Ryan Pham, August 31, 2016
Photo: Installation view of Andy Warhol, Screen Tests [Jane Holzer, Susan Sontag, Ann Buchanan] at M WOODS, 2016
“Andy Warhol: Contact” Exhibition Debuts at M WOODS
M WOODS, a not-for-profit art museum located in Beijing’s 798 Art district, debuted Andy Warhol: Contact, an exhibition of groundbreaking film, photography, and interactive installations created by the late artist. Curated by M WOODS Director Presca Ahn, it is the first in a series of major solo exhibitions planned at the museum over the next three years.
This is the first ever exhibition in China to focus on the experimental, mechanically produced areas of Warhol’s work, featuring photographs, installations, and films that broke boundaries of contemporary art at the time. Made by Warhol using his famous polaroid camera and other machines, the featured works bring the overlooked theme of human evanescence in the face of time to the forefront.
“In all these works, Warhol minimized the touch of the artist’s hand by using mechanical production and a standardized or repetitive format,” said Ahn. “Despite this, many of them radiate a very human, personal quality, and they have a pathos or an energy that transcends the technical or automatic character of the medium. This tension is what makes the works so arresting, even now.”
The exhibition features two bodies of work in which Warhol redefined the art of portraiture: his silent film portraits from the mid 1960s called “Screen Tests,” and his famous polaroid portraits shot throughout the 1970s and 80s. Being the most instantaneous mediums available at the time, Warhol created over 500 “Screen Tests” and took hundreds, if not thousands, of Polaroids of anyone around him. These works now also serve as documents of the past, whether their subjects were famous or obscure, now living or now dead.
The exhibition also includes Warhol’s Silver Clouds installation, two of Warhol’s famed screenprinted wallpapers, Cow (1966) and Self-Portrait (1978), as well as screenings of Warhol’s underground film Kiss (1963). The first of which being glimmering pillow-like shapes that float gently through out the exhibition space, making Silver Clouds one of the earliest examples of an immersive, interactive art installation.
“Warhol’s radical use of the technologies at his disposal anticipated many defining aspects of today’s art world: the widespread use of social media, the ‘selfie’ photo, immersive art installations, and– perhaps most of all– the idea of the artist as a brand.”
“Andy Warhol: Contact” @ M WOODS Beijing
6 Aug. 2016 – 7 Jan. 2017
Tuesday through Sunday, closed on Monday.
11am – 6pm
For more information visit http://www.mwoods.org/en/exhibition/current