E-Issue 05 –– VCE
Fall 2022

September 5th, 2022



  1. Editor’s Note
  2. What’s On in VCE
  3. Pop(Corn): UAE National Pavilion
  4. Rapport: Venice
  5. Zeitgeist of our Time: Füsun Onur for the Turkish Pavilion at the 59th Venice Biennale
  6. GAD’s Top Picks: National Pavilions
  7. Strangers to the Museum Wall: Kehinde Wiley’s Venice Exhibition Speaks of Violence and Portraiture
  8. Questioning Everyday Life: Alluvium by Ramin Haerizadeh, Rokni Haerizadeh and Hesam Rahmanian at OGR Torino in Venice

E-05++
Fall/Winter 2022-23


Artist Interview January 19th, 2023
NYC Reflecting on Her Southwestern Chinese Bai Roots, Peishan Huang Captures Human Traces on Objects and Spaces

Artist Interview January 8th, 2023 
TYO Shu Yonezawa and the Art of Animation

Artist Interview December 9th, 2022
DXB Navjot Altaf Unpacks Eco-Feminism and Post-Pandemic Reality at Ishara Art Foundation

Exhibition December 2nd, 2022
TYO Wetland Lab Proposes Sustainable Cement Alternative in Tokyo

Exhibition November 11th, 2022
TYO
“Atami Blues” Brings Together UAE-Based and Japanese Artists in HOTEL ACAO ANNEX



E-Issue 04 –– IST 
Spring 2022

March 15th, 2022



  1. Editor’s Note
  2. What’s On in IST
  3. Pop(Corn): Refik Anadol
  4. Rapport: Istanbul
  5. Independent Spaces in Istanbul: Sarp Özer on Operating AVTO


E-04++ 
Spring/Summer 2022


Curator Interview July 9th, 2022
IST Creating an Artist Books Library in Istanbul: Aslı Özdoyuran on BAS

Market Interview June 28th, 2022
HK 
How Pearl Lam Built Her Gallery Between China and Europe

Exhibition June 27th, 2022
UAE
What’s On in the UAE: Our Top Summer Picks

Exhibition June 21st, 2022
DXB Art Jameel Joins The World Weather Network in a Groundbreaking Response to Global Climate Crisis

Artist Interview June 13th, 2022
DXB “Geometry is Everywhere”: An Interview and Walking Tour of Order of Magnitude, Jitish Kallat’s Solo Exhibition at Dubai’s Ishara Art Foundation

Artist Interview May 13th, 2022
DXB 
“We Are Witnessing History”: Ramin Haerizadeh, Rokni Haerizadeh and Hesam Rahmanian On Their Retrospective Exhibition at NYU Abu Dhabi Art Gallery

Exhibition May 6th, 2022
IST
 Istanbul’s 5533 Presents Nazlı Khoshkhabar’s “Around and Round”

Exhibition April 23rd, 2022
HK Startbahn Presents “Made in Japan 3.0: Defining a New Phy-gital Reality”, an NFT Pop-Up at K11 Art Mall

Market Interview March 28th, 2022
DXB Dubai's Postmodern Architecture: Constructing the Future with 3dr Models

Curator Interview March 21st, 2022

E-Issue 03 –– TYO 
Fall 2021

October 1st, 2022



  1. Editor’s Note
  2. What’s On in TYO
  3. Pop(Corn): Nimyu
  4. Ahmad The Japanese: Bady Dalloul on Japan and Belonging
  5. Rapport: Tokyo 
  6. Alexandre Taalba Redefines Virtuality at The 5th Floor
  7. Imagining Distant Ecologies in Hypersonic Tokyo: A Review of “Floating Between the Tropical and Glacial Zones”
  8. Ruba Al-Sweel Curates “Garden of e-arthly Delights” at SUMAC Space
  9. Salwa Mikdadi Reflects on the Opening of NYU Abu Dhabi’s Arab Center for the Study of Art

E-03++
Fall/Winter 2021-22


Exhibition Review March 14th, 2022
DXB Art Dubai Digital, An Alternative Art World?

