2021 Photo Moments Big Awards
Curated by Chen Xiao
The last time I saw an intense discussion about art was at the Jimei x Arles International Photo Festival in 2015. During the festival, the curator, Mr. L, organized a symposium with participating artists from around the world. During the event, I saw Chinese artists using the Western art theory they had learned in the West to engage in intense discussion with Western artists, which was very interesting. One of the Chinese artists wanted to discuss limit-experience (L’expérience limite), but because of the language barrier, the discussion never took shape. Nevertheless, the idea brought me back to my time studying abroad in France. I had been turned upside down in my confusion with Western art theory, but I was also curious about what a limit-experience really was. Now that I think of it, this “self-study” was, at best, a mental exercise; it was learning without purpose. This experience may or may not have been a limit-experience; it’s entirely unimportant.
I haven’t been able to make art like an artist, and I certainly haven’t been able to curate like a curator. I have been fascinated with this state for so long that it has become an experience, which has led me to believe that this is what they call a limit-experience. What’s more interesting is that I have some artist friends who, like me, are skirting their own limit-experiences. This realization allowed me to be less artificial, and as a vague sort of curator, I invited the artists Liu Yue and Cedar Zhou to participate in this year’s Jimei x Arles International Photo Festival. Here, I would be remiss if I did not thank the organizers for the invitation.
These two artists are close friends of mine. As someone who stroll limit-experience, I don’t dare fiddle about with knowledge, much less explain these two artists’ bodies of work like a professional curator. In my view, they are well-matched to be presented together in this exhibition, primarily because of the friendship that has accumulated over time. We are also very similar in that we are fascinated by a bystander’s state of mind. Both of them are extremely important in my life. We can also engage in lively and interesting discussions in a remarkably consistent way no matter in art or in the trivialities of the everyday.. These experiences have become seasoning for my meaningless everyday life. This is a lot like the essential flavors that southerners insist on pursuing in their food. The flavors in their work are very intense for me, much like an intense taste experience I had in Xiamen.
In 2015, I lived and worked for about a month in Xiamen. Outside of specific tasks for the exhibition, I spent most of my time furiously tasting the local cuisine. After a while, my tastebuds came to feel a weariness that I was powerless to resist. After observing our journey of taste over the last month, Mr. S, an artist, hospitably invited those of us who were just about to leave town to a restaurant owned by a friend of his. Not long after we sat down, the owner carefully placed a plate of shellfish sashimi on the table. Mr. S did not offer a verbal introduction of this food; he only indicated to me that I should try a lump of the dark grey soft tissue. After I put it in my mouth, I realized that I was not there to eat, I was there to receive an education in taste. Now, I remember that he eventually and insouciantly told me that they were the geoduck’s innards, which the chef usually eats himself.
By Chen Xiao
Artist: CEDAR ZHOU
Cedar Zhou is an artist, founder of SCREENROOM, co-founder of PPPP New Media Art Space. The work of Cedar discusses the relationship between individual and group in a real-time system, creating tools and participating environment for people to express their ideas toward particular topic under different sociological and psychological influences.
In 2018 Cedar was jury of NOVA Interactive Art Award. In 2014 he created the first Chinese contemporary art visualization at its scale, CCAA WOW at Power Station of Art, Shanghai. In 2013 Cedar curated Information in Style: Information Visualization in the UK, Art and Design Exhibition at the CAFA Art Museum. His works have been exhibited internationally at venues including Victoria and Albert Museum (London, UK), Waterman Art Centre (London, UK), V2 Unstable Media (Rotterdam, Netherland), LE CUBE (Issy-les-Moulineaux, France), Momentum (Berlin, Germany), Hong Kong Arts Centre (Hong, China), CAFA Art Museum (Beijing, China).
Cedar has a MA degree from the Central Saint Martin Collage of Art and Design, University of Arts London and a MFA degree from the Goldsmiths Collage, University of London.
Curator: CHEN XIAO
Born in 1984, Chen Xiao is an "In Situ" artist, currently lives and works in Shanghai.
The artist got his bachelor degree in Fine Art College of Shanghai University in Sculpture and got his master degree in Ecole supérieure des arts decoratifs de Strasbourg. The artist’s works based on daily life, personal experience and also discuss about time and physical space. The artist constructs a situation with videos, installations and performances to express a personal experience of rambling by the “limit”.