Chinese New Year Dazed Style

We delve deeper into the talent that will be showcased at Dazed and Tiger Beer's Chinese New Year event in February.

'Commanding the Sun to Stand Still' by Gordon Cheu
'Commanding the Sun to Stand Still' by Gordon Cheung. Image courtesy of Gordon Cheung and Alan Cristea Gallery.
Earlier we announced that Dazed and Tiger Beer would be celebrating the arrival of the Year of the Tiger in London's Chinatown with a special series of events on Thursday February 11. In the current Dazed February issue out now, we created a special supplement that profiles all of the participating artists as well as a guiding you through the different Chinatowns in the UK. Here we publish some of the interviews with artist Gordon Cheung, music duo White and the fashion photographer Kai Z Feng, who are part of this new wave of Chinese creative talent that will be showcased in Chinatown:

Gordon Cheung

Gordon Cheung’s work explores a vivid post-apocalyptic world that leaves us with primitive sci-fi totem-like sculptures that worship a bull and bear, zombie voodoo forest Gods and a minotaur. Persistent visions of the end of the world infiltrate the London born, Hong Kong artist’s multi-media portfolio. Led by his epic re-imagining of Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, Cheung’s current US solo museum show at the Arizona State Art Museum will be followed by a group show in China. In an almost prophetic fashion, since 1994 he has been working on art responds to the the world’s utopic euphoria and subsequent economic and ecological crisis.

Your art incorporates both reality and hallucinogenic visuals, is that the future?
It seems to be human nature to love hallucinogenic visuals in the form of entertainment for distraction or for ritualistic reasons to help us comprehend or escape everyday burdens. The art that I make connects to this impulse.

What do you think about China’s contemporary art market compared with Europe?
The largest consumers of contemporary art are from the US followed by Europe. In China there is a hybridising of Western contemporary art language with tradition, especially as China reconnects to its sense of cultural identity in a highly accelerated period of growth. It's probable that once there is a solid gallery and critical network with an equally strong culture of collecting contemporary art by the Chinese, that the roles might even reverse.

How does this inspire you with your background?
My background of being both British and Chinese places me in an inbetween place which is one of the core themes of my work. The exponential growth of technology that has allowed for global communications has created a virtual inbetween space. Within this I respond to the cultural environments in which I am immersed and that means drawing inspiration from both cultures.

White

Shenggy is the London-based ex-drummer of the riotous Beijing all girl band, Hang on the Box. Together with Shou Wang from the scratchy garage rockers Carsick Cars, they have collaborated since 2005 as experimental, electronic duo White. Self-described as “cosmic industrial, looped vocals in the ether, the sound of Beijing, the roar of the traffic, sparks from the night construction sites blinding the stars”, White’s self titled debut album will be released in the UK early this year. A melee of lo-fi screaming rupture and pulsating beats, White produced the record with Berlin noise heroes Einstürzende Neubauten and the result is Beijing’s high held flag of a new cultural revolution.

Does your work deal with a personal freedom?
Maybe a yearning to leave this world like one of my heroes from Chinese myths, Wan Hu. He was said to have strapped fireworks to his chair and lit them on top of the Great Wall. We call him the first spaceman, or least that’s what he dreamed of being. The freedom he dreamt of – that’s my kind of freedom.

Can you expand on the traditional Chinese classical music and instruments you use?
Sometimes we play the gu zheng, a traditional stringed instrument, but we do not play it as a Chinese master would recognise. I am as much influenced by the music from the Chinese cartoons of my childhood as traditional classical music. But my father is a professional musician too, so maybe it’s in the blood.

What do you think about a lot of contemporary art from China dealing with both tradition and Western allures?
There is a dialogue between the past and the present but I don’t think it’s one that is exclusively Chinese. Every culture is being diluted – or enhanced, depending on your view – by globalisation, and it’s interesting to see what is being kept by each to define itself.

Kai Z Feng

At the age of 14, Shanghai-born artist Kai Z Feng started his career as a painter. Celebrated at an early age, his award winning collections when on to be exhibited across China, Japan and America. At 23-years-old Feng moved to London and decided to pick up a camera and within three short years his eye for grace and beauty has captured campaigns for Burberry and Aquascutum, Vogue and Vanity Fair. Inspired by both his traditional Chinese art background and the innovative teachings of Randy Pausch, the American computer science professor who authored the life inspiring bestseller The Last Lecture, Feng is a prodigious talent and beacon of aspiration.

Why did you decide to move from painting to photography?
Three years ago I was taking pictures of models as reference for my painting project “The Art of Human Body”. I got really good feedback from model agencies so I thought give it a try.

Your photography has been celebrated for its beauty and grace.
Photography is just an extension of tools I can use to express my ideas. The direct rawness, sexiness, love, hate, almost every aspect of people's daily life I want to bring in to my work.

What’s are you working on next?
It is a personal book that is more a dairy of my life than a fashion portfolio. Although in the past two years, a lot of the images are about models, but I photographed most of them as individual subjects rather than fashion images. I am working on an exhibition, not just of prints, but wanting to create an environment, a story. There’s also a project for the Shanghai World Expo 2010 commissioned by Chinese government which I’m proud of.

Events Programme for Thursday February 11, 2010
New World (1 Gerrard Place) 9pm-12pm, Live Music and Party: White (Live), Howie B(DJ Set)
New Loon Fung (42-44 Gerrard Street) 7pm-11.30pm, Art Exhibition: Gordon Cheung, Suki Chan, Gayle Chong Kwan
Chuen Cheung Ku (17 Wardour Street) 7pm-11.30pm, Photography Exhibition: Kai Z Feng, Madi Ju, Li Wei
Prince Charles Cinema (7 Leicester Square) 6pm Screening of She, A Chinese (dir. Xiaolu Guo) and a midnight screening of a A Chinese Ghost Story

We are giving away 600 wristbands that will give access to all four events on the night. Arts and photography events co-curated by Friere Barnes. Click here for more details.

To find out more about what else Tiger Beer has planned for Chinese New Year as part of their 'Tiger Lucky 8' schedule click here
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