Visit of the exhibition held in the Salons Hoche.
For his 5e edition, ASIA NOW had renewed its invitation to our association. About twenty of our members were able to have free access to this event offering an exploration of all Asian art scenes. Fifty international galleries presented 250 confirmed or emerging artists.
It was an opportunity to discover the fruit of a partnership between SAMC, the museum and ASIA NOW. As part of “In Real Life”, a project by curator Xiaorui Zhu-Nowell who questions artists from the digital age. “Cernuschi Art Video # 3: Transmissions” presented seven videos to the public. Mael Bellec, chief curator at the Cernuschi Museum, explained during a conference how the Cernuschi Museum works on video art.
If the permanent collections of the museum are mainly devoted to Chinese archeology, from the second half of 20st century, a sustained policy of enriching contemporary art funds is put in place. In 1946, the museum organizes a large exhibition of Chinese contemporary art where the young artist Zao Wou-Ki exhibited for the first time in Europe. Since then, temporary exhibitions of contemporary Asian art have been staged over the years, enabling the museum to bring together one of the most important collections of contemporary Asian art (notably Chinese art) in Europe. From this interest in the news of art in Asia has resulted in the need to vary the media on display to be in tune with developments in contemporary art.
Under the leadership of Lotus Mahé, a member of the SAMC board, a first project dedicated to video art was launched in 2017. It included works by internationally renowned artists such as Liu Bolin, Wang Bing or Yang Fudong. This project was complex to finalize because some video artists conceive their works as part of an installation. It was thus necessary to negotiate with Huang Xiaoliang and his gallery so that his film is diffused on a screen without other staging. These limits guide the choice of videos. These must be able to be projected on a single screen and without specific equipment. For the moment the museum is content to broadcast films because it does not have the capacity to store them yet. The current work could allow the transition to an acquisition policy in the future.
Another problem is to design a program adapted to the public of the museum. In 2018, the decision was taken to perpetuate the program dedicated to video art by giving it a title, “Cernuschi art video”, on an annual basis and by setting up a curatorial service provided by the museum. The videos selected for “Cernuschi Art Video # 2: Survivances” were thus chosen according to a theme, that of History and the way in which the past continues to determine the present of Asian societies.
The roadmap of “Cernuschi Art Video” is to work on the four main countries present in the collections (China, Japan, Korea and Vietnam) and to mix different types of video (animated films, synthetic images, real shots or archive mounts, etc.). The museum, for now, tends to organize its choice according to the relationship of the videos to each other rather than showing the films in isolation from each other. This choice is questionable, because the curator of the exhibition directs the reading of the films by the spectator, but assumed. It makes it possible to select the videos according to the identity of the museum and above all to produce a discourse on Asia through these works, which is one of the roles of the Cernuschi museum.
The program of "Cernuschi Art Video # 3: Transmissions" has been developed according to ASIA NOW's wish to work on the theme of transmission and to highlight relatively young artists. This theme was not approached from a historical point of view because it had been done the previous year. It is transmission through interpersonal and even intra-family relationships that was the subject of the cycle developed this year. The deliberately intimate dimension of these films made it possible to play on the contrast between this programming and the atmosphere of the ASIA NOW fair.