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It feels like my exhibition opening happened so long ago because immediately afterwards I went travelling with Andy for 10 days. We went back to Shanghai, but this time we mostly did the sights rather than the Art, except for the Sean Skully solo show at the Himalayas Art Gallery (that reminds me, I have a great photo of a lady cleaning his sculpture with a feather duster and buckets catching the drips from the leaking roof…)

We also went to Wuzhen, Hangzhou , Guilin and Yangshuo and I’ve put together just a few pictures from our travels which hopefully describe something interesting rather than just picturesque, in an attempt to not just go parading my holiday photos Facebookesque.  A couple are from the train from Shanghai to Hangzhou which gave me a fantastic opportunity to take pictures and a bit of video as the windows were really big.  I wish I could have filmed the whole journey.

Just before my exhibition opening I was interviewed by a journalist from a local newspaper.  She asked me to describe the landscape of Shanghai and Xiamen from an artist’s point of view.  I wasn’t entirely sure what she was getting at and also how to describe what I felt without offending anyone. When you describe China’s landscape it sounds destructive but when you experience it, it is compelling.   I’m still not entirely sure if it is ok to blow up mountains.  My gut instinct says it is not, but it is very simple to make decisions with your heart and China’s situation is by no means simple and cannot be considered without taking all sorts of historical factors into account.

At the exhibition opening I spoke to a young artist called Rhubarb who I had met before at an exhibition at the nothing gallery.  He told me there is a Chinese Fairytale about a man who wanted to move a mountain and he then sent me the story in an email which said:

I am Rhubarb, that guy have told u the fairy tales about remove the mountain.

The name of that story in chinese is 愚公移山

Once upon a time, there was a large mountain called Tai-Ying which sat between Old Man Yu and the nearest village. Every day, Old Man Yu had to walk many extra miles in order to circle around Tai-Ying, and finally he decided to simply move the mountain out of his way.

Old Man Yu called together his children and grandchildren. “I am going to move Tai-Ying.”

The family cheered.

The youngest stood and asked where the moutain could be moved.

Old Man Yu thought for a second. “I will dump it in the sea.”

Again the family cheered, and promised to help make his dream a reality.

Now, as everyone knows, it is no small matter to move a mountain, and this mountain was no exception. After a year, only a tiny portion of Tai-Ying had been carted to the sea.

A shopkeeper in the village laughed at Old Man Yu. “Your dream is foolish. You are old, and Tai-Ying is monstrous.”

Old Man Yu shook his head and smiled. “You are right, but your vision is short. I have children who have children who will bear more children. As time goes on, I get stronger and the mountain grows weaker. Tai-Ying will be moved.”

And so it was.”‍

But in the real ending of original version is – God heard about this, then send two servant go there and take the mountain away. Because god also shock by old man’s action.‍

 

 


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Since my opening I have been travelling in China and I’m still on the go, but I wanted to get photographs of the work in the exhibition and some from the opening on the blog as soon as possible, so here you go.  When I am back from my travels I will write something about the show.


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The paintings have made it to the CEAC gallery in one piece.  It was a little stressful getting them from my studio, over the balcony to the ground floor, into in a truck that was too small so they stuck out of the back and driven by a guy whose aim was to get them to the destination as quickly as possible in whatever form they arrive (shame I didn’t learn the Chinese for ‘careful now’ and ‘excuse me, do you think you could slow down just a little bit?’), off the truck again, up the first flight of stairs and then winched up to the next floor, over the balcony using rope and finally into the gallery.

So I’m almost there and here is the press release and poster.  I will try to post images of the finished exhibition after the opening but I won’t be able to post pictures of the actually opening event until later, because early the day after, Andy (my partner) and I will go off on our travels for 10 days, to Shanghai, Hangzhou, Guilin and Yangshuo.  I’m really looking forward to Andy arriving and seeing some more of China.  I have heard that Guilin is particularly beautiful and I am so excited about going back to Shanghai.

Press Release

Exploding Mountains

Josie Jenkins (United Kingdom)

Opening: Saturday December 10th 2015, at 5pm

Duration: December 10th – January 24th 2015

Open Tuesday – Saturday 12.30 – 17.30

Chinese European Art Centre, 3rd Floor, Siming South Road 400, Xiamen, China

T/F: 86 0 592 2180850 Mobile: 86 0 13806021762

[email protected]//[email protected]

www.ceac99.org

Josie Jenkins is a painter who explores the way human interference impacts on the landscape.  In the past she has taken inspiration from the British landscape, her imagery evoking a sense of the edgelands between city and countryside and the subtle incongruity between the natural and the unnatural.

She is interested in overgrown wastelands and forgotten places containing disused and discarded buildings and objects.  Her paintings include ambiguous elements, which emphasise confusion, or unnatural colours, objects and patterns, which exaggerate the contradictions and conflict presented by our modern landscape.

In China, Jenkins has turned her focus towards the visible consequence of heavy industry, as well as exploring her overall perspective on the Chinese landscape and the way it is shaped by people.  During her residency with CEAC, Jenkins visited the Yangshan Deep Water Port in Shanghai, the largest container port in the world, and imagery from this research trip features prominently in her new body of work.  The landscape speaks of the people who occupy it and, in Jenkins’ paintings, people are notable by their absence.

“When I came to China my intention was to search for landscapes that relate to my artistic practice, but actually, no searching was required; everywhere I look I see images that inspire me.  In China, I continually see and hear things that surprise me and some things that at first I found unbelievable. The landscape of China offers a complete contradiction to the landscape of Britain.”

Jenkins’ work has also changed in response to her situation as an ‘artist in residence’.  She says, “Having limited time and materials to create work for a residency exhibition, rather than constraining me, has in fact pushed me to work more spontaneously and think more freely.  I have had little time to contemplate the technical and theoretical decisions that I am making and so this work feels fresher to me than anything I have done before.”

Josie Jenkins was born in Yorkshire, United Kingdom, in 1980.  She studied for her BA Hons in Fine Art (Painting) at Norwich School of Art and Design, graduating in 2002.  In the UK, she has worked as an artist in Hull and Nottinghamshire, before settling in Liverpool.  Jenkins is a director of Arena Studios, an active artist studio group that has been an integral part of the grassroots Liverpool Art Scene for over thirty years.  In September 2013 Jenkins was shortlisted for the New Lights Art Prize, a competition and accompanying exhibition recognising the talent of young Northern artists in the UK.  She was presented with the main prize, the Valeria Sykes Award, which has supported her trip to China and residency with CEAC.

 


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