Exhibition March 11th, 2022
DXB Must-See Exhibitions in Dubai - Art Week Edition 2022

Artist Interview March 10th, 2022
DXB Prepare The Ingredients and Let The Rest Flow: Miramar and Zaid’s “Pure Data” Premieres at Satellite for Quoz Arts Fest 2022

Artist Interview February 26th, 2022
TYO Akira Takayama on McDonald’s Radio University, Heterotopia, and Wagner Project

Exhibition Review February 11th, 2022
AUH Woman as a Noun, and a Practice: “As We Gaze Upon Her” at Warehouse421
Curator Interview October 15th, 2021
IST “Once Upon a Time Inconceivable”: A Review and a Conversation

Exhibition October 7th, 2021
RUH Misk Art Institute’s Annual Flagship Exhibition Explores the Universality of Identity

Market Interview October 6th, 2021
RUH HH Prince Fahad Al Saud Discusses Saudi Arabia’s Artistic Renaissance

Exhibition October 5th, 2021
DXB
Engage101 Presents “Connected, Collected” at Sotheby’s Dubai

E-Issue 02 –– NYC 
Spring 2021

February 21st, 2021



  1. Editor’s Note
  2. What’s On in NYC
  3. Pop(Corn): Zeid Jaouni
  4. You Can Take The Girl Out Of The City 
  5. Rapport: NYC
  6. Kindergarten Records Discuss The Future of Electronic Music
  7. Sole DXB Brings NY Hip-Hop To Abu Dhabi
  8. Wei Han Finds ‘Home’ In New York
  9. Vikram Divecha: Encounters and Negotiations

E-02++
Spring/Summer 2021


Exhibition Review August 9th, 2021
DXB “After The Beep”: A Review and Some Reflections

Artist Interview June 30th, 2021
OSA Rintaro Fuse Curates “Silent Category” at Creative Center Osaka

Exhibiton Review June 20th, 2021
AUH “Total Landscaping”at Warehouse 421

Exhibition June 11th, 2021
TYO “Mimicry of Hollows” Opens at The 5th Floor

Market Interview May 26th, 2021
TYO Startbahn, Japan’s Leading Art Blockchain Company, Builds a New Art Infrastructure for the Digital Age

Curator Interview May 20th, 2021
DXB There Is A You In The Cloud You Can’t Delete: A Review of “Age of You” at Jameel Arts Centre

Artist Interview May 11th, 2021
BAH Mihrab: Mysticism, Devotion, and Geo-Identity

Exhibition May 9th, 2021
LDN Fulfilment Services Ltd. Questions Techno-Capitalism on Billboards in London

Artist Interview April 28th, 2021
DXB Ana Escobar: Objects Revisited

Exhibition Review April 27th, 2021
TYO BIEN Opens Two Solo Exhibitions in Island Japan and Parcel

Artist Interview April 26th, 2021
CTU/AUH/YYZ Sabrina Zhao: Between Abu Dhabi, Sichuan, and Toronto

Exhibition April 16th, 2021
RUH Noor Riyadh Shines Light on Saudi Arabia’s 2030 Art Strategy

Exhibition Review April 5th, 2021
DXB A Riot Towards Landscapes

Exhibition Review April 1st, 2021
DXB A ‘Menu Poem’ and All That Follows

Exhibition March 28th, 2021
DXB Alserkal Art Week Top Picks 

Curator Interview March 21st, 2021
DXB Permeability and Regional Nodes: Sohrab Hura on Curating Growing Like a Tree at Ishara Art Foundation

Exhibition Review March 7th, 2021
AUH Re-viewing Contrasts: Hyphenated Spaces at Warehouse421

Exhibition Review March 3rd, 2021
DXB There’s a Hurricane at the Foundry

E-Issue 01 –– AUH/DXB
Summer 2020 

August 1st, 2020



  1. Editor’s Note 
  2. What’s On in the UAE
  3. Pop(Corn): Hashel Al Lamki
  4. Tailoring in Abu Dhabi
  5. Rapport: Dubai 
  6. Michael Rakowitz From the Diaspora

E-01++
Fall/Winter 2020-21


Exhibition Review February 21st, 2021
GRV MIA Anywhere Hosts First Virtual Exhibition of Female Chechen Artists    

