The Third Party: An Exhibition in Three Acts

Platform China, Beijing, Beijing, 11/11/2010 - 01/24/2011


The Third Party is an exhibition conceived to unfold in three consecutive sessions in Platform China project space. Each approximately lasting twenty days, the three moments of this show are devised to disclose their conceptual and thematic associations as in a chain-reaction, where the individual frameworks are determined by the critical inputs presented within a preceding one.

The Third Party explores the shaping relationships between narrative and aesthetic objects to foreground an inquiry in the realm of the 'ordinary' specific to the Chinese context. It does so by mobilizing overarching frames of reference and critique currently at play, be those aesthetic or historical, through three analytical environments tackling respectively issues of self-historicization, witnessing/archiving and collaboration.

The 'ordinary' is here awakened to create a momentous connection between aesthetic or artistic acts and the spatial and social conventions characteristic of the local environment as they meet in a dynamic arena of indescribable collusion, an intermediate dimension lingering between art and life in a "luxurious confusion of sense and sensation, of ideas and somatic registering" (Ben Highmore,  "Ordinary Lives").  The Third Party focuses on the structures of narration deployed throughout the process of observing, reflecting on the world around us while simultaneously creating it, drifting along the pathways of subjectification and participation in a continuous commitment to "a world in solution (and dissolution), a commitment to the heuristic, prespecialized gestalt of life" (B. Highmore).

It therefore concerns itself with matters of mapping, the tracing of patterns of both presence and absence and the ideological constitution of subjects.

The exhibion is visually designed to present the works of the indivudual artists as self-pronounced archival displays. While each act features a different group of artists, some of the works will varingly evolve in the course of the three months or come to completion at an arbitraty moment in time.

Responsive to the idea of the exhibition as a 'field report', the special architectural installation called The Beehive devised by Li Naihan, is constituted by units of exagonal cardboard boxes variously repurposed to be adopted and adapted according to the works.

This project continues an ongoing series of practical and theoretical investigations initiated by the curator Beatrice Leanza, which take the 'question of space' at their heart to evaluate its implication with processes of artistic production and representation that inform, both historically and conceptually, specific cultural perception of the contemporary.

Titled "States of Distraction" this series of projects particularly focuses on the interrelation between spatiality and artistic practices from contemporary Asia. It started in November 2009 with the group exhibition "Emporium – A New Common Sense of Space", presented in Milano’s Da Vinci Musuem of Science and Technology with 27 artists, collectives and independently-run art spaces from China, Korea and Japan. 

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