Talk, WORKERS 工人 Artist talk by Helen Couchman
Sunday, 9th April. 2 – 3pm
Talk, WORKERS 工人 Artist talk by Helen Couchman
Sunday, 9th April. 2 – 3pm
Snap Change: China through a Lens with Helen Couchman, Artist
Thursday, March 16, 2017, 19:00
Eno Atelier, Rue du Dublin 42, 1050 Brussels
[18:30] Doors Open [19:00] Event Begins
China’s Contemporary art scene has been flourishing amidst a swathe of rapid change on a grand scale. We will explore, through the art work of Helen Couchman, how artists are expressing this change, what subjects they take on and how this is received in China today. Helen’s work in the huge city of Beijing seeks to know what change means to its inhabitants, but also to ‘touch’ what it looks like. Her recent work explored 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 photographic and performative series seeks the texture and the vistas of the hutongs that have undergone this process of destruction. Couchman explores what she 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. Prior to this, she made portraits of worker’s constructing the 2008 Olympic Games as a subject for her first book, ‘WORKERS 工人 (gong ren)’. Couchman photographed building the vast bird’s nest stadium and swimming pool through 143 portraits that each show a single worker standing in front of these incredible structures, looking calmly, confidently and directly into Couchman’s lens.
Join us for a discussion about Couchman’s work and the way artists in China are exploring and expressing change and continuity. How are the themes artist’s in China take on meaningful to a Chinese and international audience and what perspective does an outsider bring to a depiction of change in China?
Artist Helen Couchman worked in Beijing on her hutong project from 2011, and prior to that had moved to live in Beijing in early 2006, soon after she published her first book, ‘WORKERS 工人’, (June 2008). Portraits from the series have been exhibited in London (2008), Hong Kong (2008) and Beijing (2012). Couchman’s work has been shown in in Cyprus (2003), Vermont (2005), China (2006) and Taiwan (2016). Her solo exhibitions also include ‘Mrs. West’s Hats’, Yerevan, Armenia (2004) ‘Gift’, Beijing (2006) and ‘There was no single reason for me to be there at first’, London (1999). Most recently she has exhibited ‘Epoch, Beijing 2006 – 2012’ (2017) a retrospective exhibition of her China work at CFCCA, the Centre for Contemporary Chinese Art in Manchester. www.helencouchman.com
Artists talk, an introduction to the exhibition, Epoch, Beijing 2006-2012 for MA students from the University of Salford and Manchester Metropolitan University.
26 January, 4.30 – 5.30pm.
at CFCCA, Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art
Market Buildings, 13 Thomas Street
Manchester, M4 1EU
Photo credit: Hannah Vigus
Thank you to ACYPI Melbourne for inviting me to give a talk last night. It prompted some great questions and lots of conversations afterwards over Christmas cheese and wine.
Join ACYPI for an Arts focused evening with two inspiring artists; Helen Couchman, visual artist and Mindy Meng Wang, musician and composer.
The evening will feature a Q and A session, a performance from Mindy Meng Wang on the Guzheng and a talk from both artists. They will discuss their work and inspirations and how the Arts scene in both Australia and China are developing, as well as how intercultural ideas are developed and communicated through works of art.
Friday 16th December, 2016
2/108-112 Langridge St,
Collingwood VIC 3066
Registration is necessary –www.acypi.org.au/en/2016/
British artist Helen Couchman worked in Beijing for nearly seven years between 2006 and 2012. She will be talking about her experience of working in the country and the outcomes. Using various media, mostly drawing, photo, printing and installation Couchman has made work in various countries including USA, Cyprus, Armenia, Taiwan but nothing as prolonged as her time living in China. This talk is very timely as Helen is currently working on a retrospective exhibition of her China works for CFCCA, Centre For Chinese Contemporary Art in Manchester, England opening in January 2017.
WORKERS, Gong Ren at Le Musée Olympique, Lausanne, Switzerland
‘…they give off an incredible force, we can read the fragility in certain looks and pride as they are posing for you. They recall the harsh conditions in which these men and women have working but without falling into any voyeurism or pessimism. Personally, I find them absolutely magnificent and I am very touched at looking at them.’
Artist talk at Unitec Institute of Technology, Auckland, New Zealand.
3rd November 2016.
At 12.30, Building 1, Room 001 – 2085.
7.30pm, Thursday, 26th May. An illustrated talk and book signing by Helen Couchman about her grandmother and her hats. Mrs. West’s Hats and an essay about the work are published in a hardback book by the same name.
Talk tickets, £5 obtainable at the gallery.
Mrs West’s Hats the exhibition runs between Thursday 2 – 30 June. Open Tuesday – Saturday from 10.30am – 4.30pm. Entry is free.
10-12 Church Street
Artist shows true colours of Oman
Portraits aim to overturn misconceptions
A Highbury artist is attempting to shed light on a little-known corner of the world with her unique portraits of Omani Women. Helen Couchman said the idea came to her after travelling to Oman for work four years ago. “I wanted to understand more about what we mean when we refer to the Middle East,” she said. “Its just so general and vague.”
It was while she was on assignment in the desert that she was first inspired; ” I was at the edge of what is known as The Empty Quarter when I met three women who appeared over the dunes in the middle of nowhere. The women – including a mother and her three daughters – took a shine to her and invited her to their farm. “I was struck by how brightly and confidently dresses the four women were,” Ms Couchman told the Gazette. “I began thinking about my expectations of them being more conservatively dressed.”
When she returned to the UK she searched through archives of Omani Women but found only portraits that were anthropological or of eroticised Persian beauty. Inspired by her own experiences she returned to the country to start her own project. Of course convincing strangers to pose for photos wasn’t easy. “I realised it might be quite a difficult question for people to consider so I approached people in the street rather than at their homes which I don’t think would have been very polite,” Ms Couchman said. Most families had at least on member who spoke English or else would invite a friend over who could. “I would ask them three questions,” she said. “Would they like to be in the portrait? What would they like to wear? And how would they like to present themselves?”
The result is a series of image published in her new book Omani Women. She will be giving a talk and signing at Waterstones at Islington Green on 9th March at 6pm.
by Sophie Inge, 3 March 2016
Online, 8 March 2016: