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Unidentified Emotions by Eija-Liisa Ahtila, Janet Cardiff & George Bures Miller, Teresa Hubbard / Alexander Birchler, Salla Tykkä
Date: Dec 6 , 2007 - Jan 15 , 2008
Available works
Artist: Eija-Liisa Ahtila
Art Statements Gallery is delighted to present a significant video group exhibition titled Unidentified Emotions by four internationally acclaimed and influential contemporary artists, Eija-Liisa Ahtila, Janet Cardiff & George Bures Miller, Teresa Hubbard/Alexander Birchler and Salla Tykkä, for the first time in Hong Kong. This exhibition will feature four celebrated and ground-breaking video works from the participating artists.

Each of the four video works reflects and investigates the possibilities of the ephemera of internal feelings. The issues that arise in these films touch on a unifying sense of unidentified emotions. In Ahtila’s Me/We; Okay; Gray, three short films resembling advertisements explore the issues of identity, sex, gender and fragments of reality. They do so in a way that reconfigures our perceptions of traditional video media. In their piece, Cardiff and Miller skilfully transform the role of the viewer by conveying an experiential atmosphere of urgency that is set around a burning house in the wilderness in House Burning. In the third work, the logic of time and space is challenged and dissolved by Hubbard/Birchler in Detached Building, a short film set in an empty house full of activities that alters physical and temporal realities. In the final oeuvre, a moment in a young woman’s life is captured and exposed in Tykkä’s Lasso. The subject’s physically inaction and her undetected emotions remain unchanged while witnessing a surreal and poetic act powerfully echoes the viewers’ role in relation to the work itself.

Together, these four pieces offer an intriguing challenge to the complexities of everyday human experience in a way that transforms the viewer from mere spectator into a willing actor who must confront basic human emotion in a thought-provoking way. The feelings that emerge at first glance may seem easy to label, but upon further introspection become less defined, and more transient.

About the artists

Eija-Liisa Ahtila was born 1959 in Hameenlinna, Finland and currently lives and works in Helsinki. Ahtila has been exhibiting in numerous leading institutions and exhibitions worldwide since 1988, including the prominent Doucmenta 11 in Kassel, Germany and the Nordic Pavilion, 48th Venice Biennale in 1999. She has also shown at Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, Whitechapel Art Gallery in London, Mori Art Museum in Tokyo, Tate Modern in London, Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, Busan Biennale 2004, Museum of Modern Art in New York and 51st Venice Biennale.

Janet Cardiff was born 1957 in Brussels, Ontario, Canada, and George Bures Miller was born 1960 in Vegreville, Alberta, Canada. Both currently live and work in Berlin, Germany and Grindrod, B.C., Canada. Cardiff and Miller presented “The Paradise Institute” in the Canadian Pavilion at the 49th Venice Biennale in 2001, and were awarded with La Biennale di Venezia Special Award. Their most recent museum exhibition, “Janet Cardiff & George Bures Miller: The Killing Machine and Other Stories 1995-2007,” is at Miami Art Museum in Florida until the 20th of January, 2008.

Teresa Hubbard was born 1965 in Dublin, Ireland, and Alexander Birchler was born 1962 in Baden, Switzerland. They currently live and work in Austin, Texas, USA. Hubbard/Birchler have participated in the prestigious 48th Venice Biennale, and have also exhibited at Miami Art Museum, Mori Museum, Whitney Museum of American Art at Altria, New York, Museum of Contemporary Art in Berlin, Lyon Museum of Contemporary Art and Hirshhorn Museum in Washington D.C. Their first major survey in an American Museum will be held from the 14th of September, 2008 to the 4th of January, 2009 at Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth and will travel to the Württembergischer Kunstverein Stuttgart, Germany in 2009.

Salla Tykkä was born 1973 in Helsinki, Finland, where she currently lives and works. Tykkä has been exhibited and collected extensively by major institutions such as 49th Venice Biennale, De Appel in Amsterdam, Museum of Contemporary Art in Helsinki, Palais de Tokyo in Paris, Centre d´Art Contemporain Genève, Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, Museo de Arte Moderno de Buenos Aires, Wellington City Gallery in New Zealand, Casino Luxembourg - Forum d'art contemporain, Musée d´art contemporain de Montréal and Collection Lambert in Avignon, France.
Date: Oct 18 , 2007 - Nov 30 , 2007
Biography Available works
Artist: AES+F
Art Statements Gallery is delighted to announce the first exhibition of Russian art collective AES+F (Tatiana Arzamasova, Lev Evzovich, Evgeny Svyatsky and Vladimir Fridkes) in Hong Kong. AES+F’s work is currently on view at two of the most prestigious art events, representing Russia at the 52nd Venice Biennale, which runs to the 21st of November, and at The Istanbul Biennial until the 4th of November. The exhibition at Art Statements includes a selection of digital print on canvases, photographic prints and a video from their acclaimed ‘Last Riot 2’ and ‘Action Half Life’ series.

AES+F has been exploring the possibilities of combining modern technology, Hollywood cinema, fashion photography, advertising, mass media, popular culture and youth obsession with the classical aesthetic of old masters’ paintings since the forming of the group in 1987, visualising and presenting a world for the viewers that is rather familiar yet mysterious and alienated. Their digital collage of real life photographs and animated landscape/objects blurs and defies the line between reality and fantasy, history and time, constructing a futuristic mythological metaphor for the present through their glamorous, seductive yet alarming, artificially hyper-realistic imageries.

