Take to Heart: Six Studio Visits: curated by Qianfan Gu
LATITUDE Gallery is pleased to announce that an exhibition of art project curated and organized by writer, translator, and art critic Qianfan Gu will open on the evening of Thursday the 13th of this month. The exhibition will be on view until November 10.
This exhibition will feature video documentations of Qianfan Gu’s six studio visits in New York in the past year. The artists include Lu Zhang, Xiaolin Cheng, Yu Ji, Shuyi Cao, Yuan Fang, and Chang Yuchen ( in the order of the visits).
Take To Heart: Six Studio Visits
A Project by Qianfan Gu顾虔凡 x LATITUDE
with Lu Zhang张璐, Xiaolin Cheng成晓琳, Yu Ji于吉, Shuyi Cao曹舒怡, Yuan Fang方媛, and Chang Yuchen常羽辰
During my time as a co-editor at Heichi Magazine, one exhibition’s organizers once politely rebuffed our inquiry for more details and images for press use. They also hinted to the writer, who speaks and writes only in English and whom I had invited to review their show, that we were a magazine using Simplified Chinese. Which is untrue, as Heichi is Chinese-English bilingual. In other words, they were suggesting that they would rather not access nor be accessed by an otherly world in that language—a world they don't and refuse to understand, a world being portrayed in the media as bizarre, at least, and scary since it seems to be occupied by a different ideology.
I was punched by mixed feelings. Deeply unnerved and discomfited, and feeling powerless to argue as well. They might be right about the unbearable differences between us, but one’s mother tongue—whether being multilingual, or being eloquent enough in a certain language—should not be the single definition of identity. With the mass of unpleasantness and helplessness accumulated in my chest, I later shared the story with friends and they kindly comforted me: “Don't take it personally!”
我情绪复杂。深感气愤受挫是一方面，也多少觉得无力反驳。我们的确“不同”。不过母语何为、是否掌握多种语言、是否言辞流畅，都不该成为身份的唯一定义。胸口郁积着一团不快和无奈的我，后来和几位朋友聊起整件事，他们纷纷善意地宽慰我：“Don't take it personally!”
—Well, with whom, then, should I take the potential hostility “collectively,” my Simplified-Chinese speaking compatriots?
“Don’t take it personally,” as I started to ponder over the expression, is lost in translation. “对事不对人” might be closest in meaning. When facing similar situations, we would often ease friends by saying “别放在心上,” meaning "don't take it to heart."
我意识到“Don’t take it personally”是个有些难以直译的表达，也许“对事不对人”在意思上最为接近。类似的情形下，我们常会对朋友说“别放在心上”。
As you may have guessed, the six artists included here all use Simplified Chinese, as do I, as do the communities at where the LATITUDE Gallery is located. However, the language used is not the only reason they are presented.
The selection of artists for this project epitomizes, more or less, my impression of LATITUDE: Established and owned by Shihui Zhou, an artist-gallerist, the space is run by an industrious team of almost all girls.
Both the artists and those behind-the-curtain staff are versatile, kind-hearted, artistic female creators. Other than being artists and art professionals, some of them are also educators, entrepreneurs, mothers or mothers-to-be.
The six artists are respectively at different stages of their careers. They are as emerging, known-and-acclaimed, as they are under-covered. They all shine in their own way and make arts with great panache and peculiarities.
I've been working, talking, and exchanging ideas with them. We share things other than art. And above all, I have long been curious about each of them, and that curiosity has led to more exchanges.
When lucky enough, exchanges become richly-loaded packages that can be carried away. And confronting new art continuously refreshes the eye to hone its skill for seeing.
For that reason, the six artists—all physically in New York when I video-recorded our studio visits—are listed in the chronological order of these happenings, rather than alphabetically.
Unlike depicted by this emoji, artist studios don't necessarily include sofa or floor lamp. Nonetheless, it is still to me the most fitting one to serve as this part’s subheading: when being visited, the place where art happens would turn into a living room full of chats and laughter.
And the place incubating art does not have to be a proper studio. A window for contemplation, a divided room at home, the aisle or smoking corner shared with next-door studio mates, as well as a park or the whole city.
The whatever-I-do-in-the-studio-is-art statement by Bruce Nauman can be rewritten: wherever I think about art is my studio.
In addition to the videos, a checklist of works, by some of the six artists, and are not presented on site, is offered here as a part of the Take to Heart project.
For a show highlighting the contexts in which the art takes place, it only makes sense that artworks themselves become, in turn, their own backdrops.
What counts as artwork anyway? Its definition perhaps refers to a union of all the things done or in the making by its artist—from conjuring, materializing, naming, to showcasing, archiving, etc.; and all the things keep happening because of it—what its audience sees and talks, how its negotiable aspects circulated in market or among institutions, and all the unnegotiable, unspeakable aspects that we take to heart.
The six videos were shot with the help of Yuki He, produced by the LATITUDE Gallery team: edited by Coraline Weng, subtitles translated and proofread by Renyue Zhang, visual design by Mi Chen; the exhibition presentation by Shihui Zhou and Cai Shuang. I am grateful for each and everyone of them.
这六段视频的拍摄得到了Yuki He的大力协助，由LATITUDE画廊团队的Coraline Weng剪辑制作，Renyue Zhang翻译校对，Mi Chen视觉设计；展览呈现Shihui Zhou和Cai Shuang。在此一并致谢。