EASTERN POESIA in Beijing
March 10 - April 25, 2018: The Zhu Naizheng Research Center of Art
This Far East inspired exhibition by native Delawarean Monique Rollins, is part of an East/West cultural exchange by The Delaware Contemporary. This exhibition was featured in the Carole Bieber and Marc Ham Gallery at The Delaware Contemporary August 16 - November 19, 2017 and now these 22 collage paintings have traveled to the U.S. Embassy in Beijing, then to the Zhu Naizheng Research Center of Art.
Rollins' abstract paintings and collages take on an expressive aesthetic tapping into the human unconscious. Inspired by her extensive experiences from traveling abroad, every gesture, color, line, and form represents human emotion. Like the East Asian aesthetic, Rollins' work often implies landscape while filled with energetic gestures and colorful shapes.
This traveling exhibition is sponsored by McConnell Johnson Real Estate, Mr. and Mrs. Michael Olmsted, The Siegfried Group, UBS Business Solutions, The Delaware Contemporary, and Zhu Naizheng Research Center of Art, Beijing.
本次由遥远的东方获得启迪的展览，东方之诗，来自特拉华本地艺术家莫尼克·罗林斯(Monique Rollins)，亦是特拉华当代艺术馆 (The Delaware Contemporary) 东西方文化交流项目的一部分。本展览在2017年曾在特拉华当代艺术馆Carole Bieber and Marc Ham展厅展出。罗林斯的抽象绘画和拼贴具有表现力的审美趣味，融入了人们的无意识。受她在海外旅居期间生活经验的启发，每个形状、色彩、线条和形式都具有人类情感。就像东亚美学一般，她的作品蕴含着宽广的内心景观，并有灵动的形状和斑斓的色彩。本次展览赞助感谢：Mc Connell Johnson Real Estate，Michael Olmsted夫妇，The Siegfried Group，UBS Business Solutions，特拉华当代艺术馆，以及中国北京朱乃正艺术研究中心。
BRIDGE TO BEIJING
A message from our curator:
Last fall, 2017, The Delaware Contemporary began a cultural exchange initiative to bring China-based artists, designers, and curators to the US, and to take curators and artists from the US to China. To expand that initiative, we are seeking to create teaching and exhibition exchange opportunities for our studio and regional artists.
As the curator, I successfully orchestrated all the details necessary to bring the exhibition to Beijing. However, this mammoth undertaking to mount this first east/west traveling exhibition could not have happened without the support of many individuals. I wish to thank artist Monique Rollins for her idea to travel her Eastern Poesia exhibition to China in the first place, Dr. Joseph Gonzales, executive director at The Delaware Contemporary, for his enthusiastic affirmation, Wenlu Bao for her moral and professional support, and to Professor Hsingyuang Tsao of the Zhu Naizheng Research Center of Art, Beijing.
This exhibition excursion to China almost didn’t have its curator. My visa was held up at the Washington, DC office. Without the intervention of the Rollins’ family, Senator Chris Coons’ office, US Representative Lisa Blunt Rochester’s office, and I believe even former Vice President Joe Biden’s office, and friends from the Ukraine intervening, I finally received my visa just two days before departure.
Artist Monique Rollins, myself, deputy curator Wenlu Bao, and creative-in-residence Willie Yao began our journey Sunday, March 4, 2018. We hope you enjoy our shared experiences.
– Kathrine Page
The Gretchen Hupfel Curator of Contemporary Art
Visiting 798 Art Zone - Tuesday, March 6
798 Art Zone is an inspiring and pivotal disctrict of contemporary Chinese art in Beijing. Once a former industrial compound, the zone is a bustling creative enclave on the northeast side of Beijing housing over 400 cultural organizations from all over the world.
Ullens Center for Contemporary Art - Wednesday, March 7
While visiting this top tier museum in Beijing, we had the opportunity to meet the director, Phil Tinari and see how Chinese art centers mount contemporary artwork in their exhibition spaces. The discovery: it’s very similar to our practices.
Guest lecture to graduate students at the Chinese Central Academy of Fine Art - Thursday, March 8
Professor Hsingyuan Tsao invited me to guest lecture to her class of top graduate students at the preeminent art university in all of China about the qualities of being a curator, the important tasks of a curator, and the important goals of exhibition making. One student asked “who has more control in the mounting of the exhibition, the curator or the artist?” I talked about the symbiotic relationship and mutual respect curators have with their artists.
The US Embassy panel discussion and exhibition preview - Thursday, March 8
I selected six paintings to be displayed for panel discussion and exhibition preview. The panelists included artist Monique Rollins, myself, Wang Chunchen, Deputy Director of the Museum of the Central Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing, and Professor Hsingyuan Tsao, the Founder and Director of Zhu Naizheng Research Center of Art, Beijing. With over 200 attendees, we addressed topics such as: the definition of abstract art, abstract art as a mindful vs. retinal response, and how Rollins’ work synthesizes eastern and western cultures. After the panel discussion, the delegation met privately with two members of the press and talked further about my curating Monique Rollins’ exhibition at The Delaware Contemporary, and how her work has profoundly influenced contemporary Chinese artists.
