From midsummer to golden autumn, “Art Macao: Macao International Art Biennale 2023” brings a rich and profound cultural and tourism experience to citizens and tourists through eight sections and a total of 31 exciting exhibitions spread across various districts across the city. As an international art event organized by the Macao SAR government integrating local resources from all walks of life, this year’s “Art Macao” brings together a number of government departments, foreign consulates general in Hong Kong and Macao, enterprises, universities, galleries, art societies and other institutions, as well as The powerful force of curators, artists, art school students and other groups. People who use city walk to travel through this world heritage city will deeply feel the charm of art + cultural tourism brought by this biennale that “links the whole city”. Looking back on this art event that lasted for more than three months, I marveled at the number of international art masterpieces it brought together, and also witnessed Macao’s determination and efforts to continuously expand its attempts.
Connecting a city with art
This is an art event that connects the whole city. As shown in the navigation map, the 28 exhibition spaces and locations marked by “Art Macao 2023” are scattered in the Macau Peninsula, Taipa, Cotai and the Hengqin Campus of the University of Macau. We can indeed see the structure and ambition of this biennale.
As the main venue of Art Macau, the “Statistics of Destiny” exhibition at the Macau Museum of Art presents a total of 118 works by 42 Chinese and foreign artists from countries and regions including Japan, Indonesia, India, Canada, France, Cambodia, and the United States. , Thailand, Philippines, Italy, Singapore, Portugal, Mexico, South Korea, Mainland China, Hong Kong, China, Macau, China and Taiwan, etc.; the “Local Artists Invitational Exhibition” displayed in the “‧Art Space” adjacent to the Macau Museum of Art is based on the theme of “Science “Encounter with Faith in Macao” as the starting point, exhibits the creations of six Macao artists, Constantine, Ng Wei Ming, Liang Lanbo, Chen Xianyiu, Lai Xueying and Fok Kaisheng, on the theme of this year’s “Art Macao” “Statistics of Destiny” brand new work.
A few steps away, as one of six public art works, the sculpture “Alchemy’s Leap” from South Africa and Israel adds an artistic atmosphere to the empty Macau Cultural Center Art Plaza. The frog symbolizes evolution and rebirth, while the concept of “alchemy” emphasizes the historic fusion of science and spirituality. This sculpture, which uses the principle of optical deformation, is not only full of interest, but also a masterpiece that combines science and spirituality. Sitting in it will indeed lead to various associations and reflections.
Across the road is Fisherman’s Wharf, Macau’s famous tourist check-in point. “Revelation to __”, one of the “Local Curation Projects”, is on display at the Lisbon Gallery here. The remaining three “local curatorial projects” – “Lingxi – Topology of Consciousness”, “Typhoon of Destiny” and “Secret of Jinhua” are slightly further away, scattered around Macau’s famous cultural attraction – Fortress Garden. among the different surrounding communities.
If you focus on the main venue, you will find that the four major city venues are relatively far from the main venue: on the Macau Peninsula, there are the Kyoto Pavilion at Tap Seac Square, the Shenzhen Pavilion at the Maritime Works and the Cervera at the former municipal ranch site. The New Town Pavilion and the London Pavilion are located in Taipa. From the combination of participating cities and the distribution of venues, Macao’s unique personality as a multicultural exchange center is demonstrated.
The “Art Exhibition of Colleges and Universities” is even located at the University of Macau on Hengqin Island. This exhibition not only absorbs the works of students from the four major art schools in Macau, but also cooperates with four important art academies in the mainland, allowing students to complete dialogue and exchanges at the academic level, and enriching the creative atmosphere of young people.
In addition, there are eight parallel exhibitions located in resorts, hotels, shopping malls and residential areas, six of which are commercial galleries and one is a community art event. This shows the authorities’ efforts to promote the development of the local art industry.
Just as interconnected streets connect various blocks and communities, each exhibition is also closely connected by the theme of the exhibition.
This year’s “Art Macao” takes “Statistics of Destiny” as its theme, looking at the expectations and worries brought about by the development of science and technology, and exploring the collision and interaction between science and faith. Qiu Zhijie said in the “Chief Curator’s Message” that Macao’s special geographical location places it at the forefront of global exchanges of knowledge, beliefs and living customs. The different beliefs held by Macao’s local and international communities have become a famous feature of the city; at the same time, , Macau is also a place where modern science and traditional thought fiercely collide. Therefore, this biennale “focuses on works of art that explore faith traditions from a new perspective, as well as works that reflect on the history of science and technology from a profound humanistic perspective.”