Curator Interview January 25th, 2021
DXB Sa Tahanan Collective Redefines Home for Filipino Artists

Exhibition Review December 9th, 2020
SHJ Sharjah Art Foundation Jets Ahead on the Flying Saucer

Exhibition Review
November 23rd, 2020


AUH SEAF Cohort 7 at Warehouse 421 

Exhibition Review November 21st, 2020
DXB 101 Strikes Again with Second Sale at Alserkal Avenue

Exhibition Review November 19th, 2020
DXB Spotlight on Dubai Design Week 2020

Exhibition Review November 16th, 2021
DXB Melehi’s Waves Complicate Waving Goodbye

Exhibition Review November 13th, 2020
DXB
Kanye Says Listen to the Kids: Youth Takeover at Jameel Arts Centre

Book Review October 28th, 2020
DAM Investigating the Catalogues of the National Museum of Damascus

Exhibition Review October 22nd, 2020
AUH Ogamdo: Crossing a Cultural Highway between Korea and the UAE

Exhibition October 22nd, 2020
TYO James Jarvis Presents Latest Collages at 3110NZ

Exhibition Review October 19th, 2020
DXB Do You See Me How I See You?

Market Interview October 14th, 2021
DXB Thaely Kicks Off Sustainable Sneakers

Artist Interview September 27th, 2020
AUH BAIT 15 Welcomes New Member Zuhoor Al Sayegh

Exhibition Review September 24th, 2020
MIA a_part Gives Artists 36 Hours to React


Curator Interview September 14th, 2020
UAE Tawahadna Introduces MENA Artists to a Global Community

Artist Interview September 10th, 2020
LHR/CAI Alaa Hindia’s Jewelry Revives Egyptian Nostalgia

Artist Interview September 7th, 2020
DXB Taaboogah Infuses Comedy Into Khaleeji Menswear

Market Interview September 4th, 2020
DXB Meet Tamila Kochkarova Behind ‘No Boys Allowed’

Exhibition September 1st, 2020
DXB Alserkal Arts Foundation Presents Mohamed Melehi

Market Interview August 28th, 2020
AUH/DXB 101 Pioneers Ethical and Curious Art Collecting

Artist Interview August 26th, 2020
AUH Sarah Almehairi Initiates Conversations

Artist Interview August 24th, 2020
DXB Augustine Paredes Taking Up Space

Artist Interview August 23rd, 2020
LHR/MCT Hanan Sultan Rhymes Frankincense with Minimalism

Map August 16th, 2020
BEY GAD Map: Arts & Culture Relief for Beirut

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Reflecting on Her Southwestern Chinese Bai Roots, Peishan Huang Captures Human Traces on Objects and Spaces


By Amy Qian

Published on January 19, 2023

        “I love beads. I love things that have no color. I love water fountains because they are alive yet they are dead. I love fish hooks because they are sharp and dangerous. I also love chandeliers and fireworks.” At her studio on a rainy afternoon in Brooklyn, New York, Peishan Huang and I talked about our preferences for media, objects, and landscapes. She listed all the things she currently enjoys, objects and textures that can be discerned in her works. While talking photography, exhibition-making, and curation, we stumbled across our shared love for shoe brands Melissa and Camper.

Peishan Huang is an artist born in Dali, Yunnan Province, China. Having just obtained an MFA from Maryland Institute College of Art, she is now working and living in New York. I came across her account on Instagram and was attracted by her use of color, the empty space as well as the mysterious and uncanny feelings evoked in her photographs. Interested to learn more about her practice and artistic career choices, as well as her multicultural views about China and the U.S., I decided to contact her and visit her at her studio.

1. Left: Peishan Huang, photo by Shuwan Chen. Right: Peishan in her studio at MICA during her MFA. Courtesy of the artist.

Amy Qian: You were born in Dali, Yunnan Province, in south-western China. For the readers, can you describe daily life in your hometown? How do you think the city of Dali has impacted you as an artist? How did you first get interested in artistic practice?

