Spirit of Friendship travels to China!
The Factory is pleased to introduce our project ‘Spirit of Friendship’ (2017-on going), in collaboration with Biljana Ciric and her conceiving of the inaugural exhibition of The First Trans-South East Asia Triennial, titled ‘Repetition as a gesture towards deep listening’. Please scroll down to the end of this page to view photos of the exhibition!
‘Repetition as a gesture towards deep listening’ doesn’t look at Southeast Asia as a region, but instead looks at the core of its connections, and the relationships that formed and informed the art scene in certain local contexts. The project focuses on the relationality and importance of proximity within the art itself, taking it as a part of life and not allowing it to turn into ‘the system’. Aiming to look at the emergence of the voices that shape thinking and acting within situated contexts is a curatorial exploration that has been “deeply embedded in my own individual research experience and friendships over the decades, which I have spent walking through the region, learning and listening,” shares curator Biljana Ciric. With no institutional infrastructure and support, friendships created a space for re-search, for conversation and for active listening.
This project intends to re-think and propose how we think and act in relation to the production of knowledge through exhibitions in times of pandemic and separation. It proposes to spend time and revisit important exhibitions and public moments that became relevant in local contexts through repetition. Here, repetition is defined not as a passive act, but as an active position that gives birth to the new, in order to unlearn our mode of working and being in the world, based on the extractivist logic that is practiced when doing exhibitions. It is a curatorial attempt towards practicing care from a distance, and finding ways to embody those experiences in times of ideological and physical separation.
The core of the first part of the project restages and revisits, through repetition, important exhibitions/ events that have happened throughout the region, producing important reflections on how the art community functions and what its core values are. Repetition will give us the possibility to re-think, look again and read again these moments – unpacking their relevance within the current time. Repetition also gives us the possibility to learn about the situated local context that the triennial aims to reach, engaging local actors who actively produce knowledge, and grow care-providing support for their communities.
‘Repetition as a gesture towards deep listening’ will be presenting two projects, along with their methodologies of working with two communities. Firstly, ‘Womanifesto’: an international women’s art event established in Thailand in 1995 by a group of female artists. Secondly, ‘Spirit of Friendship’: an ongoing research project and exhibition organized by The Factory Contemporary Arts Centre in 2017 (initially Zoe Butt, Bill Nguyễn and Lê Thiên Bảo and now with additional contributions from Vân Đỗ and Lê Thuận Uyên), which has been looking at the role of artists’ friendships in developing experimental art practices in Vietnam since 1975.
About The first Trans-Southeast Asia Triennial:
The Art Museum of Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts commits itself to the cultural and art research spanning from the Pearl River Delta and Southern China to Southeast Asia and beyond, with the Trans SEAsia Triennial series as a research platform. Missioned to bolster the communication in art and thinking in Trans-Southeast Asia with an open curatorial perspective and new art museum practice, this triennial shall support cultural self-knowledge, understanding and innovation within the region via unconventional exhibitions, discussions, archive building, publication and other public programs.
Throughout the duration of the Triennial, a series of exhibitions, workshops and other public events will be staged across multiple online and offline sites, as a result of long-term research and site-specific collaborations facilitated by the Triennial. The Triennial website is currently being finalised and will be ready soon where you can find all finished and ongoing research.
Duration of project: One year
Project One: March 8th to May 10th 2021
Project Two: End of 2021 (Final date TBD)