A more mature biennale
The first “Art Macao” was launched in 2019, which vigorously ignited the enthusiasm and ambition of many local art lovers. Yuan Shaoshan, director of the Macau Museum of Art and deputy chief planner of “Art Macao 2023”, said that “Art Macao” is a brand cultural project that brings together many cultural resources in Macao. After two rounds of polishing, it is more mature than before this year. . Specific manifestations include: the participating artists come from more diverse regions; the section composition is richer, bringing together Macao’s six major comprehensive resort and leisure enterprises, multiple government departments and commercial art institutions; while taking into account internationally renowned artists, it also focuses on supporting local artists to participate in the exhibition ; Referring to the model of the Wisney Biennale, exhibitions are no longer concentrated in a certain district, but distributed to as many streets and communities as possible, so that more people can feel the contemporary art atmosphere of Macao as a historical and cultural city. .
Local artist invitation exhibition site
This year’s “Art Macao” is composed of eight major sections. In addition to thematic exhibitions that provide a more systematic and in-depth presentation, there are also six special exhibitions proactively planned by integrated resort and leisure companies to match the theme, as well as Macao artists directly commissioned by integrated resort and leisure companies. The “Local Artists Invitational Exhibition” is a new creation based on the theme of the conference. Compared with previous biennales, this year’s exhibition takes into account both viewing and fun, invests in more immersive viewing experiences, uses high-tech means to present more possibilities for art, and expresses technology and religion, technology and art. conversations and interactions.
Students on their way home stand in front of the work “Typhoon of Destiny”
Yuan Shaoshan introduced that compared with previous exhibitions distributed in public venues in Macao, this year’s exhibitions have begun to enter communities and streets more, using local curatorial plans and parallel exhibitions to enter some vibrant places that were not exhibitions in the past. A new place for space. Among them, 4 “local curation projects” through solicitation and selection are distributed in different communities, allowing more citizens to get closer to art more conveniently; the parallel exhibition section accepts the participation of professional galleries, promoting the steady development of Macao’s commercial art institutions and assisting Related industries are maturing; six public art installations are distributed in cultural attractions and residential areas, respectively presenting the creations of artists from China, India, Mexico, South Africa, Israel, South Korea, the United Kingdom and the United States, allowing the depth of philosophy and the interest of art to enter people’s lives.
In addition, this year’s “City Pavilion” section has re-invited international cities to join. There are four city pavilions, namely “New Town Pavilion of Cervera: The Metaphysics of Destiny and the Science of Misfortune”, “Shenzhen Pavilion: Ark-Robot & “People & City”, “London Pavilion: The Church of the 21st Century” and “Kyoto Pavilion: Collaborative Rhythm”, these four city-based exhibitions have both cultural heritage and technological innovation, and each presents their own humanistic and artistic aspects. It also adds a lot of color to Macau, a multicultural exchange center.
After three editions of development, “Art Macao” has an increasingly clear direction of development in creating a biennale that can be passed down. Yuan Shaoshan said: “The topography of Macau is very similar to that of Venice, with alleys extending in all directions, which is very suitable for city walks. So we refer to the model of the Venice Biennale. For example, as mentioned above, going deep into the community and integrating with the community; the main venue will participate in the exhibition There is some emphasis on the proportion of countries and regions where artists are located. For example, this year’s theme will be used to present the artistic power of Southeast Asia; we will cooperate with artists from Portugal and Portuguese-speaking countries, taking into account Southeast Asian art, local art in Macao, and art from Portuguese-speaking countries. This is also What sets us apart from other biennials.”