Peishan Huang: Definitely, a lot of my work revolves from images of my childhood. I think my inclination to use beads and other transparent, colorful materials derives from traditional Bai [an ethnic group living mostly in Yunnan, China] clothing. What home left on me was not only visual aesthetics. My friend once commented that my music taste was very surprising and has a contrast with my visual style because I would say my top music genre of 2022 is Chinese Viral Pop. I usually listen to those or uplifted acoustic music when I work. In my hometown Dali, when we went to local markets, Chinese Viral Pop music was playing on the streets. It was part of my life and has unconsciously planted inside my head.


2. Peishan Huang, Artificial Nature (series), 2017-. Inkjet print. Courtesy of the artist.

A.Q.: Moving from Dali, China to Beijing, and then Baltimore, US, I was wondering about the path to finally pursuing an MFA in Maryland Institute College of Art. How was your experience studying there?

P.H.: When I studied advertising in Communication University of China, people started to ask me questions about my associations with Bai culture. Questions such as “Do you ride elephants to school?” made me realize how unusual it is to be a minority and I started to rethink about my own identity, my hometown, my community, and my culture. In Dali, some people can only speak Bai language. I was told by my parents to speak only Mandarin. If I became comfortable speaking Bai, I would have a heavy southwestern accent when I grow up, which might be a point of discrimination at school. During my study in Beijing, a city where ethnic minorities are not that common, I got more and more interested in the process of transmitting of language and culture.

In my senior year, I developed a project creating new Bai characters, during which I was able to see my own culture as an outsider. Because Bai language is usually spoken and not written, I designed new Bai characters and invited people to participate in the project by creating and writing their own Bai character. Inspired by the traditional Bai tie-dye technique, involving indigo-and-white-colored patterns using techniques like drawing and brushing patterns, knotting and soaking, everytime I received a new character, I would write the new one on a white cotton cloth and trace over the previous ones. I then put this cloth inside a washing machine, so after the characters were washed, it came out with different colors of blue. The process itself was mirroring how my generation learned about our local root culture. We are the white cloth and growing up, we learn, passively and actively, about Bai language and culture, just like everytime a new Bai character is being written.

The washing machine symbolized modern civilization. Every time a new color is being put on the white cloth, a washing machine washes it and the color fades a little. However, on and on, just like that, we keep writing and the colors get tenser. We would have intervention or washaways, but the colors would settle and form unwashablebe traces.

We are the white cloth and growing up, we learn, passively and actively, about Bai language and culture, just like everytime a new Bai character is being written.


3. Peishan Huang, One piece from New Bai Words, 2017-2019, Indigo, cotton, 50 x 50 cm. Courtesy of the artist.

I had a great time at Maryland Institute College of Art and within the Mount Royal School of Art (Multidisciplinary Fine Art program). It was funny because applying for a multidisciplinary fine art program was not my intention. I originally applied for both photography and multidisciplinary fine art because I worked as a commercial photographer before. It was because of an interview with the director of our program that I decided to choose that track. I do not regret it because I would like to have more possibilities and the program pushed me to step out to try more art forms such as installations.

I am also grateful for all the conversations with visiting artists and curators who visited our program. We would have one-on-one critiques every week and they would not only give me helpful feedback but also teach me a lot about the art industry. I would not start to make moving images and incorporating texts into my work if I was not encouraged by them. Once, a visiting artist said that I have a pair of filmmaking eyes, and I should go out into the world more. She encouraged me to see things in a dynamic way. Overall, I really enjoyed the program and my professors gave me a lot of support and love, when I was not so confident about trying out new things.


Once, a visiting artist said that I have a pair of filmmaking eyes, and I should go out into the world more. She encouraged me to see things in a dynamic way.



A.Q.: I really like your series entitled Artificial Nature, could you tell us more about this project and how you got into photography?

P.H.: Moving from Dali to Beijing and Shanghai, my perceptions of cities started to contradict each other. Humans built cities out of nature. They put man-made objects whose appearances imitate natural creatures in these urban areas. This made me think about the idea of humans building a new nature in cities. I find it interesting because I view cities as something alive. Every city has their metabolism, their system and essentially what inside cities are cycles. I designed and installed my solo exhibition Paradise in Ultramontane Gallery, Hangzhou, China based on this idea.