In ‘Last Riot 2’, AES+F’s latest project, Baroque style collides with modernity in an epic-like format; conformity and rebellion exist alongside within a moral and cultural paradox, rebellious youth rise to the so-called heroism in an animated world that devoid of judgement, ideology, history, ethics and time. Borrowing its title from a popular video game, AES+F drew inspirations from two surprising and radically different sources: George Lucas’s Star Wars and the ‘Sacred Allegory’ by Gian Lorenzo Bellini for the series ‘Action Half Life’. Selecting and shooting desert landscapes that are reminiscent to the aforementioned sci-fi films, each model/character is then photographed separately, in order to achieve the detached atmosphere of future reality, before various layers of these elements are put together masterfully by the group. These otherworldly digital imageries subtly portray the futuristic natural of our modern society, projecting a future that is all too close to the present.

AES was first formed in 1987, and in 1995 it became AES+F; the artists currently live and work in Moscow. The State Russian Museum in St. Petersburg held the first ever mid-career retrospective for the group from May to July 2007. In recent years, they have also been exhibited extensively worldwide, including The Cobra Museum of Modern Art in the Netherlands, Moscow Museum of Modern Art, Casino Luxembourg - Forum d'art contemporain, the 4th Gwangju Biennale in South Korea, Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney and Museum of Modern Art in Stockholm.
Stephan Balkenhol
Date: Sep 6 , 2007 - Oct 13 , 2007
Biography Available works
Artist: Stephan Balkenhol
Internationally praised and acclaimed for revitalising the tradition of the figurative statue – which has been largely abandoned by mainstream minimal and conceptual art trends since the 1960’s – Balkenhol deliberately avoids specific narrative references in order to depict the familiar yet anonymous ‘Everyman’, common men and women, rather than the usual historical heroes and heroines generally associated with classical sculptures in his work.

A student of German conceptual sculptor Ulrich Ruckiem in Hamburg, Balkenhol had an explorative and creative approach to sculpture and ‘human form’ that can be described and seen as a reaction to our current understanding and engagement of traditional and contemporary art. His use of distorted proportions, ordinary clothed figures and an often unusual choice of animals inject a sense of humour into this familiar and expected art form, creating an easily accessible yet intimate aesthetic that has generated a wider appeal for the mass public.

Balkenhol applies and extends the same concepts to his drawings and wood relief works. His drawing, often based upon his own imagination as he has seldom worked with real-life models, echoes the essence of his sculptural work with a childlike sensibility. Meanwhile, his wood relief recalls traditional portraiture, yet simultaneously resonates with a contemporary photography of youth by Thomas Ruff and Jeff Wall. The nonchalant and distant facial expressions on the young men and woman in Balkenhol’s reliefs give nothing away, concealing a mysterious quality surrounding the subjects.

Stephan Balkenhol was born 1957 in Fritzlar (Hasse), Germany and currently lives and works in Karlsruhe, Germany, and Meisenthal, France. He has been exhibited extensively since the early eighties, including the prestigious and prominent “Skulptur Projekte in Munster’ (The Munster Sculpture Project) in Germany, The Saatchi Gallery in London, The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, Japan’s National Museum of Art in Osaka and the Tokyo Opera City Gallery, 'Africus: Johannesburg Biennale '95' in South Africa, the Institute of Contemporary Art in London, the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, the Montreal Museum of Fine Art, the Neue Nationalgalerie (New National Gallery) Berlin in Germany and the Kunsthalle Basel in Switzerland.
Hong Kong After Midnight
Date: Jun 8 , 2007 - Jul 14 , 2007
Biography Available works
Artist: Fabien Verschaere
Art Statements Gallery is pleased to announce 'Hong Kong after Midnight', a solo exhibition of new work by the French artist Fabien Verschaere. Renowned for creating large scale installations with his drawings and paintings of fairytale characters, Verschaere often casts a darker spell in his unique and mystical creations, constructing a fantasy land that daringly confronts and reflects on human nature with a sense of playfulness.

For his third exhibition with the gallery, Fabien Verschaere will create a wall painting installation with ceramics and watercolour pieces inspired by the vibrant night life of Hong Kong.

The work of Fabien Verschaere needs to be seen as a whole and as a continual series of personal mythologies. Through blending recurrent symbols such as mermaids, dwarfs and objects together, Verschaere evokes human conditions and experiences whilst assembling a dreamlike theatre that is both intimate and personal.

Although Verschaere’s work seems to be based on contradictions -- attractive and repulsive, exotic but banal, dangerous yet exciting, meaningful though derisory and insignificant, his remarkable observations and unusual depictions of characters and situations provoke ambiguous feelings within his viewers. The result is a body of work with strong foundations and unexpected encounters.

Fabien Verschaere was born in Vincenne (France) in 1975 and lives and works in Paris. He has been exhibited extensively since 2000, including the prestigious Palais de Tokyo in Paris, the Prague Biennale, Centro per l'arte contemporanea Luigi Pecci in Italy, the Montreal Biennale and recently at the Lyon Contemporary Art Museum. His most recent museum exhibition is currently showing at the Baltic Centre of Contemporary Art in U.K.

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