“The Rising Moon” by Singaporean artist Susan Victor
Southeast Asian art has become an important part of the main exhibition venue, with many artists from Cambodia, Thailand, Myanmar, the Philippines and other countries participating in the exhibition. The work “Rising Moon” brought by Singaporean artist Susan Victor is composed of 600 circular lenses. The lenses allow the movement of the wind to be clearly visible, and the light can be transformed into a full moon on the work. The work reflects the power of how the natural elements of the site can change the appearance and experience of the work; Heli Dono is one of Indonesia’s most internationally renowned contemporary artists, good at using humor to express his views on social and political issues. Reflection and criticism. His work “MAJU Human Development” reflects the development of science and technology, which affects human civilization and culture with its positive and negative effects, and there are imbalances in social, economic, cultural, environmental, humanitarian themes and other aspects. However, life must go on for a better future.
Wu Fangzhou, exhibition planner of the Macau Museum of Art and co-ordinator of the main exhibition of “Art Macao 2023”, said: “Macao is geographically close to Southeast Asia. At the same time, we are also very interested in Southeast Asian artists, so we spent a lot of effort to invite and collect topics in this area. Art works, consciously exploring artists from Southeast Asia can be exhibited in Macao. Southeast Asia has always given us a sense of mystery, and through this exhibition, the audience can not only appreciate the works of art, but also learn about the works and the meaning behind them. Learn more about their historical and cultural background.”
At the same time, art from Portuguese-speaking countries has also become a highlight of the exhibition.
“We Are Ghosts Too” by Portuguese artist Catalina Mir Homans
The work “We Are Ghosts Too” by Portuguese artist Catalina Mir Homans is displayed on the second floor of the themed exhibition “Statistics of Destiny”. Vertical steel wires are used to support dozens of suspended, horizontally cut glass originals. The layers of glass are superimposed to create a light and hazy ethereal painting. From far to close, it brings a strong and novel impact to people; from Portugal The Cervera New Town Pavilion hosted by the Consulate General of the People’s Republic of China in Macau has the theme of “The Metaphysics of Destiny and the Science of Misfortune”. The exhibition selected 27 artworks and used contemporary art works covering more than 40 years, including films, paintings, sculptures and installations, etc., that reflect both horizontal and holistic perspectives on religious traditions, superstitions, and contradictions that resonate across a wide range of scientific fields.
Local artistic power
Internationalization and localization are unavoidable topics at the International Art Biennale. In order to cultivate local creative forces, this year’s “Art Macao” continues to cooperate with integrated resort and leisure enterprises, local and mainland universities and other institutions, and has also set up multiple sections for local curatorial teams, artists and enterprises. The participation of many countries further expanded the spread and influence of local creations.
The upper part is “Statistics of Destiny” by Maruolong, and the lower part is the work of Constantine.
In the main exhibition, the work of the same name “Statistics of Destiny” is from Macau artist Ma Ruolong. Maroon, who is an architect, urban planner and designer, is familiar with many ancient buildings in Macau. He used the history and development of Macau as his creative theme and material, and used frames of different shapes to build a three-dimensional panoramic view of Macau from ancient to modern times, including the complete Ruins of St. Paul’s. In response to the theme of the exhibition, the work uses “St. Anthony’s Preaching to the Fishes” and the legend about Nezha to explore why miracles in contemporary life have gradually become less and less, leaving only the “economic miracle” represented by statistical data. “; Constantine, a Russian artist who has lived in Macau for many years, merged Macau’s landmark buildings with Lisbon’s Terreiro de Paço in his work “Lisboa Tower of Babel”.
Local artist invitation exhibition site
In the “Local Artists Invitational Exhibition”, six Macao artists use new creations to show the style and diversity of Macao’s local art: Constantine’s “Nanwan I” and “Nanwan II” pay tribute to the city’s heritage, innovation and beauty A tribute to vision; Wu Weiming’s “The Generation of Rationality” questions the risks caused by today’s over-reliance on rational science and technology; Liang Lanbo’s “Ice and Fire” is a response and reflection on the important social issue of global warming; Chen Xianyiu’s “Abnormal Structure” ” shows the highly intertwined social forms of Macao; Lai Xueying’s “Fountain of Vision” expands the interpretation of human wishes from different angles; Huo Kaisheng’s “Renaissance” highlights Macao’s role in the Age of Discovery.
In April this year, with the general theme of “Art Macao 2023” “Statistics of Destiny” as the curatorial concept, Macao launched the “Local Curation Plan” open solicitation and selection, and finally four curatorial plans full of fantastic ideas Successfully selected, we can see the curators’ response to this year’s theme from various angles.