Humans built cities out of nature. They put man-made objects whose appearances imitate natural creatures in these urban areas. This made me think about the idea of humans building a new nature in cities.



4. Installation views of Peishan Huang’s solo exhibition: Paradise 乐园, 2021, Ultramontane Gallery, Hangzhou, China.

The idea of Artificial Nature came about after my first group critique during my MFA. It was so early that I had no idea what works I would show for the critique. I went over all the photographs I took and realized that I was always interested in artificial objects, human traces and living places. So I started to look more into the topic. I got interested in the idea of control and intervention. From constructing dams, introducing foreign species to fertilization and grafting plants or shaping plants, there are so many examples of artificial interventions in our urban life. Apart from controlling, I was also interested in imitation, which we can find in materials, scents, and visuals. Humans would use imitation to imitate nature and natural objects. Later, I combined all the concepts I was interested in and developed the idea of “artificial nature”.

I have always liked to take photos. Back in Dali, I took photos of local Bai people and their daily life. The colors of Bai were very beautiful, especially when people wear traditional costumes during festivals. I am used to taking photos with my phone in daily life because I am attracted to common objects. Sometimes, the placement of the most common objects can be visually appealing and I would be surprised by it. Their existence is merely of possibility and accident, which I find very romantic. I also feel very grateful to be able to spot these objects. I would look at pictures I took and they would have an influence in a subtle way—-they serve as a visual and emotional guidance when I create my works.

It was not until I studied at Maryland Institute College of Art that I started to make more sense of how diverse contemporary art can be. Conversing with other visiting artists and professors has inspired me to venture into other possibilities than photography such as installation, sculptural photography and moving images.


Sometimes, the placement of the most common objects can be visually appealing and I would be surprised by it. Their existence is merely of possibility and accident, which I find very romantic.



5. Peishan Huang, Central Park, 2021, Inkjet print, acrylic sheets, resin, stainless steel pipes.


A.Q.: How does place and space affect you or your ideas?

P.H.: When I work on exhibitions, I like to physically be in the space and form a connection with it. I observe the whole space, the wall, the floor, the lighting, the movement, and every tiny detail of the space. I believe it is necessary for artists to form a connection between the works and the space.

There is a traditional saying in Chinese called 因地制宜 [pronounced as Yin Di Zhi Yi], which means “use different methods based on different environments”. I am not used to giving instructions before the installation actually begins because when I put the works in the space, I constantly change how I position them based on the space’s characteristics. 

A.Q.: From photography to installation, you seem to be exploring into different mediums. In your work Abundant space as a temporary studio you seem to have occupied the space and created a site-specific installation. Could you tell us more about the process? Where is the space? Who do you think is the audience? What is your hope/goal of this work? How would you approach an object and a space?

P.H.: I like to visit abandoned spaces and I explored some in Shanghai and Baltimore. I’m attracted to human traces left in space. The fact that these abandoned objects in the abandoned place were once owned by someone and eventually left behind fascinated me, and I feel they have stories to tell. My friends and I would go into these abandoned spaces and pick things we found interesting to creat a scene. This picture [see below, 6, top] was taken in an abandoned hotel in Shanghai. I grouped the artificial plants, the chair, the dispersed foam and fiber together as if they were objects in my studio and I took the photograph. When I group these objects together, they started to have a conversation not only among themselves but also with the space, which I find interesting. Standing in the space, I’m the audience of my work. I staged all these objects for myself. When I leave space, there are no human viewers but other natural forces such as the wind or the sun or seeds enter the space.

I like to visit many abandoned spaces at the seaside. What I love about those places is that because the air is so humid near the ocean, plants grow back in the gaps or corners of floors and walls. It is as if nature has come back and taken over the place in its own subtle yet powerful way. This is also connected to my concept of cities in a cycle. Nature goes away and nature comes back, in an eternal full circle.


Nature goes away and nature comes back, in an eternal full circle.



6. Peishan Huang, Abundant space as a temporary studio, 2020-. Inkjet print. Courtesy of the artist.



A.Q.: You mentioned that you have always liked fountains. Could you tell us why?

