Archive: 2011

Exhibition: In Beijing

9th June, 2011

In Beijing No. 05
In Beijing No. 05

Press release

‘In many parts of China mirrors are placed outside the house to frighten away evil spirits… Mass production of mirrors in the early 20th C. reinforced cosmological conceptions, and mirrors were placed in many different settings to help improve the flow of energy and money, and keep a confined space from becoming dead and stagnant.’
Exotic Commodities,‘ Frank Dikotter, pub. 2007

Couchman has been making work about changing landscapes in various places for many years. Since working in Beijing, her practice has often focused upon exploring scale in her images and the mix of old and new she sees around her. She has used printmaking, drawing, photography and installation to communicate these ideas.

Beijing is a huge city in flux, a city that is constantly changing at a rapid pace. Couchman is curious to know what these changes mean to its inhabitants but also to ‘touch’ what it looks like. Recently, she has been working around the perimeter of a new development, in the hutong lanes near Gulou, the city’s historic Drum and Bell Tower Square, on the edges of what has now been permanently removed. This new photographic series seeks the texture and the vistas of the hutongs that have undergone this process of destruction. As Couchman says, the project aims, “to explore what I can see of the land – literally the earth and fabric of the city. It has a performative angle: process, construction, dirt, proximity and distance are all evident in these images. This is what I am working with.”

Couchman has headed out into the streets armed with a camera and three mirrors. The mirrors are used to fuse the different elements of the photographed scenes, both material and immaterial. The result is not the illusion of a cityscape but rather an intimate yet distant exploration of the fabric, and texture of a city whose detail as well as vistas are in flux.

Aluss Art Photography Space, 141 Gulou Dongdajie

19 June – 09 July

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Helen Couchman 最新作品展

“在中国的许多地方,镜子被放置在房子外面以驱魔辟邪……20 世纪初期镜子的大量生产增强了天人观念,镜子被布置在许多不同的方位以促使能量和钱财的流通,并阻止一个特定的空间变得充满煞气和污浊的空气。”
《舶来品》弗兰克·迪科特,2007年出版

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Couchman拍摄关于不同地方的风景变化已经很多年了。自从在北京工作后,她就时常聚焦探索作品里的尺度和身边新旧混杂的风景。目前为止,她已经运用了版画、绘画、摄影和装置多种不同的艺术形式来传达这些所见所思。

北京是个变迁中的庞大城市,一个经常处在快速变化中的城市。Couchman很好奇这些变化对它的居民来说意味着什么,同时好奇地想去感知这些变化的面貌。最近,她开始着眼于鼓楼附近胡同的一个新的发展项目:对这个城市历史意义重大的钟鼓楼正处在被永久搬迁的边缘。这些新鲜的系列影像试图探寻经历了毁灭之后的胡同的实质与远景。如Couchman所言,这个项目旨在 “探寻这片土地上,我能看见什么——不夸张的说,就是这个城市的土地和结构。从陈述事实的角度出发:进程、建设、尘土、亲近和疏离都在这些影像中清晰可见。这就是我在利用的因素。”

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Couchman总是带着一个照相机和三面反光镜进出大街小巷。反光镜是用来融和拍摄场景里的不同元素,包括物质的和非物质的。与其说最后拍摄出来的是城市风景,不如说是对这个细节和未来都在不断变化中的城市结构和实质即亲近又疏离的探索。

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展览开放 6月19日-7月9日

阿鲁斯艺术摄影空间
北京鼓楼东大街141号,2楼
电话:8400-2628,开放时间 下午4点-营业结束

In Beijing by Helen Couchamn, exhibition on the web 2008

 

Talk – UCCA, ‘Collecting & Dropping. China’

12th May, 2011


UCCA flyer/poster, Self portrait with long life earrings.

China Stories with artist Helen Couchman: Collecting & Dropping. China. 2pm Sunday 15th May at UCCA, Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, 798 Art District, Beijing.

北京市朝阳区酒仙桥路4号798艺术区 北京8503信箱

【文化项目】UCCA中国故事系列16:HELEN COUCHMAN:收集与丢弃 – 中国

嘉宾: Helen Couchman
Helen Couchman在威尔士和英格兰的肯特郡,史塔福郡,汉普郡长大。1991年,她前往伦敦;在那里她拿到了约翰爵士卡斯学院的美术学士;在1998年,她拿到了圣马丁艺术学院的批判美术实践 的美术硕士。Couchman女士曾经在英国和全世界进行全范围的展览,也在居住期间经常创造出新的艺术作品,而这些作品也曾在个人作品张中展示。 她曾在塞浦路斯艺术学院担任驻地艺术家(2003年),美国佛蒙特艺术中心(2005)。在2006年,C偶充满女士接受了来自中国的工作邀请,而这次经历激发了她的个人展示灵感。 作品“礼物”在2006年北京的大山子国际艺术节展出。 在2007年初搬至北京后,在2008年6月Couchman女士出版了她的第一本书,工人(WORKERS)。至今Helen 仍在北京继续她的生活和艺术创作。

