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
Video interview with Helen Couchman at TAV, Taiwan, February 2016. 4:38 minutes
Traveling Together, months 7 & 8. Taipei. 7 January – 5 March 2016
（一起旅行・第 7 與第 8 個月．台北・1月7日 – 3月5日．2016 ）
英國曼徹斯特華人當代藝術中心交流計畫 CFCCA Exchange Program /
來訪藝術家 Visiting Artist：
Helen COUCHMAN 海倫・考曼
進駐期程 Residency Period：
2016年第一季 First quarter, 2016
進駐地點 Residency Location：
台北國際藝術村 Taipei Artist Village
Helen COUCHMAN moved to London in 1991, where she completed a BA in Fine Art at Sir John Cass in 1996, and an MA in Critical Fine Art Practice at Central St Martins in 1998. She was more recently invited to pursue a period of post graduate research at Chelsea.
Couchman has exhibited widely, both in the United Kingdom and internationally, often producing new bodies of work during residencies. Amongst these are Cyprus (2003), Vermont (2005), China (2006), London (2015) and Taiwan(2015).
Moving to live in Beijing in early 2007, Couchman published her first book there, WORKERS , in June 2008. Portraits from the series have been exhibited in London (2008), Hong Kong (2008) and Beijing (2012). Couchman’s second book, Mrs West’s Hats, was published in November 2009.
Couchman’s 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). The artist has contributed to a number of group exhibitions, including The Artful Scriptorium, New York, (2010),There and Everywhere, London (2009), China in Motion, London (2008), Solutions for a Modern City, Hong Kong (2008), Future Landscapes, Shewsbury, UK (2005), Uncommon Ground, Sway, UK (2004), Sodium Blindness, London (2000), find(found),London (1997), and Contemporary Chinoiserie, London (2008).
I plan to make new work in response to my stay in Taipei. In my practice I often make art projects in direct response to the location I work in. In the past they have been referred to as self-made residencies. I spent nearly seven years, 2006-2013, working independently in Beijing initially as it fulfilled a persistent curiosity I have regarding fast changing landscapes and how they reveal the politics and economics of the people in those places. In the last three years I have been working independently on a project in Oman making expeditions across the country to meet women and collaborate with them on portraits.
Helen COUCHMAN於1991年移居倫敦，1996年獲得Sir John Cass藝術學院的學士學位，1998年獲得中央聖馬丁藝術實踐評論的碩士學位，近期她被邀請到切爾西進行碩士後研究。她在英國以及國際多處舉辦過展覽，駐村期間常製作新的作品。駐村地點有賽普勒斯（2003）、美國佛蒙特州（2005）、中國（2006）、倫敦（2015）以及台灣（2015）。Couchman於2007年初移居到北京，2008年6月，她在北京出版了她的第一本書《工人》（Workers），這一系列的肖像照在倫敦（2008）、香港（2008）以及北京（2012）展出。Couchman的第二本書《西方女士的帽子》（Mrs West’s Hats），也於2009年11月出版。Couchman的個展包括Mrs West’s Hats（亞美尼亞，葉里溫，2004）、禮物（北京，2006），以及There was no single reason for me to be there at first（倫敦，1999）。藝術家參加了許多聯展，包括The Artful Scriptorium（紐約，2010),There and Everywhere（倫敦，2009), China in Motion（倫敦，2008), Solutions for a Modern City,（香港，2008), Future Landscapes（舒茲伯利，英國，2005), UncommonGround, （英國Sway，2004), Sodium Blindness（倫敦，2000), find(found)（倫敦，1997), 以及Contemporary Chinoiserie（倫敦，2008)。
Drawing re/found in the studio. Pre China. In fact this is inspired by the outskirts of Swansea, Wales, UK.
More landscape drawings have been uploaded here
First drawing for ‘Untitled (Collecting and Dropping)’ 2007