Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art (CFCCA) | Manchester, UK
6 July - 7 October 2018
An exhibition about water and water scarcity
Featuring the work of six artists from China, Hong Kong and the UK, including: Kingsley Ng; Lucy+Jorge Orta; Joao Vasco Paiva; Chen Qiulin; Liu Shiyuan and Liu Yujia.
Water is a natural element, an inorganic compound essential to life, a universal symbol of purity. It unceasingly changes shapes and transforms itself while it constitutes the major component of every living organism and eco-system. Through a mixture of participatory art works and new media works 'Aquatopia' creates a place for engaging and reflecting on water - what it means to our communities and our environments, and the impact of water scarcity and water pollution from different global perspectives.
Through present urgencies and future imaginaries six artists from China, Hong Kong and the UK explore ways contemporary art can provide an alternative platform for addressing pressing realities and imminent disasters. At the intersection between fantasy and critical observation, different artistic positions examine matters of scarcity, pollution, uncontrolled development and effects of climate change; ultimately imagination and reality are tightly intertwined with each other.
Horizon is a playful installation by artist Kingsley Ng, which invites visitors to share water and collectively create a symbolic horizon on a set of communicating bottles. Water Fountain by Lucy+Jorge Orta is a sculptural installation that evokes the cylce of gathering, purifying and distributing water, a visualisation of a low-cost solution to problems arising from water pollution. Elsewhere in Green Island, bags and water containers cast in cement lie amid a swathe of sand; in this installation Joao VAsco Paiva focuses on the impact that urban development has had on the natural environment and resources.
One of the leading figures in China's younger generation of artists Chen Qiulin exhibits Empty City, exploring the social impact of China's rapid urbanisation; in a series of photographs she documents the return to her home town Wanzhau, on the Yangtze River. The entire population of the town was relocated following the Three Gorges Damn Project, the resulting images are both personal and socially relevant.
Other new media works come from artists Liu Shiyuan and Liu Jujia. The Edge of Vision, or the Edge of the Earth bu Liu Shiyuan is a film of synthetic futuristic representations depicting a watery earth and an uncanny procession of people mourning for humanity's uncertain future. Liu Yujia's Wave poetically depicts the ebb and flow of tides, triggering a contemplative oceanic feeling but also warning for climate change oceanic anomolies, as it lets the sublime power of the water speak for itself.
The exhibition is curated by Marianna Tsionski (Research Curator, CFCCA & Universtiy of Salford). It is part of CFCCA's 'A Season for Change'.