关于主题:
作为一个在北京居住地英国艺术家,Helen Couchman在2007年12月也就是2008年奥运会之前,独自来到了鸟巢体育馆的建筑地址。她要求一些建筑工人摆出了143个迷惑的造型,并捕捉了这些不知名的建筑工人的脸朝向这个令人兴奋的城市的瞬间。(1)
Couchman 上一年在伦敦的展览“云系列,黄线”的灵感源自于她在北京上空的一次飞行:“这些杰作的漫不经心的开头展示的是当(我)坐的飞机在向北京这座神秘的大都市降落时,出现了一层很薄的亮黄色的云层,之后飞机迅速地穿过这些细线。而从地面是根本看不到这些细线的,只能看到一片蓝色的天空。带点讽刺意味的是,英语中有“每片云都有银色的线”来表示任何坏事情都有其积极的一面,当然有可能这种积极面起先没有被发现。现在的这个情况却被反过来了,清澈的蓝天被一层不可见的橙色薄雾穿透了。而在不详的黄色中很难看到“银色的线”。(2)
(1) Helen Couchman 《工人》 (Soloshow Publishing, 2008)
(2) “云系列, 黄线” 2009,摘自 ‘Sheltering from the Storm’ 发表于Leonardo Journal Transactions 2011年3月
作者Bronaċ Ferran,皇家艺术学院, 伦敦

 

Guests: Helen Couchman
Helen Couchman in Wales and England, Kent, Staffordshire, Hampshire grow up. In 1991, she went to London; where she got a bachelor’s Sir John Cass School of Fine Arts; in 1998, she got a Master of Fine Arts St. Martin’s critique of art practice the Art Institute.Often created during Ms. Couchman in the UK and around the world we have full range of exhibitions, but also to live a new work of art, and these works also show the individual works Zhang. She has served as artist in residence (2003) at the Cyprus College of Art, Vermont Art Center (2005). In 2006, C even accepted the job offer full lady from China, but the experience inspired her personal showcase inspiration. Works “gift” in 2006 Beijing Dashanzi International Art Festival on display. After the beginning of 2007 moved to Beijing in June 2008, Ms. Couchman published her first book, the workers (WORKERS). Helen has still Beijing to continue her life and artistic creation.

On the theme:
as a British artist living in Beijing, Helen Couchman in that is, before the 2008 Olympic Games in December 2007, he came to the Bird’s Nest stadium alone building address.She asked some construction workers put the 143 confusing shape, and captures these unknown construction workers face toward instant this exciting city. (1)
Couchman exhibition in London last year, “says series, yellow line” inspired her over Beijing’s first flight: “at the beginning of these masterpieces of casual show is when (me) to sit in the aircraft Beijing this mysterious metropolis landing, appeared thin layer of bright yellow clouds, the aircraft quickly after passing through these thin line. And from the ground is not see these thin, only to see a blue sky. a little ironic that, in English, there is “every cloud has a silver piece of line” for any bad thing has its positive side, the positive side of this is of course possible at first not to be found now This situation was reversed, the clear blue sky was orange layer of invisible mist penetrated while in an unknown yellow is difficult to see the “silver thread.” (2)
(1) Helen Couchman “workers “(Soloshow Publishing, 2008)
(2) “Cloud series, yellow line” of 2009, taken from the ‘Sheltering from the Storm’ was published in Leonardo Journal Transactions 2011年3月
OF Bronaċ Ferran, the Royal College of Art, London

UCCA, China Stories. Self portrait with Long Life Earings by Helen Couchman

UCCA from the website, Self portrait with Long Life Earrings

 

 

‘Sheltering from the Storm – Artistic Residencies and Environmental Change’ – Leonardo Journal Transactions

7th March, 2011

Extract from the essay:

Living as an artist in Beijing on an open-ended mostly self-generated residency, UK artist Helen Couchman independently navigated the construction site for the Bird’s Nest Stadium in December 2007 before the 2008 Olympics where she asked construction workers to pose for 143 haunting photographic portraits whose anonymous faces look out of her resulting book capturing a moment of intense reality in a feverishly rebranding city. (1)

Couchman’s London exhibition last year ‘Cloud series, Yellow lining’ was inspired by a journey above the Beijing skyline: ‘The inadvertent starting point for these works was ….noticing, as the plane in which (I) was travelling descended towards the as yet unrevealed Beijing metropolis, a thin layer of bright yellow cloud, delineating a relatively fine line of material through which the aircraft quickly passed. From the ground nothing of this curious narrow band was visible, only a clear blue sky. There is some irony here in the application of the English expression ‘every cloud has a silver lining’, which suggests that everything bad has its positive, if perhaps at first hidden, aspect. In the present case the matter is reversed, the clear blue of the sky being discreetly penetrated by an invisible layer of tangerine haze. It is difficult to see the ‘silver lining’ in this ominous yellow vision.‘ (2)

(1) WORKERS 工人 (Soloshow Publishing, 2008)

(2) Cloud series, Yellow lining 2009

 

‘Sheltering from the Storm-Artistic Residencies and Environmental Change’

Published in Leonardo Journal Transactions, March 2011. Written by Bronac Ferran, Royal College of Art, London

Shot for The New York Times – found on the cutting room floor

14th February, 2011

Although shot in December 2009 I have not seen these images until this week. Taken by freelance news photographer Shiho Fukada we agreed to do the shoot at Beijing Central station where I very first alighted in China from the Trans-Mongolian train – departing Moscow, stopping in Ulaan Baatar and onto Beijing, February 2006.

Images of my work and another portrait from that day were published with a feature by Dan Levin in both the The New York Times and International Herald Tribune arts pages, Sunday 10th January, 2010.

Talk – Picturing Beijing

30th January, 2011

‘Picturing Beijing.’ Helen Couchman will be talking about her work at The Beijing Bookworm International Literary Festival 2011. Tuesday, 15th March, 10pm.
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