Chinese contemporary art and for RA Schools graduates to take up residency in Greater China. This partnership provides visiting artists an opportunity to engage with new, international audiences.
Since settling into his new work routine in London in July, Zhang has been transforming Smirke 2 Studio, his temporary studio in the RA Schools, which is situated at the heart of the Royal Academy, into an ‘archaeology’ site where experiences from the past and present are captured and transformed into an engaging form of storytelling that invites ruminations about the possibility of connection beyond cultural differences. Ink and charcoal portraits of the people he met in London, along with images of the historical statues displayed at the Royal Academy, have been made to integrate with audio recordings of the interviews he did with a group of participants, who answered questions about their personal experiences linked to history and the future.
Over a century of pioneering practice, Central Saint Martins is a world-renowned arts and design college bringing together a diverse range of creative practices. Ms. Rachel Dickson, Dean of academic programmes, led us to the new building and library at the heart of King’s Cross. The new building constitutes disciplines such as fashion, ceramics, industrial design, drama and performance, jewellery and textiles. The building also houses performance and exhibition spaces, the 350-seat Platform Theatre and the Lethaby Gallery.
The visit to Tracey Emin’s studio was led by Mr. Jay Jopling, founder of White Cube. Since the early 1990s, Tracey Emin has produced a body of work that encompasses all forms of artistic expression, including painting, print-making, drawing, film, photography, installations, appliqué, sculpture and neon text. Although Emin first rose to prominence as part of the so-called generation of Young British Artists (YBA), the highly autobiographical nature of her work set it apart from the general artistic trends of the 1980s and 1990s. Emin is well known for her frank, confessional style and for transforming her inner emotional and psychological world – personal experiences, memories and feelings – into art that is both intimate yet profoundly universal. Her candid but unsentimental disclosure of personal trauma and crises, as well as aspects of her love life, have often led to controversy.
In 2013, Queen Elizabeth II appointed Emin Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire for her contributions to the visual arts. She continues to create works that both challenge and provide solace to her viewers.
The tour of the exhibition “Olafur Eliasson: In Real Life” was led by Ms. Emma Lewis, Assistant Curator, International Art at Tate Modern. The last time Olafur Eliasson was shown at Tate Modern was in 2003, when he installed “The weather project” in Turbine Hall. This retrospective exhibition “Olafur Eliasson: In Real Life” showcased three decades of work by the artist, highlighting Eliasson’s interest in natural phenomena and weather patterns, with explorations of water, light and mist in a number of works.
Olafur Eliasson was born in Demark in 1967. He grew up in Iceland and Denmark and studied at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts. In 1995, he moved to Berlin and founded Studio Olafur Eliasson, which today comprises a team of over 30 craftsmen, architects, archivists, researchers, administrators, cooks, programmers, art historians, and specialised technicians. He strives to make the concerns of art relevant to society at large. Art, for him, is a crucial means for turning thinking into doing in the world. Eliasson’s works span sculpture, painting, photography, film, and installation. Not limited to the confines of the museum and gallery, his practice engages the broader public sphere through architectural projects, interventions in civic space, arts education, policy-making, and issues of sustainability and climate change.