P.H.: I love fountains because they are exceptionally beautiful to my eyes-- they exist as exquisite dead water. They are alive because the water is always moving, so they appear to have movements and life. They are dead because the water is fixed and the same amount of water cycles back into the fountain. When you see the fountain in a longer time span, you would believe that the water is still and stagnant. This is why I choose to use still materials to make water fountains, such as acrylics.

7. Peishan Huang, The Fountain is Ready, 2021, acrylic, wood pallet, stainless steel, fishing line, plastic fabric, 120 x 120  x 160 cm. Courtesy of the artist.

A.Q.: You mentioned the element of repetition in your artistic practice in your documentary. Could you talk more about repetition?

P.H.: Making art is similar to cooking in some ways. I think the fact that the element of practice found in both cooking and art can explain the concept of repetition.

Cooking is similar to using mixed media. You have to think about the traits of materials and think about how they would taste or look like when they are grouped with each other. When I cook, I choose and combine different ingredients and when I make art, I choose and combine materials.


When I cook, I choose and combine different ingredients and when I make art, I choose and combine materials.



A.Q.: Are there any other art forms that has impacted your artistic creation?

P.H.: Films and books. At a certain time, my visual style was heavily influenced by the Voynich Manuscript. It is a book with illustrations and scripts that no one has interpreted and understood until now. Some people say that those hybrid creatures of humans and animals in the book only exist in dreams or imagination. However, to me, what makes them exciting is that I believe these nonexistent forms may occur in the future. Humans never stop changing nature.

For movies, A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence directed by Roy Andersson and The Holy Mountain by Alejandro Jodorowsky have influenced my visual style in my recent videos. I wouldn’t say music has affected my creation but I do listen to two kinds of music when I work: Chinese Viral Pop music and spiritual acoustic music.


Humans never stop changing nature.



A.Q.: Could you please tell us about your solo digital exhibition at :iidrr? How was your experience? How did it come about and what do you think about virtual exhibitions?

P.H.: It was my first open call submission and I was honored to be selected. We had a great time working together. The exhibition was completely virtual.

I think video and sound work great for virtual exhibitions because more people can be engaged with digital media online. Other more traditional media such as sculptures need that element of physical experience for full appreciation.

8. Installation view of Solo exhibition: re: replicate, 2022, Virtual. Courtesy of :iidrr.

A.Q.: Your work Be Suspended in 2020 seems to combine multiple materials together. Could you tell us more about it?

P.H.: That work was made during a residency named Pararailing in Shanghai.

I got the idea of suspension from a body suspension practice involving temporary perforations in the skin. Many people who practice suspension see it as a spiritual experience that has therapeutical effects. Inspired by this practice, I use thin fabric to represent the skin of my artist identity, hung by sharp hooks. The structure of the work is the skeleton of "me". I was there in a space without my presence.


I use thin fabric to represent the skin of my artist identity, hung by sharp hooks. The structure of the work is the skeleton of "me". I was there in a space without my presence.



8. Peishan Huang, Be Suspended, 2020, Wood, steel hook, steel wire, acrylic beads, photo printed on nylon spandex. Dimensions variable. Courtesy of the artist.

A.Q.: To wrap up, could you tell us about your recent projects and future exhibition projects? Anything new you would like to try in the future?

P.H.: In the future, I really want to make more moving images. My video work Chronos is my first attempt into filmmaking. I like spaces that are filled with human traces, without actual human presence, and I was trying to capture that mood in this video.


9. Still from Chronos, 2022, Single channel video, 3'12''. Directed by Peishan Huang. Courtesy of the artist.
 

Peishan Huang is an artist born in Dali, Yunnan, China. She received a BA from Communication University of China in 2018 and an MFA from Maryland Institute College of Art in 2022. Peishan now works and lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Amy Qian is from Wuxi, China. She is a third-year student studying Art & Art History at NYU Abu Dhabi. Amy has worked as a gallery assistant with galleries from Shanghai, Bergamo, Kampala, and Dubai. She has also curated the exhibition territories of bodies for NYU Abu Dhabi’s Arts Proxy Program in 2022. Interested to learn more about her own culture, she is now studying East Asian Art and Chinese Film in New York.