Objekt Magazine Interview - Friday, March 9
Cora Feng Hui, the editor-in-chief of Objekt Magazine interviewed Monique for their summer edition. When asked how would you describe this exhibition, Monique replied with three words: personal, honest, and poetic. Hence, Eastern Poesia.
Artist Studio Visits - Friday, March 9
The delegation visited studios of top tier artists in China. First, meeting Jamaican-born artist Peter Wayne Lewis and seeing his newest series of paintings at his studio in northeast Beijing. Though he teaches in Boston at the College of Art and Design, he holds a studio in Beijing where his Jamaican culture fuses with Chinese aesthetics in his boldly colorful paintings. When I asked him why he travels 14 hours in a plane to reach his studio, he replied, “Look around you.” He values the rich artistic enclave of his studio to inspire the continual output of work. After our tour, Peter treated us to tea a Green T. House restaurant. The Green T. House owner’s wife, an architect, designed the interior, a fusion of eastern minimalist aesthetics and western décor with pockets of whimsy elements.
Being 3 Gallery - Friday, March 9
I met Mian Bu and her partner Xiaofeng at their revered Being 3 gallery, and viewed their substantive art collection. The solo exhibition on view, Footprint by Zhu Xiaodi, was rated as the number one exhibition in all of China. Mian Bu and Xiaofeng represent Monique Rollins, as well as the well-known artist, Ai Weiwei. Mian Bu presented us with some “sunflower seeds” from Weiwei’s exhibition, Unilever Series: Ai Weiwei: Sunflower Seeds at the Tate Modern in 2010-11.
Long March Space - Friday, March 9
We visited Long March Space, also in the 798 Art Zone, where we met the artist, Zhao Gang, renown as one of China’s preeminent contemporary artists. He joined the Stars Group early in his career, helping to pave the way for avant garde contemporary art in China.
Artist, Ma Xinle - Friday, March 9
Another highlight was meeting Ma Xinle, the leading literati artist (highly educated, anchored in traditional Chinese painting). After viewing his magnificent scrollwork with its strong use of aerial perspective and elegant and expressive brushwork, he gave Monique and I a copy of his book. He then took us to dinner at the famous Beijing Yan Restaurant.
Installing Eastern Poesia at the Zhu Naizheng Research Center of Art - Saturday, March 10
My experience installing Monique’s work in China exceeded all my expectations. Working alongside our Chinese counterparts, I found a collaborative spirit and witnessed language barriers dissolve as the art and universal hand signals seamlessly facilitated the installation. Lulu orchestrated an introductory video of Monique’s exhibition from each one’s perspective. Monique reflected on the nature of this exhibition; Kathrine reflected on her experience seeing the work, recently shown in The Delaware Contemporary, now in the context of China; Lulu reflected on how she sees Monique’s work infusing daily life for herself and her contemporaries.
Exhibition Reception - Saturday, March 10
At the reception, several regional artists shared their responses to Monique’s work, questions from the audience centered on the influence of abstract art in China. Afterwards, guests worked their way to the Dragon Spring Restaurant for a dinner hosted by The Delaware Contemporary. I thanked our guests and Chinese leaders for the opportunity to engage in artistic and cultural dialogue during our short week, and for their kind regards in all our encounters. We learned a Chinese custom: while consuming traditional Chinese food and engaging in lively conversation, guests hovered over esteemed guests and offered toasts to their well-being.
Heading home – Sunday, March 11, 2018
Traveling back to the states I thought about our goals. We anticipated getting press releases from at least three venues in China. As of now, we now have close to 19 press releases and a notation in ArtNow.com of Monique’s exhibition as “Recommended Exhibition” at the Research Center of Art. We aspire to find more artists and art spaces to collaborate with. We are currently in negotiations with a few top galleries and art spaces to create a number of cutting edge, international exhibitions. Through my encounters, I strove to give voice to The Delaware Contemporary as a global contemporary presence, and marked our presence and position as a leading venue for contemporary art in Delaware. Equally important, were the two crucial ties that bound the threads of our cultural exchange:
1) How exposure to another culture deconstructs preconceived notions of it.
2) How bringing Monique’s artworks to Beijing lifted the veil of Beijing’s cultural past.
For the first time, many saw painting as a powerful vehicle for the pure expression of joy. Monique’s abstract art served as a means of liberating inspiration, and as the linchpin for shared experience between two different cultures.
With gratitude for your help, support, and affirmations for all that we’re doing for the local and global community at The Delaware Contemporary.
ABOUT MONIQUE ROLLINS
Monique Rollins received her BFA from Syracuse University and her MFA from The Pratt Institute. Her work has been selected for numerous solo exhibitions across the globe, and can be found in public and private collections across the eastern seaboard and abroad. Rollins' exhibitions include Metroquadro Gallery in Rivoli, Italy, Emerge Art Fair in Washington DC, Art Basel Miami Context, Andre Zarre Gallery in New York City, the Beijing American Center in Beijing, the National Museum of Taras Shevchenko in Kiev, Ukraine, and a solo show at Art Central, Hong Kong. Her works can also be viewed at numerous sites throughout the city of Wilmington, Delaware.