Walsh Gallery

Chhachhi / Gao / Shugang / Swanstrom / Wei: My Space, Your Space


Dates: Jan 20 2006 - Feb 25 2006

Opening Reception: Jan 20 2006

Chicago, IL - "My Space, Your Space": Grand Scale Architectural Installations and Photography explores how current ideas of architecture interface with questions of urbanity. Since these are universal concerns, the large scale installations and corresponding photography have been created by six artists from not only China and India, but Chicago as well. The opening will be Friday, January 20th, from 5 to 9 pm. All of the artists will be present for the opening reception

Wang Wei has created a giant bird cage/trap that can be walked into. It is actually the same size as his apartment he lived in in Beijing. The bird cage is made of wood and scaffolding.

The Gao Brothers will have six photos called "Sense of Space" on the walls surrounding the bird cage construction. This series shows the brothers often naked and in cramped stacked cubicles. Sometimes there are women in the cubicles as well. As the photographers have explained: "Our series is widely misread as having homoerotic content. In fact we are trying to explore human relations...the cramped circumstances and lack of privacy and freedom in contemporary life, as well as barriers to personal and shared experience."

Wang Shugang will have on view a series of sheer tents with mini drama assemblages inside. Each tent is its own microcosm of an urban existence in China complete with a glowing lightbulb as the sun. These internal constructions range from dead animals on Astroturf to computer circuit boards that support mini nude men and pregnant women. Another assemblage shows two overturned cars with corresponding auto routes that have a beginning but no ending.

Sheba Chhachhi, a New Delhi-based artist, will be showing a large floor-based installation. Aluminum boxes that are reminiscent of high rise buildings are arranged in four "arms" resembling an urban mandala. The top of each box has a warm glow which shows an image of one of the five senses. Sheba's installation, called "Neelkanth: Poison/nectar" is inspired by an Indian myth. In this story, the gods and the demons, who usually are enemies join forces to gain the nectar of immortality. This is catastrophic, and results in the creation of a "heaving mass of black poison, called the poison of time." This pollution threatens to destroy the entire cosmos. Luckily for mankind, the god Shiva "out of compassion for the world" swallows the poison, which turns him blue. In the center of the installation there is a video projection of a blue throat, both human and archetypal, struggling to ingest and transform waste.

Rodney Swanstrom will create a multi-story sensory environment that explores the architecture of transport. The artist believes that as we travel, we find ourselves in borrowed dwellings. In Rodney's simulated dwelling, viewers will be able to "put a holding pattern on their own reality so they can be suspended in time and space." This experience begins as you enter his installation via a jetway ramp. You will then be inside a technicolored chamber with projections of light and color. You can choose to enter a pod and have a rest on a chaise for 3 people. Above you will be projections of moving images of space above the stratosphere, with a m'elange of aromatherapy and music. Rodney hopes to help us "loose ourselves in order to transfer to the next step - level."

Wang Wei's work has been widely exhibited in museums such as the Smart Museum (Chicago), the Asia Society (New York), The Victoria and Albert Museum (London), the Museum of Contemporary Art (Marseille), and the Institute of Contemporary Art (London). His work has been included in both the 1st and 2nd Guangzhou triennials as well as at the International Biennale of Contemporary Art in Prague (2005). Wang Wei's work is also in the traveling exhibition "Between Past and Future: New Photography and Video from China", curated by Wu Hung and Christopher Philips and appearing at museums including the Museum of Contemporary Art (Chicago), the International Center for Photography (New York), the House of World Cultures (Berlin), the Seattle Art Museum, and the Santa Barbara Museum of Art. His work has been featured in The New York Times, Newsweek, and The New Yorker. He lives and works in Beijing.

Wang Shugang has exhibited extensively throughout Germany and China. He studied in the sculpture department of the Central Academy of Fine Art, and his work has been shown multiple times at the Chengdu Biennale, FORUM VEBIKUS Culture Center Kammgarn (Switzerland), the Dashanzi International Art Festival at the Dashanzi Art District (formerly the 798 Factory, Beijing). His work was recently included in shows at the Museum of Modern Art (Bologna), the Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia, and at the 2005 "Convergence" festival at the Dashanzi Art District. Wang Shugang's public sculpture is also on display in Yinchuan, China and Gelsenkirchen, Germany. He divides his time between Germany and Beijing.

The Gao Brothers have exhibited around the world in numerous biennials and triennials including the Guangzhou Trienniale 2002, and the first Tirana Bienniale (Albania). Their photos were recently exhibited in "Mahjong," at the Fine Art Museum in Bern, Switzerland. Their work is also in the traveling exhibition "Between Past and Future: New Photography and Video from China" at museums including the Museum of Contemporary Art (Chicago), the International Center for Photography (New York), the House of World Cultures (Berlin), Seattle Art Museum, and the Santa Barbara Museum of Art. The brothers live and work in Beijing.

Sheba Chhachhi has shown her work in international biennials and triennials including the Havana Bienniale, and the Fukuoka Asian Art Trienniale. This year, the Townsend Centre Fellow at the University of California, Berkeley held a solo exhibition of her work featuring the "Neelkanth: Poison/nectar" installation. This year Ms. Chhachhi's work was also included in the "Indian Summer" survey of contemporary Indian art at the Ecole des Beaux-Art in Paris, as well as in group shows at the Musee d'Ethnographie (Geneva) and the National Museum (Delhi). She has also exhibited at the House of World Cultures (Berlin) in the 2004 "body.city" exhibition, the National Museum of Photography (Ottowa), the London Historical Museum (Ontario), and at the 9th L.A. Freewaves Bienniale of film, video and new media. She has conducted workshops, research, and projects investigating media theory and developing audio-visual materials relating to women's issues in India and South Asia. Ms. Chhachhi is an active member of the women's movement in India. She lives and works in Delhi.

Rodney Swanstrom is an emerging artist who was most recently awarded an artist in residency in 2005 by the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs. Mr. Swanstrom has also shown at the NIC Art Museum in Casper, Wyoming, the Walker Art Center (Minneapolis), the Phipps Center for the Arts (Hudson, WI), and the Minneapolis Institute of Arts.