Modern: Foreign Art

By Catarina Wilk

We live in a modern world which is changing every single day and, as we all know, today’s society constantly hungers for the new; the never-seen-before.
Speaking of this, the art world is changing drastically and it is more diverse than ever before in 2016. To be precise, foreign art has a huge impact on the art scene’s development in general and, these days, we as Europeans get to see a glimpse of their ‘modern’ due to the fact that their art is way more exposed and accessible to public.

Paris, 2016. “They (the Chinese) are living for the future … this is what is interesting. They are pushing, they are seeking, they are living now and living in the present.“ – Laurence Bossé (Curator, Fondation Louis Vuitton)
Taking this into account, the Fondation Louis Vuitton, founded in 2006 and well-known for promoting and supporting outstanding contemporary artistic talents, is currently hosting France’s first major exhibition celebrating contemporary Chinese art to make its art work accessible to a broader audience.

Bentu, Chinese artists in a time of turbulence and transformation running from 27 January to April 2016, shows the various works of 12 artists of different generations who live in mainland China. “Using a wide variety of techniques and media, drawn from both local tradition and culture, as well as newer cutting edge technologies – sometimes associating or confronting them – the artists reveal the complexities of a society that is in permanent mutation”.
Further, from 27 January to 5 September 2016, there will be art works by 11 artists from the Collection of Fondation Louis Vuitton. The collection includes works by Ai Weiwei, Huang Yong Ping and Zhang Huan.

To follow the common thread, Basement Roma announces the first solo exhibition of female artist
Yanyan Huang. Born in China and raised in America, Huang’s body of work reflects the artist’s life in different places while being confronted with different cultures and languages.

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Works by Yanyan Huang, Ex Silentio solo exhibition at Basement Roma (Cura)

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Works by Yanyan Huang, Ex Silentio solo exhibition at Basement Roma (Cura) photos by Roberto Apa (Cura.Basement)

The Halcyon Gallery in London currently exhibits art works by contemporary Colombian artist Santiago Montoya. The exhibition called ‘Money Talks’ (16 February–13 March 2016) represents Montoya’s interest in currency, history and socio-political issues.
The use of bank notes alongside “cliché titles add an element of humour to Montoya’s works, ensuring the often complex subject matter is more accessible and encouraging lively conversation and debate” and “by transforming the currency in a defamiliarising way, Montoya explores the multifaceted and multi-layered economic system”.

Santiago Montoya, ‘Money Talks’ at Halcyon Gallery, London

Santiago Montoya, ‘Money Talks’ at Halcyon Gallery, London

Santiago Montoya, ‘Money Talks’ at Halcyon Gallery, London

When talking about foreign art, one cannot forget foreign literature.
Especially Japan’s rich history in terms of literature is something many of us are not aware of.
In order to pay more attention to this type of literature, the British Library and other venues in Bath, Leeds, Manchester and London are to set to host a series of events exploring and highlighting a couple of Japan’s award-winning modern writers. As part of JAPAN NOW, which is presented by Modern Culture, they will be on a rare tour of the UK from Saturday 27 – Monday 29 February 2016.
Featuring Japan’s literary giants Kyoko Yoshida, Takashi Hiraide, Fuminori Nakamura, Soji Shimada and Fuminori Nakamura joined by cultural commentators, JAPAN NOW will provide an insight into the wonderful world of Japanese literature.

“My poems and stories don’t just focus on Jamaica. There’s also a gripping addition which embroils readers in a humorous and ultimately tragic story set in The Gambia. It’s an extremely varied adventure, and will appeal to anyone with a thirst for discovering new cultures, or hearing about the unique struggles of different women around the world.” That is how Shona Jabang, an Jamaican-American writer, describes her masterpiece Ethereal Voices, a collection of poetry and prose.
Celebrating her debut, Jabang’s book features short stories and poems that portray the writer and gives an insight into her life as a child growing up in Jamaica.

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Moving on to another example of foreign literature, Anuradha Roy’s book ‘Sleeping on Jupiter’ won this year’s DSC Prize for South Asian Literature.
The prize itself focuses on South Asian writing based on the South Asian region and its people.

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DSC Prize for South Asian Literature 2016

In short, ‘Sleeping on Jupiter’ “is a stark and unflinching novel by a spellbinding storyteller, about religion, love, and violence in the modern world”.

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“Sleeping on Jupiter” by Anuradha Roy

One thing is certain: our world has so much to offer that gives us the opportunity to explore cultural differences and different approaches in terms of art.

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