The second part of the ‘quick trip to China’ took place once we had returned to Shanghai from Jingdezhen. Ryan (Mitchell) had heard about an important contemporary exhibition in Suzhou (originally founded over 2500 years ago, and known for its canals and gardens) an hour by high-speed train from Shanghai. We dedicated day four to this trip and by mid-morning were at the Suzhou Jinji Lake Art Museum to see the Beyond G(l)aze exhibition. I was very impressed with the architecture of the Culture and Expo Centre, reminding me of the texture of the famous Olympic Birdsnest building in Beijing.
Organized by the Suzhou Jinji Lake Art Museum and the KODE / Art Museums of Bergan (Norway) we were fortunate to meet Wu Yan the exhibition department specialist there. The exhibition is an installation by 8 Norwegian and 8 Chinese artists. Greeting us at the entry way to the exhibition was an installation of Torbjorn Kvasbo, long time friend and IAC colleague. Bold, bright and substantial, Stacks (2009-2012) is impressive in scale and scope and the exhibition title certainly reverberated though this piece.
Since first seeing Torbjorn’s work I am always impressed with the energy and vitality found within the pieces, be they handbuilt and wood fired or extruded and glazed. Upon walking into the next gallery spaces one get’s a sense of the vision for the exhibition. Primarily large scale installation works, all 16 artists are well considered.
Works by Lu Pinchang, Liu Jianhua, Corinna Thornton and Huang Huanyi stood out for me.
Ryan is planning to do some additional writing on the exhibition. If I should find myself in Suzhou again, I plan on exploring more of the historic aspect of the city. That was our fourth day in China; the next day we flew home to Montana, USA.