Curators of “To the Revelation of _”, from left to right are Lu Zhu and Lin Xiaowen
“Revelation to _” was proposed by Buran Culture, planned by Lin Xiaowen and Lu Zhu, and invited Fan Yanjun, Liang Zimao, Liang Zhen, Liu Anni, Mata Salad, Zhang Jianwen, Clement Valla and Zhang Lu to participate in the exhibition , the exhibition explores the relationship between technology, faith, and contemporary life by echoing the “Statistics of Destiny”: Revelation borrows the names of classics to invite artists to put forward some prophecies of the technological era from their perspectives and concerns, while the underline _ All viewers can participate on their own behalf.
Lin Xiaowen served as the curator of the Macau Pavilion at the 2019 Venice Biennale, while Lu Zhu has nearly 10 years of experience in curating performing arts, visual arts and music projects. They introduced that the exhibition is intended to create some problems that will be faced at different stages of life, and all viewers can find some life inspiration in the art works. Therefore, try to choose a variety of media, including installations, videos, and some interactive works.
“Lingxi – Topology of Consciousness” Curator Guo Tianxi
“Lingxi – Topology of Consciousness” was proposed and curated by Guo Tianxi. Macau artist Zheng Zhida and Hangzhou artist Tan Bin were invited to participate in the exhibition. Guo Tianxi, who is also an artist, used the principle of pinhole imaging to introduce the red market opposite the Asia Industrial Building, where the exhibition is located, into the exhibition venue. The real-time moving images formed a perfect interaction with the on-site works.
Guo Xitian worked in France for many years and returned to Macau in 2007. During the more than ten years of curatorial work, he continued to operate spaces while also insisting on artistic creation. Guo Xitian introduced that in response to the “statistics of fate”, “consonance” and “topology of consciousness”, the former can help people understand the emotional connections and spiritual resonance between people, while the latter can help people understand better The complexity and diversity of human inner world demonstrate the infinite potential of human thinking and creativity. The exploration and study of these concepts helps us better understand the mysteries of the human mind and consciousness.
“Typhoon of Destiny” curator and artist Wu Weiming
“Typhoon of Destiny” was proposed by “Yijie Art” and curated by Wu Weiming. Participating artists include Constantine, Chen Xianyiu, Zou Zhiquan and Wu Weiming. The project is related to the typhoons that Macau experiences from July to September every year. Destiny is difficult to estimate. Although typhoons, as a natural phenomenon, can be predicted, they are equally difficult to estimate. Wu Weiming said that statistics represents science. Modern people believe in science, but there are many things in life that are difficult to use science and data statistics. With the rapid development of smart technology and the rapid changes in the regional and international environment, real-life scenarios are like typhoons, which have a huge impact on human life, habits and understanding of life. After the epidemic, the world is forced to accept a new order and challenges, and people will also think about: Where will we go after the storm?
Artist Wu Weiming’s “One Margin Art Group” represented the Macao Special Administrative Region in the 59th Venice International Art Biennale in 2022.
Chang Chan, curator of “The Secret of the Golden Flower”
“The Secret of the Golden Flower” was proposed and planned by Chang Chan. It borrows from the psychologist Carl Jung’s book of the same name “The Secret of the Golden Flower” to explore the metaphysical proposition of human destiny behind the rapid development of science and technology. Two artists participating in the exhibition, Macau artist Huang Yingxiang uses the latest AI technology to focus on the individual and collective identity represented behind the image, as well as the emptiness behind the identity; artist Lin Boyan from Hong Kong focuses on the data platform behind artificial intelligence , as well as the data generation mechanism, logic and labor relations behind it.
Chang Chan curated the joint exhibition “Living in the Clouds” in London in 2022, which brought together the works of 23 artists from around the world. “The Secret of the Golden Flower” is her first curatorial project after returning to Macau.
While responding to the theme of the exhibition, these curators and artists from Macao also let people see the artistic power of Macao.
Although the main exhibition and special exhibitions have ended recently, when you go to Macau in November, you can still see four exhibitions planned by local curators, as well as the finale of many public art works by international celebrities, and many cultural, An art program that combines technology and lively activities is coming to Macau. Don’t miss it!