Asia Art Archive in America is pleased to present (Im)material Ruins, the inaugural exhibition at AAA-A’s 23 Cranberry Street space, featuring work by members of the 2022 Leadership Camp cohort.
Centered around the theme of (Im)material Ruins, the Leadership Camp seminars not only discussed ruins as powerful sites of memorialization, artistic imagination, and political contestation, but also expanded to address the archive as a primary mode of accessing, preserving, or suspending states of ruin.
Inspired by the archive as both an intellectual repository and a site potentially riddled with rupture and ruin, we sought to question: what are the stakes of “ruin” culture and its proliferation in art? How can nostalgia be harnessed as a generative force or a gesture of defiance? How do we revel in the unknowable or anti-monumental? How should we broach the violence of archival representation, or recuperate fugitive figures at the limits of the archive? Finally, what is the line between extraction and excavation; a relic and a ruin?
(Im)material Ruins is organized by Junni Chen, Kolleen Ku, and Xiaoxia Song, with support from Furen Dai and Christina Ko. Photo documentation by Haruka Motohashi.
Alchemyverse (Bicheng Liang and Yixuan Shao) is an artist duo based in New York. The members combine craft and research through their respective backgrounds in visual arts and sound studies. Their practice explores the theme of transformation intimating their diasporic experiences, which mines meaning and reconciliation in the wilderness. Their work builds sensory channels between the deep time and the human experience, emphasizing the mutual empathy amongst materials, people, and land. Together, Alchemyverse has exhibited at the Sotheby’s Institute of Art (NY), the School of Visual Arts (NY), Wallach Art Gallery (NY), Catherine Fosnot Art Gallery and Center (CT), LeRoy Neiman Gallery (NY), and the Bishop Museum (HI). Their artist research was presented at the IRCAM forum at New York University. A recent alumnus of the 2022 leadership camp at Asia Art Archive in America and the 2021 Lower Manhattan Cultural Council Arts Center Residency program, the duo is currently in residence at the International Studio & Curatorial Program (NY).
Junni Chen is a curator and writer based between New York and Singapore. Chen is currently an MA candidate at the Center of Curatorial Studies, Bard College, New York, and holds a BA in Media Studies from the National University of Singapore. She is also the curator-in-residence at the Julia Stoschek Collection (Berlin/Düsseldorf), where she is working on an exhibition that is scheduled to open in fall 2022. Most recently, she curated the exhibition Lustrous like plastic (2022), which featured new commissions and recent works by Heman Chong, Christopher K. Ho, Bo Wang, and WangShui, at the Hessel Museum of Art/CCS Bard, New York. Her other recent projects include co-editing a critical monograph on the work of artist Anton Ginzburg, Blue Flame: Constructions and Initiatives(Hatje Cantz, December 2020). As part of a contemporary art program, Chen curated Anton Ginzburg: VIEWs (2019), Boedi Widjaja: Declaration of (2019), and Richard Fleischner: Witness Mark (2020) at Helwaser Gallery in New York.
Daniel Chew is a filmmaker and artist who works collaboratively with Micaela Durand and the collective CFGNY. With his practice, Chew envisions and enacts the conditions for creating a shared world by finding, creating, and nurturing moments of intimacy and kinship. Working in collaboration is one of the ways he achieves this. Chew’s has shown work at New York Film Festival, International Film Festival Rotterdam, Japan Society, Auto Italia London, Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, MOCA LA, and MoMA PS1. He has been in residence at Fogo Island Arts, Macdowell, and BiljmAIR in Amsterdam and has been awarded the Jerome Hill Artist Fellowship and Queer Art Fellowship.
Composed of Daniel Chew, Ten Izu, Kirsten Kilponen and Tin Nguyen, the artist collective CFGNY continually returns to the term “vaguely Asian”: an understanding of racial identity as a specific cultural experience combined with the experience of being perceived as other.
Don Hải Phú Daedalus grew up in the shadow of the country’s largest public observatory—an area so remote and sparsely populated that it served as the first plutonium-processing plant for the Manhattan Project. Shortly after the oldest human remains in North America were discovered near his hometown, Daedalus left to attend the University of Washington, where, coincidentally, the remains were to be held during the decade-long legal dispute between the Kennewick tribe and anthropologists. During that debate, he completed studies in Philosophy and Interdisciplinary Visual Arts. Daedalus’ work has been exhibited in the US, Latin America and Europe.
Kolleen Ku is a PhD candidate in Art History at New York University’s Institute of Fine Arts, working on global modern and contemporary art. Informed by decolonial approaches and transnational feminist and queer theory, her research explores the convergence of modernist abstraction and racialization in the work of East Asian diasporic artists across the twentieth-century. Kolleen currently serves as an adjunct instructor for the Department of Art History, NYU. She previously worked in The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Department of Modern and Contemporary Art, and has held curatorial internships at the Whitney Museum of American Art and Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. Originally from Hong Kong, Kolleen received her B.A. from Columbia University in Art History and English in 2016.
Z.T. Nguyen (he/they) is an artist based in Brooklyn, NY. Within his practice, Nguyen uses specific materials to consider the semiotics and psychological contours of queer domesticity and forced migration. Nguyen received his BFA from Rhode Island School of Design in 2019 and he will soon be an MFA candidate in Painting & Printmaking at Yale School of Art, beginning this fall. From 2019-20, he was an artist-in-residence at Textile Arts Center (NY), and in 2021, he was a Southeast Asian Artist Fellow at The Alternative Art School (co-sponsored by MAIIAM Contemporary Art Museum in Chiang Mai, Thailand). During 2022, Nguyen participated in Asia Art Archive in America’s Leadership Camp: (Im)material Ruins. He has shown his work at Textile Arts Center, Transmitter Gallery, Kunstraum LLC, and the RISD Museum, among other venues.
Anne Wu is an artist from Queens, NY, who works primarily in sculpture and installation. She received an MFA in Sculpture from Yale University and a BFA from Cornell University. Her work has been exhibited at M 2 3 (New York, NY), EFA Studios Gallery (New York, NY), Real Art Ways (Hartford, CT), The Shed (New York, NY), Mattatuck Museum (Waterbury, CT), Shaker Museum | Mount Lebanon (New Lebanon, NY), and the New York Public Library (New York, NY), among others. She was an artist-in-residence at the Smack Mellon Artist Studio Program from 2021 to 2022 and the NARS Satellite Residency on Governors Island in 2020. In 2022, she received a Rema Hort Mann Foundation Emerging Artist Grant.
Song Xiaoxia is a Professor at the School of Humanities, Central Academy of Fine Arts (CAFA), Beijing, China. Song teaches history, theory, and criticism of Chinese modern/contemporary art and pursues research on Contemporary Art from a global perspective. She received Ph.D. in art history from CAFA (2008) and MA in classical Chinese Literature from Peking University (1988). Her curatorial projects include Liu Xiaodong: 1990-2000 (2000), Xia Xiaowan (2003), Lu Liang (2014), ZAOXING: Artworks from the Faculty of the School of Fine Arts at CAFA (2010), RELAY: Artworks from the Faculty of the CAFA (2015/2016), Hu Shih and Peking University (2016), and Hu Shih in the Intellectual History of the 20th Century China (2017).
This exhibition was supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council.